Frank McGee (ice hockey)
|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1945|
November 4, 1882|
Ottawa, ON, CAN
|Died||September 16, 1916
|Height||5 ft 6 in (168 cm)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg; 10 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Ottawa Hockey Club|
Francis Clarence McGee, (November 4, 1882 – September 16, 1916) was an ice hockey player during the early days of hockey for the Ottawa Hockey Club, nicknamed the Silver Seven. Though blind in one eye, McGee was a legendary player of his era, and known as a prolific scorer. He once scored 14 goals in a Stanley Cup game and eight times scored five or more. Despite a brief senior career — only 45 games over four seasons — he led the Silver Seven in its reign as Stanley Cup champions during this time (1903–06), playing both centre and rover. During World War I, he enlisted in the Canadian Army and died in battle in France. When the Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1945, McGee was one of the original nine inductees.
Frank McGee came from a prominent Canadian family. His late uncle, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, had been a Father of Confederation. His father, John Joseph McGee, was clerk of the Privy Council (considered the top civil servant position). Frank was one of nine children born to John Joseph McGee and Elizabeth Crotty. Frank had five brothers and three sisters, Thomas D'Arcy, Jim, John, Walter, Charles, Katharine, Mary and Lillian. His brother Jim was also a noted athlete in football and ice hockey before dying in a horse-riding accident in May 1904. Charles, like Frank, also died in World War I.
After his education in Ottawa, McGee worked for the Canadian government Department of Indian Affairs, but he had a passion for sports and played lacrosse and rugby and excelled at ice hockey. While playing half-back for his rugby team, Ottawa City, he was a member of the team that won the Canadian championship in 1898. He played for the Ottawa Hockey Club from 1902 until 1906.
He enlisted in the military and fought in World War I for the 43rd Regiment (Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles) as a lieutenant in the 21st Infantry Battalion, starting in May 1915. That December he suffered a knee injury, and was sent to England to recover. He was given the choice of a posting in Le Havre away from the action, but chose to return to his battalion at the front. He returned to the 21st Battalion in August 1916 for the Battle of the Somme and was killed in action on September 16, 1916 near Courcelette, France. His body was never recovered. His brother Charles died in action in May 1915.
It is not known how McGee was allowed into the army with sight in only one eye. In his certificate of examination, the medical officer wrote that McGee could "see the required distance with either eye." According to McGee's nephew, Frank Charles McGee, his uncle tricked the doctor. When he was asked to cover one eye and read the chart he covered his blind eye, and when required to cover the other eye he switched hands instead of eyes. His medical history only lists "good" for his vision.
On March 21, 1900, the young and promising McGee lost use of an eye during an amateur game for a local Canadian Pacific Railway team from a "lifted puck." He retired from playing, becoming a referee. By 1903, he missed playing the sport so much that he joined the Ottawas despite the risk of permanent blindness. McGee was the youngest member of the team and stood only five feet six inches tall in a brutal sport; regardless, he excelled.
McGee was considered an outstanding playmaker and deadly scorer. He scored two goals in his first game with Ottawa. On a number of occasions, he scored several goals in a single game, the most famous being his 14-goal effort in a 23-2 victory over the team from Dawson City, on February 7, 1905. Those 14 goals, which included eight consecutive goals scored in less than nine minutes, remain to this day the most goals scored by a single player in a Stanley Cup hockey game, and has not been surpassed in any professional match. It was the most lopsided playoff game in Stanley Cup history. He scored five or more goals in eight other senior matches; his highest single-game total in regular season play was eight on March 3, 1906 against the Montreal Hockey Club.
His linemates included future Hall of Famers Alf Smith, Harry Westwick, Billy Gilmour and Tommy Smith. Frank Patrick, a contemporary of McGee's and like him a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, described McGee: "He was even better than they say he was. He had everything - speed, stickhandling, scoring ability and was a punishing checker. He was strongly built but beautifully proportioned and he had an almost animal rhythm."
After Ottawa lost the Stanley Cup to the Montreal Wanderers in 1906, McGee retired at just 23 years old. His retirement is attributed to his government position not allowing him to travel. He had briefly retired after his brother Jim's death in 1904. McGee retired after scoring 135 goals in only 45 games (both league and challenge). Only Russell Bowie rivals his average of 3 goals per game.
McGee was one of the original players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at its founding in 1945. Five years later, a poll of sports editors of Canadian newspapers selected the Silver Seven as the country’s outstanding team in the first half of the 20th century. In 1966, he was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.
Regular season and playoffs
- Stanley Cup Finals records
- Most goals in playoffs: 63 in 22 playoff games
- Most goals in one playoff series: 15 in two games in 1905 at Ottawa versus Dawson City.
- Most goals, one playoff game: 14, January 16, 1905 at Ottawa versus Dawson City.
Source: Diamond(2000), p. 91
- Houston, William. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-22. McGee himself had the nickname "One-Eyed Frank". The Ottawa Hockey Club was given the nickname after the seven players on the roster were each given a silver nugget after their 1903 Stanley Cup win. The players were not allowed to be paid money, under the rules of the time.
- "Silverware -- NHL Trophies - Stanley Cup". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-05-22. In 1906, The Silver Seven were the existing title holders and won two challenges. After the end of the regular season, the Montreal Wanderers tied for the league championship. A playoff was organized and the Wanderers won the Cup. It is considered by the Hockey Hall of Fame, among others, that there were two champions for 1906. There are other years with multiple winners in the age when the Stanley Cup could be won by challenge outside of league play.
- "John Jos. McGee Died Last Night At Age 81 Years". Ottawa Citizen. April 11, 1927. p. 4.
- "Sad Death of Ottawa's Captain". The Globe. May 15, 1904. p. 9.
- "Ottawans in casualties, Lt. Frank McGee's Death Was Officially Announced Saturday". The Ottawa Citizen. 1916-09-25. p. 6.
- Kitchen(2008), p. 188
- Houston, William. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "Item Display: Backcheck: A Hockey Retrospective". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-22. Also attributed to a game between Ottawa Aberdeens against Hawkesbury
- In those days, it was common play, before icing rules for the defence to shoot the puck up into the air ('lifting it' with the blade of the stick) into the other team's end of the rink and all players would then skate to the other end to recover it. Nowadays, the term is "dump and chase", though it must be shot from no further than the half-way 'centre' red line.
- McKinley(2006), pg. 31
- "Legends of Hockey: Frank McGee Biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "History of McGee's Inn: Frank McGee, the hockey legend". McGee's Inn Bed & Breakfast - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Website. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Beddoes(1990), pg. 40
- Coleman(1966), pg. 805
- Coleman(1966), pg. 122
- "The Ottawa Team". The Montreal Gazette. December 28, 1904. p. 2.
- "Legends of Hockey: Frank McGee Statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame - Inductees". Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Beddoes, Dick (1990). Dick Beddoes' Greatest Hockey Stories. Toronto, Ontario: Macmillan of Canada. ISBN 0-7715-9106-3.
- Coleman, Charles (1966). Trail of the Stanley Cup, vol.1 1893–1926 inc. National Hockey League.
- Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Stanley Cup. Toronto, Ontario: Total Sports, National Hockey League. ISBN 1-892129-07-8.
- Jenish, D'Arcy (1992). The Stanley Cup: a hundred years of hockey at its best. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Inc. ISBN 0-7710-4406-2.
- Kitchen, Paul (2008). Win, Tie or Wrangle. Manotick, Ontario: Penumbra Press. ISBN 978-1-897323-46-5.
- McKinley, Michael (2006). Hockey: a people's history. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-5769-5.
- Frank McGee's biography at Legends of Hockey
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography online
- Obituary, as reproduced on the Library and Archives Canada web site
- History of McGee Inn: Frank McGee, a hockey legend