By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The Amesbury Maples hockey team established themselves as an organization during the 1924-25 winter season. Playing their games locally in shop leagues driven by the automotive industry alongside the many waterways in Amesbury, Massachusetts, the Maples club dominated the area and quickly got known as a team to be reckoned with. The first four years of the Maples was they’re coming out party as the team gained local popularity which in turn sparked media attention with newspaper publications and praise of the team’s efforts.
By the 1930-31 season, the Maples were heavily known as one of the best amateur/semi-pro teams in New England. Many club teams from afar heard how talented this team was that wore the Kelly Green and White and often welcomed those teams to Amesbury or travel to play at the challenger’s sheet of ice often returning home with a victory. No matter how far the Maples had to go to find games due to unseasonably warm winters or the aforementioned gentlemanly challenge from an out of state club, sometimes the biggest moments are how you represent your community at the highest level.
From the 1930-31 season to their last appearance in 1940-41, the Maples would participate in the Northeast Amateur Athletic Union’s annual playoffs. The team would travel to Providence to play their games at the Rhode Island Auditorium (Image Above) for a few years before the postseason event was moved closer to home in Massachusetts.
The NEAAU would move its tournament operations to the Boston Garden (Seen Above) in 1936, and the Maples would appear on the Garden ice for the next six years after successful season schedules. The Maples would post a regular season record of 19-3-2 in the 1939-40 campaign good enough for a birth in the NEAAU playoffs. After previous years of not being able to cross the threshold of an NEAAU Championship, the club finally got what was due and named New England Champions after a clean sweep of East Boston, Hingham Cove, Hyde Shore (Cambridge), and shutting out Concord, New Hampshire 7-0. In those four NEAAU games at the Garden, the Maples outscored their opponents 26-4. Even though they were named New England Champs, the mission was far from over after winning on Boston Graden ice.
The next level after capturing the NEAAU title was a move up to the National ranks to play other club teams and collegiate competition in Lake Placid, NY (Seen Below). The National AAU single elimination tournament kicked off its schedule on Friday, March 1st, 1940 with the Maples earning a first-round bye. The Maples went into Saturday’s semi-final action shorthanded to the full bench and heavily favored University of Minnesota club who also entering the National tournament on a bye after winning their region.
Although the Maples tried their best, it just wasn’t enough as Minnesota would cap off the semi-final event with a 9-4 victory over the Amesbury club that traveled over 300 miles in search of the ultimate prize. Minnesota would go onto win the championship at Lake Placid after beating Brock Hall of New Haven, Connecticut 9-1 in the finals. Per local paper that’s unidentifiable, the Maples entered the National AAU tournament having victories in 16 straight games and were certainly one of the hotter clubs gearing up to make a long run and be forever immortalized.
Below are some tickets from a few of the events at the old Boston Garden when the Amesbury Maples had a chance to play and capture a New England Championship.
During this timeframe, there were many great players who contributed but to give an idea of who was on the team during this time I’m going to mention those who I consider legends. I’m still learning about all these gentlemen as my research continues so if I missed anyone that some believe should be mentioned, this legend series isn’t stopping anytime soon so hope to get to those that folks suggest.
Archie Cloutier, Henry Graf, Eddie Nichols, Alphonse Picard, John Reddy, Albie Roy, Wilfred Stuart, Harold “Fuzzy” Thurston, and Chewie Williams.
As always I like to end every one of my Amesbury related hockey articles by thanking the many great folks that have given me the opportunity to gather family information over the years. Shout out to local area sports guru Bert Spofford who gathered all kinds of value findings that were Maples Hockey related for the 70th Anniversary Weekend Celebration in October of 1993. If it wasn’t for the effort of Spofford in searching local libraries for sports info nobody would probably know this team existed in 40 years. Mr. Spofford passed away in 2007 and was known to be very knowledgable in sports and stats for years. Spofford and mentioned above Albie Roy will be inducted into the 2019 Amesbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday night September 28th in the AHS Auditorium.
If you happen to have an Amesbury Maples related items, photos or stories about the former players, please send me an email at email@example.com and I may use it in a future article during the summer downtime. Thanks for reading!!