Ah, wonderful topic, hockey & playing for pleasure, completely free of authority, only The Code itself regulating play amongst the participants. Stickhandling in a crowd of 10, 20 or 30 against. That is some kinda fun stuff. Bob Davidson was a neighbour in my old neighbourhood back in Toronto when I was a kid, had a son some years older than I, Jim. Defenceman, one Hell of a shinny player. Went on to play in the minors for a few years I believe as did his son, making 3 generations in the Davidson clan who earned a living in the sport. We had 3 rinks on a schoolyard in the area naturally flooded Dec-Mar, one with boards, shinny games going pretty much non-stop or if empty, a few guys just out there hacking around. Remember Jim driving pucks right through the boards themselves with his slapshots, turning the 1 X 12's into kindling. Several others who also went on to play pro from those beginnings on that rink playing shinny every day after school, all weekend long, until lights out at 11.
Scouts are not really given the due they deserve. It was Davidson who was largely responsible for building the farm system, identifying talent, getting them signed & placed with St.Mikes & Neil McNeil, the Marlies, Markham & Weston & affiliates through the 50's & into the early 60's, the Leafs successes & Cup wins. Ballard treating him despicably when cleaning house in order to remove all vestiges of the Smythe era, cutting his salary in half & forcing him out. Davidson moved on to Philly, where with Shero he then built their mini-Dynasty of the early through mid-70's & beyond, the Flyers always more than respectible as an opponent regardless whether you appreciated their style of play & tactics. Davidson Sr as I understand an excellent 2 way player, assigned to cover Richard & other top talent, early clutch & grab type player with a low penalty count. Was fill-in Captain while Apps was serving in the Military during WW2.