November 12, 2013

Completing The Quartet: Hugh "Muzz Murray" by Roger Godin

Chris Chelios, just inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame here in the Fall of 2013, is considered by many to be the greatest American hockey player of all time. Others might suggest Brian Leetch or Brett Hull or Mike Modano or Pat Lafontaine. Regardless, you'll note they are all very modern stars.

America has been playing hockey pretty much as long as Canada has been, but they have not developed superstars until relatively recently. Sure, there was a Frank Brimsek here or a John Mariucci there, but they seemingly lack that star quality over the years. While they may not be able to boast an Eddie Shore or Howie Morenz or Cyclone Taylor, the Americans do have a number of very important players in the course of their own hockey history to be acknowledged.

Enter Roger Godin. He is one of the top hockey historians in the world. He is a proud member of the Society For International Hockey Research and an even prouder Minnesotan. His work over the years has him so highly regarded that the NHL's Minnesota Wild hired him as the team's curator.

Godin tells us there are four American hockey greats prior to the year 1925. He has presented papers to SIHR on each and has turned them into published works.

The players are Hobey Baker, who most good hockey fans will recognize, along with Moose Goheen, Cody Winters and Muzz Murray. Murray is the fourth player featured by Godin, hence the title Completing The Quartet.

Murray was a standout with the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA from 1918 through 1922, peaking in the 1919 Stanley Cup final against the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. Unfortunately that series was never completed because of an influenza epidemic. Murray, a native of Michigan, became only the second American born player to ever compete in the Stanley Cup finals.

Murray never played in the NHL himself, though the PCHA was considered to be an equal major league at that time. He has never gotten much attention by hockey historians, at least not until now thanks to Roger Godin.

The "book" is essentially his presented paper. It is only 36 double-spaced pages long. That includes 6 interesting black and white photos. It is produced by Milkees Press out of Roseville, Minnesota. The book is only available by contacting Roger Godin directly.

This book has a very limited marketplace as I suspect there just isn't that many people looking to learn about Muzz Murray. For those people who are, you don't have to look any further.

I hope the author looks at the possibility of combining his work on these four early American hockey stars in a full book presentation, perhaps while introducing us to other early day American stars who have laid the foundation for the many great American players today. That is a book that needs to be written and there is no better choice than Roger Godin to write it.


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