Viewed 2645 times
The legendary racehorse, Man o’ War, won every race he ever ran—except one. A rival horse beat the champion thoroughbred on August 13, 1919. The winning horse’s name: “Upset”.
The study of etymology is a fascinating one, especially when it comes to the variations of surnames which permeate the English language.
No fooling! There really is a realtor named Sandi Lott. There actually is a dentist the sign on whose door reads: Dr. Les Plack. Would you believe a mortician named Dye; and a dietician called Hunger. There is a Dr. Stone, who is geologist; a civil servant in Ottawa, working in the Agricultural and Food Department, Mr. Butter.
A lady once wrote to “Dear Abby” who bought a used car from a salesman whose handle was Swindle, and insured it with the Bill Crook Insurance Agency. How would you like to be diagnosed by Dr. D’eath; fly on a plane where Ron Muddle was the air traffic controller; or deposit your savings in a bank where the teller was Mr. Million? Then there was a French soccer goalkeeper whose name was Dominique Dropsy.
A quick run through Ontario’s on-line 411 reveals that there are 28 people in Ontario alone with the last name, “Hockey”. There used to be a Mrs. Puck who lived in Toronto, who refused to enter into a discussion about the roots of her unusual European cognomen. As well there is a GTA gentleman whose birth certificate reads “Jeremy Stick”. In an earlier column we looked at a cross section of men who carried the burden of carrying the handle of Stanley Cupp.
But when we get right down to ice level, when one considers the total number of pucksters who have laced on the blades in the NHL in 98 years, it will be no surprise to find countless unusual names listed on rosters of both current and defunct teams.
Equivocation is almost the same as a pun—but not quite so direct—requiring less imagination.
For instance, in the 1930’s when Eddie Shore was shining brightly for the Bruins, the Rangers’ Lester Patrick attempted to swap a run-of-the-mill forward, Myles Lane, even-up for the legendary rearguard. His old friend, Art Ross, Manager of the Beantown Six, sent this blunt and to-the-point answer: “You’re so far from Shore, Lester, you need a life preserver!”
There a good many monikers which seem to beg equivocation. One of the most blatant examples was nevertheless customer made. Back in January 1944, the Ranger’s Lester Patrick took Bob “Killer” Dill in a deal with the Buffalo Bisons. The headline included: “Rangers get Dill hoping to get (him) out of a pickle”. Not long before, the would-be hockey fight icon was suspended by the AHL for slugging a league referee. The caption of an accompanying photo was: “Dill that’s always in a pickle!”
Not long after his trade to Broadway he decided to give “Rocket” Richard boxing lessons—and was promptly thrashed three times during one confrontation. That night he really was pickled—with the vinegar totally extracted.
Back in the 1950’s, writers pounced on the nickname of Detroit’s Production (forward) Line with the exclamation, “Lindsay is Abel, and Howe!”
Much more recently, the Edmonton Journal reported on October 7, 2000: “The Edmonton Oilers recalled defenseman Chris Hajt (Hite) from the minors. Since they already had Doug Weight, now they have Hajt and Weight”
Another journalist dropped this casual suggestion: “Would it not be appropriate if Miroslav Satan were playing for the New Jersey Devils?” (and wearing number 666)
It may have been Steve Simmons who quipped: “I can’t wait to see Jordin Tootoo battle Tuomo Ruutu in the corners!”
When defenseman Jeff Finger joined the Maple Leafs in the fall of 2008, he started the season in sick bay—recovering from a broken foot. Some witty shinny scribe contemplated how ironical it would be if Adam Foote suffered a broken finger.
On the front page of the December 14, 2014 Toronto Sun sports section, in bold letters this headline stood out: “PANIK ATTACK”. The evening before the Maple Leafs had defeated the Red Wings 4-1, with Richard Panik playing the lead role. He had a goal, was plus one, and had an all-round great game.
A promising prospect by the name of Morris Titanic joined the Buffalo Sabres as a rookie in the fall of 1974. He played only 17 games. Back problems limited his action the next campaign to just two contests. A spinal fusion operation finished his NHL career. A mischievous journalist commented “Titanic is sunk!” The Hockey News’ Brian Costello, picking up on the obvious pun, wrote: “His statistical line looks like a bunch of icebergs bobbing side by side in the Atlantic Ocean: zero goals, zero assists, zero penalty minutes” A wrecked knee in the minors wrote “finis” over his hockey career.
On a couple of occasions the Hockey News entered the full-fledged pun game in features under the heading “Lists”. They projected several “teams”, the members of which bore monikers custom-made for equivocation:
**The All-Occupation Team: Bobby Carpenter; Lyndon Byers; Garth Butcher; Murray Baron; Tom Draper. Readily added to that squad could have been Bill Barber; Herb Gardiner; Darnell Nurse; Mike Fidler; Bobby Taylor; Kelly Miller; Paul Ranger; Corey Potter; Mike Weaver; Ben Bishop; Steve Mason; Bill Cook; Greg Sheppard; Carl Brewer; Carter Bancks; and Dunc Fisher.
(That can be stretched to the simile of “career”, which would include Gil Mayer; Dwight King; and Corban Knight)
**The All-Nutrition Team: Adam Oates; Steven Rice; Jari Kurri; Par Djos; Brad Berry; Jim Korn; Bill Butters; and Mike Kitchen.
**The All-Colour Team: Bill White; James Black; Travis Green; Jeff Brown; Bryan Rust; Ken Paynter; John Blue; Glenn Goldup; Brian Lavender; Skip Teal; and Gerry Gray.
Compilations such as that prompt inspiration to add still further categories—like:
**The Bird Line: Phil Crowe; Mike Eagles; Bob Jay; Red Heron; Nathan Perrott; ROBYN Regehr; Bob Wren; and Spunk Sparrow.
**The Hot Stove Trio: Dan Boyle; Matt Cooke; and Charlie Simmer.
**The Animal Aggregation: Peter Lappin (Rabbit); Bernie Wolfe; Jay Beagle; Cody Bass; Mike
Mole (Jr.) (AHL); Joe Lamb; Robin Big Snake (AHL); Bruce Bullock; Greg Fox; and Joel Vermin (AHL);
**The Nightmare Line: Claudio Scremin; Steve Kasper (the friendly ghost); and Jim Boo!
Or, how about:
**The Demeanor Designation: Kevin Devine; Howie Meeker; Ted Bulley; Jesper Fast; Ben Eager; Jim Playfair; Kelly Chase; Johnny Harms; Gerard Gallant; Alex Tidey; Stephane Yelle; Darryl Sly; Lindy Ruff; Brandon Saad; Michael Funk; Archie Wilder; Jason Woolley; Greg Joly; Stan Smrke; Eric Staal; Owen Fussey; Jamie Pushor; Tyler Stark (EmJHL); and Stanislav Chistov (pronounced Cheezed-off).
**The All-Spice Set: HERB Brooks; BASIL McCrea; Bob DILL; Bill ROOT; Floyd CURRY; Gary SAGE (OPJAHL); and Ryan PEPPERall (AHL).
**The Auto Assembly: Lorne Carr; Brian Ford; Brad Maxwell; Ronnie Hudson; Vern Kaiser; Curt Fraser; Darcy Tucker; Calum MacKay; Cam Russell; Michael Colman; and Brett Sterling. (younger readers may not easily identify with antique cars)
**The Retail Roster: Jamie Storr (wearing number 7-11); Terry Ball; Brad Bombardir; Bob Champoux; Bob Chrystal; Wayne Doll (EHL); Blake Dunlop; Link Gaetz; Steve Heinze; Ryan Kraft; Mark Kirton; Jim Kyte; Dave Kryskow; Dave Inkpen (WHA); Eddie Wares; Steve Shields; Tanner Glass; and Don Lever.
**The Weather Watch: Ray Clearwater (WHA); Frank McCOOL; Chuck RAYNer; Garth Snow; Frank Spring; Jim Storm; Cyclone Taylor (NHA, PCHA); Mike Bloom; Harry Frost; Mark Flood; Colin Greening; and Art Somers.
Some handles seem to be joined naturally at the hip with the ice game. From Brandon, Manitoba there came a lad by the name of Lude Check. His moniker elicited many a tongue-in-cheek witticisms. For instance did he make off-colour remarks or stick his tongue out at opponents when he bodied them? Then there was Murray Wing who didn’t patrol either the left or right flank on the forward line—he was a defenseman. Hank Blade shares notoriety with a couple of members of the NHL’s 228th Battalion. He was a replacement on the Pettawawa Military team in 1941—was never actually enlisted. He lasted only 24 games with the Blackhawks. One can only hope that he had a straight, not warped approach to the game. (Two thirds of a PUN—PU) Jim Hatrick never made it to the big time—but he certainly made the headlines interesting wherever he played, with a handle like that.
No goalie ever had a more appropriate ID that Kelly Guard, an Ottawa chattel who guarded the twine for the farm team, the Binghamton Senators. On the flip side there was a Junior player from B.C. named Paul Scorer.
Such tomfoolery is not new as a way of adding a little levity to an otherwise stressful business. Back in 1929, when Pittsburgh’s original entry into the NHL, the Pirates, were struggling to survive, tempers were short in response to constantly losing. One night the Bruins were wiping the ice with these perpetual doormats, 7-0. That was insult enough, but when the Hub’s George Owen spilled (Hib) Milks heavily into the boards, it soured the mood, and a brawl ensued. The rest of the players from both teams poured over the boards—with the result that everything got bottled up on the ice.
Some player’s names (both active and retired) may just give a hint as to their hockey abilities. Ron Handy sounds like a promising guy to have around; Larry (whose nick name is “Izzy”) Goodenough should make the cuts; Jack Skille would quality by a country mile; and it’s hard to imagine Dwayne Zinger’s shot as anything but devastating. Goalie Jonathan Quick has reflexes like a cat; and during his day Chris was OsGood as any between the pipes. Dave used to get his job Dunn; centre Billy was always a Reay of hope even in when the (Neil) Strain had the Habs’ backs to the Bob Wall. Any danger of losing was practically (Jim) Nill when Steve (WHA) was ready to make Warr on the ice. Because when you have such a (Paul) Goodman involved, there’s not much of a (Dick) Gamble at being (Mike) Wong, or just (Troy, OHL) Hazzarding a guess.
Once in a while, names give us a peek behind the scenes. A new (Tony) Twist to things happened when Jack (USHL) would have none of this playoff beard stuff, and determined to Shave. It wasn’t such a (Pierre, AHL) Brillant idea, since he cut himself, causing him a lot of (Steve) Payne, and prompting him to let out a (Rob) Whistle, and to (Tony) Curtale the whole operation.
There will be a collective sigh of relief to read that this hokey spoof is near an end. But first there are a few QUIPS and QUERIES which need attention:
**After spending 47 minutes in the sin bin, it’s no surprise to learn of this New Year’s resolution: “Fewer infractions for 1932-33”, promises Vic Ripley—believe it or not.
**His real surname was Wychnenka; but he borrowed his mother’s maiden name when he got involved in hockey, because it was easier to spell. In short order the 5’ 4’’ rearguard was tagged “Rock-A-Bye”. But do you suppose he regretted that change even more when his AHL teammates put the wrong inflexion on “Hey! (Walter) Babey!”
**Do you know that most important step when one is about to start his car or truck? Make sure you have the (Dave) Keon! If you do, it will ignite right off with a (Daniel) Bång!
**Leaving the (Cal, IHL) Roadhouse, the lonely puckster headed for the (Jamie) Storr, taking a detour through the (Mike) Eastwood, checking his wallet to see if he could afford the (Radoslav) Suchy which was on special. But his plans went (Michael) Chaput… he was stopped at the door by the manager….he neglected to (Jean, WHA) Payette.
**He was solid between the pipes for Vancouver, so much so that even though Ryan Miller was announced fit for game one of the 2015 playoffs between the Canucks and the Flames, Willie Desjardins didn’t hesitate to choose him. But they still traded him to Carolina. What did Eddie Lack?
**If the Blackhawk’s bench boss Joel Quenneville should find it necessary to yank his sophomore goalie, will be announce: “I’m sorry I have to replace you, (Scott) Darling!”?
**We’ve saved the best until last. When the New York Rangers traded this defenseman to the Bruins in 1949, the reason they gave for the deal was a rather strange one. They said they already had “Eenie, Meenie, and Minie—and they didn’t want no (Bill) Moe!”
I know! That did it! Some have already decided: “I haven’t seen that much corn since I worked on my Grandfather’s farm when I was a teenager. Right here and now I determine never again to read another Glen Goodhand column!” ODUYA?
Viewed 2645 times
You Gotta Have Hart!
Posted May 13, 2019
He Shoots! He Scores! Hockey's Clarion Call
Posted April 25, 2019
Second Thoughts on Penalties
Posted April 14, 2019
His Night to Howell
Posted March 30, 2019
Posted March 18, 2019
Humour - A Way to Catch Your Balance
Posted March 03, 2019
The Revival of Hockey's Lost Art of Stickhandling - Part 2
Posted February 15, 2019
The Revival of Hockey's Lost Art of Stickhandling - Part 1
Posted February 01, 2019
The Rise and Fall of Sweater Number 9
Posted January 23, 2019
Penalty-Free NHL Games
Posted January 09, 2019
The Greatest of These is Charity
Posted December 22, 2018
Minor League 'Davids' Defeating Major League 'Goliaths'
Posted December 07, 2018
The Shadow Knows
Posted November 25, 2018
Lying Down on the Job
Posted November 04, 2018
The Perils and Pleasures of Water
Posted October 19, 2018
Hockey's Cinderella Teams
Posted October 07, 2018
Posted May 19, 2018
Hockey's Classic Embarrassing Moments
Posted May 10, 2018
Playing in a Fog
Posted April 21, 2018
Posted April 08, 2018
First Game, First Shift, First Goal!
Posted March 26, 2018
Always a Bridgroom
Posted March 12, 2018
The Year the Canadiens Almost Died
Posted February 24, 2018
Tangled With the Law and the Lawless - Part 2
Posted February 17, 2018
Tangled With the Law and the Lawless
Posted January 28, 2018
Lucky Black Cats and Number 13
Posted January 17, 2018
Concussions in Hockey Nothing New
Posted December 30, 2017
The Best Christmas I Remember
Posted December 18, 2017
Filling the Gap
Posted December 01, 2017
Off Duty Injuries; mishaps away from the rink
Posted November 13, 2017
The Most Cruel Bird of All
Posted October 26, 2017
Las Vegas — NHL's 31st Team — Knights or Knaves?
Posted October 13, 2017
Playing Under the Influence - of Pain
Posted May 29, 2017
In Tune Pucksters
Posted May 14, 2017
Laughter - The Best Medicine
Posted April 29, 2017
The Last Straw
Posted April 15, 2017
Whose Side Are You On Anyway?
Posted March 30, 2017
Ferreting Out Phantom Hockey Stars
Posted March 17, 2017
A Woman's Place...is On the Ice (Part 2)
Posted March 08, 2017
A Woman's Place...is On the Ice (Part 1)
Posted February 19, 2017
Tales From the Sin Bin!
Posted February 04, 2017
Happy 100th Birthday N.H.L
Posted January 25, 2017
New Year's Resolutions that Might Have Been
Posted January 06, 2017
It Happened on December 25th
Posted December 21, 2016
The Best of Hockey's One-Liners
Posted December 10, 2016
The Price of Stardom
Posted November 18, 2016
Is There a Doctor in the House?
Posted November 03, 2016
Auston Matthews: Liberator or Lemon?
Posted October 14, 2016
Hockey's Multi-Generation Families
Posted June 16, 2016
Picture Perfect - A Dozen Classic Hockey Photos
Posted June 08, 2016
Anatomy of the Penalty Shot
Posted May 17, 2016
Hockey's Honourary Indian Chiefs
Posted May 04, 2016
Posted April 17, 2016
Records That Will Never Be Broken
Posted March 31, 2016
Right Church — Wrong Pew
Posted March 23, 2016
Does "Captain" Mean Much Anymore?
Posted March 02, 2016
Posted February 21, 2016
A Century of Leap Year Landmarks - Part 2
Posted January 26, 2016
A Century of Leap Year Landmarks - Part 1
Posted January 06, 2016
Posted December 29, 2015
Practice Can Be Precarious
Posted December 11, 2015
How Much is a Body Worth?
Posted November 25, 2015
Brooklyn Bridge is Falling Down...
Posted November 15, 2015
Did You Have a Good Summer? (Part Two)
Posted November 01, 2015
Did You Have a Good Summer? (Part One)
Posted October 16, 2015
From Champs to Chumps
Posted June 07, 2015
CLEAN PLAY……CLEAN PLAYERS….TRUE SPORTS
Posted May 11, 2015
Putting the Bite on the Opposition
Posted April 24, 2015
One Eyed Wonders
Posted April 12, 2015
Captain Cage Cop
Posted March 26, 2015
Trade Deadline Deals — Blockbuster or Bluster?
Posted March 17, 2015
Fun In the Snow
Posted February 27, 2015
Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated
Posted February 16, 2015
It's not what they said - it's what they meant!
Posted January 31, 2015
Posted January 18, 2015
Hockey's New Years Babies
Posted January 03, 2015
Strange Gifts - Christmas or Otherwise
Posted December 20, 2014
Two Dozen + 1 Wacky Wonders
Posted December 06, 2014
The Last of a Long Line of...
Posted November 24, 2014
A Compendium of Referee Non-Calls
Posted November 09, 2014
40th Anniversary of the 1974 Summit Series
Posted October 25, 2014
The Many Faces of Training Camp
Posted October 13, 2014
The Rise and Fall of Playoff Heroes
Posted May 30, 2014
Boston Bruins Celebrate 90 Years
Posted May 17, 2014
A Curse Upon Ye!
Posted May 01, 2014
For the Birds
Posted April 20, 2014
They Were Not Fooled By Their Birthdates
Posted April 08, 2014
Bitten By The Hand That Feeds
Posted March 22, 2014
Tongue in Check
Posted March 08, 2014
A Few L.A.F.F.S. to Relieve your S.A.D.
Posted February 21, 2014
The Ultimate Valentine - A Kiss
Posted February 08, 2014
Hats Off to Hockey
Posted January 25, 2014
Posted January 11, 2014
New Year's Revelations
Posted December 30, 2013
Posted December 23, 2013
Esposito vs Esposito - Smith vs Smith
Posted November 30, 2013
Just Dying to Play Hockey
Posted November 17, 2013
What's In 50 Years
Posted November 02, 2013
The Ongoing Resolve - NHL Season is Too Long!
Posted October 20, 2013