Prior to our 2 PM afternoon game on January 30th, Coach Boucher made the lineup selections that everyone had been waiting for. The Olympics rules then allowed only 11 players + 1 backup (typically a backup goalie) to dress for each game.
As the team coach, the spotlight and pressure was clearly on him for the team to perform and to post as many goals
as possible. Later
, Boucher would comment,
"The bad press had dogged us all the way, I don't know if it had anything to do with it, but we certainly had something to prove. "
I personally think that the lash of public scorn had a great deal to do with this hastily assembled group becoming a team than might have otherwise happened under more agreeable circumstances.
Coach Boucher's decisions after the exhibition games were that we would have 2 prime designated forward lines, 3
designated defensemen, 1 designated goalie, and one what he called a "swingman".
The rest of the players would be "reserve" or "utility men" and would fill in the following game if injuries occurred. If an injury occurred in a given game, the player could only be replaced by one of the remaining players dressed for that particular game.
Boucher decided to go with proven players with high–calibre competition and playoff pressure experience under their belts. The players almost unanimously felt that Wally Halder was the best player on the team, followed closely by George Mara – so there were no surprises when they got the nod. Since joining the team Murray Dowey had impressed everyone with his quick hands and was also a natural starting lineup pick. With the exception of one lineup change that was to occur in game 2, Coach Boucher was to stick with this initial lineup throughout the series with the single focus of raking up as many goals as possible.
I did not make the starting day line–up which was obviously a disappointment – but I understood the rationale – and I knew my timing and reflexes were still not what they once were. Some of my team mates on the reserve list grumbled a little, but what could they do, the coach's decision was final – and we were there to win as a team.
(Editor's Note: When asked about the formation of the team and 9 players that remained on the team from the original 17 and the late
addition of a number of very key players, Reg Schroeder in a Globe & Mail feature article on the Flyers commented
"Brooksie and Gilpin were first rate players," Schroeter said,
"But as for (late addition) Dowey, we didn't see him play until our first exhibition game in London. He was good. Hands fast as lightning."
The point Reg Schroeder was making was that all 5 reserves were capable but lost out on the numbers game.)
The 3 defensemen were: Frank Dunster & Louis Lecompte starting; with André Laperrière becoming part of the rotation
The 2 Forward Lines were:
Starting Line: Center: Wally Halder; Wingmen: Ab Renaud and Reg Schroeder
2nd line: Center: George Mara, Wingmen: Ted Hibbard and Irving Taylor
And the Reserves would be:
Hubert Brooks, Roy Forbes, Andy Gilpin, Orval Gravelle and Pete Leichnitz with Ross King as backup goalie
We had very little "scouting" information on the Swedish team other than they apparently had a scrappy club with two 60–minute defensemen, big and rugged but not so tough. The team was said to lack the fitness of our Canadian squad but made up for this with its aggressiveness – minus the body check.
We had a 2 PM afternoon game on Olypmic Winter Games' opening day. This is what we'd been building up to. To say that the pressure was intense would be an understatement.
In the pre–game warm–up the fans stood and cheered Dowey. At that time no goalie
ever caught the puck. They blocked shots with their body or their stick. Dowey on the other hand had some baseball experience
and he amazed fans with the innovation of catching the puck with his glove hand.
"My main sport was baseball," Dowey later stated, "I just never thought about anything except catching the puck when I could."
Unfortunately this admiration by the Swiss fans did not extend past the warm–up!
Coach Boucher's final pre–game huddle principle comment to the team – which was to become a mantra for almost all of the games – was that we had to keep our goals against down. Backchecking and defense. That�s what he wanted.
The Swedes scored first about 2 minutes into the game. George Mara got the equalizer at 4:35 of
the first period – that was probably the biggest goal for Canada of the tournament. After that the boys skated with new
found confidence and Hadler and Schroeter put the match away.
Murray Dowey was spectacular blocking shot after shot. Sticks flew and tempers flared in the last 10 minutes of the game after a comparatively placid first two periods with a free-for-all threatening. Penalties were handed out freely. Murray Dowey was waived to the penalty box ("La Prison" as the locals called it.) in the last 8 seconds;
"for throwing the puck forward in violation of Olympic rules". Incredible!
(The Olympic Rule stated that the puck must be dropped and then put into play -- at that time the goalie was not allowed to throw the puck forward.)
Coach Boucher was none too pleased telling Dowey
"You shouldn't have done that, you shouldn't have done that!"
and then grabbed Dowey's goalie stick and thrust into defenseman André Laperrière's arms and told him to replace Dowey in net. Laperrière, without any goaltending equipment, didn't have to handle a shot as the Flyers closed up ranks on the Canadian net. Ref: 9.17
The press later characterized the last 10 minutes as "near–riotous imbroglio." The Swedes slashed and hooked it seemed at will – with no penalties called by the referees. At the end of the tournament we looked back on the Swedes as the dirtiest team we'd played.
The game was an eye–opener for us as it was unfortunately representative of the refereeing that we would
encounter throughout the series.
(It seems that hockey in Europe was played with little body contact, and virtually any roughness results in a penalty, which is immediately increased if the offender talked back to the referee. This was a lesson we quickly had to learn. By Canadian standards, we never thought we participated in a rough game – although the media had other views. Wally Halder, who played throughout his entire University of Toronto career without a single penalty, was nicknamed "The Brute" and described as "vicious" by some segments of the European press.)
It was also after this game that we realized that we had a superstar goalie in Murray Dowey.
Red Gravelle would later tell a humorous story about this first game against Sweden.
"Leading up to the Olympics, Frank Boucher had been going at me saying "Don't take penalties, stay on the ice." So much so that I would dream about this at night. The first shift against Sweden this big defenceman lets me have it after the whistle and then smiles and helps me up, so I think it was an accident. Then it happens again and I look at the bench and Frank is shaking his head and saying "No Red", so I don't do anything. Finally in the third period I got a chance and unloaded on him and nobody noticed except Frank but I got away with it, so I didn't get benched!"
FINAL SCORE was Canada 3–1 Sweden.
We had WON our 1st game!
Other Day 1 Olympic Hockey Results were:
Czechoslovakia 22–3 Italy
Poland 7–5 Austria
Switzerland 5–4 USA
It�s difficult not to comment briefly on the 10AM opening hockey game of the Olympics, the Swiss versus USA game, as it left us shaking our heads at the crazy pettiness the Americans were subjecting themselves to.
The Swiss Organizing Committee, seemingly freshly incensed at remarks from the night before of Avery
Brundage, head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, announced that ice hockey would be played as scheduled, with the U. S. Amateur Hockey
Association team meeting the Swiss in the opening game at 12 noon. As late as 11 o'clock, Brundage, supported by a 16 to 10 vote of the
International Olympics Committee barring both U. S. hockey teams, informed the press there would be no official ice hockey competition in
the Olympics and declared that the Swiss–AHA game
"was not an Olympic competition."
Just as stubbornly, the Swiss Organizing Committee said it was.
This was probably the tensest moment of the Olympics as the IOC had threatened to have police bar the two teams from the rink.
But at 12:00 noon, immediately after president Enrico Celio of Switzerland officially opened the Winter games
with the declaration that they were
"a symbol of a new world peace and good-will",
the Swiss and AHA teams faced each other on the ice in Olympic Stadium, the puck was dropped, and the much–disputed game was started launching the hockey competition.
But the American team, apparently upset by the booing it received, started off badly with the Swiss scoring the first goal.
Among those booing were 200 Americans at rink side, including the members of the rival US Olympic Committee hockey team who cheered each time the Swiss took the offensive! The US OC team left the stadium mid–way through the first period. Peace and good–will indeed! The US lost to Switzerland 5–4.
It was not until later that everyone was informed that a last–minute order had changed the game into a so called exhibition match.
YOU TUBE has a
rare color video by Heneggeler Films showing some brief film footage of the Switzerland vs USA Olympic hockey match .
Britsh PATHÉ has an online video showing the 1948 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony as well as several clips from the various Olympic Hockey Games most prominently the USA vs. Swiss hockey game.
Towards the end of the afternoon – what would become almost a daily ritual – the spectators filtered back into town and trudged into St. Moritz's steaming cafes and restaurants for coffee and cakes. Hanselman's, Steffani's, the Palace bar and Chesa Viglia – were overrun........
In the midst of a poor winter season, St. Moritz was probably more crowded than it had ever been before. Some hotels set up beds in their bathrooms or turned first–floor reading rooms into bedrooms. The bars and cafes were packed until early morning with visitors at play, while the Olympic competitors rested for the next day's tough Olympic competition.
After the match, the Canadian Press headline read:
"Spring Surprise at the Olympic Games. The Flyers defeated Sweden 3–1".
Arguments, Fights and Sabotage Mark Olympic Opener; Games May Be Cancelled Today; Hockey Series Ruled Unofficial
–– St Moritz Jan 30 (CP) ––
The Fifth Winter Olympiad opened today as a "symbol of good will" but soon developed into the wildest day in international sports history, marred by IOC announcements, apparent sabotage of two US bobsleds, fist fights and new protests against official decisions. The events that took place away from the Olympic events themselves overshadowed the good starts that were made by the Olympic events themselves.
A year–old domestic dispute between rival US hockey organizations assumed somber international overtones tonight as cancellation of the Fifth Winter Olympics became a possibility only hours after their opening.
Shortly after the four opening hockey games resulting in victories for Canada, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Poland,
Olympic Committee President Sigfrid Edstrom, successfully diverting attention from the opening events, announced:
The 36 hockey games schedules among the nine countries shall not be recognized as part of the Olympics.
The IOC no longer will recognize the International Ice Hockey Federation as the controlling voice in amateur hockey. (Canada was an influential member of the IIHF)
The IOC should convey its "grave displeasure" to the Swiss Organizing Committee
for twice defying an IOC ruling that two American teams be bared from the games and allowing the US match to take place. President
Fritz Kraatz of the Federation termed the IOC's action "very impolite."
"So far as we are concerned hockey is an Olympic sport and the American AHA team is an Olympic competitor," Kraatz added.
A warning that the entire Winter Olympic program might be scrapped came from an authoritative Swiss source who said the IOC had threatened to close the Games if hockey continues to be played.
Two US bobsleds were found to be "tampered with" –– "sabotaged" some claimed – as they were lifted out of the official shed. The nuts were loosened and the pushers broken on one sled and the main bolt holding the steering wheel to the runners was almost completely unscrewed on the other. Kurt Stevens, manager of the US bobsled team, posted a 2 man guard to protect their equipment from further sabotage.
The speed skaters of the non–Scandinavian nations voted to protest the ruling of the International Skating Union on a complicated system of paring for successive events.
The Amateur Hockey Association team of the US was booed by a crowd – which included 200 Americans.
World Headlines: Hindu Assassinates Gandhi: Leader Dies At Meeting For Peace
NEW DELHI, Jan. 30 (UP)
Mohandas K. Gandhi, India's man of peace, died by violence today, assassinated as he was about to offer his daily prayer for an end to communal rioting. Gandhi fell under the eyes of hundreds of his most devoted followers, as three shots from the assassin's pistol tore into the slight frame of the 78–year-old leader at close range. His assassin, like Gandhi, a high caste Hindu, tried to kill himself before the crowd was upon him, but the bullet only grazed his forehead. Gandhi slumped to the ground raising a hand to his forehead in a final effort to make the traditional Hindu ......
On Saturday, our team had the day off. Frank sent George McFaul to Davos by train to have all of our skates sharpened in preparation for our next game against the U.K. on Sunday.
The weather was clear and the temperature 15F degrees as the second day's competition of the 1948 Winter Olympics got underway. A bright sun shone in picturesque St. Moritz and snow conditions were excellent.
My fiancée Bea was delighted to see Austrian figure skater Eva Pawlik competing when she arrived at St. Moritz. Bea knew her as a result of he work re–uniting displaced families for the US Army. Bea spent some time with the figure skaters – helping out both Eva and Marilyn with little things that made their life easier. Eva would later go on to a career in broadcasting and film in Austria.
Day 2 Olympic Hockey Results were:
Czechoslovakia 6–3 Sweden
Switzerland 16–0 Italy
United Kingdom 5–4 Austria
USA 23–4 Poland
Canada did not play hockey today.
Hockey Continuing At Olympic Games Despite Order:
Norway and Sweden won the first gold medals in the dissension–plagued fifth winter Olympics today as the bitter hockey war continued to rage. Despite an International Olympic committee order cancelling the sport, the hockey tournament continued......... The winter carnival continued on a somewhat stormy course, with squabbles of a minor nature rising alongside the hockey feud. Fist fights featured the hockey match between the US team and Poland. Americans protested to officials that Polish roughness was going without penalties...... The US team posted an overnight guard over its bobsled after discovery that the sleds had been tampered with before yesterday's two–man tests. The damage was fixed before the runs were made. ....... Shortly before the start of the second day's activities, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced hockey will continue. The federation announcement was issued in defiance of the IOC which yesterday struck hockey from the official program and withdrew recognition from the federation. This brought new complications to the dissention–riddled games. An authoritative source said the IOC has threatened to call off the entire games if hockey is continued....... Avery Brundage, president of the US Olympic committee which stoutly contested recognition of the AHA declared "the fight is over."
"Hockey is off the winter Olympic program completely."
"Of course this is a free country and if some teams here play some games they can do so but it isn't Olympic hockey."
.......Yesterday the IOC resolved that hockey, with nine countries participating,
"cannot be recognized as an Olympic event in these games"
because the AHA team played in the opening of the games, in violation of an IOC ruling......
Clubs Resume Hockey Play ST. MORITZ, Jan. 31 (S&S)–
Ice hockey, for the second straight day, was played under violent protest in the fifth Winter Olympics– but whether for the Olympics championship, for a "world championship," or merely for the fun of defying the International Olympic Committee, remains to be decided. As far as the IOC is concerned, hockey definitely is not a part of the Olympiad. For the second time in as many days the IOC late Friday put its emphatic stamp of disapproval on hockey by notifying the Swiss Organizing Committee hockey was cancelled. But the SOC still defied the edict. The cause of all the wrangling – the U. S. Amateur Hockey Association sextet–welcomed the extension of grace by walloping Poland, 23–4, in a game marred by several exhibitions of fisticuffs and arguments with officials.
Swedes, Norwegians, Swiss Lead Olympics By JACK ELLIS, Sports Editor ST. MORITZ. Jan. 31 (S&S)–
While Sweden, Switzerland and Norway were jumping away to team leadership in the second day of competition in the fifth Winter Olympics, the confusing ice hockey controversy remained unsettled despite an edict of the International Olympic Committee to the Swiss Organizing Committee that hockey definitely is out of the games. The Swiss Organizing Committee virtually is defying the IOC to try and stop play in the round robin hockey tournament. Policemen were at the Olympic Stadium, reportedly instructed to take action but thus far they have done nothing. Hockey is continuing. But Avery Brundage, chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has declared there is no Olympic title involved.
Outburst of Violence as Gandhi Cremated – Grieving Mobs Rioting
........The assassination of Gandhi is the most revolting incident in the modern world and has brought death to "a man "who lived far ahead of the times", General Douglas MacArthur said in a statement today.
Religious Leader Mourned By Famous Men World Over
Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Saint of India, was shot and killed in an assassination which may set the whole subcontinent of India ablaze with warfare between Hindus and Moslems.
Coach Boucher made one lineup change for day 3's morning hockey game against United Kingdom played at the Palace Ice Rink. Orval Gravelle was put into the lineup and Irving Taylor was assigned to the reserve group. At the time Coach Boucher said little about this move – it was a matter–of–a–fact line change. Later it was speculated that Coach Boucher was not pleased that Irving did not pass the puck as much as the coach would have liked. But this was idle chatter.
The scouting report on Britain indicate that they would not be at "1936 Olympic Hockey champion form", as development of home–bred players had been halted during the war.
Canada 3–0 United Kingdom
Czechoslovakia 13–2 Poland
Switzerland 11–2 Austria
USA 31–1 Italy
This was a game the team had been waiting for. Britain had "stolen" the hockey gold medal from Canada in the 1936 Olympics. We were up against the defending Olympic and World hockey champions.
Despite terrible weather, about 2,000 fans watched the game. Some specifically came out early to watch Dowey
in the pregame warmup blocking shots with his hands.
What started out as a steady snowfall turned into a blinding snow storm! By the time the game was over there must have been at least an inch of snow on the outdoor rink!
Coach Boucher had started out telling the team "if you don't let them score, you can't lose."
Throughout the game he would constantly remind the team; "backchecking, backchecking, backchecking."
The game took almost 3 hours to complete and it seemed that the refereeing, perhaps in some part due to the weather, was as bad as it could get. Calls seemed to be best guesses for some questionable offensive action. The Flyers ended up with 12 penalties and Britain with 9. After the first few penalties, the players on both sides cracked jokes with each new penalty call. The fans got into the action hooting and yodeling with each new penalty call. The refs and the European teams were not ready for the North American "body checking" style of hockey which they considered "dirty". We, on the other hand, were not used to players getting away with holding, hooking and spearing.
We won – our guys; Schroeter, Mara and Halder; scoring one goal in each of the three periods. The score should
have been higher. Ab Renaud clearly beat the British goalie in the 1st period with a backhander but the Swiss goal judge ruled that it
did not go in. Both teams agreed that it was a good goal. Manager Watson protested and the Swiss goal judge was replaced. (Watson said later that
this offical refereed a Canadian game in Switzerland before the Olympics opened and that he had "robbed" Canada of two goals.)
Nevertheless, we had won our second game and were undefeated !
News Headlines: ST. MORITZ. Feb. 1 (S&S)–
Under official ban of the International Olympic Committee, but with the Swiss Organizing Committee aloofly disdainful of the attempt to eliminate it, ice hockey continued for the third straight day at the fifth winter Olympiad. Official programs of Olympic events, prepared by the SOC, made no distinction between hockey and other activities today. But the IOC still insists that no Olympic title is involved – that the teams are competing only for the fun of it, or for any other title they may decide upon.
Another late development was the release of a letter by President J. Sigfrid Edstrom of International Olympic Committee to the Swiss Olympic Committee. Edstrom expressed "regret" the SOC had seen fit to defy the decision of the IOC cancelling ice hockey from Olympics agenda. Similarly, he voiced disappointment that the SOC had not accepted the IOC's suggestion to continue the tournament as a "world championship". Then Edstrom delivered a "Sunday punch" to the International Ice Hockey Federation, who has sponsored the entry of the American AHA sextet in defiance of the wishes of the U. S. Olympic committee. He said that because AHA team had been permitted to play the IOC could no longer recognize the IIHF to be in control of hockey .
For the second day in a row the team that is the center of the controversy – the U.S. team sponsored by the Amateur Hockey Association – went on a wild scoring spree. The American pucksters really "poured it on" a hapless Italian team, piling up a 31–1 score.
The weather was variable day to day during the Olympics. Our hotel was on the edge of town and sometimes we had to trudge through a blinding snowstorm to either return to our hotel whereas on other days it was a nice winter walk. Some photos from the week are as follows:
Canada 15 – 0 Poland
Czechoslovakia 11 – 4 United Kingdom
Sweden 7 – 1 Austria
Because of my war time activities in Poland on the one hand we all felt bad with the high score that we eventually rang up against the gallant Polish team but on the other we were very conscious of the Czech's previous days score of 13–2 against the Polish squad and the need to keep our eye on the all important goal average.
I was very pleased that the 3PM afternoon game at the Suvretta Ice Rink was cleanly played with only two minor infractions. Following the ref blowing a whistle halting play for whatever reason, opposing players helped their opponent up from the ice.
About 200 people watched the game mostly from hotel balconies and small temporay stands.
Between periods, George McFaul served tea with lemons to players on both teams. When the Polish net minder got a cut nose, Sandy Watson and George McFaul stitched him up at the Flyer bench.
We won, 15–0, with five in the first period, six in the second and four in the third. Wally Halder was our top scorer with four goals and Reg Schroeter picked up a hat trick.
Halder later commented that "We hated piling on the score. It runs against all Canadian ideals of sportsmanship. But we had to do it to stay in contention." Ref: 9.8
As a side comment, Canada didn't only have S/L Sandy Watson as a manager, we had Dr. Sandy Watson as our medical
officer as well.
(Sandy also treated the injured American and English hockey players during our matches with them. Sandy removed the toenail of American referee Walter Brown when his toe became infected as a result of the too small borrowed skates he was wearing! The 'operation' occured in full view of the players and I must say there was no sympathy for Mr. Brown.)
ST. MORITZ, Feb. 2 (S&S)–
....... Meanwhile, the Swiss Organizing Committee refused another request of the International Olympic Committee to discontinue further play in the ice hockey tournament.......
NEW DELHI, Feb. 2 (UP)–
The body of the revered Mahatma Gandhi was committed to the flames of the burning ghat today white the violence that he deplored in life raged through Bombay........ (The ancient Hindu ceremonial of cremation was carried out on the banks of the river Jumna, one of the five sacred streams of India, to the accompaniment of a massive demonstration of the nation's grief .....
Canada 21 – 1 Italy
USA 5 – 2 Sweden
Britain vs Switzerland: postponed due to soft ice
We had little troubled beating the Italian team today in this fourth round afternoon match. Wally Halder and George Mara – who are turning out to be our offensive aces – had 5 goals apiece. All the players dressed figured in the scoring. In addition to Halder and Mara, Hibbard and Guzzo had three goals apiece, Schroeter had two, and singles went to Renaud, Gravelle, and Dunster, Laperriere and Lecompte had an assist apiece. Ref: 9.9
Goaltender Downey was cheated of a shutout when the Italians drove a blind shot from behind the net and the puck banked in off Dowey's leg. This was also their "first shot on our net" of the game. Perhaps Murray's attention span had lapsed a little in this one-sided contest. Coach Boucher was none too pleased with Downey despite the lopsided score.
Like the Poles, sadly the Italians had ill fitting hockey equipment and very poor skates. However I must say they all had a lot of heart.
Only approximately 75 fans watched the game – our lowest attendance. Most of them cheered enthusiastically when the Italians got the puck – which wasn't too often.
For the four games so far Mara was the undisputed scoring leader with nine goals and eight assists, three points better than Halder.
Other Comments: The Olympic Scoring Numbers "Game" & Morning Games
We obviously now were very conscious of the Czechs, the Swiss and the (AHA) Americans who were all undefeated as well. Coach Boucher was most concerned about the Americans but a number of us had our eyes on the Czechs because of their goal scoring totals.
Although it was a distant thought at the time – after four games each, Canada had scored 42 goals and had two scored against us giving us a quotient of 21. The Czech numbers were 52 and 11 giving them a quotient slightly less than 5.
After the Swiss "Fohn" – warm wind – postponed the game between the Swiss and the Brits, the powers–that–be decided that all future ice hockey matches would be held in the morning when the ice was harder. Olympic officials commented that regardless of weather forced postponements of events, the Olympics will come to an end at 4PM on Sunday.
The historic Olympic flag was stolen this night from its mast over Olympic stadium probably by a souvenir hunter. (An American GI was strongly suspected.) The flag is hoisted the moment the games open and games regulations say it must fly until they are declared closed.
The hockey match between Canada and the USA in the afternoon was CANCELLED today and postphoned until tomorrow.
As a result of very warm temperatures pools the ice was very soft and pools of water formed on some places on the ice surface.
The ice was simply wretched and even the organizers firm statement that the Olympics would end on time, everyone agreed that the afternoon hockey games could not be played.
That afternoon the Olympic press bureau issued a hopefull "Weather getting colder" statement.
It was at this time that the hockey officials put forth a change in policy which will result in the playing of all hockey games in the morning to give all teams the benefit of hard ice. Since it is possible that scoring averages may eventually decide the championship, with mild weather some teams may be at a disadvantage when playing in the afternoon on slushy ice surfaces.
Editor's Note: As with any team there is always some controversy percolating below the surface.
In Patsy Guzzo's book MY TRIP .... Journey of an Olympic Gold Win on page 54, he reports on this day;
"It was reported that Irving Taylor was being sent home on February 19th for conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the team. It is too bad as Irv can be a nice fellow if he could only stay out of trouble."
Referring to the game against the USA, Patsy also noted: " Lou Lecompte was his usual self with 4 penalties."
Czechoslovakia 17 – 3 Austria
Poland 13 – 7 Italy
Switzerland 12 – 3 United Kingdom
Austria 16 – 5 Italy
Canada 12 – 3 USA
Switzerland 8 – 2 Sweden
United Kingdom 7 – 2 Poland
Canada 12–3 USA
Coach Boucher stuck with the successful lineup used in the previous games.
The weather and ice surface at 33 degrees and a bright sun was perfect for this morning game at the Suvretta Ice Rink.
This was the same USA team that looked down at us from their first class accommodations in the Queen E crossing over the Atlantic and took great delight in telling us that they would bury us in any hockey encounter. Our team hadn't forgotten the insults and was looking forward to the game.
Approximately 1,000 fans filled the wooden bleachers behind the Duvretta Hotel to see what was billed (by the U.S. press) as the feature match of the tourney.
Less than a minute into the game, Halder buried a hard wrist shot past the US goalie. At the end of the first period,
the score was Canada in front by a score of 3–1 with Mara and Halder again adding to Halder's initial goal. After two periods, it was
7–1 with the Flyers scoring four unanswered goals. (Halder with two, Mara and Lecompte with the others.) By the end of the third period it
was 12–3. Halder had scored 6 goals - 4 of them in brilliant solo efforts, and Mara scored 4 goals.
The Americans had managed only 13 shots on net.
The Flyers team showed surprising speed and superb stick-handling and sensational defensive play which they never relaxed from the starting whistle till the end of the game.
The press reported that it was the worst defeat that the US Olympic hockey team had suffered ever.
This also knocked them out of contention for the gold medal (or whatever the championship round would be playing for!).
We did not rub our victory into the Americans – but there was a quiet satisfaction that things had come full circle.
Suddenly, our hockey team started to get noticed by the press as a potential contender – things were changing.
Other News – Wedding Day is Fixed:
Oh yes – this was the day my finance Bea and I sent a telegram to my mother back home in Montreal telling her that we were to get married on Feb 9th – the day after the Closing Ceremonies.
Canada 0 – 0 Czechoslovakia
Sweden 4 – 3 United Kingdom
Switzerland 14 – 0 Poland
USA 13 – 2 Austria
Canada 0–0 Czechoslovakia
We were up against the pre–tournament favorites – the Czechs. All the money was on the line with this game.
Once again Coach Boucher stuck with the lineup used in the previous matches. However Wally Halder, our teams top scorer, was out sick and was a last minute scratch.
Also, once again the weather was perfect with the ice surface hard for this 8 AM morning game.
Approximately 2,500 fans watched the game. Several members of the Canadian ski and skating teams were in the crowd cheering on the Flyers.
Our scouting report on the Czech team was typically brief. Czechoslovakia coached by Mike Buckna, pre–war Trail Smoke Eaters player, built its attack on Zabrodski high–scoring six foot centre ice star whose free–skating style and tricky shifts are a delight to watch. But he can't take a body check. After being tagged by an American defensemen early in a game at Prague, Zabrodski didn't stray within five strides of the defense for the balance of the contest and failed to get even an assist. He is acclaimed as the country's best player and ranking close to him is stocky Jaoslav Drobny, Czech Davis Cup star and best all–round athlete in the country.
This was perhaps our most exciting game to date with both teams having good scoring opportunities. The opening minutes were slow. Both clubs played defensive hockey, with the forwards checking closely. Near the end of the first period, both clubs opened up. Mara had the best scoring opportunity in the second period with the Czech goalie deflecting a corner shot at the last minute. The team then had multiple shot opportunities within a matter of minutes but the Czech goalie Modry stood his ground. The Czechs on the other hand had a really good opportunity when one of their stars, Jaroslav Drobny, fired a shot from the blue line which almost got past Dowey. A melee immediately followed where the Czechs peppered our net with a number of shots.
Coach Boucher was very pleased that we kept their top scorer (and eventual top games scorer), Vladimir Zabrodski off the scoreboard. As our scouting report had indicated, Vladimir didn't seem to like physical play (as the Americans had done a number on him in a previous match) and he was constantly looking over his shoulder. Credit here Frank Dunster, who had been nicknamed "the blue line masher", nailed Zabrodski against the boards following which he started to cry - apparantly as a result of sandwiching a hand against the boards.
The Czech team and media were none to happy with the tie blaming coach Mike Buckna for preventing them
from playing their customary wide open hockey.
Mike Buckna would shortly loose his job as head coach.
In fact they played a 5 man defensive game for the entire match. The Czechs didn't come past our blue line very often. We played defense like you never saw.
Its interesting that all of the European nations feared Canada's defence, even though Frank Dunster was really the only one doing damage. Louis Lecompte played good hockey but was too slow to attempt any body checking, while Andre Laperriere did little body checking but was exceptionally good in breaking up plays and stopping shots.
The press made a lot of noise regarding the fist fight that developed between the Czechs' Jaroslav Drobny, and George Mara, of Canada, when they collided near the sidelines in the closing minutes of the third period and began throwing punches at one another. The refs took a while but finally separated the pair.
The game ended in a scoreless tie. It was Dowey's third shutout in 6 tournament games and he and the
other Canadian players were given a big hand by the crowd that repeatedly chanted "Canada".
Looking back, what a game it was! Ref: 9.10
Sandy would later recall a Red Gravelle story from this game;
" He was beautiful over there, the fans and the media called him 'Rodenbrotten' .... I think that's the word. Anyways it meant little scrubbing brush and that's what he looked like with the brush cut. Now, after our first game against Sweden, Canadians were considered wildmen on the ice, and in this particular game a big defenceman hammered Red. I figured here we go, Red is going to fight them all. Formal education was not Gravelle's strong suit but he was a tough street smart and a guy that would skate through the end of the rink for you. But instead Red got up, charged at the big guy and then just patted him on the back. It was the best public relations job of the tournament. The crowd loved it. "
Two days before the final hockey games, every member of our hockey team watched as Barbara Ann Scott won gold in figure skating on an ice surface riddled with holes and ruts (thanks to two morning hockey games). A slushy mess greeted the figure skaters. Scott revised her four-minute program because of the poor ice. She did one double loop instead of three at the beginning and ended with three double salchows instead of the double loops original choreographed.
Despite the distraction caused by a low–flying airplane during her compulsory routine, she was able to muster the focus to place first entering the free skate.
Barbara's coach, Sheldon Galbraith would later pen an article in the Ottawa Journal commenting on Barbara's performance on outdoor ice.
"When you have to skate outside in the elements, you tend not to worry about the small stuff,", Barbara commented at the time.
Despite all obstacles, Scott put on a solid show and became the first Canadian to win a gold medal in Olympic figure skating.
Just as she skated off the ice, there were all these press people and photographers waiting, and her mother said to Ab Renaud and Reg Schroeter, "Here, put her up on your shoulders and help her through," and they did, and the picture was flashed around the world.
This famous photograph of a joyous Barbara Ann Scott being hoisted on the shoulders of team mates Ab Renaud
and Reg Schroeter became the iconic image of the 1948 Games.
YOU TUBE has at least one video entitled Olympic Winter Thrills by Castle Films from the archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum with brief film clips of Barbara Ann Scott's Exhibition Skate, and Final Olympic Skate (starting at time line 5:12 as well as RCAF Flyers Ab Renaud and Reg Schroeter hoisting Barbara Ann up onto their shoulders (time line 6:32).
Scott Annexes Skating Title ST. MORITZ, Feb. 6 (S&S)–
Barbara Ann Scott of Canada gave the greatest exhibition of her career today to outclass a field of 25 competitors in winning the women's Olympic figure skating championship, thereby succeeding to the crown last won by Sonja Henie of Sweden in 1936.
The golden–haired Ottawa girl attracted the largest crowd that has turned out for any single event of the fifth winter games. More than 7,000 spectators cheered her almost faultless performance, comparing with the exhibition of Dick Button of the U. S. in winning the men's title on Thursday. Six is a perfect score in each event and her marks ranged from 5.3 to 5.9.
YOU TUBE has several videos on Barbara Ann Scott's 1948 Winter Olympic GOLD medal performance.
One video entitled Olympic Winter Thrills by Castle Films from the archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum has a good film clip (at time line 5:11) and a second has a clip of her practising ( 0:58) and also competing (4:30) along with with Canadian bronze medallists Suzanne Morrow and Wally Diestelmeyer and a a third OLYMPIA ST.MORITZ" (1948) by Condor Films has her competing at time line 2:45 .
AS AN ASIDE:
The British PATHÉ web site has a short film online entitled Barbara Ann Scott Freedom Of Ottawa AKA- 1948 which shows scenes of Barabra Ann Scott in a procession of flower drapped cars along crowded Ottawa streets and the Mayor of Ottawa presenting her with the key to the city.
At the age of 81, Babara Ann was asked to take part in the Olympic Torch run for the
2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Ref: 9.16
Barbara Ann passed away at Amelia Island, Florida on September 30, 2012.
Canada 12 – 0 Austria
Czechoslovakia 7 – 1 Switzerland
Sweden 23 – 0 Italy
USA 4 – 3 United Kingdom
Canada 12–0 Austria
We won our next game against Austria. It snowed heavily all day and the game was postponed from the morning until the afternoon, and was finally played during a heavy snowfall.
The game itself was played in a swirling snowstorm with great difficulty.
The score was 5–0 after the first, 10–0 after the second and 12–0 by the end of the third period.
Halder counted for four goals as did Mara with Schroeter getting a hat trick. Renaud scored a single. This was Dowey's fourth shut out of the tournament.
As with the Poles and the Italians we felt a bit uneasy with the high scores, but we were now tied in the tournament with the Czechs with six wins apiece, and they had an "easier" game ahead against the USA whereas we had to play the competitive Swiss in tomorrow's final and deciding match. So piling on the goals was a necessity.
After her win, Barbara Ann was a vocal supporter at our remaining games.
Settlement Offered In Olympics Dispute St. MORITZ, Feb. 7 (S&S)–
Confusion persisted relative to the final status of ice hockey in the fifth winter Olympics at a late hour tonight, despite an offer
by the International Olympic Committee to give it formal recognition – an about–face in the interest of harmony with the Swiss
The offer of the IOC would give official recognition to eight of the nine teams which have competed since the opening day in defiance of its edict cancelling hockey from the program – at least insofar as a 16 to 10 vote of the IOC related to the dispute.
Only the Amateur Hockey Association team of the U. S. will be denied IOC recognition if the peace proposal is accepted by the Swiss Organizing Committee.
Another possible stumbling block in the way of settlement is the International Ice Hockey Federation headed by Dr. Fritz Kraatz. Late tonight he was reported to have refused to sign the settlement unless the AHA sextet is recognized.
Behind this stand is possible grievance over the International Committee's announcement, during the heat of the dispute, that the IIHF no longer would be recognized as being in control of ice hockey. The IOC took this position as a punitive measure because the IIHF had refused to withdraw the AHA sextet in favor of the Amateur Athletic Union team entered by the U. S. Olympic Committee.
In addition to the confusion over whether hockey will, or will not, be given official recognition before the games draw to a close tomorrow, there is considerable doubt as to what stand will be taken on games already played by the AHA team as they relate to the point standings of other teams. One proposal is to allow all such games, the other to rule them out. Walter Brown, vice–president of the Amateur Hockey Association, said he is willing to have games of the AHA expunged from the record and the team denied an official certificate of Olympic participation – if it will restore harmony.
This was it, the final day. The public could not have asked for a more exciting finish – at least as far as hockey was concerned. We had heard just yesterday that a compromise had been worked out with the feuding American teams and that the hockey games were now officially recognized by the IOC and Olympic medals would be handed out. Hockey would end the games portion of the Olympics. Following the hockey games, the Olympic medals would be presented to all winning competitors regardless of discipline.
On this final day of competition, three nations - Canada, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland - all had a chance to finish in first place.
Day 10 Hockey Matches
Canada vs. Switzerland
Czecho–Slovakia vs. USA
Sweden vs. Poland
United Kingdom vs. Italy
A number of scenarios were possible with regard to the final hockey and thus medal standings.
A Czech loss to the USA and a Flyers win over the Swiss would mean that the gold medal would go to Canada. Whereas a loss by Canada almost assuredly meant the gold would go to the Czechs.
If both Canada and the Czechs won the standing would remain tied at the top with both teams having 7 wins and a tie. The winner would be determined by the goal average quotient. Going into the day 10 games, Canada's Flyers had a 66–5 record for a goal average quotient of 13.2 whereas the Czechs had a quotient of 5.
In the morning Czechoslovakia defeated the United States, 4-3, which eliminated Switzerland's hopes of placing higher than second.
(Two American goals were disallowed - most said the refereeing was partial.)
The final match pitted Canada against the Swiss. Two days earlier the Czechs and the Canadians had played a 0-0 tie. Consequently, Canada needed to beat Switzerland by at least two goals to win the gold medal on the basis of the goal differential tie-breaker.
The excitement was palpable!
Canada vs. Switzerland
Coach Boucher stuck with his proven lineup.
Being an afternoon game (2PM), unfortunately the ice conditions were far from ideal. There was a suggestion floated
that the game be postponed one day and possibly played in Zurich but the Olympic organizers quickly vetoed that idea – perhaps with an eye
on the box office and fans who had already made travel plans for the 9th. The hot afternoon sun turned the ice into a thick layer of
slush as the game progressed – but the teams played on. Near the end, play had to stop every 10 to 15 minutes so that the players could
clean off the ice!
(Editor's Note: The conditions were so bad that George Dudley, secretary-manager of the CAHA, would later recommend that Canada never again play a winter Olympic game unless artificial ice is used.)
About 5,000 mostly Swiss fans filled the stands and perched themselves on the sides of mountain cliffs and watched the game.
One of the team's most vociferous supporters in St. Moritz was the other Canadian gold medal winner in 1948, Barbara Ann Scott, figure–skater and daughter of an army colonel. She was there for the final game as well.
George Dudley, secretary-manager of the CAHA, would spend the entire game chain-smoking and pacing behind the Flyers bench.
Canadian Press writer Jack Sullivan described the game as follows in an article which appeared in the Ottawa Journal
on February 9, 1948
"Wally Halder, the team's top scorer during the games, got the first goal with less than 5 minutes into the first period. Halder
literally ran over the slushy ice, traveling the length of the rink to fire a low corner shot that the Swiss goaltender managed to kick out.
Three Swiss players jostled him, but he grabbed the rebound and fired again. The netminder deflected the puck behind the net and Schroeter
returned it to Halder who, though, still hemmed in by the 3 Swiss players, banged it home. Patsy Guzzo, added the second Canadian insurance
goal in the middle period and Reg Schroeter, made it 3–0 before the midway mark in the third period as the Canadians clung grimly to
During the second and third periods the partisan Swiss crowd, taking exception to some of the referee's decisions, showed their fair play – spirit in the game by hurling snowballs at the Flyers!
The ice conditions and the refereeing were so bad that at times the game threatened to develop into a farce. The officials, Eric De Marcwicz of Britain and Van Reyshoot of Belgium, were pointedly in favor of Switzerland, some of the latter's decisions being almost unbelievable.
Halder tried to check a Swiss player at one point but fell flat. The Swiss player also went down. Halder was thumbed off for five minutes by Van Reyshoot – "for tripping and interference". Later Heinrich Boller, Swiss defenseman, cross–checked Thomas (Red) Hibbard, who fell heavily to the ice. Both players were sent to the penalty box. Near the end of the game during a scramble in front of the Canadian goal, Boller punched Dowey in the face but was given only a two–minute penalty."
In the end we overcame slushy ice conditions and partisan officiating to defeat the Swiss 3–0.
"We played eight men – the Swiss players and the referees – and still beat ’em", said Cpl. George McFaul, RCAF trainer. The Flyers ended up making three times as many trips to the penalty box as the Swiss team.
Murray Dowey had a remarkable series and was a key factor in the team's victory. He finished the 8 game round robin
series with five shutouts and set an Olympic record with a tournament goals–against–average of 0.62.
Dowey's five shutouts helped Canada to a greater goal differential than the Czechs and the gold medal as a result. Dowey didn't look much like an athlete being pale–faced and thin, but he had outstanding co–ordination with some very fast hands – a true athlete.
The vimeo.com web site has the excellent Infield Fly Productions film highlites of the RCAF Flyers playing the Swiss National team for the gold medal at the 1948 Winter Olympics.
YOU TUBE has at least one video entitled Olympic Winter Thrills by Castle Films from the archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum with a brief film clip on Canada's RCAF Flyers playing Switzerland (at time line 0:39).
Or type in direct web http address LINK of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKVcTtc3tEE.
Canada 3 – 0 Switzerland
Czecho–Slovakia 4 – 3 USA
Sweden 13 – 2 Poland
United Kingdom 14 – 7 Italy
The Czech's would go on to defeat the United States 4–3 to give them seven wins and a tie which tied them for first place with the Canadians. As already discussed, under IIHF rules, the team with the higher goals average would be awarded the gold medal. The Flyers scored 69 goals and allowed five for an average of 13.8. The Czech's scored 80 goals but allowed 18 for an average of 4.3.
For the first time in a championship in which Canada competed, the winner was not decided until the final game. For the first time in history, a team went through an Olympic hockey tournament undefeated and failed to win the gold medal. The victim of the 1948 Olympic single round-robin format was Czechoslovakia, the 1947 World Champion (Canada did not participate), which played to a scoreless tie with gold-medalist Canada, represented by the RCAF Flyers. The Czechoslovaks had to settle for a silver because the Canadians had a better goals for and against differential of plus-64, compared to Canada's plus-62. In essence, the gold medal was decided when Canada trounced the eventual fourth-place United States team 12-3 (with Wally Hadler scoring six times) and Czechoslovakia, with the tournament's arguably strongest offense, then struggled to beat the Americans 4-3.
The gold medal thus belonged to Canada and Canada's fourth hockey goal medal in five Olympic games! (Canada lost the gold in 1936 to England staffed by players who had learned their hockey in Canada.)
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The Life and Times of Hubert Brooks M.C. C.D.