Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For the first Time

While reading information on goalie Lorne Chabot, I came across an interesting tidbit. According to several sources, Chabot has the distinction of being the first hockey player to grace the cover of Time Magazine.

Time, "The Weekly Magazine", can still be purchased either by subscription or off the magazine rack. Covering current events, it is mostly noted for it's Man of the Year cover, which is published annually. Sifting through the Time Magazine archive, I was able to locate the February 11, 1935 cover/story featuring Chabot.

The article opens with a recap of NHL games played in the past week. Particular interest was paid to a contest involving the Black Hawks and New York Americans in Chicago Stadium. In a close confrontation, Chicago edged the Americans 3-2, with Marty Burke beating Roy Worters for the winning tally. The victory enabled Chicago to maintain their hold on first-place in the American Division.

In other action, Toronto defeated the Americans 2-1 in Maple Leaf Gardens. The Montreal Maroons outscored the St. Louis Eagles 5-2. In a tie-game played in Detroit, the Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens each netted four goals. At Madison Square Garden, the Rangers let a 3-0 lead slip away against Detroit, but recovered for a 5-3 win.

In a great promotion for the National Hockey League, the piece pointed out that 100,000 spectators took in NHL action in the one week span. The American audience was captivated by the Canadian game, with hockey ranking behind baseball and horse racing.

Time provided a glimpse into the business side of pro hockey. Statistics from the 1933-34 season, revealed some interesting information. A total of 1,750,000 customers shelled-out about $2,000,000 to witness 231 NHL matches. About 150 players made up the rosters for clubs participating in the NHL. The salary range for those under contract was between $3500 and $7500.

To highlight hockey's growth in America, specific details were presented relating to it's largest market, New York City. Over the course of 1933-34, 1,461,000 sports fans passed through the turnstiles at MSG. Hockey's share in this attendance figure was a remarkable 440,000 paying supporters.

In regards to Lorne Chabot, Time Magazine supplied some interesting biographical information on the man and hockey player.

He is described as a "bulky, silent, French Canadian." At the age of 16, Chabot joined the Royal Canadian Field Artillery. According to Time, he participated in battles at Passchendaele and Vimy Ridge. At the conclusion of World War I, Chabot became a member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. Once the NHL season came to an end, Chabot's off-season employment came as an ice cream salesman. His hockey salary for '34-'35 was $4500. Chabot was always decked-out in grey spats. While in Chicago, the goalie and his family (wife & 2 children) resided at the Groydon Hotel.

On the ice, Chabot chewed on a wad of gum to cope with his nerves. He had a superstitious side to his personality, wearing his lucky pants over the last nine years.

Providing an analysis for his style of play, Time pointed out that "Chabot almost never leaves his net. Slow at regaining his feet when he falls down, he indulges in a few of the acrobatic tricks that make the work of smaller goalies more spectacular."

Some 76 years later, the name of Lorne Chabot still occasionally pops-up in the sports pages. He is considered to be the greatest goalie not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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