Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 22
The Stanley Cup Journal


Larry Hillman played with 8 NHL teams and 2 WHA teams during his career, collecting 36 goals, 196 assists and 232 points through 790 regular season NHL games and another 6 goals and 49 assists in 192 regular season WHA contests. (Graphic Artists/HHOF)
Kirkland Lake is a beautiful community of 9,000 that has sent an extraordinary number of players to the National Hockey League through the decades — legendary players like Ted Lindsay, Dick Duff, Ralph Backstrom, the Hillmans (Larry, Wayne and Floyd), Wayne Connelly, Mike Walton, the Plager brothers (Barclay, Bill and Bob), Mickey and Dick Redmond and Darren Puppa as well as Toronto-born Hall of Famers Bill Durnan and Roy Conacher who spent part of their pre-NHL careers in Kirkland Lake. Tough to identify why Kirkland Lake has spawned so much outstanding hockey talent. Must be something in the water…or the ice!

When its grand opening takes place in Kirkland Lake, Ontario in June 2006, Hockey Heritage North will be an 18,000-square foot museum dedicated to the preservation and glorification of hockey in Northern Ontario. With the rich veins of talent producing such outstanding hockey talent, it is important to recognize these contributions and this interactive museum will do exactly that. The Hockey Heritage North fundraising drive has garnered $8,750,000 to date; well on its way to the goal of $10,485,000.

As a Red Wing rookie in 1955, Larry won the first of his 6 Stanley Cup championships. His most prized though is the 1966-67 Cup victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Hockey Heritage North was the hub of the Stanley Cup's activities on August 10, 11 and 12. On the 10th, the Cup was first taken to Englehart, Ontario as the guest of Larry Hillman, a six-time Stanley Cup champion. Englehart is a town of less than 2,000 residents located slightly less than 30 miles from Kirkland Lake, and just minutes from Larry's home in Charlton.

Larry Hillman, now a fit 68-year-old, first stepped onto NHL ice as an 18-year-old member of the 1954-55 Detroit Red Wings club. Although he played just 6 games during the regular season, the Wings had Hillman dressed for the first 2 games of the semi-final. After Detroit defeated Montreal in a particularly aggressive series, Lawrence Morley Hillman had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time.

Larry Hillman and Dick Duff are seated in the back of the convertible with the Stanley Cup, while Gus Mortson is in the passenger seat and Ralph Backstrom drives. The trip took the North Ontario champions from Englehart to Kirkland Lake. (Hockey Heritage North)
As a part-time defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Larry again had his name added to the Stanley Cup in 1962, 1963 and 1964. But in 1967, he played 55 games with the Leafs and made crucial contributions to earning his name on the Stanley Cup once again.

Paired with Marcel Pronovost for much of the playoffs, Larry and the Leafs defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in six games during the semi-final to earn a spot in the final against the Montreal Canadiens. It would be the last Stanley Cup final of the 'Original Six' era, as by the next autumn, the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Oakland Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues were added to the NHL, doubling its size.

In spite of Hillman's goal early in the first period, only his second playoff goal during a long career, Montreal whipped Toronto 6-2 in Game 1 to go up one game to none in the series. Toronto won Games 2 and 3, with Larry contributing an assist on Peter Stemkowski's first period goal in Game 3. Montreal returned with a vengeance, outscoring the Maple Leafs 6-2 in Game 4 but Toronto won 4-1 in Game 5. On May 2, 1967, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 to win the 11th Stanley Cup in franchise history and the 5th in Larry Hillman's career.

Having collectively won 22 Stanley Cup championships, the Northern Ontario Cup champions visited seniors' residences in Kirkland Lake to share their excitement with fans. Gus Mortson (standing left), Ralph Backstrom (standing second from left), Larry Hillman (just right of the Cup) and Dickie Duff (standing right) visit residents and share hockey stories. (Hockey Heritage North)
Hillman won his sixth Stanley Cup championship in 1968-69 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, although his contribution to the final consisted of just one game.

With the opportunity to have the Stanley Cup for a day, Larry Hilman decided he would help his community. The Englehart Arena is scheduled for replacement. With funding from the town's capital budget and from the provincial government, local fundraising is still needed for a facility that will include an arena, outdoor pool, walking track and meeting rooms. Larry convinced his pal Ralph Backstrom, also a six-time Stanley Cup champion and a teammate on that Montreal club of 1968-69, to join him for signing autographs and getting photos taken with the Stanley Cup to help raise money for the arena. There was a remarkable turn-out of fans anxious to see the Stanley Cup.

A convoy of cars then made the trip with the Stanley Cup from Englehart to Kirkland Lake, where Hockey Heritage North was hosting a golf tournament at the Kirkland Lake Golf Club. The guests of honour were Hillman, Backstrom, Dick Duff and Gus Mortson, who was born in New Liskeard but now lives in Timmins. Between the four Northern Ontarians, they have won an incredible 22 championships: 6 for Hillman, 6 for Backstrom, 6 for Duff and 4 for Mortson.

Hockey Heritage North will be an impressive interactive museum when it holds its grand opening in June 2006. The Stanley Cup was taken to visit the on-site construction workers and shared with those building the magnificent edifice.
(Hockey Heritage North)
On Thursday, August 11, the Stanley Cup made more stops than Larry Hillman did through his NHL career. The quartet of hockey heroes had breakfast at the hotel then made emotional visits to seniors at Extendicare and the Teck Pioneer Residence, thrilling residents with the opportunity to see and touch the Stanley Cup and meet some of their hockey idols. Afterwards, the Cup visited a number of major attractions in Kirkland Lake, including the Miners Memorial, then stopped in at the construction site of what will be Hockey Heritage North. The workers took a quick break to meet the players and Gus Mortson signed one man's construction helmet.

From 2:00 until 6:00, Ralph Backstrom, Dick Duff, Larry Hillman and Gus Mortson signed autographs at a local rink, and chatted with fans about hockey 'back in the day' and about this season upcoming. All were excited about the Cup's visit. "There's no question that if we could have taken it (the Stanley Cup) for a day back then (like the players do today), I would have brought it to Kirkland Lake," stated Ralph Backstrom proudly. Larry Hillman nodded in agreement. "We see the young players taking the Cup home and never thought it would come back to us oldtimers. You think about it a lot over the years."

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Although Eddie Shore was known as a cantankerous, eccentric and powerful owner, Kent Douglas credits the Hall of Fame defenseman with helping him become the player he did. Here, in a Springfield Indians' team picture, Douglas is in the back row, second from the right. Shore is seated at the extreme right. (Fitzsimmons/HHOF)

As an NHL rookie (and Calder Trophy winner!), Kent Douglas won the first of his Stanley Cup championships in 1962-63. He was part of the Maple Leafs' championship teams in 1963-64 and 1966-67, too. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Kent Douglas was next to spend a day with the Stanley Cup, taking it to North Bay, Ontario — the Gateway to the North -- to celebrate.

A big, strong defenseman with a hard shot, Kent had to be scratching his head wondering if he would ever get the opportunity to climb into the ranks of the National Hockey League. To outsiders, it looked like Douglas had forever been exiled to the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians, owned and run by eccentric former NHL star Eddie Shore. Shore was notorious for his often torturous methods of running the team, but Kent Douglas played a vital role — in 3 seasons with Springfield, Kent and the Indians won the AHL championship all three seasons, collecting the Calder Cup. "Eddie Shore was years before his time when it came to the fundamentals of passing, skating and shooting. As the old saying goes, you may not have liked the man but you sure had to respect him," Kent stated.

During 428 regular season NHL contests over the course of 7 seasons, Kent scored 33 goals and 113 assists for 148 points. Playing with the New York Raiders of the WHA in 1972-73, Douglas added 60 games, 3 goals and 15 assists to that total.
(Graphic Artists/HHOF)
"Studying with Shore was like getting your doctorate in hockey science. He taught me things about the game that nobody else ever mentioned."

Finally, during the summer of 1962, general manager Punch Imlach of the Maple Leafs was able to pry 26-year-old Kent Douglas away from Springfield by sending five prospects to Eddie Shore. Three of those five players — Wally Boyer, Dick Mattiussi and Bill White-went on to have successful careers in the NHL. But Kent made such an impact during his NHL debut in 1962-63 that he won a different Calder Trophy — the NHL's rookie of the year award. That spring, Douglas and the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup championship — a first for Kent and second in a row for Toronto.

Kent, wearing his #19, stood out — not just because of his on-ice contributions but because he looked different than the other players.

On his day with the Stanley Cup, Kent Douglas took the Stanley Cup to the Jewel of the North golf course in North Bay, Ontario, with proceeds going to Juvenile Diabetes.
(Craig Campbell/HHOF)
With the introduction of colour TV in the early 1960's, many players, including Kent, found the added lighting needed to assist the television broadcast was too bright. Kent took matters into his own hands. He used burnt cork under his eyes to cut down on the glare.

Kent, now 69-years old, was at the centre of a fundraiser at the nearby nine-hole Jewel of the North Golf Course. The charity recipient was Juvenile Diabetes, a cause close to the heart of Kent who himself suffers from diabetes. The Stanley Cup was on-hand from noon until 5:00 pm, and the turn-out was very strong to see Lord Stanley's trophy and one of the champions who has his name forever engraved on it.

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The Stanley Cup Journal heads west to Calgary and on Tuesday, you'll read about how Bert Olmstead, Alf Pike, Johnny MacMillan and Vic Stasiuk spent their time with the Stanley Cup. Look forward to joining you then!

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