FeaturedThrowback Thursdays

Eddie Shore’s Midnight Ride

Eddie Shore will go down in NHL history as a tough guy – on and off the ice. The current snowy season in my humble abode of Niagara has reminded me of a story I previously heard about and wanted to dig into for this week’s Throwback Thursdays at Hooked on Hockey Magazine.

Shore during his time with the New York Americans, at the end of his NHL career.

He was one of the toughest players, coaches, managers, and owners of all-time. He was also completely dedicated to his job. So dedicated that when he missed the Bruins train to Montreal on January 2, 1929, he knew he had to find a way there. Especially with the Bruin’s General Manager at the time, Art Ross, having a $500 fine for players missing the train.

Shore said in an article quoted by Sports Illustrated

“Mr. Ross didn’t know it, but I was running down the station platform trying to jump on the last car of the train. I didn’t make it and had just missed the train because my taxi had been tied up in a traffic accident coming across town.”

Shore knew he had to make it to Montreal so first he tried the airlines in Boston. Nothing was flying with the incoming blizzard on the east coast. When the planes weren’t functioned he decided to rent a car, that is until he was offered a car and chauffeur by a well-off fan.

Starting at 11:30pm Shore and the driver headed out on the 350 mile trip from Boston to Montreal, in the middle of a snow storm.

After a while in to the drive, Shore remembered the driver going only three miles per hour and wasn’t happy about the situation.

“I was not happy at the rate he was traveling and I told him so. He apologized and said he didn’t have chains and didn’t like driving in the winter. The poor fellow urged me to turn back to Boston.”

 

Perfect driving conditions for Eddie Shore. Photo: AP

From an article by Stan Fischler, it appears at that point the car went into the lip of a ditch and Shore took over for the nervous driver. He was able to find a 24 hour service station and get tire chains to help him drive in the snowy conditions. Shore went on to drive again but found the lone wiper on the vehicle had frozen in place. Luckily, Shore was willing to tough it out with his own solution.

“I couldn’t see out the window, so I removed the top half of the windshield.”

Shore drove until 5am, where he came across a construction site and was able to secure another set of chains.

“We skidded off the road four times,” he said, “but each time we managed to get the car back on the highway again.”

From Fischler’s articles he remembers that the second pair of chains fell off around 3pm. At that point Shore had been driving for just under 12 hours and needed a rest.

“I felt that a short nap would put me in good shape. All I asked of the driver was that he go at least 12 miles an hour and stay in the middle of the road.”

As much as Shore could have used the rest, he didn’t get it. Shortly after he let the chauffeur the over the wheel, the car crashed into a deep dish. Luckily no one was injured and Shore was able to hike to the nearest farm house to get some horses to pull out his car.

An artist’s interpretation of Shore walking the closest house on his 350 mile trek.

“I paid $8 for a team of horses. Harnessed the horses and pulled the car out of the ditch. We weren’t too far from Montreal and I thought we’d make it in time if I could keep the car on the road.”

He was able to make it in time, he made it to the Windsor Hotel, the team’s hotel during their stay in Montreal, by 5:30pm. Art Ross was there to greet him upon hims arrival.

“He was in no condition for hockey,” says Ross. “His eyes were bloodshot, his face frostbitten and windburned, his fingers bent and set like claws after gripping the steering wheel so long. And he couldn’t walk straight. I figure his legs were almost paralyzed from hitting the brake and clutch.”

Shore ate a steak dinner and decided to take a quick nap before the game. However after being awake for nearly 24 hours meant he was a bit more tired than the 30 minute nap he intended to take. His teammates tried to wake him up by shaking him and pushing him off the bed onto the floor – neither worked. Then Dit Clapper and Coonery Weiland decided to pour some water over Shore’s face, which woke him up almost immediately.

Shore made his way to the arena and got set to take on the Maroons, however Ross still wasn’t sure about Shore playing after his incredibly journey.

“I knew how durable he was,” the coach says, “but there’s a limit to human endurance. I finally decided to let him get on the ice, but at the first sign of weakness or sleepwalking I’d send him to the dressing room. I had to worry about him being groggy. What if he got hit hard and wound up badly hurt?”

Thankfully Ross relented and Shore was able to get on the ice, although Ross almost took him out again after taking an early penalty. however, Ross left Shore in the game and in the second period he scored the game’s opening (and only) goal.

Art Ross (middle) coaching Shore (beside Ross to the left) and the Bruins.

That goal would hold up as the game winner. 24 hours after he missed the train the final buzzer sounded in Montreal. The Bruins won, Shore scored the winning goal, and survived a blizzard in the process.

Luckily, Ross deemed that his efforts to get to the game (as well the the game-winning goal) meant that he was exempt from the fine he would’ve received for missing the train.

Shameless self-promotion of another TBT featuring Eddie Shore and Ace Bailey. You can find that story here.

Stay tuned for next week’s Throwback Thursday at HOHM.

Steve Auld

Steve Auld

My name is Steve and I am from the very noble Auld clan of Niagara, where we respect our elders and follow the golden rules: elbows up, and keep your stick on the ice. When not tearing up beer league or ball hockey, I enjoy the occasional downtime I have with my fiancée and son. Love me some music too, all kinds. If you feel I did a good job or you want to argue, feel free to leave a comment!
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