Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sammy McManus

Irish born Sammy McManus moved with his parents to Toronto in 1912 when he was barely two years old and started playing hockey at a very young age. As a 17-year old in 1928 he started playing real competitive hockey in the OHA. Sammy played for the Toronto Canoe Club for two seasons, and with the Toronto Goodyears for one in the local Toronto league.

During the following three seasons he changed clubs and locations each year. in 1930-31 Sammy played for the New Glasgow Tigers in the Cape Breton Senior Hockey League. In 1931-32 he went to play in Fredericton for the Fredericton Capitals of the Maritime Senior Hockey League (MSHL). The following season he landed in Moncton where he played two seasons for the Moncton Hawks, also in the MSHL.

Sammy was an instant hit in Moncton. During his first year with the Hawks he led them to a first place finish in the MSHL and to a prestigious Allan Cup win. The following season (1933-34) Sammy had an even more successful season. He led the entire MSHL in goals (25 in 38 games) and had 48 points. But more importantly the Hawks were able to repeat both their win in the MSHL as well as the Allan Cup. They also won the short lived Willis Cup that year when they defeated the Detroit White Stars to become the North American Senior Champs.Sammy was also a first team All-Star. The 1933-34 Moncton team was in fact so strong that they were regarded almost as good as any of the NHL teams.

Despite all the success the franchise folded and Sammy had to look around for another team. The NHL Montreal Maroons had kept an eye on Sammy after his fine 1933-34 season. They signed him as a free agent and he went on to play for them at the start of the 1934-35 season. (October 31,1934) It was not easy to get a spot on the Maroons team and Sammy was riding the ´bench for most of the time. In the 25 games that he was dressed he only managed to get one assist. He also played a couple of shifts in one game of the 1935 playoffs, his only career appearance in the NHL playoffs. That season Sammy also played for the Windsor Bulldogs (IAHL) and New Haven Eagles in the Can-Am league

Almost exactly one year later Sammy was traded to the NY Rangers for $ 10,000 in cash. The Rangers team had about the same depth on their roster as the Maroons, so they shipped Sammy to their minor league team in the Can-Am league, the Philadelphia Ramblers. He had a fine season with the Ramblers getting 40 points in 43 games, making the first All-Star team.

The September month in 1936 was Sammy's most hectic ever. Early in September the Maroons bought Sammy back from New York. A couple of days later he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, but the same day (September 10), before he even realized that he had been traded to the Canadiens, he was once again traded.

His new address was Boston. The Bruins shipped him to their farm team in Providence (AHL) wherehe played the entire 1936-37 season, except for a one game call up by the Bruins. That proved to be his last NHL game. In 1937-38 Sammy was named to the second All-Star team in the AHL for the Providence Reds.

Sammy's NHL career was over but he continued to play in the AHL and AHA for quite some time. In 38-39 he played for Hershey (AHL). In 39-40 he split his time between Pittsburgh and New Haven (AHL). In 40-41 he played for Kansas City (AHA), 41-42 for St.Louis and in 42-43 he split his time between Washington and New Haven (AHL). While playing for St.Louis in 41-42 he was selected to the second All-Star team.

The 1942-43 season was Sammy's last in the USA. During the seven years after he had played his last NHL game he collected 254 points in 310 games and was among the scoring leaders most of the time. He also only collected 81 Pim's during this seven year (310 games) span.

Sammy returned to the Maritime leagues in Canada and played for the Saint John Beavers (43-44),Moncton RCAF Flyers,Saint John Garrison and Saint John Beavers (44-45). His two last seasons were excellent. He was the league leader in 45-46 while playing for the Moncton Maroons, getting 42 points (27+15) in 13 games. In his last season he played for the Moncton Hawks and scored 71 points in 32 games.

Sammy was an excellent playoff performer. During his last four trips to the playoffs in the Maritime league he always led the playoff scorers in either goals or assists. Sammy retired in style. He was playing great hockey until the end of his career and could have continued to play for another three or four years.

Sam McManus is the grandfather of Scott Pellerin.

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