Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Vintage Hockey Photo, Vancouver Canucks vs. Seattle Ironmen

Above is an action-packed photo I found in the Vancouver Archives database (I believe that's where I found it, I save so many old hockey pics sometime I forget where exactly I found them). It was labelled only with the year "1948", and clearly shows the old Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Ironmen of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. 
The PCHL was a professional circuit existing from 1944 through 1952 when it became the professional  Western Hockey League. The problem with the photo is there are literally no player numbers visible, making identification difficult...difficult, but not impossible. Looking through the Society for International Hockey Research database, it's fairly easy to narrow down the Canuck who's driving the net as Scotty McPherson or Bob Drainville (see pics below).

Both players were left-handed shooters who played for the Canucks in 1948/49. This would be Drainville's only season with Vancouver, while McPherson played the next two full seasons as well. Drainville was a defenceman and McPherson was a centreman who scored 21 goals in 48/49, it may have been somewhat strange for a defender to be rushing the opposition net, but not unexpected even 70 years ago. Facially, it's tough to determine with certainty which player it is, but in my mind it's the curly, puffy hair that makes be lean toward McPherson. The Lethbridge, Alberta native played as high as the AHL for two seasons in the mid-40's. Either way, it does seem to confirm that the photo is from 1948.
So, if this is indeed the 1948/49 campaign, the Seattle goaltender would likely be Jerry Cotnoir who played 65 of 70 games in net for the Ironman in 48/49...however, does this goalie look like him? I'm not so sure. Perhaps the year provided with the original photo was wrong (they often are merely guesses).
Jerry Cotnoir 1948/49 Seattle

In looking at the Seattle rosters for the few seasons surrounding 1948, we come upon one Phil "Red" McAtee (below) who played 61 games for Seattle in 1950/51. McAtee also played 15 games for them in 46/47, a year before the date on listed with the archived photo.
In looking at the Canuck player photo records for 1946/47, there really are no players who match the guy driving the net, however Scotty McPherson was still with them in 50/51, scoring another 21 goals. I am much more confident that the photo shows McAtee in net and McPherson attempting to score, during the 1950/51 season. McAtee, from Stratford, Ontario had just completed two seasons with the AHL's Springfield Indians under the iron fist of Eddie Shore and was perhaps looking for a respite on the West Coast. 
As far as any of the other players in the photo, there is one that may be identifiable. The Seattle defenceman directly in the middle of the photo, facing almost face-on into the camera appears to be one Bill Boorman of Spruce Grove, Alberta. If those high cheekbones and long nose aren't a match, then I don't know what is.

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