Articles from Eric Zweig

  1. Eric Zweig: In the Good Old Summer Time

    It’s July 28. There’s plenty of other sports going on. The Olympics. Baseball. Football training camps. And the NBA draft is approaching. But even in the middle of summer, hockey manages to make headlines. There was the expansion draft a week ago, the regular NHL draft a few days later, and all the transactions around those. Now, free agency opens today. Sure, COVID concerns pushed back these dates this year, but – in Canada, especially – it’s not uncommon to be talking hockey in summer...
  2. Eric Zweig: Canadien Cup History

    I grew up a Leafs fan and still consider them to be my favourite team — although that means a lot less to me at age 57 than it did when I was 17 … or 7! It’s been a long time since I would say I’ve bled blue and white. It was probably in 1989 (I’d have been 25 at the time) when I made my peace with the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were actually the greatest franchise in hockey history. (Though I’ve yet to make similar peace with baseball and the New York Yankees, whom I still despise!)...
  3. Eric Zweig: From New York City to Vancouver Island

    Just because this is a Stanley Cup story about teams from New York and Montreal, don’t go reading into it that I’m predicting the Islanders and Canadiens to reach the Final. (Then again, if it happens to be the two of them facing off against each other two weeks or so from now, remember where you read it!) No, this is really just an excuse by me to spin a story out of a recent query about Lester Patrick’s sons, Lynn Patrick and Murray (Muzz) Patrick, scratching their names onto the Stanley...
  4. Eric Zweig: Drought and Droughter

    Well, the Maple Leafs lost. Again. There was still a long way to go, but there will be no Stanley Cup win in Toronto this year. Again. Just like there hasn’t been since 1967. Haven’t even reached the Finals since then. The Leafs haven’t even won a playoff series since 2004. So, Toronto goes on to Year #55 without a Stanley Cup title, which is the longest drought in NHL history, surpassing the 54 years from 1940 to 1994 that the New York Rangers went without. Still, when it comes to Stanley...
  5. Eric Zweig: Toronto-Montreal Playoff History

    I figured I couldn’t call myself a hockey historian if I didn’t have something to say about Toronto and Montreal in the NHL playoffs. But — surprise, surprise! — we’re going back a little bit further here… I was 3 1/2 years old when Toronto beat Montreal to win the Stanley Cup in 1967. I don’t remember it. (My hockey memories don’t kick in until after I saw my first game, at Maple Leaf Gardens in December of 1970.) But I remember well when the two teams met in 1978 and 1979. The Leafs of...
  6. Eric Zweig: Famous Jewish Sports Legends

    I’d been pretty busy until recently, working on a new book for Firefly called Hockey Hall of Fame True Stories. They wanted something less stats-driven than most of their recent books … and they wanted it fast! So, in early March, I started writing and I delivered a lengthy manuscript at the end of April. It was quite the crunch. Not enough time for other things until now. Although I’ve taken the title from the movie Airplane!, and the content makes me think of Jerry Seinfeld’s new book Is...
  7. Featured

    Eric Zweig: Goalies Scoring Goals

    One year to the day of the declaration of a global pandemic, I’m using the somewhat flimsy pretext of an overlooked anniversary (of sorts) from last week as an excuse for running this story today. Really, it’s just another old incident I may have figured out something new about… This past Sunday, March 7, marked the 115th anniversary of Fred Brophy of the Montreal AAA hockey team scoring a goal on Nathan Frye of the Montreal Victorias. What makes this goal noteworthy is that Brophy himself...
  8. Eric Zweig: Mercurys Rising

    On February 24, 1952, the Edmonton Mercurys completed an undefeated run through the Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, to win the gold medal in hockey. Canada had previously won Olympic hockey gold in 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932, and after settling for a surprising silver behind a Great Britain team loaded with Canadian-born players in 1936, won gold again in 1948 when the Olympics resumed after World War II. With the Soviet Union entering the Olympic scene in 1956, Canadian men wouldn’t win...
  9. Eric Zweig: Gilmours' Getaway?

    Since writing last week about the Gilmour brothers, I’ve been spending some of my lockdown time trying to find the story of how Billy Gilmour and his daughter escaped from Nazi-occupied France. If their account actually appears somewhere in print, perhaps it was told in an Ottawa or Montreal newspaper that isn’t available online. But, I have been able to piece together from other sources quite a bit of what might have happened. According to stories in Ottawa papers in the 1930s, Billy...
  10. Eric Zweig: Three of a Kind with the Silver Seven

    According to Wikipedia (if I counted them up correctly!), there have been 299 sets of brothers who’ve played in the NHL from the league’s beginning in 1917 through 2019–20. Of that group, 47 sets of brothers have played together on the same team, but only 10 have won the Stanley Cup together. The numbers are slightly larger if we expand the time frame beyond the birth of the NHL and back to the start of the Stanley Cup in 1893. Still, in all that time, there are only two instances when a...
  11. Eric Zweig: Who Was That (First) Masked Man?

    You’d think something as simple as who was the first goalie in hockey history to wear a mask would be an easy question to answer. It’s not. In fact, it’s been surprisingly difficult to nail down. Jacques Plante — though he popularized the concept for modern goalies — was certainly not the first to wear one. Clint Benedict (who I’ve argued in the past was was a better goalie than Georges Vezina, the NHL’s goaltending trophy namesake) was probably the first NHL goaltender to wear a mask when...
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