|Cyclone Taylor, out for a skate at the PNE Forum in 1948|
"There aren't enough individual stars in hockey today simply because the young lads aren't being given a chance to develop their own style."
This was hockey legend, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen from December 1956. He continued, "There used to be Howie Morenz, Syl Apps, along with many others, to catch the eye of the public. Now Jean Beliveau is a standout despite today's method of training an athlete. But there isn't much chance of finding another Apps or Morenz because the hockey people are too busy with their system of mass-hockey. They don't appear to want individuality."
Cyclone may have had a good point, that season (1956/57) was somewhat lacking in real star power after a select few. This was the last good season for Maurice Richard before retiring in three years, and other than Beliveau, Howe, Lindsay and Bathgate the league was fairly non-descript. Others finishing in the top twelve in scoring that year were Ed Litzenberger, Don McKenney, Johnny Wilson and Real Chevrefils.
Taylor continued his analysis, commenting on youth practices held at Vancouver's Kerrisdale Arena,"They have 40 to 60 youngsters on the ice at the same time. They get very little hockey because they're crowded into one end of the rink." Taylor also blames the advent of television as one of the problems as well,"Folks have taken to the habit of taking things easy in their living-rooms. It'll wear off though, and when that time comes hockey should have something to offer the public, not just the mass gang-stlye game in evidence these days."
Taylor, who was 71 years old at the time even admitted that he may come across as a crabby old man, "Of course, anything I say would sound like sour grapes. They'd just shrug me off as an old-timer who refuses to admit hockey players today can match the stars of another era." Fear not Fred, your complaints and points are astute today as they were 60 years ago.