The Odd Fellow's Heart (by Morey Holzman)

Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). The Odd Fellow's Heart makes the argument that one unknown...
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    Author note: Morey Holzman is a former journalist who has been published in the New York Times and Pravda (Slovakia). He is the co-author of Deceptions and Doublecross (with Joseph Nieforth), which told the story of the NHL's founding from Eddie Livingstone's perspective. Still in print, Deceptions and Doublecross was first published in 2002, was hailed by critics as one of the top books of the year, and used as a reference in at least 50 other published books. Morey has also contributed to dozens of other books and web sites throughout the years.

    About The Odd Fellow's Heart: The Odd Fellow's Heart makes the argument that one unknown person, Jimmy Stewart, was the continuing factor that turned hockey from the upper-class gentlemanly pastime into a sport watched and played by millions worldwide. Jimmy was instrumental in starting the first working-class game, introducing the Montreal Crystals to the Montreal Carnival. He was instrumental in the organization of the first hockey organization. He helped introduce the concept of skating and positional play to the sport. He was the first to use a whistle to officiate games; he was the first to codify the size, weight and material of the puck, and the first to use sudden-death overtime in hockey to declare a winner. He helped introduce the concept of the penalty box. He became president of hockey's first dynasty as well as the lead negotiator between Stanley Cup trustee Phil Ross and the Montreal A. A. A. to allow the Stanley Cup to become the sport's most prominent trophy. While Jimmy Stewart played a prominent role, The Odd Fellow's Heart also portrays disorganized hockey's struggles from the first attempt at commercialization in 1875 until its successful run beginning in 1887 and continuing today.

    You can purchase the book via Amazon Canada or Amazon USA.



    In North America, we tend to think of the development of ice hockey as evolved from British field hockey that was played on the ice with skates, while a contemporary article in London claimed that ice hockey was a primitive form of field hockey, and that field hockey was adapted from the ice version.

    The British version is played on a much larger surface (300 feet long by 150 feet wide), with a goal that’s 12 feet wide and 7 feet high (6 by 4 on ice), and played by eleven players to a side. There are no backhanded play, no charging and offside rules similar to Association football. In simpler terms, the beautiful game is soccer with sticks.

    Bringing that game back to the ice-skating roots and placing it indoors captivated Lord Frederick Stanley of Preston, who may have regretted missing the first twenty minutes of action. The second half was faster and cleaner than the first half. Only two whistles for offsides were called, and according to newspaper reports there was no rough play. With about fourteen minutes remaining in the match, the Victorias’ Billy Barlow received a pass from Frank Scott and then passed across to D. A. Elliott. With Stewart fooled, Paton was left alone. Paton rushed Elliott, but the Vics’ winger shot after Paton moved and scored the game’s first goal. Montreal came marching back, however, and in an era when goaltenders had the same equipment as the other six players, Archie MacNaughton took a high shot that only a lacrosse goalkeeper should have been able to stop. There was no record that Vics’ goaltender Robert Jones spent his summers playing lacrosse, but he made the save by stopping the shot with his elevated stick and sent the puck to the side.

    The clock ticked down to four minutes, and Scott added a second goal for the Vics. As time ran down, the Montrealers tried furiously to score, and Archie Hodgson managed to cut the lead in half. But there was not enough time left to complete the comeback, and the scoring was ended for the evening.

    Lord Stanley was smitten, commenting to President Henshaw his great delight with the sport and that the expertness of the players, which played indoors, with a puck, and rules, was something very different than what he had seen in England. Stanley then visited the players in the locker room before heading back to the Windsor. Stewart and Arnton’s rules, under their first major test, were a success. Wrote the Montreal Witness:

    "Hockey, as played in the Victoria Skating Rink last evening, may be described as lacrosse on ice, played by men on skates, with hockey instead of lacrosse sticks, with a rubber puck, and under a special set of rules which combine the features of lacrosse and football. It demands from its players good skating powers, surefootedness, swiftness, courage, sharp sight and unbounded enthusiasm. Probably nowhere else in the world than in Montreal could be found fourteen young athletes who possessed all three characteristics in such an eminent degree."

    That Arnton’s Victorias beat Stewart’s MAAA 2–1 that night is of little relevance in the history books, but had Lord Stanley not heard the crowds, and had two other lesser teams been playing, or had the game not had been exciting, it is safe to say there would be no hockey as we know it today. The impression left on one British representative had a much longer lifespan than the actual Carnival.

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