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Eddie Gerard

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Eddie Gerard
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1945
Born (1890-02-22)February 22, 1890
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Died August 7, 1937(1937-08-07) (aged 47)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 168 lb (76 kg; 12 st 0 lb)
Position Left Wing/Defence
Shot Left
Played for Ottawa Senators
Toronto St. Patricks
Playing career 1910–1923

Edward George Gerard (February 22, 1890 – August 7, 1937) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and coach. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, he played professionally for 10 seasons for his hometown Ottawa Senators, spending the first three years as a left winger before switching to defence, retiring in 1923. He helped the Senators win the Stanley Cup three times in four years between 1920 and 1923, and won it again in 1922 as an injury replacement player with the Toronto St. Patricks, becoming the first player to win the Cup four years in a row. After his playing career he served as a coach and manager, working with the Montreal Maroons from 1925 until 1929, winning the Stanley Cup in 1926. Gerard further coached the New York Americans for two seasons between 1930 and 1932, before returning to the Maroons for two more seasons, and concluded his career with the St. Louis Eagles, whom he coached in 1934 before retiring due to health issues.

Renowned as a talented athlete in multiple sports, Gerard first gained prominence as a halfback for the Ottawa Rough Riders football club from 1909 to 1913, though he had to quit the sport when he moved to hockey. Outside of hockey he initially worked as a printer, before working in the geodetic survey, ultimately becoming chief engineering clerk. Well-renown during his hockey-playing career, he was regarded as one of the best defenders of his era, and gained note for being tough though not violent or considered a dirty player. When the Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1945, Gerard was one of the original 12 players inducted. He is also a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Sports career[edit]

Outside of hockey[edit]

Skilled in multiple sports, Gerard was regarded as "a first class cricketer, an outstanding paddler and a better than ordinary baseball player" in his youth.[1] In his later life he was an avid golfer and fisher, spending his summers near Pembroke, a town close to Ottawa.[1] At the age of 15 he helped the Ottawa-New Edinburgh Canoe Club win the junior Dominion paddling championship.[2][1] He had also played rugby football (a forerunner to Canadian football), joining the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1909 as a halfback, helping them win the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union title that year.[3] He continued to play for the Rough Riders until 1913, leaving the team when he turned professional with the Senators (Canadian football was strictly amateur at the time).[1]

Early hockey[edit]

Gerard started his playing career for local Ottawa amateur teams, the Ottawa Seconds and Ottawa New Edinburghs. He also participated in a Stanley Cup challenge series with the Ottawa Victorias in 1908 against the Cup holders, the Montreal Wanderers; Gerard replaced an injured player in the second game of the two-game series, which saw Montreal retain the Cup.[4] In November 1913, while still an amateur player, Gerard was approached by several teams in regards to turning professional. He initially had an offer from the Montreal Canadiens of C$$1,000 (equivalent to $21,733 in 2017) for the season, but refused. Early in the month the Ottawa Senators offered him a contract of $1,500 (equivalent to $32,600 in 2017) for two seasons, which would have made him one of the highest paid players in hockey.[5] He also received an offer from the Sydney Hockey Club from the Maritime Hockey League which promised $1,600 (equivalent to $34,773 in 2017) for the season, with an extra $1,000 (equivalent to $21,733 in 2017) to come from advertisements.[6] Gerard joined the professional ranks in 1913–14 with the Ottawa Senators, after playing in senior amateur competition since 1907 with various Ottawa teams. One of the highest regarded athletes in Ottawa, he only signed with the Senators when they assured him he would be able to keep his government job.[7] When signed, he was given a bonus of $400 (equivalent to $8,693 in 2017).[8]

Professional hockey[edit]

The Ottawa Senators during the 1914–15 NHA season. Gerard is in the front row, far left.

Gerard's first game with the Senators came on January 28, 1914 against the Quebec Bulldogs.[9] He played eleven games with the Senators during the 1913–14 NHA season, and a further two games with the New Edinburghs team, recording thirteen points for the Senators and scoring two goals for the New Edinburghs (assists were not accurately recorded at the time).[10] He appeared in all twenty games for the 1914–15 season, in which the Senators won the league championship and played the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) for the Stanley Cup; Vancouver won the series. In 1915, he was named to the NHA All-Stars which went on a tour in British Columbia to play PCHA teams. He again played in all the games for Ottawa during the 1915–16 season, recording 18 points in 24 games. He followed that up with 26 points in 19 games in 1916–17.[10] The NHA was replaced by the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1917–18, and in the first year of the new league Gerard scored twenty points in twenty games. This placed him eighth overall in the league, his highest career finish in either the NHA or NHL. He served as the player-coach of the Senators from 1916 until 1918, when former Senators player Alf Smith was named coach, though Gerard as captain was still given a major role in team affairs.[11] Gerard had 14 points in 18 games during the 1918–19 season, and a further 3 goals in 5 playoff games.[10]

Starting in the 1919–20 season, a season that saw Gerard record 16 points in 22 games, the Senators became one of the most dominant teams in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup three times in four years between 1920 and 1923, only losing in 1922.[12] The following season Gerard had 15 points in 24 games. During the fifth and final game of the Finals, he had six penalties, one of which was a match penalty near the end of the game.[13]

Gerard had another strong showing in 1921–22, with 18 points in 21 games, as the Senators won the league championship, though they lost to the Toronto St. Patricks in the playoffs.[14] After the Senators were eliminated in the 1922 playoffs, Gerard was invited to play in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals. Harry Cameron, a defenceman of the St. Patricks, was injured in the previous game, and Vancouver Millionaires manager Lester Patrick gave permission for Toronto to use Gerard as a replacement (teams could bring in replacements for injured players so long as their opponents consented).[15] Gerard was instrumental in Toronto winning the game and forcing a deciding fifth in the series.[16] Toronto, with Cameron back in the line-up, won the series, and Gerard was included on the winning roster, his third Stanley Cup championship in a row.[17]

Back with the Senators the following season, where he recorded 19 points in 23 games, Gerard missed the first game of the 1923 Stanley Cup Finals against the Edmonton Eskimos, due to a broken collarbone from the prior series against the Vancouver Maroons, though was able to play in the second deciding match, which saw the Senators win the Cup for the third time in four years, and Gerard's fourth in a row.[18] He was the first player to win the Cup four years in a row.[19] Gerard retired from playing after the series due to a growth, although benign, in his throat, which diminished his breathing.[20][21]

Post-playing career[edit]

Gerard went into coaching after his playing career, winning the Stanley Cup in 1926 with the Montreal Maroons.

In 1925 Gerard was hired by the Montreal Maroons to be their joint coach and manager, replacing Cecil Hart midway through the team's inaugural season.[22] He coached the remaining eleven games of the season, winning only one, as the Maroons finished fifth in the league, eight points ahead of their fellow expansion team, the Boston Bruins.[23] Gerard served the dual role of coach and manager until the 1928–29 season. While in this role he won the Stanley Cup for the fifth time in 1925–26. The final against the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League was the last time the Stanley Cup was played for by non-NHL teams.[24] During the second game of the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals Lorne Chabot, the goalie for the opposing New York Rangers, was injured. It was custom of the era to allow for any goalies in attendance to fill in (teams only dressed one goalie at the time), but Gerard refused to allow the Rangers to use Alec Connell of the Senators, who was at the game. In response, 44-year-old Lester Patrick, the Rangers' coach and manager, took over, and ultimately won the game. The Rangers would go on to win the Stanley Cup.[25]

He resigned from the Maroons, where he never had a formal contract, on July 8, 1929. Though he never stated why he left the team, there were rumours that he was to join the Senators, whose former owner and manager, Tommy Gorman, resigned on the same day from the New York Americans in order to manage the newly-opened Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico.[26] In his five seasons as the Maroons coach Gerard had 80 wins, 75 losses, and 24 ties in 223 games.[27]

Offered the chance to replace Gorman as coach of the Americans, Gerard turned it down and spent the year away from hockey.[28] The Americans finished last in the Canadian Division in 1929–30, so they decided to replace player-coach Lionel Conacher, and again offered it to Gerard, who accepted. One of Gerard's first acts as the new manager of the Americans was to trade away Conacher, as he did not want the man he replaced overlooking him.[28] He would coach the New York Americans for two seasons, 1930–31 and 1931–32, finishing with a record of 34 wins, 40 losses, and 18 ties in 92 games, before resigning. In the fall of 1932 he returned as manager-coach of the Maroons. In the three years that Gerard had been away from the Maroons newspapers kept publishing rumours that he would return to the team.[29] He coached the team for two more seasons, 1932–33 and 1933–34, with 41 wins in 96 games, before being released and replaced by Gorman.[30]

Prior to the start of the 1934–35 season, the Senators moved from Ottawa to St. Louis, Missouri and changed their name to the St. Louis Eagles. Gerard was hired as the first coach of the Eagles and replaced his former teammate on the Senators, Georges Boucher.[31] The team lost eleven of their first thirteen games to start the season; a combination of the losses and his continuing health issues relating to his throat (doctors ordered him to stay away from hockey rinks in order to help his throat) led Gerard to resign as coach of the team on December 11, 1934, with Boucher coming back to replace him.[32][1]

When the Hockey Hall of Fame was opened in 1945, Gerard was named one of the initial inductees.[20] He was also inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.[2]

Playing style[edit]

Throughout his career Gerard was seen as one of the most important players on the Senators, and as a key figure in their three Stanley Cup wins. He was regarded as someone who "could hit with the force of a battering-ram," and in an era when defencemen were less involved in scoring, he was also able to "rush with the power of a forward."[3] When Gerard joined the St. Patricks during the 1922 Stanley Cup Finals, he was referred to as "one of Eastern Canada's premier athletes," and his "ability to administer a good heavy body check with lightning speed and clever stick-handling" was praised.[15] Gerard was also noted for his leadership of the Senators, and was considered an ideal captain of the team.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Gerard was born and raised in Ottawa, one of seven children (four brothers and two sisters).[1] His father, William, was of Scottish descent.[33] His middle name, George, was in honour of George Washington, who was born on the same day.[1] Gerard lived in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa, and grew up with future NHL players Aurèle Joliat, and the four Boucher brothers: Billy, Bobby, Frank, and Georges (Joliat, Frank, and Georges would all be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame).[1] He was married to Lillian Mackenzie, and had two daughters, Alisa and Margaret.[1]

Outside of hockey he worked as a printer and was employed by the Canadian Government Printing Bureau. He changed careers in 1912, moving to the geodetic survey, and rose in that field so that at the time of his death was chief engineering clerk for the survey.[3]

In early August 1937 Gerard's throat ailment, which had remained a minor issue, turned serious. Gerard went to the hospital, but was unable to be helped.[1] He died in Ottawa on August 7, 1937.[34] He was interred in Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.[35]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1907–08 Ottawa Seconds OCSHL 7 8 8
1907–08 Ottawa Victorias St. Cup 1 0 0 0 0
1908–09 Ottawa Seconds OCSHL 5 11 11 10 2 1 0 1 5
1909–10 Ottawa Seconds OCSHL 9 17 17 3 1 0 1 14
1910–11 Ottawa New Edinburghs IPAHU 6 9 9 18 3 6 0 6 6
1910–11 Ottawa New Edinburghs OCSHL 2 1 1 0
1911–12 Ottawa New Edinburghs IPAHU 11 12 12 8 4 8 0 8 6
1912–13 Ottawa New Edinburghs IPAHU 9 16 16 16 7 6 0 6 6
1913–14 Ottawa Senators NHA 11 6 7 13 34
1913–14 Ottawa New Edinburghs IPAHU 2 2 2
1914–15 Ottawa Senators NHA 20 9 10 19 39 2 0 0 0 18
1914–15 Ottawa Senators St. Cup 3 1 0 1 0
1915–16 Ottawa Senators NHA 24 13 5 18 57
1916–17 Ottawa Senators NHA 19 17 9 26 37 2 1 0 1 3
1917–18 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 13 7 20 26
1918–19 Ottawa Senators NHL 18 4 10 14 17 5 3 0 3 3
1919–20 Ottawa Senators NHL 22 9 7 16 19
1919–20 Ottawa Senators St. Cup 5 2 1 3 3
1920–21 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 11 4 15 18 2 1 0 1 6
1920–21 Ottawa Senators St. Cup 5 0 0 0 44
1921–22 Ottawa Senators NHL 21 7 11 18 16 2 0 0 0 8
1921–22 Toronto St. Patricks St. Cup 1 0 0 0 0
1922–23 Ottawa Senators NHL 23 6 8 14 24 2 0 0 0 0
1922–23 Ottawa Senators St. Cup 6 1 0 1 4
NHA totals 74 45 31 76 167 7 2 0 2 9
NHL totals 128 50 48 98 120 27 7 1 8 71
  • Source: Hockey Hall of Fame.[10]

Coaching record[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GC W L T Finish GC W L T Result
1917–18 Ottawa Senators NHL 22 9 13 0 3rd, NHL
1924–25 Montreal Maroons NHL 11 1 10 0 5th, NHL
1925–26 Montreal Maroons NHL 36 20 11 5 2nd, NHL 4 2 0 2 Won Stanley Cup
1926–27 Montreal Maroons NHL 44 20 20 4 3rd, Canadian 2 0 1 1 Lost Quarterfinal
1927–28 Montreal Maroons NHL 44 24 14 6 2nd, Canadian 9 5 3 1 Lost Final
1928–29 Montreal Maroons NHL 44 15 20 9 5th, Canadian
1930–31 New York Americans NHL 44 18 16 10 4th, Canadian
1931–32 New York Americans NHL 48 16 24 8 4th, American
1932–33 Montreal Maroons NHL 48 22 20 6 2nd, Canadian 2 0 2 0 Lost Quarterfinal
1933–34 Montreal Maroons NHL 48 19 18 11 3rd, Canadian 4 1 2 1 Lost Semifinal
1934–35 St. Louis Eagles NHL 13 2 11 0 5th, American
NHL totals 402 166 177 59 21 8 8 5 One Stanley Cup
  • Source: Hockey-Reference.[27]



External links[edit]