Smith, William (Bill) E
- Player Name
Smith, William (Bill) E
1900 – 1970
Bill Smith was born in Montreal on September 11, 1877. His boyhood was spent in Lindsay, Ontario. In Lindsay, Bill’s athletic skills blossomed and grew in field lacrosse, hockey, baseball and boxing. His lacrosse skills were drawn to the attention of the Montreal Shamrocks with the result that he joined the team as it forged its way to a World Championship. Also an adept performer on the steel blades, he had opportunities to play hockey wherever or for whomever it pleased him. Through the good graces of the Shamrock Athletic Club he also participated in boxing matches as a welterweight. Knowing that he could not rely on sports for a livelihood, he acquired a stationary engineers certificate for the operation of steam and refrigeration systems. Refrigeration qualifications brought him to Hamilton and to a position at the Barton Street Arena. It was in Hamilton that he met Mabel Florence Powell. They were married in St. Catharines and settled in Mabel’s parent’s home in Stamford Township. In the City of Niagara Falls plans were under way for the construction of the artificial ice arena on Victoria Avenue. He would become the ice-maker. While the arena was under construction, Bill took on coaching responsibilities with a field lacrosse team whose home field was the Bridge Street Athletic Grounds at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Bridge Street. Eugene “Gene” Fraser, who would run like a deer, was a member of that team. Following an announcement on December 1, 1926 that an O.H.A. Junior Team would be formed, manager Bill Smith and coach Bill Cody selected sixteen players from twenty-one “tryouts”. A Junior Team was entered in a group that included either Grimsby and Port Colborne or Hamilton, Toronto, Brantford and Paris. Thus began Bill’s hockey coaching career involving junior teams. In the years from 1926 to 1937, some of the finest hockey players the area ever produced admitted that his coaching capabilities were beyond those of greater reputation.
For example, from 1926 to 1928, Obs Heximer, Jerry Shannon and Max Kaminsky went on to the N.H.L; Greg Massecar to the A.H.L.; from 1933 to 1935 Edwin “Smack” Allen on to semi-pro hockey, Nick Damore to A.H.L. , Orin Steele to Senior O.H.A. and Industrial League, John Mowers on to N.H. L. and Chuck Shannon on to play for Sudbury and Kansas City. Later on, Bill would coach an Industrial League team and an Intermediate O.H.A. team. The team he coached in the Industrial League, Mang’s of Niagara Falls New York, playing in Niagara Falls, Ontario, won the Industrial League Championship. In 1950, when Bill had not worked in an ice arena for over a decade, he received an emergency call just before the opening of the Memorial Arena informing him that they could not get the ice to hold. Bill went in, solved the problem before the Official Opening and stayed for three years and established an operating procedure which a successor could follow.
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