Friday, September 30, 2011

An Honour for Toe Blake

Recently, Montreal Canadiens icon, Toe Blake, was saluted by the people of Coinston, Ontario. This community in northern Ontario is next to Victoria Mines where Blake was born. Civic leaders paid tribute to Blake by naming their arena after the Hockey Hall of Fame member. Full Story.

Many in the hockey world were first exposed to Blake's hockey skills in the spring of 1931. At the time, the 18 year-old left winger skated for the Sudbury Wolves in the NOJHA.

On March 12, 1931, Blake and his teammates took to the ice at Arena Gardens on Mutual Street in Toronto, Ontario to face the Kingston R.M.C. The winner of the sudden-death game would advance to play the Hamilton Tigers in Allan Cup competition. For Blake, it was an opportunity to perform on the same ice as players who played in the National Hockey League, as Arena Gardens was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs. And Blake certainly took advantage of the chance to shine before a large audience. A newspaper report heaped praise on the rising star:

 In the first period it was an 18 year-old kid "Toe" Blake, who attracted attention for the Wolves. This is his first season in organized hockey and last night was his first on big ice. He tallied two goals. Sticking to the puck like glue, he was the first Woofer to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the military defence wasn't throwing its weight forward and sore shoulders sideways. Blake played a great game, especially in the first frame, and those two points of his put his teammates on their toes.

Behind Blake's effort, Sudbury defeated the military team from Kingston by a score of 8 to 3.

Next in line for the Wolves, was a meeting with the Senior OHA Champions, the Hamilton Tigers.

The two game series against Hamilton would be the end-of-the-line for Sudbury's hope of advancing in Allan Cup play. In game one, the Wolves were unable to muster-up any offence and they were shutout 5-0 by Hamilton. In game two, the score was much closer as the Tigers squeaked out a 2-1 victory. Hamilton took the two-game series seven-goals to one. Sudbury's lone goal came off the stick of Toe Blake. The goal came as a result of an individual rush by Blake.

Thus, was the start to a brilliant career in the game of hockey.

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