The above photo was posted on social media by the Hockey Hall of Fame. The caption read: "A look inside the dressing room at Maple Leaf Gardens January 14, 1947 - 72 years ago today! Assistant Trainer Bill Smith watches over Viv Lynn and Howie Meeker as they receive sun lamp and radio-therapy for their injuries."
In my Bob Goldham book, I wrote about Howie Meeker's views on the physical care Leaf players received during that era. First, here's the context that led me to pursue this aspect with Meeker.
On November 1, 1946, Goldham and his teammates made a visit to Montreal to play the Canadiens at The Forum. In the third period of a physical battle with the Habs, Goldham suffered a knee injury that resulted in him leaving the game. A newspaper story noted: "They lost Bob Goldham early when he and Reardon (Ken) tangled, both went down, and in the fall Goldham's knee doubled back and a ligament went."
Curious to know how an injury of this nature was treated, I asked Meeker. Here is his reply:
"Tim Daly had a tube of Ikthemal and no matter what the injury was he put it on. Harry Watson one day got whacked and he couldn't get in the upper berth (on the train). He had Ikthemal (cream) on the front of his chest, over his shoulder, and on the back of him. It was like tar and it smelled like tar. They had a machine there (in the dressing room) with two hip pads on the thing and it was like a toaster. No one took it seriously."
My how times have changed relating to sports medicine and treatments used to mend an athlete. Meeker's final comment certainly provides the players perspective on the treatments they received during that time.