September 01, 2017

Boat Hurley Passes Away

Boat Hurley, long time amateur goaltender and goaltender with the 1960 Canadian Olympic hockey team, passed away on August 29th, 2017 The 87 year old was said to have battled a long illness.

Born November 16, 1930 (though some sources say 1929) in Stratford, Ontario, Harold Anthony Hurley played his entire lengthy career as an amateur in Ontario. He was so good that he turned down offers to turn pro with both the Detroit Red Wings , Chicago Black Hawks and Toronto Maple Leafs because he had a very good job that offered stability that pro hockey would not. It also offered more money than riding the buses in the minor leagues. He was an accountant and worked for Bauer Industries for more than half a century, retiring in 1992 as plant manager.

"The Leafs offered me a two-year contract for $5,000 a year and a $1,000 signing bonus," said Hurley. "That wasn't bad money for 1947. But the six NHL teams back then carried only one goaltender. Your chances of making it weren't very good."
I have no regrets. I kept my job the whole time I played and probably ended up better than a lot of big six guys."

Universally known by his moniker "Boat" - the origins of which are unknown to us - played Junior Hockey for the Stratford Kroehlers and Senior Hockey for the K-W Dutchmen, Galt Terriers, Galt Hornets, Oakville Oaks, Guelph Regals, Chatham Maroons and Elmira Polar Kings. 

His hockey highlights included:
  • Playing in the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley, California where he was the backup goaltender to Don Head. (Silver medal)
  • Playing in the 1962 Ice Hockey World Championships at Colorado Springs, Colorado where he only goaltender to wear a face mask. (Silver medal)
  • Playing with the Chatham Maroons during a tour in Moscow, Russia. 
  • Three Allan Cup championships with Galt (1961, 1969 and 1971)

Boat, who at one time was coached by NHL goaltending legend Bill Durnan, won the Turofsky Trophy eight times for the Lowest Goals Against Average in OHA Senior A hockey. He won it so often that they gave him the silverware permanently! He later donated it to the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Oldtimers of this long gone era will tell you that Boat Hurley was as good as most goalies in the NHL during his time. 


Miss Hurley said...

Hi Joe,
Thank you for the wonderful article about my grandfather. He was born in 1929. As kids we got to play with his trophies, pads and masks. We were so excited to visit his exhibit in the Hockey Hall of Fame all those years ago. He will be missed.

Unknown said...

Hi Vanessa
I knew Boat because my dad also worked at Bauer industries. I remember him as a kind and funny man . He was always a gentleman. I worked with his sons when it was summer. I bet one of them was your dad. I think ones name was Tom.. maybe..Erik maybe memory isn't what it used to be. Anyway I just wanted to share my thoughts.. he will be missed

Miss Hurley said...

Hi Bonnie,
Small world, you working with Uncle Tom, and my father, Pat. I'll let him know you wrote to us. Makes me happy to know there are others with fond memories of my grampie. Think of him even more with the Olympics happening now. V

Unknown said...

hi my name is brian hurley-i came to Canada at the age of 10 in 1960-i started hockey at the age of of 13 in goal because I couldn't skate that well and took to it with a passion-our team was not that good and we lost badly but a write up in the Toronto star said "the score would have gone into double digits if it wasn't for pint sized 'showboat'hurley--and I wondered where that name came from for years-when I found out I was honoured to be compared to this legend-I always heard that he was a gentleman -and now my grandson henry(9 years old)is a goalie and passionate about it so I will show him this profile and keep the hurley name alive in the goalie world-take care all the best brian

Anonymous said...

Dear Hurley Family: I am 68 years old and live in Woodstock Ontario. As a young boy my dad and I attended every Woodstock Athletic's Senior A hockey game. "Boat" Hurley was my idol. I didn't like it when he beat the Athletics but he was the best goalie in the league!! "Boat" usually beat Woodstock as a Galt Terrier and as a Galt Hornet. But Woodstock A's got their revenge in 1965 playoff final Geugh Regals vs Woodstock. Hurley and his Regal teammates were up 3-0 on the A's and Woodstock somehow came back and won 4 in row. "Boat" was why I switched from forward to goalie in minor hockey. Boat was the only goalie to wear a oval cream coloured face mask and he never took it off so I had no idea what he looked like until as a adult I collected Maple Leaf Garden Export calendars of Allan Cup winners Galt Terriers and Galt Hornets. My favourite memory of Mr. Hurley was my best Christmas gift is when my parents bought me an actual replica of " Boats" mask and then as an adult I saw the real thing again at the Hockey Hall of Fame. My worst experience was spring of 1964 (Boat playing for Guelph Regals) Woodstock qualified to play for the Allan Cup in Winnipeg vs the Marroons. They could pick up 3 players extra from the league and they did not pick "Boat". Woodstock lost the Allan Cup final and my dad and I were always convinced we would have won with "Boat" in net.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on Mr. Hurley. Reading the comments it sounds like Mr. Hurley was as great a human being as he was a goalie! Also, as a coincident I read he was an industrial accountant and so was I. I was a a CPA- CGA in industry. However, being a hockey goalie only took me to "midget"