Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 20
The Stanley Cup Journal

The Stanley Cup has visited locations around the world -- famous, intimate, large and small, but none were as inspiring as the visit to the Terry Fox Memorial. Terry Fox's 'Marathon of Hope' came to a premature conclusion on September 1, 1980 when chest pains and breathing problems forced him to stop running at a spot just northeast of Thunder Bay. After 143 days, Fox announced. "I'll fight. I promise I won't give up." Tragically, he died on June 28, 1981.(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The story of Thunder Bay, Ontario is truly a 'tale of two cities.' On January 1, 1970, the cities of Fort William and Port Arthur were amalgamated to create the vibrant new city of Thunder Bay. Located at the head of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, Thunder Bay is renowned for a rock formation known as the Sleeping Giant, the impressive Kakabeka Falls, a memorial to hero Terry Fox marking the spot where he drew a close to his cross-Canada run for cancer…and hockey.

Surely due as much to the favourable winter weather conditions as anything else, Northern Ontario has long been a breeding ground for exceptional hockey players. Timmins, Kirkland and Sudbury sent an astonishing number of players to the NHL through the past six decades. But Thunder Bay, and its foundation of Fort William and Port Arthur, might arguably lay claim to sending as many boys to the NHL as any other Northern Ontario location. Through the 1940's alone, the Calder Trophy for the NHL's rookie of the year went to natives of Fort William four times — Gaye Stewart in 1943, Gus Bodnar in 1944, Edgar Laprade in 1946 an Pentti Lund in 1949 (Lund was born in Finland but raised in Fort William). The Toronto Maple Leafs made hockey headlines in November 1947 when they traded the 'Flying Forts' — three forwards from Fort William (the aforementioned Stewart, Bodnar and Bud Poile) to Chicago for Max Bentley. During the forties and early fifties, the Maple Leafs, aided by the fact head scout Squib Walker lived in Fort William, signed Pete Backor, Larry Cahan, Dave Creighton, Bill (Johansen) Johnson and Danny Lewicki. Hall of Famers from the Lakehead include Jack Adams, Alex Delvecchio and Phat Wilson.

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Through 5 full seasons and 2 partial years, Benedict Woit collected 7 goals and 26 assists for 33 points in 334 regular season games.
(HHOF Archives)
Four other NHL stars, each born and raised in the area we know today as Thunder Bay, got time with the Stanley Cup between Sunday, July 31 and Wednesday, August 3.

Benny Woit was born in Fort William in 1928. Although recruited to play for St. Michael's College in the Ontario Hockey Association's junior loop — a team known nationwide for its affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs — Benny slipped under the radar and ended up signing with the Detroit Red Wings organization.

Woit was already a star before he ever stepped onto an NHL ice surface. In 1947, Benny was part of the St. Michael's Majors squad that captured the Memorial Cup. The very next year, he helped the Port Arthur Bruins win the very same trophy.

During the 1950-51 season, Woit played 2 regular season games and 4 in the post-season. The next year, he was a regular Red Wing. Detroit bolted from the pack with the opening faceoff of the 1951-52 season and never looked back until the final buzzer sounded 70 games later. With 100 points, Detroit finished first, outdistancing second place Montreal by 22 points.

Benny collected a goal and an assist in the semi-final versus the reigning Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs, pushing the Leafs aside in four consecutive games. In the final, they were all over the Montreal Canadiens like ugly on an ape to win the Stanley Cup in an astonishing eight straight games. For Benny Woit, it was a dream come true, but the exhilaration would be repeated twice more before he was through.

Benny played 5 full NHL seasons (4 in Detroit and 1 in Chicago) and was part of 3 Stanley Cup celebrations. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
The Red Wings truly were a dynasty through the early 1950's and Benny Woit was a big part of that team. The Wings won the Stanley Cup again in 1954 and 1955 with Benny on the blueline, often paired with Marcel Pronovost. Then, during the summer of 1955, Benny was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Benny, his wife Julie and daughters Debbie and Denise moved to the Toronto area a year ago, but hold their Thunder Bay roots close. They met the Stanley Cup on Sunday, July 31 at the hotel in which they were staying back in their hometown. A parade had been planned, and a red, convertible 1950 Monarch sat waiting for Stanley Cup champion Benny Woit and the Stanley Cup.

The parade of classic cars drove through the downtown core, with drivers honking and waving to passers-by.

A collection of classic cars escorted Benny Woit and the Stanley Cup as they drove through Thunder Bay, including a stop in front of the Fort Williams Gardens.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
As onlookers saw the Stanley Cup with Benny seated smiling next to it, they clapped, offered 'thumbs-up' or honked, depending on their situation at that moment. Benny was especially pleased to be driven past the Fort Williams Gardens, the site of many fine moments for the three-time Stanley Cup winner as a youngster. It was quite an occasion for Thunder Bay. It was quite an honour for Benny Woit.

The entourage stopped at Hillcrest Park, which offered a superb vista of the city. In the distance, you could see Lake Superior and traditionally, the Sleeping Giant formation, although it was not visible on the 31st.

Benny with wife, 2 daughters with city in background Benny and Julie Woit, along with daughters Debbie and Denise, pose with the legacy of Lord Stanley in Thunder Bay's breath-taking Hillcrest Park. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Woit family was driven to the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, where Benny was inducted in 1987. Between 1:00 and 4:00 that afternoon, Benny signed autographs and posed for pictures with the Stanley Cup, seated in front of an exhibit chronicling his wonderful career.

A real highlight for Woit was an oldtimers' dinner held at the Hall of Fame. Veteran players from all levels of hockey living in the Thunder Bay area meet once a month, and their July meeting was re-arranged to include Benny and the Stanley Cup's visit. While dining on Chinese food, Benny was able to catch up with many of his old friends from both the NHL and senior wars. Then, as coffee and dessert were being served, friends and former neighbours of the Woit family were able to join the celebration with Benny and the Stanley Cup at the Northwestern Sports Hall of Fame.

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Steve played 113 regular season NHL contests (74 in Detroit and 39 with Chicago), recording 31 points on 11 goals and 20 assists. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
One day in the not too distant future, Steve Black's sweater number will likely hang from the rafters at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Although Steve contributed as a rookie to the 1950 Detroit Red Wing Stanley Cup win, it's simply the fact that sweater #19 was later worn by some kid named Yzerman.

Detroit had finished first during the regular season and was poised to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, winners of the Stanley Cup the previous spring, in the first round of the playoffs.

In 1949-50, Black made his NHL debut, scored his first NHL goal and won the Stanley Cup championship. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Game 1 was chippy from the get-go and erupted into a bloodbath. Black watched in horror as teammate Gordie Howe lay prone on the ice, not moving, after attempting to check the Leafs' captain, Ted Kennedy. Gordie was carried off the ice o a stretcher at 8:41 of the third, later diagnosed with a fractured skull and broken nose. Howe was clearly in trouble and the word filtered back from Harper Hospital in Detroit that he was close to death. His parents were flown in from Saskatchewan. The fact that Detroit lost 5-0 was now a moot point when the health of the club's superstar was at stake.

Between bites of bratwurst, Steve Black visited with friends and neighbours in the yard of his daughter Mary Jo and son-in-law Paul.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
A cloud hung over the Olympia in Detroit for Game 2. Although the first period was placid, the second stanza was anything but. Just seconds before the buzzer, Detroit's Lee Fogolin tripped the Leafs Ted Kennedy, and Ted Lindsay exacted revenge by cross-checking him. Toronto's Jimmy Thomson came to the rescue and was cut over the eye for his trouble by Leo Reise Jr. Lindsay and Reise then took their sticks to Teeder.

The officials were finally able to quell the rough waters and get the third period underway. Briefly. Almost immediately, Bill Juzda of the Leafs was going toe-to-toe with Jimmy McFadden. McFadden scrapped with Howie Meeker after he stepped out of the penalty box. Late in the remnants of a 3-1 Detroit win, Ted Lindsay coldcocked Bill Ezinicki, then tangled with Bill Juzda.

Game 3 was a tame affair and ended in a 2-0 Toronto win. In Game 4, Steve Black tangled with Bill Juzda during a 2-1 Detroit victory. Toronto came back with a 2-0 shutout win in Game 5, then a 4-0 win in Game 6. Finally, in Game 7 of the semi-final, Detroit scored an overtime goal to win 1-0 and earn a berth in the Stanley Cup final against the New York Rangers.

Detroit won the first game convincingly, 4-1 but lost Game 2, 3-1. The third game ended with a 4-0 Detroit whitewash but the Rangers battled back in Game 4, edging Detroit 4-3. New York went ahead in the series wit a 2-1 win in Game 5, earning the victory in overtime. Game 6 was a 5-4 Red Wing win to set up the most dramatic game in sports — Game 7 of a Stanley Cup final.

Wearing his #19 Red Wings jersey, Steve Black shows the sterling silver plate and the replica Cup he received when he and his Detroit teammates won the Stanley Cup in 1950.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Rangers' Allan Stanley opened the scoring then Tony Leswick scored a minute later. Pete Babando and Sid Abel dumped in goals for Detroit early in the second to tie the game. The Rangers stormed back with a goal from Buddy O'Connor and then Detroit tied the game on a tally from Jimmy McFadden. There was no scoring in the third.

Overtime provided great tension but an equal dollop of excitement. Finally, Detroit ended the contest at 8:31 when quiet Pete Babando scored on a screened Chuck Rayner in the Rangers goal to win the game…and the Stanley Cup!

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78-year old Steve Black took the Stanley Cup to a photo studio first thing on Monday, August 1. It was the perfect opportunity to gather his family and secure a formal portrait. Daughter Judy and her husband Brad flew in from Calgary, along with their children Michael and Allison while his other daughter Mary Jo was present with her husband Paul, their daughter Jessica and son Dave.

After the nine o'clock photo sitting, the Stanley Cup was taken to Steve's Thunder Bay home. He pulled on his Detroit Red Wings sweater before carrying the Cup outside to show the neighbours, who were absolutely thrilled to see Steve with the Stanley Cup. At one o'clock, Steve and the trophy drove over to the home of his daughter Mary Jo and son-in-law Paul. The Fitzpatricks had set up a tent on their spacious lot and offered burgers, bratwurst and Italian sausages to guests. The Stanley Cup was placed on a table outdoors with Steve's Red Wings' sweater draped in front. Friends mingled and had their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. "I signed more autographs than I've signed in years," laughed Black.

The Staals, Thunder Bay residents and parents to Eric and Marc, visited Steve's Stanley Cup party but the boys declined — they didn't want to jinx their own chances of winning the Stanley Cup one day!

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Although John Adams didn't play a single minute with Boston during the 1969-70 season, he was toiling with the Bruins' farm team in Oklahoma City and was considered third in line behind Cheevers and Johnston on the goaltending depth chart.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
  John Adams played 14 games with the Boston Bruins during the 1972-73 season and later played 8 games with the Washington Capitals during the 1974-75 season. (HHOF Archives)

John Adams played 14 games for the Boston Bruins in 1972-73, backing up Eddie Johnston. Yet, he has his name engraved on the gleaming patina of the Stanley Cup for 1969-70, when the Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1941!

At 'oh-my-God' o'clock, John Adams held the Stanley Cup aloft at the Thunder Bay Golf and Country Club. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup victory of 1970 will go down in infamy for a single photograph — Bobby Orr airborne after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime on Mother's Day, 1970. Behind him is St. Louis Blues goalkeeper Glenn Hall while defenseman Noel Picard, the player who upended Orr, stands in front of the net. Orr is almost superman-like, his arms outstretched in celebration as he seemingly flies horizontal to the ice surface.

John Adams was the Bruins' third goaltender that season, ranked behind Gerry Cheevers and Ed Johnston. Yet, although Adams wouldn't play his first NHL game until 1972-73, the team valued his services enough to have his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup. Adams spent the entire season with Boston's Central Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City, where teammates included Nick Beverley, Tom Webster and Ivan Boldirev.

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The Stanley Cup arrived at the Thunder Bay Golf and Country Club at 6:45 on the morning of Tuesday, August 2. John's grin was so wide, the Sleeping Giant almost sat up and smiled! John and his wife Joan were wearing Boston Bruins' watches. "In 1990, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of that Stanley Cup win," remembers John, who celebrated his 59th birthday the week before. "Bobby Orr threw the party and gave each of us Bruins' watches!"

John and his wife Joan were joined for a family Stanley Cup celebration by son Jason, daughter-in-law Kelly, grandkids Jadyn and Easton as well as son Jeff, daughter-in-law Yvonne and grandson Jordan, who flew in from Toronto. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The brilliant trophy was placed at the first tee of the golf course so that each foursome that day would get the chance to see the Stanley Cup and get their picture taken with it in the tee box.

The Stanley Cup was then briefly taken to the home of John and Joan's son Jason. Jason and his wife Kelly have two children — Jadyn and Easton. Then, by 10 am, it was over to the home of Stanley Cup champion John Adams.

Another son, Jeff, lives with his wife Yvonne and son Jordan in Mississauga, Ontario and the three of them flew in to Thunder Bay to see Grandpa with his Stanley Cup. Friends and family dropped by all morning to see the trophy and get their photo taken beside it in John's memorabilia-filled family room.

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Dave Gatherum played just 3 NHL games, but recorded remarkable statistics -- 2 wins and a tie, 1 shutout and a sparkling goals against average of 1.00. (Fitzsimmons/HHOF)
At the age of 19, Dave Gatherum had already established himself as number three on the depth chart of goaltenders with the Detroit Red Wings' organization. With most franchises, that meant it was only a matter of time before the prospect climbed into the big leagues and staked his claim on hockey immortality. Unfortunately for Fort William's Dave Gatherum, the two goaltenders ahead of him turned out to be Hall of Famers Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall.

Sawchuk was only three years older than Dave, but made his debut January 8, 1950 replacing injured Harry Lumley, then usurped the crease position the next season. Glenn Hall, only six months older than Gatherum, was anxiously waiting his turn for NHL glory while playing with the WHL's Edmonton Flyers. Glenn played 6 games during the 1952-53 season, filling in admirably with 4 wins, a loss and a tie while Sawchuk was injured.

Dave Gatherum, meanwhile, was waiting for a shot at the NHL while playing with Detroit's Quebec Hockey League affiliate, the Sherbrooke Saints.

Although Terry Sawchuk played every game in goal for the Wings during the 1954 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Detroit management appreciated Dave's efforts earlier in the season to such an extent that they insisted his name be included on the Stanley Cup.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
At 3:57 of the third period on October 10, 1953 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens, Sawchuk was injured and Detroit's trainer Lefty Wilson was forced to suit up to finish the game in a 4-1 loss to the Habs. The next night, in Detroit facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dave Gatherum stood in the crease wearing the winged wheel of the home team. Making his NHL debut on October 11, 1953, Dave slammed the door on the Maple Leafs, earning a shutout in a 4-0 win. Gatherum was in goal for the next game too — a contest against the Blackhawks in Chicago on October 16 in which all four goals were scored in the third period in a 2-2 tie. Although the Hawks scored at the 21-second mark of the third, Dave Gatherum had gone 100 minutes and 21 seconds without allowing a goal — a standing NHL record for longest shutout sequence for a netminder from the start of his NHL career!

The next night, the Hawks challenged Detroit in Detroit and the game concluded with a 2-1 Wing win. Rookie Dave Gatherum had won 2 and tied 1, earned a 1.00 goals against average and collected 1 shutout along the way. There was only one problem…Terry Sawchuk returned from sickbay and Gatherum never played another NHL contest.

The Detroit Red Wings were so appreciative of Dave's contributions while their number one netminder was injured that they insisted Gatherum get his name included on the Stanley Cup when they won the championship on April 16, 1954. There it is, to be regarded and revered: 'DAVID GATHERUM.'

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Dave proudly holds the stick he used in his very first NHL game to blank the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 11, 1953. Each of Dave's teammates signed the souvenir. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
It had been a week of celebrations for Dave Gatherum. On Sunday, July 31, Dave and Ann Gatherum celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary, and were treated to a special dinner down by the lake. The next day was sports day at the lake and all those with summer homes enjoyed the camaraderie of neighbours in a setting of friendly games. Then, on Tuesday, August 2, it was a different type of sports day for 73-year old Dave Gatherum.

Dave welcomed the Stanley Cup on Saturday, August 2 at Play It Again Sports, a sporting goods store where his grandson Ryan and granddaughter Katy work. The store was celebrating its grand opening and had a special surprise for those dropping in at the store. Between 1:00 and 5 pm, Dave welcomed fans, posed with the Stanley Cup and signed pictures of the 1953-54 Red Wings team. Two local radio stations were on hand broadcasting from the Stanley Cup's temporary home. A long line-up spilling out onto the street kept Dave busy through the entire four hours he was at the store.

At 5, Dave took the Stanley Cup to the home of his daughter Laurie and her husband Wayne. The Magills hosted a full-on family party in their Dad's honour. Dave and Ann were joined by their daughter Laurie, her husband Wayne and their children Murray, Shauna and Ryan. Daughter Donna was there with her husband John and their daughter Katy. Their other daughter, Carly, was unable to get away from commitments in Belleville, Ontario. Dave Jr. was also there with his wife Deborah and their kids Logan and Spencer.

Dave and Ann Gatherum are circled around the Stanley Cup by their children and grandchildren. They gathered 'em up for what turned out to be an extraordinary week of events -- their 52nd wedding anniversary and a visit from Lord Stanley's Cup. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Later, Murray Magill, Dave's grandson, brought his teammates from the Lakehead Thunderwolves hockey team to see the Cup, while his brother Ryan brought pals from his Pinewood Ford Minor Midget Kings team. All the grandkids brought friends to witness the Stanley Cup.

An electric guitar plucked out the notes to the theme to 'Hockey Night in Canada' as Dave showed friends the goal stick he used to shut out the Maple Leafs in 1953. It was signed by the entire team, including Hall of Famers Alex Delvecchio, Gordie Howe, Red Kelly, Ted Lindsay and Marcel Pronovost. Fans were in awe at this incredible souvenir.

Between hockey stories, another astounding story came to light. "I'm Donald Trump's cousin," stated Gatherum. "My mother was a McLeod and so was Mr. Trump's."

Donald Trump may have a lot of things but there is one thing Dave Gatherum has done that his relative will never be able to do. "It's pretty safe to say that Donald Trump is not very likely to shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs in his first NHL game," laughed the affable Gatherum.

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The Thunder Bay Stanley Cup veterans of the summer of '05 took the Cup to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Health care professionals joined John Adams (2nd from left), Steve Black (3rd from left), Benny Woit (2nd from right) and Dave Gatherum (extreme right) as they brought some cheer to local patients. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup spent one additional day in Thunder Bay and all four Stanley Cup champions took the trophy that bears their names to the new Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Escorted by Diane Imrie of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, John Adams, Steve Black, Dave Gatherum and Benny Woit visited patients and personnel alike at the beautiful facility located in Thunder Bay's central core. It was a thrill for all, but unlikely anyone enjoyed the visit as much as our four Thunder Bay hockey players, bound together by being Stanley Cup champions.

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On Tuesday, the Stanley Cup Journal visits Ray Getliffe, Gaye Stewart, Leo Reise Jr. and John 'Goose' McCormack. Enjoy the weekend!

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services.
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