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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  1. moreyhockey Registered User

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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.

    Odd.jpg

    Excerpt:

    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.
     
    Last edited by moderator Theokritos: Apr 23, 2021
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  2. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    Thanks for joining us!

    Jimmy Stewart? Indeed not a household name in hockey history. What led you on the path of this odd fellow's story and made you realize his significance?
     
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  3. moreyhockey Registered User

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    While I have been quiet for the most part since Deceptions and Doublecross, I have not stopped researching. I've been interested in the origins of hockey and the origins of everything hockey but nothing presented ever made logical sense.

    Privately, I interviewed all six members of the SIHR Origins Committee to understand their perspectives, and more importantly, their feelings about the process and results. The answer that was very clear was we don't know exactly how, but we know that Windsor, NS, was not the birthplace of hockey. I kept asking questions, kept searching papers, kept trying to see what everyone missed.

    When Patrick Houda and Carl Giden uncovered their research about 10 years ago, and JP Martel worked with them and added to it, it confirmed my suspicion that George Fosty was correct in 04, but no one could draw a straight line from James Creighton to Thatcher Demko.

    When I started hockey research in 1994, just about every player before 1910 did not have a last name or had two initials and a last name. So J.A. Stewart became important to me.

    The first obstacle was that there were 7 (if I recall correctly) J. A. Stewarts in Montreal alone, according to the 1891 city directly. One of the J. A. Stewarts was even a professor at McGill, which would fit the thinking of McGill's role in the sport. They were not the same J.A. Stewart.

    When I discovered Jimmy Stewart's background, including beating Willie Ross (P. D. Ross' older brother) in the 1 mile and 2 mile skating race at the first Winter Carnival, I was led down that path of who was this unknown, what was his motivations, and where did he come from.

    It took a trip to Brockville, Ont., for me to completely understand how this hockey happened.
     
  4. moreyhockey Registered User

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    I probably should take a moment to explain the title. It's a triple entendre. BTW, no one who reviewed the book ahead of publication liked the title. I stubbornly kept it, so I was warned ahead of time!

    1. The Odd Fellows were a social organization still around today, but very prominent in the middle 19th Century. The Odd Fellows picked up where society failed. Their mission was to educate orphans, bury the dead, and take care of widows when the Man of the House died. Both Jimmy's father and maternal grandfather were members of the Odd Fellows, and the faded out three-circled logo on the front of the book depicts the logo that was in the dirt next to Jimmy's father's gravesite north of Brockville.

    2. Jimmy's father moved to Montreal in 1881, soon joined by Jimmy, his sister, step-sister, and aunt/step-mother. Not completely uncommon in those days, Jimmy's mother died when Jimmy was 6 years-old, and his 30-year-old unmarried aunt married his father. They later had a child. Jimmy's father died as a hero, saving hundreds of lives. Jimmy's older brother moved out to Toronto, but Jimmy stayed to financially support his sisters and step-mother. Jimmy would never marry, being the heart (not to mention breadwinner) of the family. I have tracked down his older brother's descendants. Amusingly, one is a Tampa Bay Lightning season ticket holder for 25 years; there is a big family rivalry as two cousins cheer for Ottawa and Vancouver, respectfully. When I contacted them prior to the last Stanley Cup, they were quite surprised they had a distant uncle who won one more Stanley Cups than their three teams combined!

    3. Athletes in the late 19th Century tended to compete in whatever sport was suitable for the season. It is through lacrosse research, for example, that we know about Archie MacNaughton. And Tom Paton was the king of the amateurs with his being one of the founders of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, and the founder of the M.A.A.A. hockey club. Stewart made feeble attempts with other sports, but hockey was his true passion, where his heart was. I could not locate any papers or diary, but I suspect his childhood skating across the St. Lawrence in winter time explained how he became a great 1-mile and 2-mile distance skater. You would never dream of it today, but 150 years ago, it was nothing for a kid to skate to New York from Brockville in 3 minutes. The reason Brockville was ignored, I guess, is because the citizens there had a neat trick to know if the river was safe for skating - they would put a carriage bed or something suitable on the rivers edge when it appeared to be safe. When the ice at the shore began to crack, a few men would push the bed back onto shore and all skating stopped. Thus, there were never any reported deaths due to the ice cracking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  5. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    You mention that there aren't any papers or diaries by Stewart himself. Which sources did you use for this book?
     
  6. moreyhockey Registered User

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    Like Deceptions, there was heavy use of newspapers, mostly from Montreal, but Seattle and London, England, as well. I used the private papers of P. D. Ross; some history books; minutes from the M.A.A.A.; geneaological research that included government documents, 1881, 1891 and 1901 Census records; and several years Lovell's Montreal City Directory. I also found some old Winter Carrnival programs, and I heavily used an article from Outing Magazine, which was Sports Illustrated in terns of stature in the 1890s.

    I also took trips to Montreal, Toronto, Brockville, Quebec City and Seattle to do primary research. Bill Fitsell kindly granted me access to his hockey history card catalogue when I visited him in Kingston.

    About half of the photographs in the book are mine. The other half are from the HHOF and McCord.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  7. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    Sounds like a very well-researched book. I wanted to ask how long it took you, but considering what you wrote further above, it seems like this has been an ongoing research and a project in the making for many years, right?
     
  8. moreyhockey Registered User

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    The background was about 23 years in the making and is the topic of my SIHR presentation, so I don't want to go into too many details. The actual research when I got serious was about a year between research and writing. I had it peer reviewed by four different people - two authors and two sports history professors. All of their input was invaluable, so there was some additional time for rewrite.

    And since no one makes a living writing hockey books, this project had to be secondary to running my business, which means in English, I was writing, researching and selling in my convenient time. Some things were way in front of schedule, others were behind.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  9. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    The impression I get is that perhaps you also needed the "heart" in the book title because it's a book you really put your own heart in.

    You mention that Jimmy Stewart had a role in the transition of hockey from an upper-class, gentlemanly pastime to an occupation of the working class. Which was Stewart's own background?
     
  10. moreyhockey Registered User

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    Stewart's family were immigrants from Antrim, in what we would call today Northern Ireland. His father's family immigrated to Canada not because of the potato famine, but because of the opportunity to work on the railroads. Jimmy was raised in Brockville, and despite his mother dying when Jimmy was 6, continued with his schooling until Grade 11.

    Jimmy's father, Alex Stewart, received his promotion to driver of the train - which was quite the promotion and a very highly paid position at the time. Alex had the Montreal to Chicago route, and Jimmy dropped school and worked for the GTR as a stationery clerk, eventually becoming an accountant. Alex's death changed Jimmy's whole life.

    A lot has been made of the McGill hockey club. When I did research on the individual players, I found that the "poorest" of the players had only two servants - usually women who lost their husbands prematurely. One of the McGill players was the son of the prinicpal (which, today, we would call the dean or the president.

    That Jimmy's step-mother and sisters were not one of those servants was strictly due to Jimmy not finishing his education and working to support his family.
     
  11. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    FWIW, I think it's a great book title. Eye-catching and instantly makes you wonder what's the connection to hockey.
     
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  12. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    And how was he instrumental in starting the first working-class game (which would have had quite a significant historical impact)?
     
  13. moreyhockey Registered User

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    The Winter Carnival was to show off the English City of Montreal as a winter destination spot for New Yorkers and Bostonians to get away and join the party. When Jimmy Stewart beat Willie Ross in the 1- and 2-mile skating races, it opened the door for common kids to join clubs.

    The Crystal Hockey Club, organized in coordination with the owner of the Crystal Rink, drew players exclusively from the working-class Point St. Charles, in order to compete with and against the Victoria Rink, which is where the elite played. The Laings were instrumental in forming the Crystal HC as well. Joe Laing was Canada's champion sculler (and eventually Stewart's brother-in-law).

    When the Crystals starting winning games, Stewart struck a friendship with Jack Arnton of the Victorias. Arnton came from one of the wealthiest families in Montreal - they were not the Molsons, but they were up there on both the economic and social ladders.

    Arnton and Stewart were the two architects in re-creating the rule book, the base of which is still in use today. It was Arnton and Stewart who led their respective teams in the fateful match in which Lord Stanley showed up fashionably late. It was Arnton and Stewart who organizeed the first organization for hockey, the AARC. Arnton walked away, Stewart remained.
     
  14. Theokritos Global Moderator

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    Thanks, really interesting.

    Ha, that's funny. It reminds me of something I've read ages ago: that it was indeed fashionable in the aristocractic circles of London in the 19th century to show up late for ballet and opera performances. I didn't expect that to extend to hockey games though!
     
  15. moreyhockey Registered User

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    Lord Stanley had a legitimite excuse - he had to open the Winter Carnival and escort his wife to the Windsor Hotel.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  16. Sanf Registered User

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    This is all very interesting.

    Something I have wondered for long while and after reading this i´m even more curious... What made Stewart along with Hutchinson, Cameron and Findlay (do I forget someone) jump from Crystals to MAAA?
     
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  17. seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    I just received my copy on Friday. Though it goes on a list of a couple hundred hockey books I own and plan to read one day, it goes pretty much right to the top of that list.

    I've skimmed some pages, and it's right up my alley. Anyone in this section should want a copy.
     
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  18. moreyhockey Registered User

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    That's a great question. To answer your question, let me give you facts and then speculation. I can only go by the written record as fact, and none of the players left diaries that were locatable.

    Fact: The Montreal A.A.A. was the premier athletic organization, not only in Montreal, but in the country. The M.A.A.A. had its eyes on competing directly with the New York Athletic Club for superiority.

    Fact: In order to join the M.A.A.A., you had to be recommended by a member, seconded by another member, and then pay a fee to join and an annual fee as well. If you were wealthy, or famous, it was easy to get in.

    Fact: Hockey was an afterthought - ironically - for the M.A.A.A. Tom Paton started the Montreal Hockey Club after he and Billie Cleghorn (father of Odie and Sprague, ironically) got into a fight as members of the Montreal Lacrosse Club.

    Fact: In order to join the Montreal Hockey Club, you had to be accepted into the M.A.A.A. first.

    Fact: In late October Paton recruited Jimmy Stewart to join the M.A.A.A. Stewart's nomination was tabled the first meeting, but at the second he was allowed entrance.

    Fact: Two weeks after Stewart joined, two of the other members of the Crystals were enticed to jump, and two weeks later the fourth came over.

    Fact: These roster moves solidified the Montreal Hockey Club and led to a dynasty.

    Speculation: As to why, for someone like Jimmy Stewart who had lost his father and his mother yet could be considered an equal in the most prestigious organization in the city, it must have felt like an incredible honor and extremely gratifying.

    Speculation: Once Stewart joined, recruiting some friends was easy.

    Speculation: When the Crystals opened up the sport to the masses they could easily replace the four players who jumped. The Crystals won the first league championship played after Stewart and the others jumped.

    More detail is spelled out in the book.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
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  19. Sanf Registered User

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    Thank you very much!

    Did not know about the process and that speculation makes sense. I have gone through those early seasons via few Montreal newspapers, but obviously I had very little knowledge about players or clubs background. Did not know that Crystals were "commoners" club. It just did strike as odd that the core of Crystals moved to Montreal HC (Virtue was from Crystals too wasn´t he?). Especially when the players had been so involved with Crystals. It made me think of some sort of conflict or possibly even money involved. But less dramatic explanation makes sense.

    Seems like a really interesting book.
     
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  20. moreyhockey Registered User

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    The founder of the Crystals Hockey Club was Bob Laing. The Laing family was Canada's top rowing family, and they really pissed off the rowing folks - especially from Toronto - because Bob's brother Joe would take off work in the spring and summer to row, and since the elite classes were losing rowing races the fact that the family was supporting their child was considered professionalism in Toronto.

    Jimmy Stewart was a founding member of the Crystals. Stewart's step-mother was hired to work inside the Laing's cigar shop, and in 1890, long after Jimmy left the Crystals for the MHC, Stewart's sister married Joe Laing. Stewart lived with his step-mother and sisters until 1900, so I doubt there was anything but admiration for his being accepted into the A.A.A.

    Animosity certainly doesn't seem to play a role.

    All the facts I listed above are footnoted in the book.

    As far as Virtue is concerned, he also was a cofounder of the Crystals. Stewart jumped first, his defense partner Allan Cameron Jr. jumped second along with the Jack Findlay.

    I missed it when I was researching the book, but Virtue joined with Hutchison at the same meeting, Dec. 14, 1886.
     
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  21. Sanf Registered User

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    Is the fight between Cleghorn and Paton the reason why William Cleghorn represented Montreal Football Club and not Montreal HC in 1885 winter carnival (goaltender I believe)?

    This is slightly OT (as Stewart was not part of it), but you have dug through lot of newspapers from the time. Do you know anything about the game that happened in January 26. 1885? The first day of Winter Carnival. There was exhibition game played in Victoria Rink. It was in the program (atleast according to papers) and there was crowd. It was between first amd second team.

    The teams were mix of the teams that participated in tournament. First team had for example Paton from MHC, Cameron from Crystals, J.Arnton from Victorias. Second had Findlay from Crystals, Larmonth from MHC, Dolly Swift who actually may have been part of Victorias that season. Just curious was this somesort of forefather of All-Star game?
     
  22. moreyhockey Registered User

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    I do not know. In fact, it may be the reason Paton played goal (he was a forward in lacrosse, then called "front"). Paton started the Montreal HC AFTER the brouhaha with Cleghorn.

    I have the first official game of the Carnival being reported on Jan. 28, 1885, between Ottawa and the Victorias. There were new rules written and used, including officially 7-on-7. The game on the 26th was an exhibition. Ottawa was scheduled to play the Vics on the 26th, according to the Gazette on the 24th. I suspect Ottawa had a hard time getting to Montreal for some reason, the rink time was already allocated, so they threw an exhibition together.
     
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  23. moreyhockey Registered User

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    I looked at the Ottawa Citizen on Jan 27, 1885, and the Citizen reported that the hockey club left for Montreal on the evening of the 26th. No other details were provided.
     

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