One Seat—Fifteen Bucks
A new angle on the triangle play as applied to the science of hockey
FIFTEEN bucks! And it cost you two! You’re no piker, now, are you, son?”
"Fifteen hard, round, iron simoleons is what I said. And if you don’t want the only seat there is to be had in this burg, say so. I know where I can get fifteen. Maybe more.”
"Well," sighed the buyer, “it’s only once a year a guy can see an Allan Cup game. Gimme it.”
The scalper looked nervously about him before producing the precious pasteboard. He accepted the five and the ten that were peeled from a healthy roll and looked as if he were sorry he hadn’t asked twenty-five.
Don t you know I could get thirty days for doing you this favor?” he muttered, as he pocketed the bills. “Much obliged.” The ever changing crowd that milled about the hotel rotunda swallowed him.
An obliging burglar,” said the purchaser, looking after him. I wonder what he made on this thing.”
He held the ticket in his hand as he crossed the rotunda and found a seat.
“Fifteen bones to see a hockey game! Good Lord! That used to be a week’s pay.” He spoke aloud.
^Pardon me? said a polite voice from the next chair.
Sorrjs Mac. Guess I was thinkin’ out loud. A burglar just hung it on me for about thirteen dollars and I didn’t even require him to carry a gun. I just had to have a seat at the hockey game to-night, and I couldn’t get one no place. Tried everywhere. The fellow over here at the cigar stand tipped me off to this Jesse James guy and I wanted to see my two boys so bad I fell.”
The man in the next chair looked at his neighbor.
“I’m in town for that game, myself. My boy plays goal on the Toronto team. One ticket was all he could get for me. ^ He says that if the Arena held twenty thousand they’d jam it to-night. You said ‘my two boys.’ What might that mean?”
The victim of Jesse James grinned apologetically. “Well, I’ve got a couple of real good friends playing
to-night. They both used to play hockey for me. Kind of against each other on the same team, you might say. I sure had to see them at it to-night.”
“ ‘Against each other on the same team,’ ” said the surprised neighbor, turning for a good look at the speaker.
He saw a stout, hearty man of more than middle age. The clothes and the lodge emblems, more than any air or accent, spoke of the small town. The black felt hat, pushed back on his head, left to view a few gray hairs slicked down just a little too low over one blue eye. Probably, a sporting barber or, perhaps, the station agent—
“Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a bit of a story, too. I’m Joe Morrison and I keep a drug store in Campbellville. That’s up the northern line of the old Grand Trunk a ways—”
“You’re a druggist!” interrupted the neighbor. “Why, so am I. I run a chain of stores over in Middleton.”
“Do you? Well, that’s odd—Say, you goin’ to eat here? Yes? Well, let’s go into the dining room and eat while I tell you about my two boys'—”
WELL, MrHigbee, that’s your name I guess, at ' ^ least it’s the name of the Varsity goal-keeper, I got into the drug business more or less by accident. I used to run the Grand Central Hotel in Campbellville until they put the old bar out of business. Then there didn’t seem to be much use staying in the hotel game so I began to figure some way of addin’ to the few dishonest dollars that had sort of stuck to me during the years spent in peddlin’ booze. That’s not my way of referring to my Business, but there was women in the town that said that
and a lot more. The preacher was one of the women.
Seemed to me that the town needed a bit more of a drug store than a couple of shelves in Jim Dobson’s general store, so I opened up. I hired me a regular chemist with a diploma and everything, got in a stock of drugs and patent medicine, installed a swell soda fountain and a cigar counter and I was all set. Say, Mr. Higbee, you’re a druggist, too. Can you tell me why I do nearly all my business in something else than drugs? Always seemed funny to me.
“Well, you’ll be wonderin’ what all this has to do with hockey. It has plenty, specially the soda foun*ain.
I’d always been the manager of the hockey team in Campbellville, run the rink, sort of coached the boys and generally made sure we had a team that could trim the boys from Dutton and Elton and the other little burgs around the town. Unless you’ve lived in one of these little Ontario towns, you ain’t got any idea how hot they can get over a game of hockey. I’ve seen lots of farmers bet the price of a darn good cow on their team, and the way they treat the referee! Say, it’s a shame.
Well, this winter we didn’t operate in the O.H.A. They suspended half my team of the year before for violatin’ the residence rule and I figured we’d do just as well if we played exhibition games and bet on them judicious. Most of the boys agreed with me so I sets out to gather me up a team. I don’t have any trouble landing a goal-keeper. There’s an old fellow in our town that’s forgotten more about playing goal than most of these city stars’ll ever dream of. He was a sure thing. Last year’s defence was a sure thing, too. Smith and Barnes were both big boys with all the courage in the world and most of the strength Their idea of how to play defence was to knock over every guy they saw with the other team’s jersey on. Barnes could rush pretty good, too. There was a new guy at the station that said he could play left wing, and a couple of kids around town that were good enough for subs, but that left me needing a center and a
right wing awful bad.
You see, Mr. Higbee, this drug store of mine, while it had two bottles in the window, one with red stuff in it and the other full of blue, didn’t hardly pay its way. I needed a team that could be bet on reasonable if the winter wasn’t going to leave a dent in the bank roll. So I go out after a centre.
I inquire around a bit, and I hear of a kid about twenty or so that’s been burning them up in his school league. He’s through school and working in a flour and feed place of his dad’s. Well, when I offer him thirtyfive a week and an easy job in the drug business he grabs it quick. Now all I need’s a right winger.
I got one all right, but it was kind of funny.
My chemist up and
quit on me. I had to go behind the bar, I mean the counter, myself for a couple of days and let the doctors mix up their own prescriptions while I put an ad in the city papers. I get about sixteen replies and one of them is from a guy called Parker—yes, the same guy—and he says that if it interests me, he plays a little hockey, right wing preferred. I didn’t vait to write him. I called him long distance right that same day.
Well, that left me all set to clean up a bit more than my expenses on the team that winter. Parker and Moore, that’s the kid that played center—yes, Mr. Higbee, it’s the same Moore—both report in good order and go to work in the store and on the ice. They’re both real good. Moore’s a natural born hockey player with a shot like a bullet and Parker, well, I’ve seen a lot of good guys but I never seen one who could beat a defence like he could. He was faster than Moore and he had darn near as hard a shot. They were both good boys, worked hard in the store and harder on the ice. The way they went, it looked like the Campbellville team would have three defence men and two forwards, but those two forwards! Boy!
T NEVER did find out why Parker took a job up there 1 with me, but I heard a couple of hints that make me think maybe he got into a kind of a jam in the store he was in down here and he wanted to drop out of sight for a while. Some mix up over money, I guess, with him the goat.
Well, anyway, I’m not for askin’ questions about a guy that can play sixty minutes hockey and check back all the way like Bullets Parker can. I’m satisfied to let things run along smooth, with us coppin’ a game every couple of days and the bank roll doin’ real well. The store begins to pick up, too. These two hockey playing heroes get to be real favorites in the town and I begin to get all the cigar trade. They’re both nice looking boys, too, and the girls begin to drop in for hot chocolate and such stuff. The trade in lip sticks and hairnets and that kind of thing gets to be real good.
It’s the soda fountain does the damage. Parker, he’s too busy to bother with it. Besides he’s a Phm. B., got a certificate to prove it, and he’s not for jerking any soda. Moore seemed to like fiddlin’ around with the taps and things for a while, but then he read a story about a ‘drug store cowboy’ and he was off it. Me, I’d have liked the thing only I couldn’t get out of the habit of mopping up the counter and sayin’, “Well, what’ll it be to-day?” I tried that on a fellow that wanted a dry ginger ale one time and he bust out crying. Can you imagine why?
Well, Mr. Higbee, just about this time Marianne Temple comes home on account of her sister being ill or something. By the way, when she left Campbellville she spelled it Mary Ann, and that’s what she was christened, too. Well, it seems that Mary Ann, or Marianne, you can take your pick, had picked up a little about soda fountains when she was in the city, and when she hears that I can use somebody she does me the favor of taking the job. In some ways it’s a fine stunt. Marianne is a swell looking little girl, with a pair of blue eyes and a bobbed thatch, also a figure, but I’m an old man and I shouldn’t think of such things. Well, she brings in a lot of trade from the sporty youngsters, and the girls keep coming in to gaze at Parker and Moore. And me, I keep unlocking the register every night and near break my arm patting myself on the back.
Everything was jake, until one day I hear Marianne telling Parker she’s sorry but she has promised Bud, that’s Moore, to go to the movies with him that night. Parker says it’s all right but I don’t like the way he looks at Bud. That’s the first idea I have of the trouble I’m in for. And it ain’t the last, not by a long way.
These two birds both fall for this Marianne kid and they both fall hard. I suppose both of them.being
away fom home and all, had a good deal to do with it, and then, they were there in the store all day. I suppose I should have seen it coming.
Well, I didn’t care much what they did as long as they Kept on playing hockey the way they’d proved they could. Only they did not.
First I begun to notice that they didn’t hardly speak to each other, except just when they had to, in the store. Then I begun to see that the old combination wasn’t working on the ice. When Moore would start off up center, Parker wasn’t going with him the way he did the first few games. Instead of hitting the defence two abreast, and sometimes three when that left winger • woke up, they began trying solo stuff which is not at all to the good in hockey.
You see, when these boys hit the defence the defence never knew what they were going to do. They might shoot and go in for the rebound, or they might pass the puck and go in for the return pass, or they might carry the puck through for a close-in shot. Pretty hard to stop that kind of stuff, eh? I’ll say so. Well, that kind of combination disappeared and instead it begun to look as if these two guys wanted to be just as strange with each other as if they was playin’ on opposite teams, instead of trying hard to work together for the goals that would win games for the team and money for me and other deserving citizens of Campbellville.
Well, things drift along until it’s near the first of March and there’s only one game left that amounts to anything. Marianne is stringing both the boys along, running here with one and there with the other and the two of them are going around up in the air a mile one day and down in the cellar the next. They begin to take it out on me, too. Parker comes and tells me that Moore is hogging the puck and won’t pass it at all. Moore says the sapie thing about Parker. And Marianne says they’re both lovely boys. And there we all are!
Well, I figured that these two fellows were natural born hockey players and that when they got inco a real game that they’d forget all about their little differences and think about scoring goals and winning the game. Not to mention my money. I never did know much about love, anyway.
Continued on page 51
Continued from page 9
That’s why I put the whole bank roll on my team to win from Merton.
WELL, the night of the game there’s practically nobody left in Merton and all the population of my little burg is crowded with them into our rink. We’d imported a referee and taken out an accident policy for him as well as swearing in a couple of special constables in case things got too warm.
There’s seven million yells meeting in the roof and falling on the ice and there’s at least seven fights started before the referee rings his bell and starts the real battle.
Moore takes the puck at the face off and starts down with it. The Merton centre is a dogged little cuss and backchecks right after him. Parker doesn’t even start down with the play. The Merton defence bounce Bud pretty hard when he reaches them and their left wing starts off with the puck. Parker seems to be just half-awake when the play reaches him, but he’s awake enough to poke the puck away from the Merton fellow’s stick so smooth he doesn’t miss it for a minute and then he’s on his way to the Merton goal. As I was telling you he’s greased lightning on his skates and he goes through the defence without getting his hair mussed. Moore, force of habit I guess, is right up with him but does he pass it with the pair of them inside? Not so I noticed it! He lays a shot on the goaler’s pads and Moore’s left standing there. A sure goal that we didn’t get. I’ll tell you I didn’t feel so good just about then.
Well, that’s the way the game goes along for about ten minutes. Every time one of these guys gets through, along with his sidekick, he won’t pass the puck and we don’t score. Then Merton gets a break. Moore fails to get the puck on a face-off and the Merton centre steps around him and flips one easy in the general direction of our goal. The puck kind of rolls along the ice and finally ends up by rolling right around the end of Burbridge’s stick. It ain’t even going fast enough to hit the net. It just rolls over the line and then drops dead. Burbridge swears the thing winked up at him. Anyway the goal judge presses his button and the little red bulb over the net says that the score is now 1-0 for Merton. The Merton crowd made so much noise I couldn’t hear myself swear.
That goal put some pep into the Merton team. They swept in on our boys three abreast and wouldn’t be stopped. At that, neither their centre nor their left wing did any damage, but they had a kid on the right boards that had a real shot and he burned two past Burbridge that nobody could blame him for not stopping. Meantime this pair of lovers, that I’d been nourishing in the bosom of my drug store all winter, acted like they never heard tell of each other. You’d have thought that there was a rule against passing the puck. They didn’t look the least bit good.
At the end of the first period there was Merton money being offered at two to one. And I’d had to give seven to five before the game. I’d have taken some of that two to one stuff if I’d had time but I was very busy. In the first place I had to send Marianne on an errand. Then I had
to go to the dressing room and tell those athletes of mine how many kinds of bum hockey players they were. You can imagine that that took a little time. I also had to stop a fight that was about to start between my two star forwards.
I stopped it all right. I took the pair of them aside and pointed out to them a pretty picture at one end of the rink where Marianne was busily engaged in telling the Merton goal-keeper how wonderful he was. He seemed to be enjoying it. I also told them that Marianne had used to go to school with the Merton goal-keeper and that it was understood that they thought more than a little of each other. The boys both took it all in, and I added another little thought.
‘Suppose,’ I said, ‘that you two dumbbells set out this next period to make this goalie look feeble. Do you think that if you were to pass the puck and act as if you knew more about hockey than the elementary fact that it is played on ice by six men a side all wearing skates, that you could do it?’ They didn’t say anything, but they looked at each other. Maybe they felt kind of sympathetic, or something, each thinkin’ how the other had been led around by a designing gimme.
Well, the second period resembled the first just about as i uch as 1 resemble Arthur Meighen. Moore takes the puck at the face-off, and sets sail full speed for the Merton net. When he hits the defence, he fakes a pass to Parker, who’s right up with him, and then goes through with the puck. Instead of shooting he slips the rubber over to Parker and that wise bird sails right in on the goal. But he doesn’t shoot. He slips the puck back out to Bud and a second later there’s a light on over the Merton net. It turned into a slaughter right then and there. These two boys of mine had the puck twothirds of the time and the rest of it the rubber was in the Merton net. That poor goaler of theirs must have thought he was working in a puck factory. Burbridge, in our goal, claims to have slept through the third period.
After the boys had scored about six they began to see if they couldn’t knock the cap off the Merton goalie. It was funny to watch him duck the high ones.
Well, I won .plenty on that game but I had to hire me a new Phm. B. Even after I told Parker about how I had slipped Marianne a five to go down and vamp the Merton goaler, he still insisted that he couldn’t stay round where she was any longer. That’s why he went West and that’s why he’s down here with the Port William team after the /'lian Cup. It’ll be pretty good to see at ¡east one of the old Campbellville team on the line-up of the world’s champions, won’t it, eh?
Moore? Oh, he had it pretty bad about Marianne, all right. When he found that the Merton goal-keeper was a married man with three kids and that she’d only vamped him as a favor to me, why he went after her harder than ever. I guess she liked him best, anyway. They’re engaged now and he’s down here getting his degree in this Phm. B. stuff. Yes, he’s the manager of my store now. Nice boy, Bud. I wish he and Parker were playing together to-night, though.
If they were I’d have anted up fifty instead of fifteen before I’d miss it.