Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Powers That Were

The Quebec Hockey Club was often an also-ran squad in Canada's highest senior hockey league in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before Joe Malone came on the scene in the Ancient Capital, little attention was paid to the team in the blue and white stripes. In the early 1900s the team had the famous Paddy Moran in goal, and Herb Jordan at centre, a man with an excellent claim to the Hall of Fame.

Filling much of the rest of the Quebec roster for several of those years were the Power brothers. There were three who played regularly for the senior Quebec side between 1903 and 1909: James Rockett Power (b. 9 Feb 1883), Joseph Ignatius Power (b. 11 Jan 1885) and Charles Gavan Power (b. 18 Jan 1887). These three had a younger brother Frank, who also played hockey for Quebec, but never at the senior level, and an elder brother William, who did not play hockey at a high level so far as I can tell. Following are brief bios of the three brothers and their career Point Allocation records, starting with the eldest.

Rockett Power

Though James was his given name, he went by Rockett, which was his middle name and his mother's maiden name. He was often referred to as Rocket in the papers, and this led some researchers to assume it was a nickname, until his biographical information was uncovered.

Of the three brothers, Rockett was the most professional in terms of being a hockey player, going where the work was, from Quebec City to Montreal, to Waterloo, to Cape Breton and even Edmonton. Rockett was a solid but unspectacular defender.
Rocket Power used his body to advantage and blocked well. (Quebec Chronicle, 9 Jan 1905)
Rocket Power was a sure check and stole the puck repeatedly from the Westmount forwards while his long shots on goal were a feature. (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Feb 1905)
Like his brothers, Rockett was a swift skater, but for his career was really only a serviceable defenceman. Like many Quebec players from the time, he was perhaps more focused on offence than he should have been;
team was often near or at the top of the league in goals, but also in goals allowed. They must have been very exciting to watch, at the very least.

1903Quebec AthleticsCAHL25714250.20.3-
1905Quebec AthleticsCAHL2441100-0.13.4-
1906Edmonton ThistlesASHL45310600.10.0-0.4-0.3-0.28
1907Edmonton ThistlesASHL28020002.11.7-
1908Quebec BulldogsECAHA17318000.33.9-
1910Waterloo ColtsOPHL24611500.21.3-
1910Quebec BulldogsCHA213325-0.30.7-
1911Montreal CanadiensNHA2401000-0.63.7-
1911Quebec BulldogsNHA1307500.91.1-
1912New Glasgow CubsMPHA1801600-3.33.3-0.2-0.2-0.13
1913Quebec BulldogsNHA24100-

Joe Power

Joe Power, for a few years at least, was a big-time goal-scorer, and he had sufficient defensive chops to be moved to cover-point midway through his career. He was known for his humour and wit, and was called Joe the Joker from this school days onward.

In his first full season in 1904, Power played left wing and finished second on the team in goals (behind Herb Jordan), and was second among league left wings in goals (behind Hall-of-Famer Blair Russel). Quebec were league champions in 1904, and Power was their captain. In 1905, Power moved to rover, and exploded for 22 goals, a total exceeded by only one man: Hall-of-Famer Russell Bowie, the best pure goal-scorer of his generation. In 1906, Power again outscored teammate Herb Jordan with 21 markers, and tied for fourth in the league in goals, this time behind Harry Smith, Russell Bowie and Frank McGee, probably the three best goal-scorers of the generation.

Power switched to cover-point the following season, and in 1908 he scored 13 goals in 10 games at the position, a figure which was ninth in the league, but first among defencemen. By comparison, Cyclone Taylor and Didier Pitre both played 10 games at cover-point in the same league; Taylor scored 9 goals and Pitre but 3. After another full season in 1909, Power played only a few more games before calling it a career. In 1913, he revealed that he had retired from the game due to suffering from pleurisy, an inflammation of the lungs which makes breathing itself painful. He later served in the Parliament of Quebec.

While playing cover-point, Joe was credited as being an effective defender, but again there's only so much stock we can put in that given Quebec's defensive results at that time. He was primarily an offensive player, even when playing a defensive position. He was the rover on the All-Star team that played the Montreal Wanderers in the Hod Stuart benefit game in 1908.
In the centre of the ice Herbie Jordan and Joe Power proved a great pair. Some neat combination was engineered between them and their quickness in passing and shooting fooled Waugh a number of times. (Quebec Chronicle, 6 Feb 1905)
Joe Power shone brilliantly on the line, his goal getting ability being displayed in a marked manner. (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Feb 1905)
[Paddy Moran] was given all possible protection by Rocket Power and Joe Power, who both played very heady games, making the defence almost invincible. Rush after rush of the Ottawa line came to grief without a chance to shoot when they reached the first line of defence. Joe Power's rushes were also a feature of the game, and a number of goals were due either to his initiative of to his own shooting. (Quebec Chronicle, 6 Jan 1908)
Joe Power then came down single-handed and with a beautiful shot scored the final game of the match... (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Jan 1908)
1903Quebec AthleticsCAHL4346801.2-
1904Quebec AthleticsCAHL68016004.
1905Quebec AthleticsCAHL48016007.70.3-
1906Quebec BulldogsECAHA48016005.50.3-
1907Quebec BulldogsECAHA246414801.41.0-
1908Quebec BulldogsECAHA28020004.91.8-
1909Quebec BulldogsECHA28020000.22.9-
1911Quebec BulldogsNHA410200-

Charles Power

Charles "Chubby" Power had the briefest of careers of the three brothers, before he began his military career, and eventually his political one which was quite extensive, serving as Minister of National Defence for Air from 1939 to 1944.

Chubby took over the rover position from his older brother when Joe moved full-time to cover-point for the 1908 season. The younger Power was a fast, aggressive, dashing player. A physical one, too, who often came under the eye of the referee for his rambunctious nature. So while he was an effective player for his short career, he was probably too aggressive to be among the greats, and surely was not in position to backcheck effectively. That being said, his work along the boards and in the corners was noteworthy, and he produced good value for Quebec when he was in the lineup.
Fitting in with him at centre ice in splendid fashion was “Chubby” Power, who proved a worthy successor to his brother “Joe” at rover. (Quebec Chronicle, 6 Jan 1908)
[Herb] Jordan gave a singularly pretty exhibition of stick-handling and his shooting was deadly. A particularly clever shot was passed out to him from the side by Chubby Power. Although covered by two men, he managed with that funny poke of his to elude both of them and lifted the puck right into the nets. Chubby Power also starred brilliantly and besides finding the nets several times himself, also materially assisted Jordan in combination which proved effective. (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Jan 1908)
Chubbie Power was an improvement [over Joe Malone] on the wing and played the boards in fine style. (Quebec Chronicle, 8 Feb 1909)
The Quebec forward line as a whole worked splendidly and hard, Herbie Jordan, of course, displaying all the qualifications of a gilt edged hockey player and being well assisted, though recklessly, by Joe Malone and Chubby Power, who figured prominently in the scoring and on the fence. (Quebec Chronicle, 22 Feb 1909)
Chubby Power once more came under the technicalities of the law and was relegated to the fence for checking with unwarranted ardor. (Quebec Chronicle, 22 Feb 1909)
1907Quebec BulldogsECAHA48160-
1908Quebec BulldogsECAHA48016005.40.8-
1909Quebec BulldogsECHA48016004.1-0.1-


  1. Really nice article ! Well done ! Just a point here, The Quebec Hockey Club were never called Athletics before the 1919-1920 season, and this was so to avoid a lawsuit with Percy Quinn who has "bought" the team the year before. Also, Bulldogs nickname was not use until 1913.


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