The big local sports news in 1936 was the holiday series of hockey games at the Olympic Arena in Lake Placid as reported by the Syracuse American in the Sunday edition of Dec.27, 1936.
The Clarkson and Harvard college hockey teams were scheduled for a three-game series on Dec. 31, 1936 and Jan. 1, 1937 and the preliminary games featured, not unlike 2009, teams in the Northwood Hockey Tournament. Exeter, the only team mentioned in the preliminaries, was to meet Northwood on opening night at 7:30 p.m.
Imagine what the Olympic Arena looked like in 1936 when it was only four years old. It had that wonderful front entrance, the concession area, and the long glass viewing area faced the ice in the lobby. In addition to the double doors at each side of the viewing area (the ice surface was then15 feet narrower than now) stairways at both ends of the lobby led to the upper level. The 2000 seats, which were wooden chairs attached by twos with fold-up seats, were probably always filled then, as they were years later when the Lake Placid Roamers packed the house every weekend playing Canadian teamshow to you think Percy Drouin and Phil Lalande got here?
The United States Olympic Hockey Squad (1932). Front row, Franklin Farrell, John Bent, Osborn Anderson, John Cookman, Gordon Smith and Edward Frazier, standing, Coach Windsor, Francis Nelson, Robert Livingston, Joseph Fitzgerald, Douglas Everett, John Chase, Winthrop Palmer, John Garrison, Gerard Hallock, Trainers Murray and
(Photo courtesy of the 1932-1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum)
Changing hockey lingo
Here are excerpts from the sports page:
"Some of the fastest hockey ever seen on the big arena ice sheet (gee, this is after Canada, the U.S. and Germany had won the Gold, Silver and Bronze on that ice sheet in 1932) was displayed by these same clubs just a year ago. Clarkson took the first game, 2 to 1; Harvard, the second, 5 to 1, while the final set-to ended in a 4-4 tie." No sudden death overtime back then.
"Harvard will again bring a heavy, powerful squad to Lake Placid, headed by five varsity football men. The first line has Capt. George Ford at center, Ralph Pope at right wing and Austin Harding at left. The starting defense will have Russell Allen, captain-elect of the Harvard eleven, playing at right defense and Traf Hicks holding down the other defense spot.
"Coach Joe Stubbs of the Cantabs finds his biggest problem in developing a goaler to take the place of Waldinger and Emerson, star net-minders from last year's outfit. Norton Kidder, former Northwood and junior varsity goaler, is sharing the first team net job with George Mahoney.
"Coach Joe Stubbs of the Clarkson club again finds himself with plenty of high-class ice material. Last year the Potsdam boys hung up a typical Clarkson record of 12 games won, 2 lost and 1 tied. Roos has Len Dover in the nets, Donald, Okilman, Pilon and Tyo in back ice, and a string of fast-skating wingers to choose from, including Joe Donihee, Alf Gratton, Campbell, Allan and Donaldson."
"Harvard played a 20-game schedule last season, winning 14, losing 4 and tying 2. After the Harvard-Clarkson game on January 2 the program will include the crowning of the king and queen of winter and a winter-sports fashion show."
U.S.A. Olympic Hockey Team - 1932
Now with the help of Alison Haas, Archivist at the Olympic Museum in Lake Placid, here is more Olympic history. The United States Olympic Hockey team won the Silver in 1932 - there were only three other countries entered - Canada, Germany and Poland.
In the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid there were 12 teams in the competition URS, FIN, CAN, POL, HOL, JPN, SWE, USA, TCH, ROM, FRG, and NOR and we all know that the U.S.A. won the Gold with Russia and Sweden winning Silver and Bronze.
There was another team mentioned in 1932, also from the U.S. named the Lake Placid A C, and a team made up of players from the US and Canada played that team in an exhibition match. Here is what the 1932 final report said about that game.
"Good spirit was shown by the Canadian and United States Olympic Squads in combining for the exhibition game against the Lake Placid A C. The Olympic players were all drest (Dr. Melvil Dewey's spelling reform influence) in United States jerseys, only the stockings identified the Canadian players from those of the United States. This exhibition clash was one of the best games on the Olympic card.
"The final game of the Olympic series, that between the United States and Canada, literally packt (sic) the Olympic Arena. No one can estimate how many additional tickets could have been sold if there had been any room in which to put the purchasers."