Yes this is quite fascinating really. Some of these early players are still referred to as "one of the greatest Right Wingers" or whatever of all-time, consistently making the Top 100 Lists be it here, the HockeyNews or wherever, sometimes hard to find anecdotal or even statistical inf on some of them. However with the above, fairly well documented though obviously absent whatever criteria the Toronto paper was applying in 1905.
Take Montreal native & Rover Russel "Dubbie" Bowie. Retained his amateur status throughout his career, rejecting professional offers including the gift of a grand piano & some serious money back then to sign with the Montreal Wanderers. He's been compared to Nels Stewart, scoring 234 goals in 80 games over a ten year span. At just 17 & weighing all of 112lbs when he joined the Montreal Victorias in 1898 that team wins a Stanley Cup. In 1907, he scores 38 times in just 10 games, including one 10 goal outburst in one game. Obviously whoever these guys were playing against seriously over-matched so it makes it very hard to tell just how good to "great" any of them really were. Clearly talented, above & beyond the norm of that era yet it does leave one to wonder...
or Harvey Pulford there. He was a great "all round" athlete, playing Defence for Ottawa from 1893-1908 winning 2 Stanley Cups; while also playing for the Ottawa Rough Riders winning 4 Canadian football championships; Lacrosse with the Ottawa Capitals from 1897-1900 & who ruled just about everyone; Light Heavyweight & Heavyweight Champion Boxer of Eastern Canada from 1896-98 and if that wasnt enough, Canadian Single & Double Blade Canoeing Champion. So Id hazard to guess he was put on that 1905 All Star Team because of his many accomplishments beyond just hockey as was the wont of people back in the day when considering such matters of compiling All Star Lists or "Top 10". These were predominantly amateurs, so they'd look at a broader field of criteria, though some picks are clearly hockey specific, long time Aces Goalie Moran there a case in point.
This was actually the ECAHA All-Star Team, so it only contains players from that league. The ECAHA was effectively the predecessor of the NHA as the premier league in eastern Canada.
It's interesting to see how much respect they gave to role playing forwards, but I guess it makes sense in the era of no substitutions for 60 minutes. Blair Russell was known as Russel Bowie's defensive conscience (not that they used the words "defensive conscience" back then, but similar concept), while I highly suspect that Billy Gilmour was Frank McGee's defensive conscience.
I think that the ECAHA did yearly All-Star Teams (Edit: Starting with this one in 1905). This ATD profile of Billy Gilmour lists these accolades:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur
Awards and Achievements:
Hockey Hall of Fame (1962)
4 x Stanley Cup Champion (1903, 1904, 1905, 1909)
1904: Montreal City Hockey League 1st All-Star
1905: ECAHA 1st All-Star
1907: Montreal City Hockey League 1st All-Star
1908: ECAHA 1st All-Star
1909: ECAHA 1st All-Star
Lester Patrick’s All-Time Team named in 1927
Russell Bowie called Gilmour the second best player he ever faced
I do not remember the source that Dreakmur used for the All-Star Teams though. I believe the 1905 ECAHA All-Star Team is the only full All-Star Team I've seen from the era.
Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 08-25-2013 at 02:29 PM.