September 06, 2015

George Carey

George Carey's big league hockey career got off to an inauspicious start.

Carey signed to play with the Quebec Hockey Club, popularly known as the Bulldogs, for the 1911-12 season in the National Hockey Association - forerunner to the NHL. But he barely got to play. He was a substitute the entire season, but it appears his only minute of action was the final minute of the final game of the regular season. Quebec would win the Stanley Cup that spring, with Carey presumably cheering on the sidelines.

Carey opted to play senior hockey until the 1916-17 season when the Bulldogs convinced him to return amid offers from other professional teams. He played a much bigger role this time around, scoring eight goals and a team-leading nine assists for 17 points in 19 games.

The National Hockey Association dissolved in 1917, only to be restructured and resurrected as the National Hockey League in time for the 1917-18 season. However Carey would not play that inaugural NHL season - anywhere. Carey's playing rights were transferred to the Montreal Wanderers and he refused to report, preferring instead to remain home in Quebec City.

Carey's days with the Wanderers was never meant to happen anyway. The Wanderers would fold after just six NHL games, due to their arena burning down. Carey would end up missing a total of two hockey seasons due to service in the military during World War I.

Upon Carey's discharge from the military he returned to hockey with Quebec. He played a nice role with the team, scoring 11 goals and 20 points - second most on the team, though Quebec would not make the playoffs.

Quebec's struggles off the ice were worse then their struggles on it. The franchise transferred to Hamilton for the 1920-21 season to become the Tigers.

Carey did not balk at leaving his home in Quebec City this time. He played parts of three seasons in Hamilton. He would also end up playing with Calgary of the PCHL and Toronto of the NHL before retiring in 1924.

Newspaper reports cited George Carey as "a sensational wingman" and "a little publicized player who could really do tricks with the puck." Tommy Shields of the Ottawa Citizen compared his puckhandling ability to Bill and Bun Cook, Frank Nighbor, Billy Burch, Shorty Green and Billy Boucher - some of the early masters of the game.

Perhaps his size limited his ability. Sam Wesley's book Hamilton's Hockey Tigers describes Carey "as wide as a steam-pipe and as hefty as a flea."

Other than the fact he was born in Glasgow, Scotland but grew up and learned to play hockey in Quebec City, very little about Carey's life is known.

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