Hockey players nowadays may not have to go to work like players of the past. Hockey players have always been well paid in comparison to regular folk, but before the million dollar contract days almost every NHL player had to punch a clock and pack a lunch bucket after hanging up the skates
In the December 31st, 1947 issue of The Hockey News Jack Knight catches up with many notable names to see what they were up to. Plenty of them stayed in the game, of course. But let's highlight players who had jobs outs of hockey.
Sprague Cleghorn and Hal Winkler gave up the game for good. Knight writes "The paradoxical gentleman who decry hockey as it is played today are Odie Cleghorn, a wizard stickhandler for Canadiens in the early twenties, who never sees a game now; and Hal Winkler, old backstop for Boston Bruins. Since Cleghorn retired, and after a short term as a referee, he has devoted his time to golf around his native Montreal. Winnipeg’s Winkler has been a successful mink rancher in Charleswood, Manitoba, for more than 15 years., and in that time has only been in the Winnipeg Amphitheatre once."
A mink rancher. Interesting.
Here's some more former NHL stars with everyday jobs featured in the article:
Lionel Conacher became a successful stock broker, while Hugh Lehman operated a contracting firm.
Battleship Leduc became president of a hockey stick factory. Harry Oliver became an electrician in Selkirk, Manitoba. Perhaps he visited Crutchy Morrison's hardware store .
Paul Goldman also became an electrician. Heavy shooting Nick Wasnie worked in the grocery biz.
Vic Ripley had a good job as a golf pro in Calgary, while Dutch Gainer was working the oil pipelines in Fort Norman, Northwest Territories.
Art Coulter opened a sporting goods store, but he probably didn't sell much hockey in equipment in Coral Gables, Florida back in 1947.
Lots of guys worked in hotels, including Frank Finnegan, Harold Starr, Shrimp Worters, Dave Kerr, Taffy Abel, Leo Bougeault, Duke Dutkowski, Marty Burke and Lorne Carr.
Bill Phillips operated a hunting camp near Thessalson, Ontario. A fireman before he played with the Ottawa Senators, Alex Connell became secretary of the Ottawa fire department.
Frank Nighbor, the game's early defensive forward specialist, sold insurance.
Archie Wilcox owned a successful trucking company and was an alderman in Verdun, Quebec.
Hall of Fame great Aurel Joliat sold tickets and Ottawa's Union Station. There is no mention if he wore his trademark black cap.
Cecil Dillon worked for the Ontario Telephone company while Doug Brennan, another former Ranger, was a railroader near Havelock, Ontario.
Leo Reise was once a mainstay on defence in Manhattan, but moved back to Ontario to become a fruit farmer.
Then there is oft-forgotten Chicago Black Hawks defenseman Teddy Graham. He married a millionaire's daughter. But he still had to work in a lumber yard in Owen Sound, while refereeing some AHL games during the winter.