Memorial Day tribute to our fallen hero’s
By Kyle Willaert
World War One
Its been 103 years since the start of World War One. 175,347 American and Canadian military personal died during the deadliest conflict in human history. WWI began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and lasted until 1918. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (Allied Powers).
Many soon to be or current NHL players put their career on hold to serve in the war. Oddly enough very few actually died during the war. Allan “Scotty” Davidson and George Dickerson were the only two who’s lives ended serving their country in such a horrible war.
Allan “Scotty” Davidson 1891 – 1915
Born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. Davidson learned his trade under the guidance of Captain James T. Sutherland. He was the star player while on the Kingston Frontenac’s junior team. They won the OHA title in 1909-1910 and 1910-1911. In 1912-1913 Davidson signed with the Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA. He would play right-wing for the first season and score 19 goals in 20 games. The next season he would score 23 goals and lead his team to a 1914 Stanley Cup victory. The war would break out in 1914 and Davidson would join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He would be promoted to Lance-Corporal and be sent to Belgium where he would later die on June 6th, 1915. Allan “Scotty” Davidson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.
George Richardson 1886 – 1916
Also born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. He attended Queens University from 1902-1906, He played for the Golden Gaels hockey team that would go on and win the Intercollegiate Championship of America in 1903. They’d also would win the Canadian Intercollegiate Championship in 1904 and 1906. Richardson joined the Kingston Frontenac’s junior team front office and would play a few games for the senior team. WWI was declared in Canada in August 1914. Richardson would join the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a Lieutenant and would later be promoted to Captain for being the only survivor in the battle of Saint Julienin. Captain Richardson was shot three times by enemy rifle fire on February 9th, 1916. He died a few hours later in Wulverghem, Belgium. George Richardson was inducted in the Hockey Hall of fame in 1950.
Hobey Baker 1892 – 1918
Born in Wissahickson, Pennsylvania. Considered to be the first American super star in hockey. In 1910 Baker would attend Princeton University. They would go undefeated in 1911-1912, this was done by Bakers end to end rushes and untouchable stamina. Hobey Baker was well-known for being a gentleman on and off the ice. The team centered solely around Baker so much that they would be called “Baker and six other players”. Baker would graduate after another Collegiate championship in 1913-1914. Hobey Baker also served as the school’s football team captain. Baker left for the war after playing for St.Nicholas amateur team in New York City. As a pilot in WWI he was awarded the “Croix de Guerr” for his superior conduct under fire. Hobey Baker was killed in a Post war flying accident in Toul, France on December 21st, 1918. The annual award given to the National Collegiate Athletic Association player of the year was named after Hobey Baker in 1981.
World War Two
Just 21 short years after the conclusion of WWI, the second world war began. Involving more than 30 countries and resulting in more than 50 million military and civilian deaths. Adolf Hitler invading Poland on September 1st, 1939 set fire in the hearts of millions and so began the second world war.
Dudley “Red” Garrett 1924-1944
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Red began his young career at only 18 years old with the Toronto Marlies. He would lead the OHA in penalty minutes, posting 61 PIM in just 18 games. Garrett would be traded after this season to the New York Rangers. Red would tally 1 goal, 1 assist and 18 PIM in his 23 games with the NHL club. Even though his points total was not impressive, he played mature for his age and had a great rookie campaign. Garrett never actually finished his rookie season. The Royal Canadian Navy called upon him to serve on the destroyer HMCS Shawinigan. The ship and Garrett were an armed escort for ships taking cargo to troops overseas. HMCS Shawinigan was torpedo by a German U-boat on November 25th, 1944. All souls on board perished. In 1947, the AHL honored Red by naming a trophy after him. The trophy would be given to the AHL’s top rookie.
Russell McConnell 1918 – 1942
Born in Montreal, Quebec. Russell McConnell attended McGill University from 1935-1939. McConnell played hockey and football for McGill. He would set multiple records and win four national championships for the hockey team. His records in goals, assist and points which would total 116 goals, 95 assist and 211 points in 94 games would last for 55 years. Even more impressive then his massive career totals would happen in February of 1939. McGill would record 10 points in a single game twice within a five day span, against Harvard University and the University of Montreal. Russel McConnell would go onto graduate as one of the greatest McGill University hockey players of all time. The New York Rangers would later offer Russell a roster spot but he would turn it down. Joining the Royal Canadian Navy reserve unit, he would be sent to sea aboard the HMCS Raccoon. The Raccoon took orders to chase down German sub U-165 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On October 9th, 1942 McConnell’s remains washed up on an Anticosti Island. Later identified by a class ring and committed to the sea with full naval honors.
This weekend for many of us will be filled with friends and family gathered around a grill or pool. Some may head to the lake or drive north for a long weekend in the woods. Whichever way you decided to spend this memorial day, take a second and thank of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. Without that sacrifice we don’t get to enjoy this wonderful game of hockey many of us love so dearly. As a Veteran of the United States Navy, no holiday means more to me than Memorial day. Ill forever be thankful of my fallen brothers and sisters.