Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 21
The Stanley Cup Journal


Three seasons with the Bruins and six with Montreal comprised a great NHL career for Ray Getliffe, who scored 136 goals and 137 assists in his 393 regular season games.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
Ninety-one year old Ray Getliffe enjoyed an outstanding 9-season NHL career, with highlights that include a career season of 28 goals and 53 points in 1943-44; a year in which Ray helped lead the Montreal Canadiens to both a first-place finish and to a Stanley Cup championship. But one of Getliffe's contributions, much less-heralded, will be recognized as long as the game of hockey is played.

Ray Getliffe was the person who nicknamed Maurice Richard 'The Rocket.'

"I was sitting on the bench during a practice with Murph Chamberlain and Phil Watson," Getliffe recalls. "(Elmer) Lach was on the ice with Richard and fed him a lovely pass. Richard got the puck and took off. I leaned over to Murph and said, 'Wow, Richard took off like a rocket!' Dink Carroll, he was a sportswriter with the (Montreal) Gazette, heard me and the next day in the paper wrote something about Richard skating like a rocket. It wasn't too long after that that Dink was using the nickname 'the Rocket' when he was writing about Maurice Richard."

Ray earned a Stanley Cup with Boston in 1938-39 but during Montreal's 1943-44 Stanley Cup season, contributed significantly by enjoying a career season in goals (28) and points (53). (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Ray Getliffe was born in Galt, Ontario (now part of Cambridge) in 1914, but moved to London as a youngster. Just twenty years old when he moved down east to join the Charlottetown Abbies and Saint John St. Peters in 1934-35, his play was so impressive, he was signed by the New York Rangers. But Ray never played with the Rangers. He made his debut in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, playing 1 game during the 1935-36 season after being sold to Boston by New York.

Getliffe became a full-time NHLer the next season and spent 3 complete seasons with the Bruins. In his final campaign in Boston, Ray won the first of his two Stanley Cup championships.

Before the next season, 1939-40, Getliffe was exchanged by Boston, along with Charlie Sands, for Herb Cain. It was a good trade for both teams, and Ray flourished in Montreal, proudly wearing the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens for six seasons. In fact, in September 1945, Montreal sent Getliffe and Roly Rossignol to the Detroit Red Wings for a prospect named Billy Reay. The thought of playing for any other team was reprehensible to Getliffe who decided to retire instead. Detroit received Fern Gauthier in Ray's place and Reay helped the Canadiens win a Stanley Cup championship that year.

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The Stanley Cup met Ray Getliffe in London, Ontario, where he climbed aboard an antique firetruck to parade the Cup and its champion up Dundas Street through the downtown core. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup arrived in London on Friday, August 5 and was greeted at the Labatt Centre by Ray Getliffe, his daughter Dee and his granddaughter. Dee had only been three months old when her Dad won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1944. At 10:45, Ray was helped aboard a classic 1927 fire engine and, along with the Stanley Cup and two firefighters, drove up Dundas Street through the Forest City, waving to fans looking on from the sidewalk. A banner on the side of the antique vehicle told the story: Stanley Cup champion — Ray Getliffe.'

The firetruck took them to the Western Fair Sports Centre where Ray was greeted with old photos and memorabilia. Fans were invited to get their photos taken with Ray and the Stanley Cup or to get an autograph, and proceeds were split between the London Sports Hall of Fame, into which Ray Getliffe was inducted in 2004, and to Ray's high school, South Secondary. The high school, located in south-central London, meant a great deal to Getliffe, who upheld the school's motto: 'virtus repulsae nescia sordidae' ('courage will never know ignominious defeat').

Getliffe and the Stanley Cup greeted fans at the Western Fair Sports Centre, where Ray signed autographs and posed with Lord Stanley's mug. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
After 2:30, Ray took a brief rest, then at 4 pm, he and his wife Lorna joined the Stanley Cup at the London Hunt and Country Club where Ray is one of six lifetime members. At 91, Ray still golfs two to three times a week in spite of the fact he has been legally blind for the past two years. "I just love golf," Ray smiles. "I've been playing since 1933 and I've had tickets to the Masters since 1965."

While posing for pictures and signing autographs, Ray told stories dating back to his days in hockey. "It would be way too difficult to choose one player as the greatest I ever saw. 'The Rocket' was great, of course, and so many others come to mind, but the best defenseman I ever saw was Doug Harvey. He could do everything! If the game was going too fast, he'd slow it down, and if the game was too slow for his liking, he'd pick up the tempo. He really could control the pace of a game."

Getliffe chuckled as he recalled another of the greats he watched. "I was a referee for two seasons after I retired," he begins. "Used to referee ten to fifteen games a year, and often they'd have me do Toronto/Detroit games. I ran into Ted Lindsay not too long ago. I said to him, 'It's been a while, Ted. The last time I saw you, I tossed you for five at Maple Leaf Gardens!'"

Ray was very proud to be a National Hockey League player and even more proud to be a two-time Stanley Cup champion. "I made $5,000 a year playing hockey and you know what? I felt like a millionaire! The average factory worker was only making $1,800."

At 6:30, Getliffe's day with the Stanley Cup drew to a close and Ray and his bride of 70 years thanked everyone for coming, then made their way home.

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Gaye Stewart began his NHL career with Toronto, but later enjoyed stints in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Montreal. Through 9 NHL seasons, James Gaye Stewart scored 185 goals and contributed 159 assists for 344 points in 502 regular season games. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
82-year old Gaye Stewart played an interesting role in the greatest comeback in hockey history.

During the Stanley Cup final of 1941-42, the Toronto Maple Leafs were down three games to none against the Detroit Red Wings. When the Wings went up 2-0 by the ten-minute mark of the second period in Game 4, it looked like the end was near for Toronto. But the Maple Leafs came back and edged the Wings 4-3. Detroit coach Jack Adams was so livid, he attacked referee Mel Harwood, and was summarily prohibited from appearing behind the Red Wings' bench for the remainder of the series.

Leafs' coach Hap Day played a hunch. He sat veterans Gord Drillon and Bucko McDonald, replacing them with youngsters Don Metz, Hank Goldup and Gaye Stewart. Game 5 was a 9-3 spanking, with Toronto closing the gap three games to two and the rookie Stewart earning his first NHL activity. The Leafs evened the series with a 3-0 shutout in Game 6, with Gaye Stewart briefly replacing Sweeney Schriner when the veteran was cut on the nose by an errant stick courtesy of Detroit's Doug McCaig. In Game 7, Stewart was spotted the occasional shift in the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup, battling back from the brink of elimination.

It was a whirlwind season for Gaye in 1941-42. Just 18 years old, Gaye spent the regular season with the junior Toronto Marlboros, was called up to play with the senior Marlies, joined the AHL's Hershey Bears for the end of their season plus playoffs then capped off the campaign with 3 games as a Toronto Maple Leaf, earning the right to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
The 1941-42 season was quite an eye-opener for Gaye Stewart. Just eighteen years old, he finished his regular season with the Toronto Marlboros as a junior and was then asked to play for the senior Marlies. When that season was over, he joined the Hershey Bears for their playoff run in the American Hockey League. Then, as Toronto was floundering in the 1942 playoffs against Detroit., Gaye was asked to join the NHL's Maple Leafs for game five of the final, and finished off his season with three games as a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs.

After serving in the Canadian navy during the Second World War, Gaye Stewart re-joined the Maple Leafs and in 1946-47, was part of a second Stanley Cup championship when the Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games to capture hockey's top prize again.

Although Gaye played parts of eleven seasons in the National Hockey League, wearing the sweaters of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, he never again was able to sip champagne from the Stanley Cup.

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Gaye Stewart (left) leans on the Stanley Cup at The Wave sports facility with owner Dave Conacher. (Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
Today, Gaye Stewart and his wife live in Burlington, Ontario, and welcomed the Stanley Cup on Sunday, August 8 at 11:30 that morning to The Wave Sports Centre, a 29,000 square foot sports facility that offers volleyball courts, a skating rink, fitness centre and a licensed restaurant. Gaye wanted the opportunity to meet the public and The Wave's owners Dale and Dave Conacher — part of the extended Conacher family of hockey glory — were only too pleased to offer Stewart the opportunity at their incredible facility.

For four-and-a-half hours, Gaye Stewart met fans, signed autographs and posed with the Stanley Cup.

The 82-year-old two-time Stanley Cup champion lifts Lord Stanley's legacy over his head in triumph during his day with the Cup in Burlington, Ontario.
(Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
Gaye showed fans both his Stanley Cup rings, awarded just a few years ago, and his All-Star ring from being named to the NHL's First Team in 1946. He spoke with great pride about another accomplishment. "I was awarded the Calder Trophy (for NHL rookie of the year) in 1943," Stewart stated. "Do you know who was runner-up that year? It was 'Rocket' Richard!"

Finally, Gaye got the opportunity he had never had before. He held the bowl of the Stanley Cup in one hand and gripped the base with the other, then gave the Stanley Cup a mighty hoist and raised the championship trophy over his head as fans cheered excitedly.

As Gaye sat beside the Stanley Cup, it was pointed out to him that although he had won the honour twice, on both occasions, his name was engraved incorrectly on the Cup. In 1941-42, the spelling read 'GAYE STEWARD.' In 1946-47, it was 'GAVE STEWART.'

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The big defenseman spent 8 years fighting NHL battles and through 494 regular season games, scored 28 goals and 81 assists for 109 points. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
Leo Reise Jr. came by his hockey abilities honestly — his Dad played eight years in the NHL during the 1920's. In fact, Leo Jr. was born in the Hamilton, Ontario suburb of Stoney Creek while his Dad was a member of the Hamilton Tigers.

After serving in the Second World War, Leo Reise Jr. entered the NHL as a Chicago Blackhawk, playing 6 games during the 1945-46 season. During his second season with the Hawks, Leo was traded to Detroit with Pete Horeck while Chicago received Adam Brown and Ray Powell.

The big defenseman had a terrific year in 1949-50, being selected for the NHL's Second All-Star Team. That season also brought Reise his first of two Stanley Cup championships.

Detroit blew past all competitors to finish the regular season in first place, but faced the reigning Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs in the semi-final. Leo played well, and not only took a regular shift but played the blueline when the Wings were shorthanded. Game 1 saw Leo take a lot of abuse — Ted Kennedy was fingered for elbowing Leo early in the period and Gus Mortson tangled with Reise later that same period. Midway through the third, Gordie Howe was carried off the ice on a stretcher, and his mates vowed revenge. It didn't come in Game 1, a 5-0 loss for Detroit, but Game 2 was a different matter.

Leo scrapped with Toronto toughie Jim Thomson in the second period, cutting Jeems for five stitches and earning a major. Leo later highsticked Teeder Kennedy, the purported culprit who caused Howe's injury, and drew a minor. Detroit exacted revenge on the ice and on the scoreboard, dumping Toronto 3-1.

The Maple Leafs took Game 3 by a score of 2-0 but Game 4 was a fiercely close contest. At the end of regulation time, the rivals were even at a goal apiece. That score held after one full overtime period. Then, just 38 seconds into a second overtime, Leo flipped the puck towards Turk Broda in the Leaf net. The puck struck defenseman Gus Mortson and ricocheted in! Leo, a 4-goal scorer during the regular season, had won the crucial contest with his double overtime marker.

Although never a high-scoring defenseman, Reise scored 2 overtime game-winners during the 1949-50 semi-finals to fuel Detroit's path to the Stanley Cup. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Toronto won Game 5 2-0 but Game 6 was a 4-0 Red Wing win. It all came down to Game 7 for the two closely matched teams. Neither team could put the puck past the opponent's goalkeeper — Broda for the Leafs and Lumley for Detroit. One period. Two periods. Three periods. No score. Then, at 8:39 of the first overtime frame, clutch overtime hero Leo Reise came through again, scoring the only goal of the game — the winner that moved Detroit into the final against the New York Rangers!

In the final, Leo continued to play a strong, dependable game back on the blueline with 'Black Jack' Stewart. Although Leo didn't score again in that final series, he had established himself as one of the post-season heroes for the Red Wings. In 1949-50, he shared the honour with Pete Babando, who scored the winning goal in double overtime of Game 7 to capture the Stanley Cup for Detroit!

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The Stanley Cup was driven up to the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ontario and was met by a gentleman wearing a Detroit Red Wings sweater. There was no doubt that although the Telephone City is best known for one particular hockey player, on Monday, August 8, there was another champion celebrating Stanley Cup championships.

Leo Reise Jr. won a second championship in 1952 before finishing his career with the New York Rangers. He wanted to share his day with the Stanley Cup with as much of the public as he could. With his wife Geraldine standing beside him, the 83-year-old Reise signed autographs non-stop between 11:30 that morning and 2:30 in the afternoon. A large photo taken from the upper part of the arena had been carefully taken down and sat beside Leo. "My, look how handsome you were back then," sighed one lady. "I've still got it, don't I," Leo laughed.

The son of an NHLer, Leo Reise Jr. took the Stanley Cup to Ontario's Golden Horseshoe region, stopping in Brantford, Mount Hope and Ancaster. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
"My Dad was a heckuva hockey player, but playing for the New York Americans, he didn't get much of a chance to win a Stanley Cup," Leo shrugged. Leo Sr. played but 2 playoff games with the Americans; the only two the team played in the first ten seasons of their existence.

As Leo Jr. signed and posed for pictures, fans explored the wall of champions there at the Sports Centre. "Hey, was that you on a championship softball team," Leo was asked. "Yep! We won the provincial championship in the early forties," smiled Leo.

As Reise signed, he was frequently asked to name the best players he had ever seen. "Gee whiz, that's a hard question," pondered Leo. "'Rocket' Richard was a terror from the blueline in. One time, every one of the Red Wings on the ice took a run at him and he shook every one of us off and he still ended up with the puck in front of our net. Max Bentley and Edgar Laprade were excellent stickhandlers. They were so quick, darting in and out; they were just incredible. But I always admired Milt Schmidt of the Boston Bruins. He was great on offense and was very good at backchecking. He had a terrific shot and was an outstanding leader. I guess I'd have to say he was the best player I ever played against."

At 2:30, Leo and the Stanley Cup made the short drive to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, located a wristshot away from the Hamilton Airport. The media met Reise there and snapped photographs of the two-time champion with the Stanley Cup he had earned. Truth be told, Leo had never had his picture taken with the Stanley Cup until almost exactly a year ago, when he met with Jassen Cullimore of the Tampa Bay Lightning during Cullimore's day with the Cup on August 4, 2004 in Port Dover, Ontario.

Leo took the Stanley Cup to his Ancaster home to show the family. With the beautiful trophy sitting on the dining room table, Reise was especially pleased to be able to show the Stanley Cup to his granddaughter. She was expected to give birth that day but nature gave her one day reprieve so she got to see her Grandpa's trophy after all. When the baby arrived afterwards, Leo was proud to tell any and all about the birth of his first great-grandchild!

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John 'Goose' McCormack played 311 regular season contests spread between Toronto, Montreal and Chicago, scoring 25 goals and 49 assists for 74 points. (Fitzsimmons/HHOF)
The Toronto hockey community had circled Tuesday, August 9 on their calendars weeks before. It was the day John McCormack was to celebrate his day with the Stanley Cup, and he decided he wanted to share it with all of his friends involved with the NHL Oldtimers.

1950-51 was the best of times and the worst of times for the player friends and many fans know as 'Goose.' After cups of coffee with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1947-48 and 1948-49, McCormack became more or less a regular in 1949-50 and '50-51. It was during the latter season that 'Goose' McCormack was part of his only Stanley Cup championship as a Maple Leaf. Although he played 46 games with Toronto, McCormack was exiled to Pittsburgh during the season by Leafs manager, Conn Smythe. "I guess it must be because I got married without first talking it over with Leafs management," shrugs McCormack, who married Margaret Gordon on January 31, 1951. "I wasn't even aware that that wasn't normal."

"I was playing with Pittsburgh and we were in Cleveland that night. We lost that night and they (Toronto) won that night with Billy (Barilko) scoring the goal.

Although getting married during the season had earned McCormack exile to Pittsburgh, the Toronto Maple Leafs acknowledged John's contributions through the season by including his name on the Stanley Cup in 1950-51.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
I was very pleased for him." Although 'Goose' wasn't on the ice with his former teammates that night, having played most of the season with the Maple Leafs, the name 'John McCormack' is engraved on the Stanley Cup. But John never played with the Maple Leafs again. He was sold to the archrival Montreal Canadiens the next season and in 1952-53, won a second Stanley Cup championship, this time with Montreal. Johnny finished his NHL career as a Blackhawk in Chicago in 1954-55.

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Johnny 'Goose' McCormack welcomed the Stanley Cup to his Oshawa, Ontario home on Tuesday, August 8. Beginning at 11:30 that morning, close family members arrived and then by noon, guests started showing up. By 2:00 that afternoon, the McCormack home was a who's who of hockey history, with visitors enjoying prime rib, potatoes and vegetables, then slicing into delicious cakes afterwards. It was a two-pronged party for McCormack — he was reliving his Stanley Cup championships but it was also a belated birthday bash. On August 2, Johnny 'Goose' McCormack had turned 80 years old.

More than 100 friends arrived at John's Oshawa, Ontario home to help celebrate his 80th birthday and the return of the Stanley Cup to this two-time champion!
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
There to help celebrate was a hockey sock full of friends — Bob Attersley of the senior Whitby Dunlops, Bob Beckett who played with the Boston Bruins, Pete Conacher of Chicago, New York and Toronto, Bob Hassard of the Leafs and Hawks, the Bruins' Murray Henderson, Ron Hurst of the Leafs, defenseman Ivan Irwin of the Canadiens and Rangers, Danny Lewicki of Toronto, New York and Chicago, Ed Litzenberger of the Canadiens, Hawks, Wings and Leafs, Howie Menard of Detroit, L.A., Chicago and Oakland, Boston, Toronto, Detroit, New York and Pittsburgh's Jim Morrison, Wally Stanowski of the Leafs and Rangers and Red Sullivan from Boston, Chicago and New York Boston. Hall of Fame broadcaster Brian McFarlane regaled friends with stories. Bert Conacher, brother of the Hall of Fame trio of Lionel, Charlie and Roy was mingling as were Jimmy Thomson's wife June and both Bill Barilko's sister Anne Klisanich and Louise Hastings, the girlfriend Bill left behind when he was killed in 1951.

It was a superb afternoon and a most enjoyable way for the Toronto-area hockey community to get the opportunity to relive past glories.

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Friday's Stanley Cup Journal takes readers to Northern Ontario, and visits to Kirkland Lake and North Bay. You'll read about guys like Dick Duff, Larry Hillman and Kent Douglas. See you then!

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