Thread: ATD 2010 Bios
View Single Post
02-27-2010, 04:14 PM
seventieslord's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Country: Canada
Posts: 28,322
vCash: 500
Sprague Cleghorn, D

- Member of the HHOF
- 5'10, 190 lbs - one of the largest players of the 1910s
- Stanley Cup (1920, 1921, 1924)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1925, 1927)
- Hart Trophy Runner-up (1924, 1926)
- Top-10 in his league in goals three times (7th-1915, 8th-1922, 10th-1917)
- Top-10 in his league in assists three times (1st-1915, 3rd-1919, 6th-1917, 9th-1922, 9th-1925)
- Top-10 in his league in points three times (3rd-1915, 8th-1922, 10th-1917)
- Top-8 in points by defensemen every season from 1911-1926, 13 of these 16 times in the top-4 (1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th)
- Top-3 in points by defensemen in playoffs 4 times (across all leagues, including stanley cup play) (2nd-1925, 2nd-1919, 3rd-1924, 3rd-1921)

Originally Posted by
Originally Posted by
A remarkably talented and fierce competitor, Sprague Cleghorn was admired, despised and feared during his playing days. Wherever he skated, Cleghorn served as the anchor of his team's defense or occasionally posed an offensive threat as a forward. His on-ice accomplishments and physical style of play made him a virtual archetype of the hard-nosed star of hockey's early days.

The 1911-12 season brought Cleghorn back to his hometown to suit up for the mighty Wanderers. His end-to-end rushes and cantankerous defensive play rapidly endeared him to the Montreal fans. ...Many times Sprague lost his temper and violently punished individuals who took liberties with his sibling, such as star forward Newsy Lalonde, who once checked **** hard and was made to pay for his action.

Cleghorn was a major factor in Ottawa's Stanley Cup triumphs in 1920 and 1921. During the 1920 championship series against the Seattle Metropolitans, he formed an effective backline tandem with fellow star Eddie Gerard. Although Cleghorn spent most of the 1920-21 regular season with the Toronto St. Patricks, he rejoined Ottawa in time to be a part of the squad's Stanley Cup triumph over Vancouver in a hotly contested and often violent championship series.

Cleghorn claimed his third Stanley Cup win in 1923-24 when his playing helped Montreal eliminate Vancouver and Calgary from the Pacific league in the playoffs. Cleghorn served as team captain from 1921 to 1925. The hard-nosed rearguard concluded his NHL career playing with the Boston Bruins until 1928.

Over his 16-year career in the NHA and the NHL, Cleghorn accumulated 169 goals, mostly from the defense position. At the time of his retirement he trailed only Harry Cameron among defenders on the all-time scoring list in the pro leagues. His goal contribution and competitive nature were key components to the success of every team he played on.

As well known as he was for his speculative rushes on offense, Cleghorn was lauded for his play even when he didn't have the puck. Many of the game's top forwards were less inclined to venture near a net guarded by a tough defender. But Cleghorn wasn't a mere bully; he was respected for exceptional defensive play that was considered to be at the same level as such stars as Eddie Gerard and George Boucher.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
He was sensational when Ottawa won the cup in 1920... He is one of the greatest but roughest players the game has known...Cleghorn was one of the most aggressive players the game has ever known and to get by him, opponents had to face up to bodychecks, crosschecks, elbows, buttends and fists. His rushing was equally aggressive and whoever might relieve him of the puck would not come by it easily.
Originally Posted by Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia
a Montreal native and a big, capable leader. he was a product of a rough neighbourhood where everything you got you had to fight for. And he played hockey the same way.
Originally Posted by Honoured Members
he could score goals at one moment, and at the next send someone off on a stretcher with his stick work.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Despite a capacity for outright savagery, Sprague Cleghorn was one of the finest defenders the game of hockey has ever known... he was able to make effortless transitions between the physical game and whirling rushes.

While Cleghorn was adept with the puck, he was possibly better without it. So harsh was his treatment of opposing forwards that many were scared to hang around the net... Cleghorn was no dime-a-dozen goon.
Originally Posted by Lions In Winter
You might go up to Sprague Cleghorn and jokingly mention that his name sounds like a root fungus. You would do it exactly once, and you would do it never again.

With ***** and the Cleghorns on the team, the fleeter skaters and playmakers could operate with relative impunity - in those days that meant the opposition wouldn't attempt to rearrange your facial features more than once or twice a game.
Originally Posted by Honoured Canadiens
Sprague Cleghorn was such a mean player that the opposition absolutely hated him... Showed himself to be a fierce competitor... anchored the defense corps that won the cup in 1924...
Originally Posted by Hockey Immortals
Many brawls broke out started by Sprague, who seemed to almost have a personal grudge against the opposition... He was certainly loved by hometown fans but very few others.
Originally Posted by Win, Tie, Or Wrangle
Cleghorn was the defensive stalwart, paired with either Eddie Gerard or Harry Cameron... the most feared defenseman of the time... in 1927, Cleghorn was coming to the end of his career, but his style of play had not mellowed; he remained one of the most feared men in the league...
Originally Posted by The King Clancy Story
Sprague made no bones about it. He'd skate over to the Montreal bench where they kept a big can of talcum powder, sprinkle some of it on his hockey glove, and then run that glove up and down the shaft of his stick. Then he'd glare over at our bench and we knew that he was ready - ready to give one of us the butt end of his stick. We'd begin to wonder which one of us would be nursing cracked or broken ribs before the night was over. Sprague could slip that butt end into you like a knife. He was smooth as silk and the referee would never even notice.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1913-03-11
Sprague Cleghorn excelled in dazzling serpentine runs down the ice... holding his stick with one hand blocked the opponent with the other and bore down on the Ottawa net in many a speedy dash... with lightning speed sped from one side of the rink to the other until he was well in the enemy's territory and scored from a difficult angle... scored after another dodging journey through the Ottawas...
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1914-03-17
******* and Sprague Cleghorn gave ***** valuable assistance on the defense, and time and again they stopped the Vancouver charge when it looked as if nothing could stay Taylor's spectacular rushes.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1924-02-24
Sprague Cleghorn was the hero of the Canadiens' win, scoring two of three goals on individual rushes and otherwise turning in a remarkable game.
How's this for durability?

Originally Posted by NY Times, 1924-04-30
When Sprague Cleghorn, captain of the Montreal Canadiens, world's professional hockey champions, was relieved in the last period of the recent Stanley Cup series match against calgary, he is believed to have completed a record for continuous professional hockey play which will stand for a long time. It was the first time in the 76 games he has played with the Canadiens that he has ever stepped out for a rest. In 1922 Cleghorn played 24 complete games. he played the same number in 1923 and this year he participated in 23 regularly scheduled games and five playoff battles.
Cleghorn still had it, even very late in his career, as evidenced by his two hart runner-ups, and what was written about him:

Originally Posted by NY Times, 1926-01-04
Thursday night Tex Rickard's Rangers play the Boston Bruins, a lineup which includes Sprague Cleghorn, one of the fastest of all the hockey stars.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1926-01-06
Cleghorn is rated as one of the strongest defensive players in the game.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1926-01-08
Cleghorn broks loose shortly after this, jimmied through the New York skaters then passed the puck to ******** just in time for the center to jam in a goal and tie the score.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1926-01-23
Sprague Cleghorn, who on his last visit played the roughest exhibition of hockey seen here this season, will be closely watched by the New York players tonight.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1926-01-24
Sprague Cleghorn put the Bostonians in front when he skimmed down on the New York net alone and when ******* tumbled in front of him he dodged to one side and pocketed the disc through ******' skates.
Originally Posted by 1927-01-02
Two of the greatest defensemen now playing in the pro ranks, Lionel Conacher of the Americans and Sprague Cleghorn of the Bruins, will be pitted against eachother...
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1927-01-16
The defensemen in hockey are known as the hoisters. It is their duty to receive visiting delegates from the opposing team, to hoist them in the air and to let them fall where they may.

Lionel Conacher of the Americans, Ching Johnson of the Rangers, King Clancy of the Senators, and Sprague Cleghorn of the Bruins are the premier hoisters of the league.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1927-03-30
The Bruins gathered their second goal; this was a result of the magnificent piece of work by veteran defenseman Sprague Cleghorn, who carried the disc down, passed to *********, and then was waiting to clip it in when ********* passed it back.
Originally Posted by Boston Globe, 1927-11-15
Sprague Cleghorn was masterful with his checking when the B's were shorthanded, which happened on occasion.
The things that were said about him years after retirement were very positive as well. Note the many references to his superb skating, his teaching ability, his leadership, and how he was regarded by his peers. Poor teammate? I think not.

Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1930-05-13
For years Sprague Cleghorn was regarded as a bad man to tangle with in professional hockey, but there never was a player who could make him retreat. There were times when he was held up to severe criticism, and Cleghorn certainly did earn many penalties, but there was another side to this man that few understood. He was generous to a fault to his friends, and he was mighty loyal. Just recently in the frigid waters of Lake St. Francis he proved it. With two companions, Cleghorn set out on a fishing trip, and when a mile from shore the man who couldn't swim tried to change his position in the boat, in a second it turned over. The waves were running very high, but Cleghorn and Strachan placed their pal on the bottom of the capsized boat, and started the long battle to reach the shore. For an hour and a half they struggled along, with Cleghorn, the man in charge, urging his companions to keep on battling. The weather and the water were bitterly cold, and the non-swimmer several times slipped from his precarious position, and had it not been for the fighting spirit displayed by one of the greatest hockey players who ever lived he would never have ben saved. Finally they reached what they thought was the shore only to discover that they had landed in deep muskeg, where they sank to their hips, but managed to struggle through to a barned-wire fence, where Cleghorn grasped the wire with one hand and with the other dragged the non-swimmer to terra firma. Cleghorn's hands were cruelly torn, and all three men were in bad condition, but it was not until they had reached a farmhouse that Cleghorn gave evidence of the terrific battle against death in which he had just conquered. Those companions who struggled through with him will never forget Sprague Cleghorn, the man of iron nerve who, if necessary, would sacrifice his life to save those of his friends.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1930-09-10
he, at different times, fractured both legs near the ankles. most athletes would have been useless after such mishaps, but they never bothered Cleghorn, who continued to stand out in the fastest hockey company in the world.
Originally Posted by 1934-02-02
Referring to the wind-up of ******* ********'s NHL career as a player... a great deal of his success was due to his association with Sprague Cleghorn when they were defensive partners at Boston. His reputation for gameness was also emphasized through association with Peg. In his first game against cleghorn, the very young, brave, unwise ******** taunted Cleghorn, invited him to do a bit of mixing... History doesn't record any time that Sprague let such an invitation go unchallenged. The result was that ******** was knocked out with a scalp wound in his head... Hitchman was sold to Boston, where Cleghorn took him in hand, taught him all he knew, which was plenty, about defense work - and a new star was born who flourished for years.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1936-12-29
For several seasons he and Sprague Cleghorn were Canadiens' regular defensemen, and they certainly made the road to ****** ******'s net the rockiest one to travel in all the history of hockey.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1937-01-30
Jimmie Kelly of new York's "vigllage" doubts if he ever saw a hockey player who could skate backwards with Sprague Cleghorn, a talent which made that Canadiens star one of the greatest defensemen - his eye was never off the puck.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1943-01-18
But Mr. Clancy finally yielded the information that the greatest axeman of all-time was Sprague Cleghorn. In fact, Clancy also said that, in his opinion, Cleghorn was the greatest of defensemen.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1943-03-16
(Sammy, NHL player from 1924-1930) Rothschild got to talking about hockey players he has seen in the past 20 years, and when asked to select the inevitable all-star team, he didn't hesitate at all, came up fast with the following team: ******* ******, Eddie Shore, Sprague Cleghorn, Milt Schmidt, Bill Cook, Busher Jackson, coach *** ****.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, 1956-07-13
Described by Frank Selke as "one of the truly great old-time hockey players", Cleghorn was a powerfully-built defenseman... fast, fearless, a skillful puckhandler, Cleghorn was recognized as a defense great of his era... Old-timers recall the rugged Cleghorn as a practical joker in a game which was becoming steadily more serious. He could tell a funny story when pressure on his team was heaviest, iron nerves undisturbed by sports crises.

Last edited by seventieslord: 04-11-2010 at 04:53 AM.
seventieslord is offline   Reply With Quote