Separating fact from fiction

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The first hockey broadcast was always credited to Foster Hewitt, who was assigned by the Toronto Star to broadcast an OHA game in March 1923 between Kitchener and Parkdale at Toronto's Mutual St. Arena on the paper's new radio station, CFCA.

But SIHR's Eric Zweig found a Star article from Feb. 9 of that year, saying that "sporting editor" Norman Albert had been on CFCA the night before calling the third period of a North Toronto-Midland game.

SHE SHOOTS, HE SCORES

- SIHR went on the trail of Albertine Lepensee, a star female player from the Cornwall area during the First World War who dropped out of sight after 1920.

Kotylo says Lepensee eventually went to the United States for a sex change operation.

"Albertine became Albert, but to date we have no information that he or she came back to play in a men's league," Kotylo said.

Off the track

- The recent fatal bus crash of a Windsor women's team gave SIHR reason to look back into similar accidents involving teams. One was the Swift Current juniors bus tragedy in which four players were killed, while there were two train derailments involving NHL teams in the Original Six era, one in Altoona, Pa., involving the New York Rangers, another with the Montreal Canadiens near the Ottawa River. There were no fatalities in either, but it led to a short-lived policy of management and players travelling separately.

THE RIGHT STUFF

- CBC's documentary Hockey: A People's History, has been getting plenty of assistance from SIHR. For example, when 1800s-era sticks were required, Grenda contacted some Irish hurley players he had befriended and they sent over the most authentic looking equipment available.

HINTERLAND WHO'S WHO

- SIHR wants many significant Canadian hockey sites to be historically designated or at least get a plaque, preferably in a tourist friendly way. These would include old arenas, gravesites and player-producing small towns such as Viking, Alta., and Kirkland Lake.

CURING THE GAME'S ILLS

- Pastor Glen R. Goodhand's listed notable hockey players who have gone on to the medical profession. They include Dr. Rod Smylie of the Toronto St. Pats, "the only intern to moonlight as a Stanley Cup winner," and Edmonton Oilers' Cup winner Dr. Randy Gregg.

DRESSED FOR SUCCESS

- Manitoba's Lloyd Penwarden exposed a Team Canada fashion faux pas, discovering the 1920s Winnipeg Falcons jerseys they hawked at the recent World Cup had the stripes and the cresting wrong. But he did allow the original Falcons' garb would have been made by Icelandic wives and mothers with wool right off the sheep's back.

21ST CENTURY RESEARCH

- SIHR is working on a web database that will feature career info on 32,200 players, essentially every pro not currently in the NHL. It includes 4,900 former NHLers, 10,000 photos and 240,000 lines of stats, trade information and up to the minute numbers once the player retires from the NHL.

TWO CUPS TOO MANY

- The SIHR has, of course, has looked into every aspect of the Stanley Cup, from its inception in 1893 through its many adventures in the hands of the winning teams. But the group also has attempted a detailed history of the World Hockey Association's championship trophy -- the Avco Cup -- despite the fact at least three versions of the 1970s trophy are believed to be at large.

The Society of International Hockey Research has cleared up many old arguments -- and sparked some new ones. Here is a sampling:


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