Ty Dilello: Manitoba Hockey – An Oral History

By nabby12 · Aug 23, 2020 · Updated Aug 23, 2020
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  1. nabby12 Registered User

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    As Manitoba celebrates its 150th birthday in 2020, it’s another great chance to reflect on the exquisite hockey history that the keystone province possesses. In "Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History", hear stories directly from the players that helped shape the great game of hockey from the beginning of the sport to the present day.

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    "After having penned 'Golden Boys: The Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time' in 2017, prolific author and hockey historian Ty Dilello has returned with another deep dive into Manitoba's hockey history. 'Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History' shines a spotlight on more luminaries from the province's proud hockey past, including a few members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, a few Stanley Cup winners, and a few Memorial Cup winners ... all of them with two things in common ... a story of a Hockey life well lived and their connection to the great province of Manitoba. Thanks to his trademark research and writing, Dilello has crafted a rich tribute to these men and their accomplishments, both on and off the ice." - Todd Denault, author of Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed The Face of Hockey

    "The stories Ty Dilello collects in 'Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History' will resonate whether you're from Winnipeg or Washington. Through tireless research and unique interviews, he brings both famous names and forgotten stars to life with flair." - Greg Oliver, author of Father Bauer And The Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey.

    "As a follow up to 2017’s Golden Boys, Ty Dilello has added a couple of dozen more stories and interviews to his already comprehensive review of the history of hockey in Manitoba. 'Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History' is a well-written, thoroughly researched book that is a must-read for both casual fans and students of the game." - George Grimm, author of We Did Everything But Win.

    The book is available on Amazon here: https://www.tinyurl.com/y5atskvl

    Here's a little about me: TY DILELLO is an accredited writer with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). He has been a hockey fan since Peter Bondra led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. Ty plays extensively on the World Curling Tour in the winter and can probably be found on a tennis court during the summer months.

    Basically my life revolves around writing about hockey history and curling! I also just started a new book project doing the biography of Bill Mosienko, one of Winnipeg's all-time great athletes. So I'm very excited for that one and hope to get on with a good local publisher.

    Articles about 'Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History':

    MANITOBA HOCKEY: AN ORAL HISTORY | Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame

    Dilello gets a Hall of a partner in Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History
     
  2. nabby12 Registered User

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    Here is a list of the players featured in "Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History"
    Clem Loughlin – 8
    Andy Blair – 23
    Baldy Northcott – 55
    Wilf Beaulieu – 74
    Johnny Peirson – 102
    George Robertson – 108
    Edward Leier – 140
    Paul Meger – 151
    Odie Lowe – 164
    Reg Abbott – 171
    Bob Chrystal – 190
    Wally Hergesheimer – 213
    Andy Bathgate – 230
    Art Stratton – 244
    Ernie Wakely – 261
    Ted Irvine – 266
    Joe Daley – 278
    Bob Fitchner – 290
    Murray Anderson – 305
    Curt Ridley – 309
    Brian Engblom – 314
    Jordy Douglas – 323
    Daryl Stanley – 333
    Brett Hull – 344
    Mike Ridley – 349
    Trevor Kidd – 358
    Tyler Arnason – 365

    Finally, here's an excerpt from Reg Abbott's chapter about him talking about his brief stint with the Montreal Canadiens in 1952-53:

    I had a good training camp in Montreal in September of 1952, mostly playing with Boom Boom Geoffrion & Paul Meger, but was sent back to Victoria. The "word", it seems was "they were going to get another year" out of Billy Reay. Then Elmer Lach broke his wrist in December. They called and I flew fifteen or so hours to Montreal.

    I was with the Montreal Canadiens for six games. Apparently "officially" I was recorded as playing three games, but it was six games, because my Montreal paycheque was $600 (the going-rate of $100 a game). I did spend time at the end of the bench in a couple of these games, however.

    While in Montreal, I played with my training camp linemates, Geoffrion & Meger. My games were against Toronto, Boston and Chicago at the Montreal Forum and in Toronto, Chicago and New York for the other three.
    About playing with Geoffrion & Meger, I certainly recall Boom Boom's offensive passion and focus. Also unique to him was the hippety-hop gait to his skating. He and his (slightly-later) teammate and Hall of Famer Yvan Cournoyer, were each highly successful but with such markedly different skating styles. Paul Meger was simply a solid two-way player. Jean Beliveau was in a class by himself. He proved it on and off the ice.

    One of my big highlights from my time in the NHL was in the first period of my first game, against the Leafs at the Forum, Boom Boom sent me in alone from just inside the blueline. My great shot hit Harry Lumley in the middle of his pads. Unfortunately it was before they'd invented the five-hole. Another highlight was taking a faceoff against Milt Schmidt. Of course watching the Rocket, Olmstead etc., & particularly Harvey during the season was well worth the trip to the big leagues.

    I never got to play against Gordie Howe, unfortunately. I also remember that the ice from the playing surface was under your feet when on the bench at New York's Madison Square Garden, maybe it still is. I remember getting the top bunk on the train "sleepers" & Gaye Stewart as my 'roomie' in Chicago.

    Off the ice in Montreal during my time there, you were pretty much on your own. I had a room at the Queens hotel near the Railway Station at the foot of Peel Street. It was familiar, as that was the hotel used when training camps were in Montreal. You walked from there up Peel to St Catherine’s Street & along to the Forum. I did note that it seemed like a longer walk in December, particularly after a game, than at training camp during the lovely Montreal Fall weather.

    My Dad knew my Canadiens coach Dick Irvin when they were kids growing up in Winnipeg's North End. I have no complaints at all with our Canadiens relationship. I saw more of him at training camps in my September trips to camp, than during my 'career' with the Habs and the couple of train rides shared. So I have no anecdotes about him.
    He did seem to favour Western Canadian players somewhat and did appear to like me. At the 1954 camp when it became clear to him, perhaps from Ken Reardon (in his “players" role), that I wanted to change directions from professional hockey (and the minors) to a different career, that Mr. Irvin simply took me off his list. Of course the other possibility is that he was looking for a better Western hockey player to replace me!

    Later on, I recall meeting up with Dick Irvin Jr., who was often around the Forum in the '50's, on a plane trip, when I was heading to or from Montreal on business. This would have been in the late '70's. We had a great chat and he seemed to recall me from back in the '50's.

    Don't read any of the preceding as "sour grapes" or complaints. That's just the way it was. I knew and respected that. There were six teams then, ten forwards each (including three centres) – meaning sixty jobs in all. In addition you really "belonged" to only one team, thus you're back to ten jobs (or three jobs if you're a centre like me). What my time in Montreal did show me was that if hockey was to be your life, there was only one place to be, the NHL!
    Anyways, that six-game stint with Montreal was my whole NHL career. As they say: One door closes, another opens.

    ---

    I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the book! Thanks for the opportunity. :)
     
  3. Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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  4. Theokritos Moderator

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    So you're covering different players here than in your last Manitoba book, right?
     
  5. nabby12 Registered User

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    Yes. Golden Boys had the top 50 Manitoba hockey players of all time, while this oral history book deals more in depth on 27 different players as they give their whole life story basically!

    I think Andy Bathgate is the only overlap between books as he wrote the foreword of this one before he passed away.
     
  6. Theokritos Moderator

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    I see it's 382 pages, so one certainly gets a good read on each player.

    The way I understand it, you were able to talk with the players themselves in many cases. But how about those you couldn't access or who have long passed away like Clem Loughlin and Baldy Northcott?
     
  7. Smile Ivan Registered User

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    Not to mention Dan Bain:
     
  8. nabby12 Registered User

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    For Clem Loughlin I spoke with his nephew and with Andy Blair/Baldy Northcott I talked to their children shortly before they both passed away during the writing of the book.

    I think in a lot of ways, the chapters on Loughlin/Blair/Northcott are the most interesting because the stories are so unique and you will literally never hear them anywhere else. These are three hockey stars from the 1910’s, 1920’s and 1930’s that you’re getting their full life story. It was very cool to write it all out!
     
  9. nabby12 Registered User

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    Dan Bain cracked the top 10 in my previous book “Golden Boys: The Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time”.

    It’s worth picking up just for the chapter on Bain. He lived a very fascinating life, even outside of his hockey exploits.
     
  10. Theokritos Moderator

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    Nice that you got it on record in time!

    For sure. The further back you go in time the less we know about the period, so those insights are highly valuable.

    ---
    Is there are specific story/anecdote you've heard in the making of the book you would call your favourite or particularly interesting or touching or funny?
     
  11. nabby12 Registered User

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    A couple come to mind that I’ll jot down below:
    - Clem Loughlin had an integral role in the development of the Sutter brothers in Viking, Alberta.
    - Wilf Beaulieu’s story as being the oldest living former pro hockey player, turning 102 next month.
    - George Robertson’s NHL experience with the Montreal Canadiens in 1948. I tried to keep it as PG as I could, let’s just leave it at that.
    - Paul Meger’s fractured skull incident.
    - Bob Chrystal’s two seasons in New York.
    - Andy Bathgate’s version of the night he broke Jacques Plante’s nose.
    - Art Stratton helping make Don Cherry who he is today.
    - Jordy Douglas on Gordie Howe treating him like a son in Hartford.
     
  12. BadgerBruce Registered User

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    Just ordered the book via the Amazon link and am very much looking forward to diving in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  13. nabby12 Registered User

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    That’s great to hear - thank you!

    Any players stories you’re looking forward to reading the most?
     
  14. BadgerBruce Registered User

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    Several, but George Robertson’s story is one I’m looking forward to.
     
  15. JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    @nabby12: You certainly are making a compelling case for purchasing this book. You really know how to work a room. :thumbu:
     
  16. nabby12 Registered User

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    Thanks mate. Let me know if you pick up a copy.
     
  17. MB94 Registered User

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    Heard George Robertson is a beauty... cant wait to give this one a read.
     
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  18. nabby12 Registered User

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    He truly is one of a kind. What a guy...! :sarcasm:

    Thanks man! Let me know what you think of the book.
     
  19. Theokritos Moderator

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    Just intuitively, if you had asked me whether Baldy Northcott and Clem Loughlin are among the top 50 Manitoba hockey players of all time, I would have answered: "Without looking into it any further, I think they are. At the very least they must be very close, but I guess they are in anyway, no?" Where would you rank them approximately, @nabby12?
     
  20. nabby12 Registered User

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    They were both in that 35-50 range in my mind. Baldy doesn’t qualify as a Manitoban as he only started living in Winnipeg while he was playing for the Montreal Maroons.

    But the problem for writing that Golden Boys book is that there were 50 or so players that could have made the book or were on the cusp of making it from 35-50, like Loughlin and Northcott. Which is why I guess that I made this new book so I could give all these players a spotlight that just missed being in the Golden Boys book!
     
  21. Theokritos Moderator

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    An Andy Bathgate quote from the book (I presume from the foreword) can be found in another thread.
     
  22. nabby12 Registered User

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    Looks good :thumbu:

    Andy’s story was so good he got the foreword of the book and his own chapter!
     
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  23. Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    This sounds like a great read, once the weather gets cold and I start to bunker in a little I'll grab a copy.
     
  24. nabby12 Registered User

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    Thanks mate!!
     
  25. Theokritos Moderator

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    From the SIHR article:

    So is that one going to be in the "oral history" mold as well or are you going to research other sources too?
     

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