by Ron Spence
The Bowman takeover – with all of its subplots – could only have happened in Chicago.
The big question is whether Dale Tallon will place a curse on the Blackhawks.
One of the highlights of my – sort of – hockey writing career was a lunch I shared with Jim Coleman.
He was a wonderful, crusty old guy who was close to 100-years-old and still went to work every day at the Vancouver Province.
One time he slipped, and broke his hip while climbing into a cab, and that was the beginning of the end.
My favourite Jim Coleman story concerned the Curse of Pete Muldoon.
Chicago had finished the season in 3rd place – with a record of 19-22-3 – and lost in the first round of the 1927 playoffs.
Major McLaughlin – who had named the team after his old regiment, when they had moved over from Portlland, Oregon – thought that his club should have finished in first place.
Coach Pete Muldoon disagreed, and was then fired.
According to Coleman, who was writing for the Globe and Mail in Toronto in 1943, Muldoon had yelled, “Fire me, Major, and you’ll never finish first. I’ll put a curse on this team that will hoodo it until the end of time.”
Thus was the start of the Blackhawks’ first curse – which lasted for four decades.
Coleman later admitted that it had been a slow news day, and he had made up the infamous curse.
Had Jim Coleman downed a few cocktails before he thought up the curse? I forgot to ask him, but I’m sure he did.
We know that firewater was involved in another Blackhawks’ classic.
Chicago was playing for the Stanley Cup against the Maple Leafs – in 1938 – when their goalie Mike Karakas broke his toe and couldn’t return to the nets.
Johnny Gottselig knew minor league – Pittsgburgh – goalie Alfie Moore and went to his house to see if he could play.
His wife told the Blackhawks’ captain that Alfie was tilting a few in a certain Toronto tavern and Gottselig went there and Moore had just left for another bar.
In watering hole number two, Alfie was enjoying himself with four other players, who were also finished for the season.
Alfie was very happy to see Gottselig and asked if he could get him a couple of tickets for that night’s game.
The captain responded that he would get him the best seat in the house.
Alfie ordered one for the road – after the dozen that he’d already downed – and Gottselig took him to the team’s hotel.
The other hawks shook their heads and said Moore was too drunk to play.
The captain insisted, and they took him to the Gardens, put him under a shower and pumped him full of coffee.
Moore let in the first shot, but was Georges Vezina for the rest of the contest.
NHL President Frank Calder wouldn’t let Alfie Moore play another game in the series, and Chicago had to call up one of their minor leaguers, Paul Goodman.
Alfie Moore became the first goalie to win both the Memorial (1929 Toronto Marlboros) and Stanley (1938 Chicago Blackhawks) Cups.
The unfortunate ending to this great story is that Moore had his name scribed on the original ring of the Stanley Cup – in 1938 – but when the Cup was redone during the 1957-58 season, his name was left off the new ring.
Alfie Moore lived until 1984 and had enough time to place a curse on the NHL.
But then again, the Blackhawks had given him a gold watch and $300 for playing in that one game.