The Navy Gives a “Spirited” Effort Against Hockey’s Pros

The Navy Gets Ready

A total surprise to most is the level of involvment in sports that the local armed forces took during the war. One such “golden” moment in the navy’s history took place in Winnipeg during WWII. The New York Rangers would spend their pre-season training camp in Winnipeg. Of course the city would come alive with excitement when the pros came to town. The Amphitheatre Rink would be constantly buzzing with fans waiting for autographs from the “hot” Rangers, who sported the league’s leading scorer. Then, just prior to the end of training camp, the Rangers would play their tune-up game against a local team. In 1941, and again in 1942, the Rangers played against the NAVY team.

Here is the news clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press, the day after the game in 1942:

From the Winnipeg Free Press – Tuesday 27 October 1942

Capacity Crowd on Hand
as Rangers Beat Navy

Bryan Hextall Star of the Game

The Bryan Hextall, Lynn Patrick and Phil Watson line aroused plenty of excitement last season in the NHL with the New York Rangers.

At least this is what one would gather watching the trio go to town Monday night at the Amphitheatre rink when the Rangers blasted Harry Neil’s Winnipeg navy Club, 9-2, in an exhibition contest.

Messrs. Hextall, Patrick and Watson were really hot – Hextall a little more so than his other playmates.

They gathered 13 of the 20 scoring points chalked up by the Gothamites, Hextall banging in three goals and three assists; Patrick two goals and two assists and Watson a goal and two assists.

The contest was witnessed by a capacity crowd of 5,000 and featured sensational hockey from start to finish.

One would have thought it was a world championship game rather than just the exhibition it was billed as. Both clubs played all out at every stage and the large crowd was on it’s feet the majority of the time.

It was a splendid workout for the Rangers, who open their 1942-43 NHL campaign in Toronto this Saturday Night, and the Navy team should benefit greatly from the experience obtained.

The teams’ share from the game went towards purchasing athletic equipment for the new naval barracks which was formerly the Winnipeg Winter Club.

The Neil-coached sailors put up a far better show than the scoreboard indicated, but missed many of the scoring chances. Leading the Tars was Defenceman Hughie Millar, whose performance ranked him with the stars of the night. He got both the Navy goals and was brilliant both offensively and defensively.

Third Period Fight

Spice was added to the proceedings in the third period when a brief outburst of fisticuffs occurred between Referee Dick Davis and Vic Lofvendahl, Navy defenceman.

Davis waved the husky Lofvendahl to the sin-bin for tripping, but Vic refused to go, striking Davis with his bare fists. Davis came back at him and soon both were on the ice.

For his action Lofvendahl was sent from the game with a match penalty.

At the same time, little Grant Warwick, Ranger forward, hooked up with Millar in a wrestling duel, Warwick drawing a minor penalty.

Hextall was, easily the best man on the Ranger team with his three counters and three assists. Speedy Bryan, NHL scoring champion last season, figured in the first five goals the New Yorkers scored, scoring three and assisting in two others. His other assist, came on the last Ranger goal of the game fired by Eddie Slowinski, last year a Junior with Winnipeg Monarchs.

Portage Kids Play

Three members of last year’s Championship Portage junior club played in Ranger uniforms Monday night and gave good accounts of themselves. They were Lin Bend, Joe Bell and Bill Gooden. Of the three, Bend was the most effective, though Bell and Gooden gave the fans an eyeful with some fancy skating. None of them figured in the scoring column.

The Rangers ran the count to 6-0 in the first period before Navy came through with a reply. Hextall opened the scoring at 5:23 on a play with Watson, and followed up with two other efforts within the three minutes to make it 3-0.

Patrick ran it to 5-0 with a consecutive brace of tallies scored within 10 seconds of each other, and Gord Davidson who showed up to advantage on defence made It 6-0 when he clicked on a play with Warwick and Bob Kirkpatrick. Millar fired Navy’s first goal with two and a half minutes to go in the period, completing a play with Brian Lynch and Lowvendahl.

One in Second

Only one tally was registered in the second period, Watson batting in a pass from the veteran Ranger defenceman Ott Heller. The score at the end of the period stood Rangers 7, Navy 1.

Big Babe Pratt, ex-Winnipeg junior, made it 8-2 in the third period before Millar manufactured Navy’s second goal on a play with Gib Nordin and Joey Johns. Slowinski drove in the ninth Ranger marker with Hextall’s help at the 16:27 mark in the session.

Both teams played two goalkeepers. Rangers used Steve Buzinski, Swift Current intermediate graduate, and Jack McGill, last season cage custodian for the New York Rovers in the Eastern US Amateur loop.

Goalie Shows Promise

Buzinski, who guarded the twine during the first and second periods, showed plenty of stuff and showed promise as being a fine replacement for “Sugar Jim” Henry, who is now in the army.

Roy Roche handled the Navy goaltending chores for the first two sessions with Lionel Wright, last year with East Kildonan Bisons taking over in the third. Roche could not be wholly blamed for all seven shots that got by him. Every one was of the tough variety. There were injuries in both camps. Babe Pratt of the Rangers, received a hand injury when cut by a skate, and Eddie Slowinski was cut in the neck with a stick. Ducky Skinner, of Navy, received a scalp cut and a severe charley horse.

Commander E. T. C. Orde, of the Winnipeg Detachment R.C.N.V.R. faced off the puck to send the contest on its way.


New York Rangers – Buzinski, Heller, Pike, Bell, Bend, Gooden. Subs – Pratt, Davidson, Watson, Hextall, Patrick, Warwick, Smith, McGill, Kirkpatrick, Slowinski.

Winnipeg Navy – Roche, Heindl, Millar, Johns, Nordin, Hamulka, Ballance, Medynski, Lynch, Bathgate, Skinner, Lofvendahl, Landiak, A. Kirkpatrick, Wright.

Officials – Lorne Lyndon and Dick Davis.

Scoring Summary – First Period – 1. New York Rangers, Hextall (Watson), 5:23; 2. New York Rangers, Hextall (Patrick, Pratt) 5:53; 3. New York Rangers, Hextall (Patrick, Watson) 8:07. 4. New York Rangers, Patrick (Hextall, Pike) 14:29; 5. New York Rangers, Patrick (Hextall) 14:29; 6. New York Rangers, Davidson (Warwick, Kirkpatrick) 17:01 7. Winnipeg Navy. Millar (Lynch, Lofvendahl) 17:38. Penalties – Millar, Pratt.

Second Period – 8. New York Rangers, Watson (Heller) 5:58 Penalties – Watson, Johns, Hextall, Bend, Lofvendahl.

Third Period – 9. New York Rangers, Pratt, 1:25; 10. Winnipeg Navy, Millar (Nordin, Johns) 7:35; 11. New York Rangers, Slowinski (Hextall), 16:27; Penalties – Watson (minor and misconduct), Gooden, Lofvendahl (match), Warwick, Hextall.