Frank McGee (ice hockey)

Frank McGee
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1945
Frank Mcgee photo.jpg
McGee in 1914
Born (1882-11-04)November 4, 1882
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Died September 16, 1916(1916-09-16) (aged 33)
Courcelette, France
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg; 10 st 10 lb)
Position Centre / Rover
Shot Left
Played for Ottawa Hockey Club
Playing career 1903–1906

Francis Clarence McGee (November 4, 1882 – September 16, 1916) was a Canadian ice hockey player during the early days of hockey for the Ottawa Hockey Club, nicknamed the "Silver Seven".[1] Though blind in one eye, McGee was a legendary player of his era, and known as a prolific scorer. He once scored 14 goals in a Stanley Cup game and eight times scored five or more. Despite a brief senior career β€” only 45 games over four seasons β€” he led the Silver Seven in its reign as Stanley Cup champions during this time (1903–1906), playing both centre and rover.[2] During World War I, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and died in battle in France. When the Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1945, McGee was one of the original inductees.

Personal life

Frank McGee came from a prominent Canadian family. His late uncle, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, had been a Father of Confederation. His father, John Joseph McGee, was clerk of the Privy Council (considered the top civil servant position). Frank was one of nine children born to John Joseph McGee and Elizabeth Helen (nΓ©e Crotty). Frank had five brothers and three sisters: Thomas D'Arcy, James, John Joseph, Walter, Charles Edward, Kathleen Gertrude, Mary and Lillian.[3] His brother Jim was also a noted athlete in football and ice hockey before dying in a horse-riding accident in May 1904.[4] Charles, like Frank, also died in World War I.[3]

After his education in Ottawa, McGee worked for the Canadian government Department of Indian Affairs, but he had a passion for sports and played lacrosse and rugby and excelled at ice hockey. While playing half-back for his rugby team, Ottawa City, he was a member of the team that won the Canadian championship in 1898.[5]

Hockey career

McGee (standing, far right) as a member of the 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven

On March 21, 1900, the young and promising McGee lost use of his left eye during an amateur game for a local Canadian Pacific Railway team[6] from a "lifted puck."[7] He retired from playing, becoming a referee.[8] By 1903, he missed playing the sport so much that he joined the Ottawa Hockey Club despite the risk of permanent blindness.[8] McGee was the youngest member of the team and stood only five feet six inches tall in a brutal sport;[9] regardless, he excelled. He scored two goals in his first game with Ottawa,[10] and he finished the 1903 season with 14 goals in 6 games, second overall in the league.[11] He helped Ottawa keep the Stanley Cup from 1903 to 1906.

On a number of occasions, McGee scored several goals in a single game, the most famous being his 14-goal effort in a 23–2 victory over the Dawson City Nuggets on January 16, 1905. Those 14 goals, which included eight consecutive goals scored in less than nine minutes,[12] remain to this day the most goals scored by a single player in a Stanley Cup hockey game, and has not been surpassed in any professional match.[13] It was the most lopsided playoff game in Stanley Cup history. He scored five or more goals in eight other senior matches;[14] his highest single-game total in regular season play was eight on March 3, 1906 against the Montreal Hockey Club.[15]

McGee's linemates included future Hall of Famers Alf Smith, Harry Westwick, Billy Gilmour and Tommy Smith. McGee was considered an outstanding playmaker and deadly scorer. Frank Patrick, a contemporary of McGee's and like him a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, described McGee: "He was even better than they say he was. He had everything – speed, stickhandling, scoring ability and was a punishing checker. He was strongly built but beautifully proportioned and he had an almost animal rhythm."[10]

After Ottawa lost the Stanley Cup to the Montreal Wanderers in 1906, McGee retired at just 23 years old. His retirement is attributed to his government position not allowing him to travel. He had briefly retired after his brother Jim's death in 1904.[16] During his career, McGee scored 135 goals in only 45 games (both league and challenge).[17] Only Russell Bowie rivals his average of three goals per game.

McGee was one of the original nine players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at its founding in 1945.[10] Five years later, a poll of sports editors of Canadian newspapers selected the Silver Seven as the country's outstanding team in the first half of the 20th century.[9] In 1966, he was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.[18]

Stanley Cup finals records

  • Most career goals in Stanley Cup finals: 63[19]
  • Most goals in one playoff series: 15 in two games in 1905 at Ottawa versus Dawson City.
  • Most goals, one playoff game: 14, January 16, 1905 at Ottawa versus Dawson City.


World War I

McGee's health form

McGee enlisted in the military and fought in World War I for the 43rd Regiment (Duke of Cornwall's Own Rifles) as a lieutenant in the 21st Infantry Battalion, starting in May 1915. That December he suffered a knee injury, and was sent to England to recover. He was given the choice of a posting in Le Havre away from the action, but chose to return to his battalion at the front. He returned to the 21st Battalion in August 1916 for the Battle of the Somme and was killed in action on September 16, 1916 near Courcelette, France. His body was never recovered.[21] His brother Charles died in action in May 1915.[5]

It is not known how McGee was allowed into the army with sight in only one eye. In his certificate of examination, the medical officer wrote that McGee could "see the required distance with either eye." According to McGee's nephew, Frank Charles McGee, his uncle tricked the doctor. When he was asked to cover one eye and read the chart he covered his blind eye, and when required to cover the other eye he switched hands instead of eyes.[9] His medical history only lists "good" for his vision.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1899–00 Ottawa Seconds CAHL-I β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1900–01 Ottawa Aberdeens OCJHL β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1901–02 Ottawa Aberdeens CAHL-I β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1902–03 Ottawa HC CAHL 6 14 β€” 14 9 2 3 β€” 3 β€”
1902–03* Ottawa HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 2 4 β€” 4 β€”
1903–04 Ottawa HC CAHL 4 12 β€” 12 9 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1903–04* Ottawa HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 8 21 β€” 21 β€”
1904–05 Ottawa HC FAHL 6 17 β€” 17 14 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1904–05* Ottawa HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 4 18 β€” 18 β€”
1905–06 Ottawa HC ECAHA 7 25 β€” 25 18 β€” β€” β€” β€” β€”
1905–06* Ottawa HC St-Cup β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 6 17 β€” 17 β€”
Senior totals 23 68 β€” 68 50 2 3 β€” 3 β€”
St-Cup totals β€” β€” β€” β€” β€” 20 60 β€” 60 β€”

* Stanley Cup Champion. [22]


  1. ^ Houston, William. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2008. McGee himself had the nickname "One-Eyed Frank". The Ottawa Hockey Club was given the nickname after the seven players on the roster were each given a silver nugget after their 1903 Stanley Cup win. The players were not allowed to be paid money, under the rules of the time.
  2. ^ "Silverware – NHL Trophies – Stanley Cup". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 22, 2008. In 1906, the Silver Seven were the existing title holders and won two challenges. After the end of the regular season, the Montreal Wanderers tied for the league championship. A playoff was organized and the Wanderers won the Cup. It is considered by the Hockey Hall of Fame, among others, that there were two champions for 1906. There are other years with multiple winners in the age when the Stanley Cup could be won by challenge outside of league play.
  3. ^ a b "John Jos. McGee Died Last Night At Age 81 Years". Ottawa Citizen. April 11, 1927. p. 4.
  4. ^ "Sad Death of Ottawa's Captain". The Globe. May 15, 1904. p. 9.
  5. ^ a b "Ottawans in casualties, Lt. Frank McGee's Death Was Officially Announced Saturday". The Ottawa Citizen. September 25, 1916. p. 6.
  6. ^ "Item Display: Backcheck: A Hockey Retrospective". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2008. Also attributed to a game between Ottawa Aberdeens against Hawkesbury[dead link]
  7. ^ In those days, it was a common play, before icing rules for the defence to shoot the puck up into the air (lifting it with the blade of the stick) into the other team's end of the rink and all players would then skate to the other end to recover it. Now, the term is "dump and chase", though it must be shot from no further than the half-way centre red line.
  8. ^ a b McKinley (2006), pg. 31
  9. ^ a b c Houston, William. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c "Legends of Hockey: Frank McGee Biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
  11. ^ Coleman 1966, p. 46
  12. ^ "History of McGee's Inn: Frank McGee, the hockey legend". McGee's Inn Bed & Breakfast – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Website. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
  13. ^ Beddoes (1990), pg. 40
  14. ^ Coleman (1966), pg. 805
  15. ^ Coleman (1966), pg. 122
  16. ^ "The Ottawa Team". The Montreal Gazette. December 28, 1904. p. 2.
  17. ^ "Legends of Hockey: Frank McGee Statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
  18. ^ "Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame – Inductees". Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
  19. ^ Before the modern multi-round playoffs format was introduced in 1914, competition for the Stanley Cup was done via a challenge series between two teams, typically spanning three games or fewer. These games effectively all counted as Finals matches from 1893 to 1914, as the distinction between playoffs and finals would not come about until the latter year.
  20. ^ Diamond (2000), p. 91
  21. ^ Kitchen (2008), p. 188
  22. ^ Hockey Hall of Fame


External links