Harry Watson and 1924 Olympics

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Sprague Cleghorn, Nov 16, 2013.

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  1. Sprague Cleghorn

    Sprague Cleghorn User Registered

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    I was randomly browsing on the HHOF website, and I came across the records section. I went into international records and saw the all-time leading point scorers in the Olympics. Selanne was 1st with 37 points in 5 Olympics. In 2nd was a tie between Bubnik and Watson, both with 36 points. I look at Bubnik and he played in 4 Olympics. I then look at Watson and he only played in 1 Olympic. This really amazed me. Granted he did beat up on very inferior competition but still...

    I also wonder how Watson would have fared if he had played in the NHL.
     
  2. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ya, another interesting "what if"? A standout player with Toronto Aura Lee and then the Toronto Granites who represented Canada at the 1924 Olympics, winning Gold, Watson scoring 37 Goals in 5 Games. Obviously a slaughter for the Canadians. He along with several other players were approached by NHL clubs upon their return however he refused to sign, clinging fast to his amateur status. Difficult as it might be to imagine today, even 50 or 60, 70 years ago, professional sports, becoming a professional athlete, being paid to compete let alone being involved in the business side of sports like boxing, hockey, even baseball amongst the late Victorians & Edwardians in Canada had a certain odorous connotation to it all. Was looked down upon as being crass, that one would prostitute ones natural gifts of athleticism for lucre, money. In fact, one of the founders of the Montreal Canadiens who came from a well to do family was written off as a no gooder & changed his last name in order to avoid any embarrassment to his family. That one of their own would be involved in "professional" boxing & hockey. Dont know exactly what the deal was with Watson, but he did serve during WW1, a great all round athlete, though I dont believe from a wealthy family who had emigrated from England when Harry was very young....
     
  3. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

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    If you look at his stats in the Olympics & the Allan Cup you can make somewhat of a comparison to Frank Fredrickson's stats in the same events and then speculate from there on. Watson & Fredrickson played in different amateur leagues, the Ontario Hockey Association & the Manitoba Hockey Association, so that could be a bit harder to compare, although not impossible perhaps, but I don't know. Fredrickson scored 22 goals and 5 assists for 27 points in 6 games in the Allan Cup. Watson scored 25 goals and 7 assists for 31 points in 13 games. So Fredrickson is up there, on a PPG basis.

    In the Olympics Watson scored 36 goals and 14 assists for 50 points in 5 games, says hockey reference, for an average of 10 points per game. He scored 25 of those goals in two games against the Swiss & the Czechs, says sports reference. Against Sweden, USA and Great Britain he scored 6, 3 and 3 goals respectively. Hooley Smith was on that same Olympic team and scored 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points in 5 games. Smith was 19 though while Watson was 25. Smith, as is well known, went on to have a very successful NHL career with the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Maroons and New York Americans. Two other players on the 1924 Canadian Olympic roster who went on to have solid NHL careers were defensemen Bert McCaffrey & Dunc Munro. McCaffrey scored 19 goals and 15 assists for 34 points in the tournament and Munro had 18 goals and 4 assists for 22 points, says nhl.com. There's a short story on the IIHF site on Watson's tournament.

    Frank Fredrickson, of the Winnipeg Falcons team who represented Canada in the tournament, scored 12 goals in 3 games in the 1920 Olympics. 4 against the Czechs, 7 against Sweden and one goal in the only close game against the US team, which Canada won 2 goals to 0. So Watson is clearly up there in terms of goals scored. Fredrickson was 24 years old at the 1920 Olympics. There's a quote though from Fredrickson on page 85 in Michael McKinley's book Hockey: A People's History where he says

    That would be 14 or 15 goals by the team, not by Fredrickson himself. So, by that quote, it seems like Fredrickson and his team didn't go full out against the Czechs and Sweden, whereas Watson didn't seem to restrain himself much against Switzerland & the Czechs with those 25 goals.

    Fredrickson went on to spend the prime of his career in the PCHA & WCHL, a league he fared very well in and won two point titles, one by a substantial margin. He also won the Stanley Cup in 1925 as the triggerman on the Victoria Cougars against the Montreal Canadiens. He started playing in the NHL with the Detroit Cougars in 1926 as a 31 year old, playing 4 and a half season there, so one can't draw too hefty conclusions from that stint. That would be like looking at Sergei Makarov's NHL career.

    But I think it's safe to say Watson would have done well in the NHL. I don't see why he wouldn't have. But it's hard to say how well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

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