As the seasons ends with the start of another school year we decided that every Monday we would release an article with some history of the sport we all love. Hockey has evolved from a few guys with some brooms on a pond to become one of the most popular sports in the entire world. All our stories and biographies are from CBC’s Hockey, A peoples story.
Lionel Conacher was a Canadian athlete and politician. He was so large that he was nicknamed the Big Train. Conacher didn’t lace up a pair of skates until he was 16. But that didn’t slow him down. The Big Train had already won a Memorial Trophy by the time he was eighteen years old, with the Toronto Canoe Club. In the same year, 1920, he hit the game winning home run in a baseball game in the minor leagues in Toronto. After the game Conacher travelled by Taxi across town to suit up and play for his local Lacrosse team, the Toronto Maitlands. Conacher single handily won the game for his team. Scoring four goals and carrying his team out of a 3-0 deficit. The next year Conacher tried his hand at football, and like all the other sports, he was very good at it. He scored four touchdowns for the Toronto Argonauts to win them the Grey Cup championship. Lionel was also part of some real hockey history, he played in the first ever hockey game to be broadcasted on the radio in 1923.
Conacher’s size made him one of the best defensemen in the league. Toronto and Montreal did all they could to sign him. But instead of playing hockey full time the Big Train decided to get an education as well. Conacher played amateur hockey and quickly got an athletic scholarship to a college in Pittsburgh. After his years in college Conacher made his NHL debut in 1925 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and scored their first goal in franchise history. Conacher also played for the New York Americans, and won the Stanley Cup with Chicago and Montreal. Conacher retired from Hockey in 1937 and devoted his time to be a politician. In 1954 Conacher was selected to play in a charity baseball game. As Conacher was rounding the bases Conacher collapsed and died. Conachers legacy will live on in Canada through their Football, Lacrosse, and Hockey halls of fame. He was also named Canada’s top Athlete of the first half of the twentieth century.