April 08, 2015

Eddie Shore: One Crazy Night

January 3rd, 1929. Coach Art Ross and his Boston Bruins all boarded a train bound for Montreal, where they would take on the Maroons. There was only one problem. Boston's best player, Eddie Shore, was not on the train.

"Mr. Ross didn't know it," said Shore years later "but I was running down the station platform trying to jump on the last car of the train. I didn't make it and had just missed the train because my taxi had been tied up in a traffic accident coming across town."

But Shore had every intention of getting to Montreal in time to play the game. At 11:30pm he hired a car and driver to take him the 560km, even though a blizzard was raging. Shore grew impatient with the chauffeur's slow speed and took over the wheel.

"I was not happy at the rate he was traveling," says Shore, "and I told him so. He apologized and said he didn't have chains and didn't like driving in the winter. The poor fellow urged me to turn back to Boston."

Shore, who grew up in wintery western Canada, was not fazed by the storm. He found solutions for their travel problems. He found an open service station where he acquired some tire chains. And when their visibility was greatly limited due to ice on the windshield Shore found a rather unusual answer.

"I couldn't see out the window," says Shore, "so I removed the top half of the windshield."

He drove most of the way, only letting the chauffeur drive so he could take quick cat naps. During one such stretch the chauffer put the car into a ditch. Shore then hired a team of horses to pull the car out of the ditch, and drove the rest of the way to Montreal!

"I paid $8 for a team of horses," says Shore, "harnessed the horses and pulled the car out of the ditch."

Amazingly, Shore arrived in Montreal around 5:30pm, just enough time to eat a steak, catch a 30 minute nap, and then play the game. Not that coach Art Ross intended to use him after all of that.

"He was in no condition for hockey," says Ross. "His eyes were bloodshot, his face frostbitten and windburned, his fingers bent and set like claws after gripping the steering wheel so long. And he couldn't walk straight. I figure his legs were almost paralyzed from hitting the brake and clutch."

But the headstrong Shore insisted he play. He played the entire game! He played all 60 minutes (minus time served in the penalty box on two minor infractions). He even scored the winning goal!

Read the full Eddie Shore biography here.

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