(Photo:Australian War Memorial collection, via Wikimedia Commons)
During World War II, everyone tried to do their bit for the war effort. The Boston Bruins set aside proceeds from four games to raise money for the war fund of the Boston Metropolitan chapter of the Red Cross. In October 1942, the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Navy Relief Society announced that they would not sanction sporting events to raise funds, but the local Red Cross obtained permission from the national chapter to accept. According to the Boston Globe announcement, “The players themselves will purchase tickets to gain admission, as will officials and the hockey writers.” With the extra motivation, the Bruins ended up winning all four games.
In their first game, on December 12, 1942, the Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 and raised $6,296.
For the second game, on January 12, 1943, the “New Year’s night poll” set the start time at 8:15 (fifteen minutes earlier than their typical puck drop). That left time for Maj. Gen. Sherman Miles and Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, “top military men in this area,” to speak on “the vital role the Red Cross plays in the war.” Instead of the usual organ, the music would be played by the 40-piece Coast Guard Band of the Captain of the Port.
The Bruins wore Red Cross uniforms to play the Chicago Blackhawks. Perhaps they brought good fortune to the Sprout Line, who scored all of Boston’s goals and earned themselves seven points. Don Gallinger scored at 19:25 of the first frame, assisted by 16-year-old rookie Bep Guidolin and Jack Schmidt. Gallinger commented, “Maybe we’ve hit our stride now.” In the second, Guidolin served a penalty for high sticking and then, on his way out of the box, swept up a controversial puck for an unassisted goal at 8:35. The Blackhawks were adamant that the puck was offside, but the linesman said it hit a Chicago player before Guidolin picked it up and referee King Clancy claimed he missed the play. Less than three minutes later, Guidolin scored again, with assists from Gallinger and Schmidt. Guidolin, who had not scored in the past 15 games, said, “It felt good to score for a change.” Bruins goalie, Frank Brimsek, was due to experience the 100th goal scored against him but instead earned his first shutout of the season (26th overall). Brimsek, who had gone 43 games without a shutout, noted, “It wasn’t the toughest game of the season. It wasn’t exactly easy either.”
Ironically, in a game meant to help the Red Cross, Bruins captain Dit Clapper left the game in first period “when he twisted and hurt the end of his breastbone” and had to be x-rayed the following day. The Blackhawks Earl Seibert left three minutes before the game ended with a gash in his forehead.
At any rate, the Red Cross received $10,624.15 from 8,170 fans that game. According to Harold Kaese of the Boston Globe, this was a “decent showing, considering the OPA driving order, the Sunday game here with Toronto, and the fact that the Hawks are not a leading attraction in Boston.”
The third game, held on February 9, was the most highly anticipated and made the most money. The Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 for $17,274.54.
Finally, on March 9, in the game reschedule from being the first to being the final, the Bruins crushed the New York Rangers 11-5 and raised about $11,077.
The grand total for the four games was $47,204, just shy of their $50,000 goal.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Bruins Will Play 4 Charity Games,” Boston Globe, 14 Oct. 1942, p. 19.
- “Red Cross War Fund to Get About $70,000,” Boston Globe, 15 Oct. 1942, p. 25.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Bruins-Canucks Play for Red Cross,” Boston Globe, 12 Dec. 1942, p. 9.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Art Ross Says Bruins-Hawks Tilt Tonight Is Doubleheader,” Boston Globe, 12 Jan. 1943, p. 10.
- Harold Kaese, “Two Bentleys and Hawks Face Bruins Here Tonight,” Boston Globe, 12 Jan. 1943, p. 26.
- Harold Kaese, “B’s Stage Stiff, 10-Lap Workout for Reporters,” Boston Globe, 13 Jan. 1943, p. 14.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Bruins Now Lead by Four Points,” Boston Globe, 13 Jan. 1943, p. 16.
- Harold Kaese, “B’s and Red Cross Win Spoils as Leafs Tumble,” Boston Globe, 10 Feb. 1943, p. 14.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Cowley’s 2 Goals Beat Leafs, 3 to 1,” Boston Globe, 10 Feb. 1943, p. 20.
- Tom Fitzgerald, “Bruins Overpower Rangers, 11 to 5,” Boston Globe, 17 March 1943, p. 18.