Saturday, July 23, 2016

Archie Wilcox

Here is an interesting piece of hockey trivia for you.

Archie Wilcox became the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to score a playoff overtime goal, when he connected at 6:27 of the second overtime as the Maroons took a 1-0 win at Boston, in Game 3 of the 1930 Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.

Wilcox, a Montreal native, was a natural athlete. He was really good at soccer, with one source even suggesting he had an offer from Chelsea. There has been no evidence to confirm that. But there is plenty of evidence to prove he was an excellent hockey player.

Wilcox would play in 208 NHL games, mostly spread out over five seasons with the Montreal Maroons back in the 1930s.

Joining the NHL's now-defunct Maroons was not an easy choice for Wilcox. He was a star in the very competitive Railway-Telephone senior league in Montreal and had attractive offers to stay.

"In 1926, the Canadiens came after me," he recalled years later. "They wanted me to meet them at the station that night at 8 to go to a game in Pittsburgh. The CNR manager promised me a job with the railway for life if I stayed. That night, I got a call from Jimmy Strachan (the Maroons' president) who offered me a $1,000 bonus if I turned pro with them. We were living with my wife's parents then, and she kept saying, 'take the money, take the money, and we'll use it to get a home of our own.' I was sent to Providence where they offered me $2,500 for the season but I held out for $3,000 and they finally gave it to me if I promised to shut up and not tell anyone."

By the 1929-30 season Wilcox was a regular with the Maroons. For the next four seasons he patrolled the Maroons defense and also played a lot of right wing. He would score 8 goals and 22 points in his career.

Late in his career, Wilcox briefly played for Boston, "but they wanted to cut my salary $500, and the most I ever made was $6,000." He also briefly played with the now-defunct St. Louis Eagles.

Beyond that he also had his chance to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs taken away from him.

"Later, Connie Smythe offered me my Boston salary to help the Toronto kids at their Syracuse farm team. Red Horner then got hurt and the Leafs were going to bring me up, but I had a leg injury. It's too bad, because I always wanted to play for Smythe. He was a swell guy."

Wilcox returned to Montreal and opened a fleet of 160 trucks for his own transporting business. He also was active in civic politics in Verdun.

Archie Wilcox relocated to Brockville, Ontario is his 80s. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 90.

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