Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harold Starr

Harold "Twinkle" Starr was one tough workhorse of the NHL for most of the dirty thirties. In fact, King Clancy once told famous sports writer Jim Coleman he may have been the toughest of his time.

Here's how Coleman retold the story in the January 18th, 1943 edition of the Toronto Telegram:

"Clancy spoke affectionately of Harold Starr, the brutal beer baron who once at Maple Leaf Gardens felled Clancy in exactly fourteen seconds with a reverse hammerlock and a flying-mare. 'A powerful fellow, that Starr,' said Clancy judiciously, 'but a trifle crude.'"

Like Clancy Starr hailed from Ottawa, born there in 1906. He was a junior hockey star, playing with Gunners, St-Brigid's and Shamrock teams. He was real good on the gridiron too, playing professional football with the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders. He was every bit as tough on the grass as the ice, playing tackle and end spots. He helped the Rough Riders win the Grey Cup in 1925 and 1926.

By 1929 he filled his winters playing in the NHL, too, with the Ottawa Senators. He would bounce around the NHL quite a bit, never settling down in one place for too long. Starr would play for three seasons in Ottawa, one each with the Montreal Maroons and Montreal Canadiens, two with the New York Rangers and just two games with the Detroit Red Wings.

After hockey, Starr was a very successful co-owner of the Carleton Hotel.

Long time Ottawa sports reporter Eddie MacCabe wrote an article that quoted one of Starr's old buddies as saying "Harold was a quiet man. But he never forgot anybody. Many's the night I drove around the city with him and he'd stop in here and there and help out guys who were down on their luck and I'd stay on the car and he'd say 'there's a fellow here I have to talk to for a few moments.' He was one of those great guys."

Harold died at his home in Ottawa on Friday, September 25, 1981.

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