Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 29
The Stanley Cup Journal


Both Dickie Moore and Marcel Bonin played integral roles in the dynasty enjoyed by the Montreal Canadiens in the latter half of the 1950's. Moore won 5 straight Stanley Cup championships (he won another in 1953) while Bonin helped with 3 consecutive championships (he won another with Detroit in 1954-55). (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Three days early in September identified how the names engraved on the Stanley Cup are less about the accomplishments of great stars but more about belonging to great teams. And teams are constructed of players who serve integral roles on the team — snipers, checkers, goaltenders, specialty teams, policemen — role players of every description. As the Stanley Cup traveled to the Montreal area, it visited Hall of Famer Dickie Moore, a six-time Stanley Cup winner and perennial all-star, Marcel Bonin, a four-time champion who was a tenacious winger during his seasons with Detroit and Montreal, and Phil Samis, a 7-game NHL veteran who was part of Toronto's Stanley Cup victory in 1948.

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Dickie Moore joined the Montreal Canadiens during the 1951-52 season. "I joined a great line — 'Rocket' Richard and Elmer Lach," Dickie smiles. He contributed 18 goals and 33 points in less than half a season in his debut NHL campaign. "I stayed there (with Richard and Lach) for awhile and then Elmer retired and Jackie Leclair centred the 'Rocket' and me. After that, the 'Pocket' (Henri Richard) came along. I played nine seasons with the Pocket and the Rocket."

In Dickie's sophomore season, he was part of his first Stanley Cup championship, beating the Bruins for NHL supremacy in 1952-53. Then, from 1955-56 to 1959-60, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in five successive seasons.

Dickie Moore completed his Hall of Fame career accumulating 261 goals and 347 assists for 608 points in 719 regular season NHL games. Although he played his first 12 seasons with the Canadiens, Dickie first came out of retirement to play a season with the Maple Leafs, then came out of retirement a second time to play a season with St. Louis.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
Moore led the NHL in scoring in 1957-58 and 1958-59 and had another successful season in 1959-60 that left him just outside the league's top ten scorers. But the Canadiens were unstoppable, finishing first with 92 points, well ahead of second place Toronto's 79 points. The team scored 255 goals through the 70-game schedule, 35 more than the next highest total.

In four games, Montreal eliminated Chicago in the semi-final, which set up a Stanley Cup final that pitted the four-time champion Montreal Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the opening game, the Canadiens doubled Toronto 4-2. Dickie Moore fired the opening goal on a rebound just two minutes into the opening period and picked up a third period assist. Marcel Bonin flexed his hockey muscles picking up two penalties.

Dickie bettered his previous game's input by scoring the opening goal in Game 2, too, but this time, scoring just 1:26 after the opening faceoff. Marcel Bonin picked up another minor as Montreal edged Toronto 2-1 in Game 2.

Dickie contributed an assist on Rocket Richard's third period goal in Game 3's 5-2 Montreal win.

Game 4, played in Toronto on April 14, 1960, saw the Canadiens seal their fifth straight Stanley Cup championship by outgunning the Maple Leafs 4-0. Marcel Bonin, playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Bernard Geoffrion, picked up an assist in the victory while Moore added an assist and a minor to his playoff totals. Maurice Richard, playing in what turned out to be his final game, collected a second period assist, then collected the Stanley Cup on behalf of his celebratory teammates.

"It was quite an honour to be part of the Canadiens' dynasty, but the big thing was when Toe Blake became coach," says Dickie. "He made a big difference in the team's fortunes but he made a huge difference in my career. When he joined the team, we went on to win five consecutive Stanley Cup (championships), and I was fortunate to win two scoring championships that I attribute to the coach."

* * *

The president of Dickie Moore Rentals shared his past glories with staff, family and friends by bringing the Stanley Cup to head office and enjoying a day with hockey's most storied trophy. (Steve Poirier/HHOF)
On the first day of September, a beautiful Thursday in Montreal, Dickie Moore had a return visit from the trophy with which he became so accustomed to winning during his career. The Stanley Cup was taken to Ville St. Laurent, part of Montreal, and arrived at 1:30 that afternoon at Dickie Moore Rentals (Location Dickie Moore).

The business rents heavy equipment to the construction industry and has flourished for Dickie and his family since he moved into his post-hockey career. Dickie and his daughter Lianne arranged to have a large tent erected on the expansive front lawn of the company's head office, and set up a barbecue for employees, friends and family. Standing amidst red, white and blue balloons, guests enjoyed hotdogs and smoked meat sandwiches as the Cup arrived, where it was placed on a table beside a replica vintage sweater like Dickie would have worn during his 14-season NHL career.

The afternoon was flawless. A professional photographer snapped each person's individual photo beside the Stanley Cup, printed them on-site and then Dickie took the photos up to his office and signed each one. Before every guest departed, they took away a souvenir of an outstanding afternoon. As a result, of course, Dickie worked extremely hard, signing and posing for pictures.

Moore's family was proudly on location to support Dickie on his special day. Children Lianne and John were beside their Dad, as were John's wife Josee and Dickie's grandchildren Katherine, Jonathan and Winston (who proudly carries his grandfather's middle name).

An unexpected guest was warmly welcomed. "Guy, what are you doing here?" asked Dickie. "I thought I'd come by and visit you on your day with the Cup," replied Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur.

Another surprise visit came from Albert Bray. For years, Albert drove Bucky Buchanan to the heart institute for his regular appointments. Bucky had been a hell of a hockey player in his day — twice, while playing with the Shawinigan Cataracts, he was selected most valuable player in the Quebec Senior Hockey League and in 1948-49, was chosen to play 2 games with the New York Rangers. Earlier this year, Ralph 'Bucky' Buchanan died but asked that Albert Bray honour one final request. He had his All-Star sweater nicely wrapped and asked Mr. Bray to give it to Dickie Moore as a very special gift. Dickie had been a special guest helping cut the ribbon at the opening of the Arena Ralph Buchanan in East Montreal.

By 6:30 that evening, the last of the guests left with their autographed photo of the Stanley Cup under arm. 74-year old Dickie Moore was exhausted but had enjoyed and shared a most memorable afternoon.

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From jarring teeth to fixing teeth, Phil Samis's NHL career was followed by a long-time vocation as a dentist. Samis played 2 regular season games and 5 playoff games, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
On Friday, September 2, the Stanley Cup had to visit the dentist — Dr. Phil Samis, Stanley Cup champion in 1947-48. Samis's story is one of the more unusual (and wonderful) stories in the Stanley Cup's lore and legacy.

After starring in his native Edmonton, Alberta, Phil Samis moved to Toronto to attend St. Michael's College, where he played defense for the junior St. Michael's Majors. In 1944-45, the Majors, featuring Samis and teammates Les Costello, Johnny McCormack, Gus Mortson, Tod Sloan and Jimmy Thomson, won the Memorial Cup as the top junior squad in Canada. Phil was clearly a prospect the Leafs had earmarked to play with the parent club in the future. And he did.

After spending the regular season in 1947-48 with the AHL Pittsburgh Hornets, Toronto's top farm team, Samis was summoned to Toronto for the playoffs.

Toronto had finished first overall during the regular season and were challenged by the Boston Bruins in the semi-final. Phil Samis made his first, albeit brief, NHL appearance, on March 27, 1948 in Game 2, a 5-3 Toronto win. Phil dressed and played briefly again in Game 4 of the opening round, too. The Leafs eliminated Boston in five games.

The Stanley Cup final saw the Toronto Maple Leafs meet the Detroit Red Wings for the big prize. After a 5-3 Toronto win in Game 1, Phil Samis made an appearance in Game 2 and earned an assist on Max Bentley's opening goal that led to a 4-2 Leaf victory.

Toronto won Game 3 by a 2-0 score. In Game 4, played in Detroit on April 14, 1948, Samis and the Maple Leafs defeated Detroit 7-2 to sweep the Red Wings and collect the Stanley Cup. Phil Samis earned the right to have his name engraved on hockey's most prestigious trophy.

With the Toronto Maple Leafs in the midst of a dynasty, it was tougher than nails to crack the Stanley Cup line-up in the late-1940's. Although his prowess on defense made him a bona fide NHLer, Phil Samis spent most of his professional hockey career in the AHL working hard and waiting for "the call." (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Samis returned to Pittsburgh the next season and didn't return to the NHL until the 1949-50 season when he was called up as an injury replacement for 2 games with the Maple Leafs.

Following his hockey career, Phil Samis went into dentistry. Although not the only NHLer to be a dentist (Dr. Bill Carson, Dr. Bobby Copp, Dr. Duke McCurry and Dr. Jerry Wilson can also lay claim to the dual careers), Dr. Phil had an outstanding career with his Montreal dental practise. "More than twenty years ago, I did extensive research on inserting microchips into the teeth of patients so it would help in identification should a disaster occur," recalls Samis. "Now that I'm watching the horrors in New Orleans, that kind of identification would have been invaluable. It's unfortunate that the idea never came to fruition."

Now retired, Dr. Phil Samis was walking through Derby, Vermont, just across the border from Quebec, when he noted that IROC (Indoor Recreation of Orleans County) was attempting to raise funds. Offered the Stanley Cup, Dr. Samis decided he could assist their fundraising and ventured in to meet the executive director. After introducing himself and his idea of using the Stanley Cup to raise funds for the recreation centre, the executive heartily agreed to be involved.

Before Phil took his good fortune to the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County in nearby Derby, Vermont, he stopped at his home and posed with the Stanley Cup and gifts he received as a champion in 1948. (Steve Poirier/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup arrived in Derby, Vermont late in the morning on Friday, September 2 and was taken to the Samis household where it was met by Phil, his wife Catherine, Phil's daughter Jill McCutcheon, his grandson Angus, his stepson Greg Morcroft and Greg's wife Dena and their son Liam. The trophy was taken to backyard deck where Phil exhibited the pewter beer stein given him by the team and the sterling silver bowl, which was a gift from the NHL.

The family enjoyed hearing 77-year-old Phil's stories, some for the umpteenth time. One after another started with, "I remember one time…" and ended with an "ooh" or an "ahh." "I can't say I was a graceful skater," Samis admitted, "but I was solid on my skates."

Mid-afternoon, the family accompanied the Stanley Cup over to the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County. The extraordinary facility is 54,000 square feet of athletics and includes an in-line hockey arena, two tennis courts, three basketball courts, an indoor soccer surface and a walking track. Awesome!

A professional photographer took photos of fans with the Stanley Cup in the rink area non-stop from 3:00 until 8:30 that day, with proceeds going to IROC. Several media members were there reporting on the event. Phil Samis's bio and photos were displayed prominently on a nearby easel.

One of the pictures was a little out of the ordinary. "Do you mind getting our cow's photo with the Stanley Cup?" asked a man and his wife. Heads spun around like Linda Blair in 'The Exorcist.' Sure enough, the Vermont Dairy Commission, who had supplied funding for the IROC's scoreboards, had an actual cow brought to the facility. The owners thought it would be fun to get a picture of Bessie with the Stanley Cup. For fun, someone asked the name of the cow's favourite player. "Dickie Moooooooooooooooooooore," was the reply.

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In 454 NHL games, the strong winger scored 97 goals and added 175 assists for 272 regular season points. "The Bear of Joliette" won a Stanley Cup victory with Detroit in 1955, then added three
celebrations as a member of the
Montreal Canadiens.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
There is a lot of fight in Marcel Bonin; so much so that in 9 NHL seasons, he was a Stanley Cup champion four times. "If you went in the corner with Marcel, you weren't coming out with the puck," one veteran was quoted. But battles in front of the net weren't the only fights in which Marcel engaged. As part of summer spectator sports, Marcel Bonin was also known to wrestle bears!

Marcel Bonin lives in Joliette, Quebec, a town 45 minutes by car away from Montreal. The Stanley Cup rolled into Joliette on Saturday, September 3 and was greeted by a man who still looked fit enough to still be playing competitive hockey. Although he'll turn 73 September 12, Marcel Bonin has stayed active and very fit. Because of his wrestling background and his level of fitness, locals know Marcel as "L'ours de Joliette" - "the bear of Joliette."

Marcel lives in one unit of a fourplex, and carried the Stanley Cup into his family's backyard where he placed the gleaming trophy on a covered table. Photographs of Marcel's NHL career — three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings beginning in 1952-53, a campaign with the Bruins (how appropriate!) in 1955-56 then five seasons with the Montreal Canadiens starting with the 1957-58 season — were placed around the table.

Simone and Marcel Bonin pose with the Stanley Cup at their home in Joliette, Quebec. (Steve Poirier)
Between noon and 4:00, family, neighbours and friends dropped by to get their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. Marcel asked, "This is a replica of the Cup, n'est-ce pas?" He was assured that the only Stanley Cup that ever leaves the Hockey Hall of Fame is the Presentation Cup; the exact same trophy hoisted by Dave Andreychuk and the Tampa Bay Lightning in June 2004.

Bonin was wonderful in deflecting his own celebrity and sharing the glory with his wife Simone, his three children and his other visitors. When one daughter arrived, guests laughed when she pulled on white gloves before touching the Stanley Cup, although the action had less to do with making guests laugh than it was to show the appreciation of the Bonin family in hosting the Stanley Cup. "It's Stanley Cup protocol, isn't it," she smiled.

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The Stanley Cup heads off to California to visit Gerry Heffernan and to Colorado for a day with Ralph Backstrom in the next installment of the Stanley Cup Journal.

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