Moose Johnson

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Moose Johnson
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1952
Ernie Moose Johnson, New Westminster Royals.jpg
Johnson in 1912 with the New Westminster Royals.
Born (1886-02-26)February 26, 1886
Montreal, QC, CAN
Died March 25, 1963(1963-03-25) (aged 77)
White Rock, BC, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for Montreal Hockey Club
Montreal Wanderers
New Westminster Royals
Portland Rosebuds
Victoria Aristocrats
Playing career 1905–1931
Johnson with the Montreal Wanderers on a 1911 Imperial Tobacco hockey card.

Thomas Ernest "Ernie, Moose" Johnson (February 26, 1886 - March 25, 1963) was a Canadian ice hockey player whose professional career spanned from 1905 to 1931. He was a member of four Stanley Cup winning teams between 1905 and 1910 with the Montreal Wanderers of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA) and later the National Hockey Association (NHA). He moved west, and switched from left wing to defence, in 1911 to join the newly formed Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). He spent the following decade playing with the New Westminster Royals, Portland Rosebuds and Victoria Aristocrats where he was named a PCHA first-team all-star eight times and played in the 1916 Stanley Cup Finals with Portland. He later played minor professional hockey in California, Minnesota and Oregon before retiring at the age of 45. Johnson was known for using perhaps the longest stick in the game's history, giving him a 99 inch reach. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952.

Playing career[edit]

Montreal Wanderers[edit]

Johnson's playing career began in 1902 in the Montreal City Hockey League where he would, at times, play with his junior, intermediate and senior teams all in the same weekend.[1] He moved onto the Canadian Amateur Hockey League in 1903 and played two seasons with the Montreal Hockey Club, scoring 9 goals in 11 games in that time.[2] He then moved on to join the Montreal Wanderers of the newly formed Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association in 1905, and finished tenth in league scoring with 12 goals.[1] The Wanderers tied with Ottawa HC for the best record in the league with 9–1 records, necessitating a playoff to determine the league champion. Johnson scored a goal in the first game of the two-game, total goal series as Montreal won 9–1 on home ice.[3] Ottawa came back to lead the second game 9–1, and tie the series, but two late goals by Montreal's Lester Patrick gave Montreal the victory, 12–10 on aggregate, to win both the ECAHA championship, and the Stanley Cup as Canada's national amateur champions.[4]

The ECAHA turned professional in 1906–07, and the Wanderers signed Johnson to a contract. Along with teammates Jack Marshall, Hod Stuart, Frank Glass and Riley Hern, Johnson became the first professional player ever allowed to compete for the Stanley Cup as the Wanderers defended a challenge by the New Glasgow Cubs of the Maritime Hockey League prior to the ECAHA season's start.[1] The Wanderers lost a second challenge for the Cup, this time by the Kenora Thistles in January 1907 but finished the ECAHA season with a perfect 10–0 record to earn the right to challenge Kenora to a return matchup in March. Johnson improved to 15 goals in 10 games during the season, and was named to the second all-star team on left wing.[2] He scored five more goals in the six games played over three Stanley Cup challenges,[5] including two in the final game of the second series against Kenora to help the Wanderers regain control of the Cup.[6]

Johnson was again named to the second all-star team on left wing in 1907–08. His offence fell in the ECAHA season, as he recorded nine goals in 10 games for the ECAHA champion Wanderers, but he added 11 goals in five Stanley Cup challenge games as the Wanderers successfully defended their title on three occasions. Johnson was an offensive star in the challenges, scoring four goals on one game against the Ottawa Victorias in a January 1908 challenge, and again scoring four in a game against the Winnipeg Maple Leafs in a March 1908 challenge.[2] He ended the season by scoring the game-winning goal in a single game challenge by the Toronto Professionals just days after Montreal had defeated Winnipeg.[7] He scored one goal as Montreal again defended the Stanley Cup against the Edmonton Eskimos in a challenge that preceded the 1908–08 ECAHA season, and added ten more during the campaign, but Montreal lost the league title to Ottawa, and with it control of the Stanley Cup.[2]

In 1909–10, the Wanderers jumped to the newly formed National Hockey Association (NHA). Johnson scored seven goals during the season to help the Wanderers win the inaugural league championship, and consequently re-capture the Stanley Cup from Ottawa. The victory marked the fourth time Johnson and the Wanderers had won the trophy since 1905.[8] Johnson completed his second NHA season in 1910–11, scoring six goals and recording 60 penalty minutes in 16 games.[5]

Johnson grew up in the same neighbourhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montreal as fellow Wanderers player Frank "Pud" Glass. The two were inseparable companions off the ice and also teamed well together on the ice.[9] Johnson and Glass played together on the 1902–03 Montreal St. Lawrence team in the Montreal City Hockey League before rejoining in the 1906 season on the Montreal Wanderers.

New Westminster, Portland and Victoria[edit]

Johnson, third from left, with the 1914–15 Portland Rosebuds.

When Lester and Frank Patrick formed the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in 1911, they sought to lure the NHA's top stars out west. Johnson, by then considered one of the game's best players, was among the players who jumped at the higher salaries the Patricks were offering.[10] Johnson was placed on the New Westminster Royals, and switched positions from left wing to cover-point (defence).[2] He remained a star on offence, scoring nine goals in 14 games, and was named to the PCHA's first all-star team,[1] as New Westminster won the inaugural PCHA championship.[11] Prior to the 1912–13 season, and despite being branded an "outlaw" by the NHA, Johnson appeared ready to return to the Wanderers as he signed a new contract with the eastern team.[12] However, he previously signed a contract with the Royals,[11] and ultimately chose to remain with New Westminster.[13]

Johnson was again named to the all-star team that season,[2] then played a third year in New Westminster in 1913–14 though he missed a month of the season after suffering a deep laceration on his leg during a game.[14] Following the season, he moved to Portland, Oregon when the Royals transferred south to become the Portland Rosebuds. He again made the all-star team in 1915, the first of five consecutive seasons in which he did so.[1] Johnson again faced contract issues prior to the 1915–16 NHA season when he refused to sign Portland's offer, demanding better terms.[15] He eventually signed with Portland, and was reported to have turned down lucrative offers to return to the NHA.[16]

The Rosebuds won the PCHA championship that season, and in doing so became the first American team to compete for the Stanley Cup.[17] For Johnson, it marked his first in a Stanley Cup final in six years, and was not without controversy. The Rosebuds faced the NHA's Montreal Canadiens, and the entire series was played in Montreal. As a consequence of his jumping to the PCHA in 1911, Montreal Wanderers owner Sam Lichtenhein had won a judgement against Johnson for $2,000 for breach of contract, but it was not enforceable unless he returned to the jurisdiction of Quebec's courts. When it became known that Lichtenhein would gain Johnson's salary for playing in the series, Johnson contemplated refusing to play.[18] He decided to play in the series anyway, and scored one goal in the five game series.[2] The Canadiens won the best-of-five series 3–2.[19]

Lester Patrick, managing the Spokane Canaries, thought he had an agreement to secure Johnson's playing rights for the 1916–17 season. Portland had come to verbal agreement with Patrick that they would do so if he would relinquish claims on four players Portland sought to sign. When it was determined that some of those players would not report to Portland, the Rosebuds refused to relinquish Johnson, leading Patrick to claim he had been "double crossed".[20] Remaining with the Rosebuds, Johnson posted a career high 21 points in 1916–17.[5]

When the Rosebuds relocated to Victoria, British Columbia to become the Victoria Aristocrats, Johnson moved north with the team.[2] His offence had declined since 1917, as he scored only five, six and five points in the following three seasons, and no goals in that third season of 1919–20.[5] He improved to five goals and seven points in 1920–21, and was named a first-team all-star for the eighth time.[2] However, when his play was met with jeers from the home fans in the 1921–22 season, Johnson felt it was time to retire.[21]

Johnson returned to hockey in 1925 when he played a season in the California Professional League before spending the winter of 1926–27 with the Minneapolis Millers of the American Hockey Association.[22] He again returned to the game in 1928–29 with the Portland Buckaroos of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, then played two seasons in the California Hockey League between 1929 and 1931 with the Hollywood Millionaires and then the San Francisco Tigers before retiring for good at the age of 45.[5] Johnson was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952.[23]

Off the ice[edit]

Johnson was born in the neighbourhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montreal, Quebec on February 26, 1886. As a 14-year-old in 1900, he suffered an accident in which he survived a 2,300 volt electrical shock, but the incident resulted in the loss of two fingers on his right hand.[8] Upon moving to the pacific coast, Johnson took on a job working for the Union Pacific Railroad, working with the railway during the summers in between hockey seasons.[24] He settled in Portland when his career ended and worked full-time as a brakeman for Union Pacific until he retired to White Rock, British Columbia in 1954. He suffered a stroke in 1961, and died two years later at the age of 77.[8]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1905–06 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 10 12 0 12 44 2 1 0 1 3
1906–07 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 10 15 0 15 42
1907–08 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 10 9 0 9 33
1908–09 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 10 10 0 10 34
1909–10 Montreal Wanderers NHA 13 7 0 7 47
1910–11 Montreal Wanderers NHA 16 6 0 6 60
1911–12 New Westminster Royals PCHA 14 9 0 9 13
1912–13 New Westminster Royals PCHA 13 7 3 10 15
1913–14 New Westminster Royals PCHA 16 3 5 8 27
1914–15 Portland Rosebuds PCHA 18 6 4 10 21
1915–16 Portland Rosebuds PCHA 18 6 3 9 62
1916–17 Portland Rosebuds PCHA 24 12 9 21 54
1917–18 Portland Rosebuds PCHA 15 3 2 5 3
1918–19 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 15 3 3 6 0
1919–20 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 21 0 5 5 22
1920–21 Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 24 5 2 7 26
1921–22 Victoria Cougars PCHA 13 1 1 2 12
ECAHA totals 40 46 0 46 153 2 1 0 1 3
NHA totals 29 13 0 13 107
PCHA totals 191 55 38 93 255

Stanley Cup challenges[edit]

    Regular season  
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1906–07 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 6 5 0 5 8
1907–08 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 5 11 0 11 28
1908–09 Montreal Wanderers ECAHA 2 1 0 1 6
1909–10 Montreal Wanderers NHA 1 0 0 0 0
1915–16 Portland Rosebuds PCHA 5 1 0 1 9
Totals 19 18 0 18 51


  1. ^ a b c d e "Moose Johnson biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Duplacey, James; Zweig, Eric (2010). Official Guide to the Players of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Firefly Books. p. 265. ISBN 1-55407-662-5. 
  3. ^ "Wanderer won". Montreal Gazette. 1906-03-14. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  4. ^ "Stanley Cup leaves Ottawa". Regina Leader. 1906-03-19. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Moose Johnson statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  6. ^ "Cup comes back". Montreal Gazette. 1907-03-26. p. 4. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  7. ^ "Close call for champions and Cup". Montreal Gazette. 1908-03-16. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  8. ^ a b c Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: The ultimate A–Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. p. 940. ISBN 0-385-25999-9. 
  9. ^ "Turning Back Hockey's Pages" D.A.L. MacDonald, The Montreal Gazette, March 10, 1934.
  10. ^ "Eastern hockey stars signed by Patrick for Vancouver clubs". Calgary Daily Herald. 1911-11-13. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  11. ^ a b "Patrick may be disappointed". Montreal Gazette. 1912-10-31. p. 10. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  12. ^ "Wanderers throw down gauntlet through signing Ernie Johnson". Ottawa Citizen. 1912-10-23. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Vancouver and New Westminster open coast season". Calgary Daily Herald. 1912-12-05. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  14. ^ "Each coast hockey club has an injured player". Calgary Daily Herald. 1913-12-23. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  15. ^ "Coast league already has some "holdout" problems". Regina Leader. 1915-10-21. p. 21. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  16. ^ "Art Ross signs with the Senators". Toronto World. 1915-12-04. p. 5. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  17. ^ McFarlane, Brian (1990). 100 Years of Hockey. Summerhill Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-929091-26-4. 
  18. ^ ""Moose" Johnson may not play in game tonight". Saskatoon Phoenix. 1916-03-28. p. 6. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  19. ^ "Canadiens beat Portland 2–1 fifth and deciding game for Stanley Cup". Toronto World. 1916-03-31. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  20. ^ "Patrick hockey chief, says he's double crossed". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 1916-11-17. p. 6. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  21. ^ "Hockey star quits following jeers of fans". St. Petersburg Independent. 1922-02-20. p. 14. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  22. ^ "Minneapolis releases Oatman, Moose Johnson". Saskatoon Phoenix. 1927-10-26. p. 9. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Six hockey stars in Hall of Fame". Ottawa Citizen. 1952-08-19. p. 15. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  24. ^ De Geer, Vern (1963-03-29). "Morning". Montreal Gazette. p. 21. Retrieved 2011-03-07. 

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