Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spelling it Out

Last week, I wrote about goalkeeper Harry "Hap" Holmes and his back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 1917 (Seattle Metropolitans) and 1918 (Toronto Arenas). Since Holmes accomplished this feat, no other goaltender has manged to win consecutive Cups while playing for different teams.

Harry "Hap" Holmes

Also mentioned, was Corbett Denneny, a teammate of Holmes on the 1918 Arenas. In the fifth and deciding game of the Stanley Cup Series, Denneny scored the game winning goal, which gave Toronto a 2-1 victory and the first Stanley Cup in National Hockey League history.

Corbet Denneny
Corbett Charles Denneny, a  5'8"/160lbs centre, was born in Cornwall, Ontario. He began his professional hockey career in 1914-15 with the Toronto Shamrocks of the National Hockey Association (NHA). Over the next 17 years, Denneny would skate for a number of clubs in different leagues.

In Toronto, he was a member of the Shamrocks (1914-15/NHA); Blueshirts (1915-16 to 1916-17/NHA); Arenas (1917-18 TO 1918-19/NHL); St. Pats (1919-20 to 1922-23/NHL); St. Pats/Maple Leafs (1926-27/NHL). Also, Denneny had stints with the Ottawa Senators of the NHA and several clubs in the National Hockey League. These would include the Hamilton Tigers (1923-24) and Chicago Black Hawks (1927-28).

In the NHL, Denneny participated in 176 matches, scoring 103 goals and 42 assists for 145 points. His final season in pro hockey came with the Chicago Shamrocks (American Hockey Association) in 1930-31.

A quirky fact relating to Corbett Denneny is the spelling of his last name. The legal surname is spelled D-e-n-n-e-n-y. For confirmation of this fact, I checked the 1901 Census of Canada. In the census, Corbett Denneny is listed along with other relatives. The census provides collaborating details, such as date of birth (Jan.25, 1894) and residency (Cornwall & Stormont). Also listed as a household member is Corbett's younger brother, Cy Denneny. He had a brilliant 15 year run as a pro, winning five Stanley Cups. Cy Denneny is an honoured member (1959) of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

An obituary published in 1963, explains the origin of the misspelling of Corbett's surname. When he first appeared on the hockey scene, sports writers of the time, added another letter to the spelling. Newspaper accounts document the name being spelled D-e-n-n-e-n-a-y.

Newspaper report from 1918 which captures the misspelling

The obituary reveals Denneny adapted the new spelling. This fact is clearly established when visiting Corbett's final resting place in Etobicoke, Ontario.

His tombstone (above) reads, "IN LOVING MEMORY OF CORBETT C. DENNENAY 1894-1963.

Corbett Denneny passed away on January 16, 1963. His post-hockey career was spent working for the YMCA. He was a director for the organization, assigned to Toronto's Central YMCA.

Hockey game or name game - Corbett Denneny/Dennenay was a willing participant.

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