Kelly McCrimmon has eaten hundreds of pre-game meals since 1977. That’s when he first played junior hockey, with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then were in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
But even with that kind of history, McCrimmon, 60, experienced a first involving a pregame meal on Friday in San Jose.
The former owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, McCrimmon now is the general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, who were in San Jose on Friday to begin a weekend doubleheader with the Sharks.
The Golden Knights were staying at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, which is where they gathered for their pregame meal early on Friday afternoon. As things turned out, those were the last meals anyone will be having in that hotel, at least for a while.
That’s because the hotel declared bankruptcy — the San Jose Mercury News reported that its owners’ debts are between $100 million and $500 million — and it shut its doors as the Golden Knights were enjoying dessert.
“Crazy times,” McCrimmon told me on Saturday night. “Staff had no idea it was coming. They got ushered right out of the building.”
The Golden Knights, had to pack their bags, then head to the SAP Center for Friday’s game, knowing that at game’s end they would be going to a different hotel.
While the disruption no doubt gave them something to talk about, it didn’t seem to bother the players on the ice. The Golden Knights beat the Sharks, 5-4 in OT, on Friday, then 4-0 on Saturday.
Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun pointed out: “This will affect more than just the Golden Knights. Because of NHL virus protocols, the league designates one hotel in a city to serve as every visiting team’s lodging to ensure the hotel abides by league rules. So when the St. Louis Blues come to town on Monday, they won’t be staying at the Fairmont Hotel.”
Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Many spring training ballparks have opened up to a limited number of fans, so how do half of those fans show their gratitude to be at a live ballgame after a year of quarantine? By refusing to mask up and protect the other fans from that still-deadly virus. I salute you anti-maskers for your fearlessness and courage, your refusal to be bullied by nerdy scientists, but some of your fellow fans are allergic to death.”
I smiled when I heard from an old friend the other day. He and his wife had had to make a driving trip that took them along the Yellowhead Highway and through Hinton, Alta.
After arriving back home, he messaged me: “I smile when I see ‘Old Drinnan Town’ sign.”
That would be the same sign that welcomes all comers to this website. Yes, it’s a real sign, located just off the highway a few slapshots east of Hinton.
(BTW, a chunk of the Trans-Canada Highway that runs through Hinton actually is Gregg Avenue. Oh, and Gregg Lake is about 30 km north of Hinton. And let’s not forget Mount Drinnan, which is located near Drinnan Creek about 30 km south of Hinton.)
Headline at The Onion: COVID Announces Plan To Move Operations To Texas Full-Time To Escape Burdensome Regulations.
“A Tom Brady rookie trading card — an autographed 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket version — sold for a record $1.32 million last week,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Or more than 1½ times what his latest Super Bowl counterpart, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, got paid in base salary last season.”
Here’s Perry, again: “March 4, in case you missed it, was supposed to be National Grammar Day. So we checked a bunch of breathless-fanboy message boards, and no, it didn’t appear to be.”
The Sports Curmudgeon (aka Jack Finarelli) was at his best earlier this week after the Washington Football Team announced that it is replacing its cheerleading squad with a co-ed dance team. . . . Remember that the curmudgeonly one lives in the Washinton, D.C., area, and that he has referred to the team as the WTFs since the moment the organization dropped its previous nickname. . . .
“I know,” he wrote about the co-ed dance team announcement. “It is enough to take your breath away.”
He continued: “That announcement is about as important as nose hairs on a statue; cheerleaders for NFL teams are worthless and co-ed dance teams for NFL teams are no better. At its absolute best, consider this announcement by the team — and obliquely by the NFL — as a means to divert attention to the fact that after 8 months of ‘investigating,’ there are no findings regarding sexual harassment and a ‘toxic work environment’ for female cheerleaders there.”
You are able to find his entire thoughts on all of this right here.
More Yogi! Yogi swings at a pitch in the dirt; strike 1; swings at a pitch nearly over his head; strike 2; swings at a pitch way outside; strike 3. He walks to the dugout & says, "How in the world can a pitcher that wild stay in this League?" @sigg20@PeterVecsey1
The WHL and the AJHL announced their latest virus-testing results on Friday. . . . The WHL was clean through 602 tests for the period from Feb. 27 through March 5. That involved 428 tests on the seven teams in the Regina hub and another 159 for the five Alberta teams. . . . The five Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams in Regina had each player and staff member tested twice — once upon arrival and again after quarantine. As a result of all tests being negatives, teams were cleared to start on-ice work on Friday. . . . Meanwhile, the AJHL ran 385 tests through 13 teams without a positive test among players and staff. Everyone will be tested once more before games begin on March 12.
The Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League announced Saturday that it has suspended play for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. “Our decision reflects the uncertain timeline and lack of direction from Public Health with respect to game play,” the league said in a news release that carries the signature of Levi A. Taylor, its commissioner. . . . On the heels of that announcement, the Manitoba Female Hockey League (U18 AAA) cancelled its regular season and playoffs.
Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune with something worth thinking about: “Players hate going to the NBA All-Star Game — as they should — and get upset when they’re not invited.”
Curlers got through the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for the Canadian women’s championship without any issues in a bubble in Calgary. The Tim Hortons Brier for the Canadian men’s championship started on Friday. . . . Earlier in the day, it was announced that the LGT world women’s championship will be played in the same bubble with 14 teams competing from April 30 through May 9. This is a big event because the top six finishers qualify for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. . . . That same Calgary bubble will be home to the Home Hardware Canadian mixed doubles championship, and the BKT Tires/OK Tire world men’s championship, and two Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events.
There is smoke coming out of Seattle and it has to do with whether QB Russell Wilson wants to leave the Seahawks. LaToya Cantrell, the mayor of New Orleans, went so far as to make a pitch on behalf of her Saints. . . . That elicited this response form Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s mayor, who tweeted: ““I love you Mayor, but keep your eyes off @DangeRussWilson. His home is Seattle. #GoHawks. And so you know, Seattle is in the market for a @NBA team. Don’t make me go there.”
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES: Kyle Chipchura, who played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders (2003-06), is getting into the coaching game. He has joined the Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 prep team as an assistant coach for 2021-22. Chipchura, 35, was the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2001 bantam draft. He went on to play 481 regular-season NHL games and was in the KHL for the past four seasons (2016-20). . . . Brayden Toma is the new head coach of the U15 prep team. He has been at the academy since the 2017-18 season.
As the sun set on Thursday, there didn’t seem to be anything new to report on the BCHL, its 17 teams and a potential return to play. . . . During Question Period on Wednesday in Victoria, Shirley Bond, the interim leader of the B.C. Liberals and the MLA for Prince George-Valemount, asked: “Simple question, hopefully a very simple answer: Will the premier provide B.C.’s local hockey teams with the $9.5 million in funding they need to survive the hockey season? They are asking for $9.5 million so that WHL teams and B.C. Hockey League teams, like the premier’s own Victoria Grizzlies and my Prince George Spruce Kings, can survive.” . . . Premier John Horgan, the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island, replied: “There’s going to be more news about both hockey leagues. They provide an economic benefit. Certainly the WHL restart will be a bonus for Kamloops and Kelowna. But it will also be a difficult time for those teams, because outside of those two cities, they will not be having revenue coming in. We understand the issue. We’ve been working on it for a number of months. I regrettably have to say, ‘Stay tuned’ at this point.” . . . Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news obtained a letter written last week by Chris Hebb, the BCHL’s commissioner, to government and health officials. In his report, Mackin wrote: “If (the) BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for the its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . Apparently, that didn’t happen on Thursday. . . . Jay Janower of Global tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that “it’s my understanding that as of right now, league will continue to hold its vote on cancelling the season on Friday.” . . . That, of course, would be today. The waiting game continues.
It was on Feb. 25 when I wrote this:
“We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days.”
It turns out I wasn’t alone with that thought.
Steve Ewen, who covers junior hockey, the Vancouver Giants in particular, for Postmedia, wrote this on Wednesday:
“The WHL fanned on a glorious opportunity to show they believe intentions outweigh outcomes. . . .
“No one official has ruled it out, but playoffs aren’t likely. This is going to be an exhibition season. At its very best, it’s giving players something to grasp onto in the midst of this pandemic chaos. For some, it’s also a chance to show their wares for NHL teams or minor-pro clubs, or even Canadian universities moving forward.
“So why did the WHL stick to the traditional roster construction and only allow three 20-year-olds per team? Why not give teams a fourth or even a fifth 20-year-old so they can bolster the resume of some older players who have been loyal to the league in this very tricky time?”
Potenteau spent a lot of years at the Kelowna Daily Courier and was a regular on the WHL beat as he wrote and wrote and wrote, mostly about the Kelowna Rockets.
At one point, he started up an on-line publication — DubNation — that was all WHL all the time, and really was ahead of its time.
He left print journalism a while back — he had left sports and was the Daily Courier’s managing editor — and now is in TV with Global Okanagan out of Kelowna. That’s him in the above photo — top row, second from right.
The 2022 Arctic Winter Games have been postponed. They were to have been held in Wood Buffalo, Alta., from March 6-12, 2022. The Games that attract about 2,000 international participants normally are held every two years. The 2020 Games were to have been held in Whitehorse but were cancelled a week before opening. Organizers didn’t want a repeat of that so made the decision well in advance.
Poor Nick Harbaruk had a rough day for the @penguins. In the morning skate, he took a puck in the back of the head – 4 stitches. In pre-game warmups, another on the chin, a few more sutures. Then during the game, he was hit on the forehead for 14 more stitches…a bad day for sure pic.twitter.com/OTpwW3SmJe
It is readily apparent that the medical profession continues to learn new things about COVID-19 as we move through this pandemic. On Thursday, there were reports about a peer-reviewed study of pro athletes returning to play after dealing with the coronavirus that found few cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. . . . Thomas Ketko of Sportsnet reported that “several professional North American sports leagues collaborated on the effort, including the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, WNBA and MLS.A total of 789 athletes who had COVID-19 participated in the study, which took place between May and October 2020 and sought to gauge how often the leagues’ return-to-play cardiac screening techniques found instances of inflammatory heart disease.” . . . Only five of those athletes were found to have inflammation of the heart. . . . Ketko also reported that “prior studies on the risk COVID-19 poses to the heart drew more uncertain conclusions, too.” For example, one earlier study found that 60 of 100 people who had tested positive had at least some signs of myocarditis. . . . Yes, the learning continues. . . . Ketko’s complete story is right here.
Bernie Lynch, a former WHL coach (Regina Pats, 1988-89), has been suspended by the junior A Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. According to a report from CBC News, Lynch was suspended on Jan. 2 via a letter that referenced “inappropriate” emails and conduct. He also was ordered to have no further contact with the players. . . . The CBC report also notes that “more than two months later, neither the team nor the league has publicly disclosed this.” . . . According to the CBC story, “Hockey Canada says it has launched an investigation, under the guidance of Glen McCurdie, its vice-president of insurance and risk management. Yet neither the player nor his parents have been contacted. Nor, apparently, has Lynch.” . . . The entire CBC story is right here.
I taped the met game so I could watch it tonight. I want to thank ESPN for finding a way to screw up the broadcast. Don't they realize people turn on a baseball game to watch baseball not listen to a whole bunch of people talk?
Hello there, ESPN. It’s been a long winter so I really have been looking forward to watching some baseball. But I have tried to watch two of your telecasts in the last few days — Cubs and Mariners, then Nationals and Mets — but have bailed on both of them. I want to watch baseball with the accompanying play-by-play and commentary, and not be subjected to a bunch of interviews over top of the play. Please stop trying to re-invent the wheel. . . . Thank you for listening!
The IIHF’s nine-team 2021 women’s world championship that is scheduled to be held in Halifax and Truro, N.S., has been moved to May 6-16. It had been scheduled for April 7-17 in those communities. . . . The 2020 tournament was to have been held there but was cancelled. . . . The IIHF is hoping that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend games.
Some NCAA hockey teams are dealing with virus-related issues. . . . Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) reported via Twitter on Thursday: “Merrimack won’t be able to continue with its season. Games vs. UVM (the U of Vermont) this weekend are canceled and per a source, Merrimack won’t compete in the HEA playoffs, which is scheduled to begin with the first round on Wednesday.” . . . St. Lawrence U cancelled its last four regular-season games, all of which were to have been against Clarkson. . . . Earlier, Colorado College had cancelled its final two games, both against Denver, that had been scheduled for last night (Thursday) and Saturday. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.
Restrictions are being loosened in Nova Scotia, meaning the province’s three QMJHL teams will be allowed to play home games again. The Halifax Mooseheads are scheduled to play at home three times in the next 10 days, while the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have one home game scheduled.
JUST NOTES: Phil Andrews is returning as the radio voice of the Regina Pats on 620 CKRM. He had been the play-by-play voice since 2011, and took over as director of media and communications in 2016. He left that post in July and the position was filled by the hiring of Evan Daum, who will serve as the analyst on Pats’ broadcasts. CKRM will carry 19 of the club’s 24 games in the upcoming developmental season, with five weekdays games available on the station’s website. . . . The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers have signed Justin Falk as assistant general manager/assistant coach. A 32-year-old native of Snowflake, Man., Falk will work alongside GM Jeff Jeanson and head coach Kelvin Cech. Falk played in the WHL (2005-08) with the Calgary Hitmen and Spokane Chiefs before going on to a pro career that included stints with five NHL teams. He last played in 2018-19, when he spent time with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles and Belleville Senators and the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . The Flyers also announced that Mike McAulay has added the director of player personnel duties to his previous job as head scout.
Every year, as Remembrance Day nears, I post the story of Lyman (Hick) Abbott. From Regina, he was a wonderful athlete, a sportsman and a real Canadian hero.
I wrote this story while at the Regina Leader-Post, and it really is a favourite.
It all came about because of a gentleman by the name of J. Lyman Potts, who was named after Abbott. J. Lyman’s father, Joe, was something of a mentor to Hick. J. Lyman, who died on Dec. 9, 2018, was a legend in the Canadian broadcasting and music industries. He would have turned 104 on Nov. 11, so this always was a special week for him, too.
It was J. Lyman who acted when he realized in the mid-1990s that the Abbott Cup — originally funded by Potts’ father and named after Abbott — no longer was being given the respect it deserved. He wrote to old friend Tom Melville, a former Regina Leader-Post sports editor, and the two of them mounted a lengthy campaign that resulted in the Abbott Cup being retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Potts contacted me, one thing led to another and I ended up writing this story. This year, there are a handful of additional photos, all of them from Mark Abbott, a member of the Abbott family who has been in contact with me from his home in Guelph, Ont.
Here, then, is the story of Lyman (Hick) Abbott . . .
Edward Lyman Abbott was, they all agreed, one of a kind.
He was a superb athlete and, just as important, he was a true sportsman. Everyone in southern Saskatchewan knew Abbott as Hick, which was shortened from Hickory, and he was loved by young and old alike.
In the early part of the 20th century, Hick Abbott was the best athlete in Regina and maybe all of Western Canada. To this day, it may be Abbott who is the best athlete Regina has seen.
According to the Regina Leader:
“Previous to going to the war Abbott was one of the greatest hockey players that this Dominion every saw. He also was a stellar lacrosse, rugby and soccer player. He piloted Regina to a western championship in rugby in 1915 and what he did to bring the Allan Cup to Regina any of the old-time fans know.”
As we pause at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, his story is but one of many worth remembering. This, then, is that story. Or, at least part of it.
The gentlemen of Regina’s sporting scene would gather at Joe Potts’ Rose Athletic Parlours on the east side of the 1700 block Rose Street. They would go there for a shave, maybe a trim and, most definitely, to talk about how their sporting world turned.
The Rose Athletic Parlours — the name was in honour of a Potts penpal, Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack — was a seven-chair operation, with each barber having his own washbasin and mirror. There were two other huge mirrors — floor to ceiling — and a circular leather seat that surrounded a pole on which was beautiful leather backing. A long glass counter was home to a gold-coloured cash register and boxes of chocolate bars. Mahogany-veered cabinets behind the counter were full of tobacco products.
And there were photographs — they didn’t call them pictures then — everywhere. Photographs of prominent athletes. Many of them autographed.
The billiard room was separate and featured Boston tables, although there was one billiard table. Each table had its own mahogany cabinet in which players hung their hats and coats.
This is where doctors, dentists, lawyers and businessmen came. This is where they talked about the exploits of their favourite son.
Hick Abbott was of fair complexion. He had gray eyes that, in a blink, would steal a young girl’s heart. And that hair. Oh, that light brown hair that always had that naturally tousled look. Born in Orillia, Ont., in the Hovering parish, on May 1, 1891, Abbott, who was of the Methodist faith, moved to Regina for some reason long since lost. His father, James Henry Abbott, lived his last days in Toronto. In a file folder full of documents, notes, papers and photographs, there isn’t a mention of a mother. Perhaps Hick Abbott’s mother died and he moved to Regina to live with his sister, Rebena Myrtle, who was a provincial government employee. A brother, Samuel Percival Abbott, lived near White Bear, Sask.
Hick Abbott played football (rugby football, it was frequently called then), hockey, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, basketball. He excelled at them all. He played in high school. He played for club teams. He played on playgrounds or in a gymnasium. It didn’t matter. He just wanted to play. He had to play.
But hockey was his game. He was a right winger who played for as many teams as he could.
He played for the Regina Bees Capital Hockey Club, which won the Valkenburg Cup as the province’s 1911-12 amateur champions.
But how was he to know that the highlight of his athletic career would come in the spring of 1914 when he helped the Regina Victorias to the 1914 Allan Cup title? The team photo refers to the Vics as World’s Amateur Champions 1914. There’s Abbott — bottom row, third from the right, next to Joe Potts, the Vics’ manager. The newspaper refers to Abbott as “the speedy and consistent right wing who is the sharpshooter of the team.”
But there was trouble in Europe where, before long, the First World War would be raging. Soon, newspapers were full of casualty reports. Regina’s sons were dying over there.
Naturally, Abbott heard the call, as did many of his teammates from that 1913-14 team, including goaltender Fred McCulloch, defencemen Charlie Otton and Austin Creswell, who was the team captain, and rover Freddy Wilson.
Abbott took officer training in Winnipeg, qualifying for the rank of lieutenant. He returned to Regina and enlisted with the 68th Battalion.
On the day Abbott enlisted — Sept. 23, 1915 — he was a 24-year-old student at law who lived in Regina at 2254 Rose St.
Seven months later, on April 28, he was on the S.S. Olympic as it sailed from Halifax. Abbott headed overseas as a platoon commander and officer in charge of records.
Abbott was a true warrior. Whether it was on the field of play or on the field of war, there wasn’t any quit in this man.
Upon his arrival in England, he quickly transferred to the 52nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, a trench unit. In the ensuing 26 months, shrapnel was the only thing that kept him from the front.
He was first injured on Oct. 7, 1916, while in action near Courcelette, about 30 miles northeast of Amiens, in what came to be known as the Battles of the Somme.
Four days later, Abbott was admitted to No. 14 General Hospital at Boulogne with a wound to his left shoulder. Two days later, he was in England, safely ensconced in a war hospital in Reading, a few miles west of London.
A doctor noted a “shrapnel bullet localized near wound.” That shrapnel was removed on Oct. 24; he was discharged from hospital on Nov. 13.
Abbott rushed back to the front and stayed until June 3, 1917, when he was granted 10 days leave, which he spent in Paris.
On July 26, 1917, following the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Abbott was awarded the Military Cross “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He handled his men in the most able manner, and successfully led them through an intense hostile barrage. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.”
Three months later, on Oct. 27, he was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross.
The Bar, according to a letter Potts received from Abbott in early November, was “just for a little trench raiding affair.”
Abbott also mentioned that he now was wearing “a pair of plate glass spectacles on account of recent injuries to my eyes.”
The glasses were the result of his being wounded for a second time. He took a bullet — or a piece of shrapnel — in the right temple on Sept. 4, 1917, while raiding enemy trenches near Leuze, just over the border from France in the southwest part of Belgium.
A medical report indicates this was a “Severe G.S.W. (gunshot wound) near right eye.” Before he reached the hospital in Boulogne, the shrapnel//bullet was “removed with giant and small magnet.”
The Sept. 11 edition of The Leader reported, under the headline Popular Regina Young Man Is Among Wounded:
“As the casualty lists come in, more and more Regina soldiers are listed either as killed, wounded or gassed. In the list of yesterday appears the name of one of the best known and popular young men of the city, Lieut. Edward Lyman Abbott, as being wounded. This is the second time within 10 months that ‘Hick’ . . . has suffered injuries on the battlefield.”
The story continued:
“. . . he has written to friends in the city and appeared to be carrying on without much worry. Abbott was one of the finest athletes and best sportsmen in the city, standing at the head in every branch of sport he entered. He was particularly noted for his prowess at hockey, and football, two games in which he had no superior in the west.”
By Sept. 15, he had been “invalided, wounded and detached” to the Manitoba Regimental Depot and was being cared for in the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth.
A doctor’s report noted: “Recommended for convalesence . . . to report back in three weeks.” Abbott was discharged on Sept. 24, 1917, and spent the next month at St. Mark’s College, leaving there on Oct. 25, 1917.
The next entry in his medical record is dated Sept. 14, 1918. It is short and to the point: K. in A.
Killed in Action.
It was, in the words of General Erich Ludendorff, the “black day of the German army.”
It was Aug. 8, 1918. It was the day on which the Battle of Amiens began. It was the battle in which Hick Abbott died.
After recovering from his head wound, Abbott returned to France on Dec. 24, 1917. A week later, he was back with his unit.
With Capt. G.M. Thomson heading for England, application was made for Abbott to be an acting captain with the 52nd Battalion. That was approved on March 16, 1918.
Abbott, then, was a captain when the Battle of Amiens, one of the war’s most decisive battles, began. The German’s spring offensive had been stopped only eight miles from Amiens. Now it was time to push them back. Later, after the Armistice had been signed on Nov. 11, 1918, it was generally acknowledged that this was where the tide had turned. In two weeks, 46 German divisions were defeated — 34,250 prisoners and 270 heavy guns were captured.
“It was,” said Ludenhoff, “the black day of the German army in the war . . . To continue would be a gamble. The war would have to be ended.”
On Aug. 14, with the battle almost won, Abbott — always the leader — was first out of a trench as he led a charge towards the enemy.
According to Earl Longworthy, an acquaintance of Abbott’s, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet to the head.
Longworthy was with Abbott’s battalion the day after his death and reported the platoon “worshipped the ground Abbott walked on and were in sorrowful spirits because of his death.”
A testimonial, author unknown, reads in part:
“Abbott was the type of Canadian, and the type of Britisher, that the Germans cannot understand; the type that fights with a silent fury and yet that does not hate; too much of a sportsman to fight unfairly, but more dangerous in attack than their finest products of hate-inspiration because of utter recklessness combined with a deadly skill and total inability to recognize defeat.”
By the time of his death on Aug. 14, 1918, Abbott’s father also was dead. Hick’s medals went to his sister, Rebena, who was living in Regina at 2072 Angus St. A plaque and scroll went to his brother, Samuel, at White Bear.
Abbott’s will, dated July 1, 1916, indicated that there may have been another woman — besides his sister — in his life.
His will appointed his sister and R.D. MacMurchy, a Regina barrister, as executors. It read in part:
“I give and bequeath unto my sister Rebena Myrtle Abbott all property, real and personal in my possession or due me at the time of my decease and in the advent of her prior decease all said property, real and personal to Miss Edith May Longworthy, 2035 Hamilton St., Regina, Canada.”
Word of Abbott’s death was reported in The Leader of Aug. 22, 1918:
“The death of the popular young Regina officer came as a great shock to his many friends in the city and to the hundreds who knew him through the province particularly as one of the finest athletes who ever appeared before the public in the province.”
Joe Potts was devastated by the news and wrote an appreciation that appeared in The Leader:
“The world of sport of Regina, and for that matter the entire province of Saskatchewan, is the poorer today by the loss of Hick Abbott.
“As long as Regina is, the name of Abbott will live. To the present generation his name stands supreme as a monument to the best that was in sport. To the future generation he has left an ideal for them to attain.
“The citizens of Saskatchewan have lost one of nature’s gentlemen, one who held dear the traditions of his land and one who ever had at heart one thing — the interest of his fellows.
“A hero among his fellows he was equally loved by the boys. No business was ever too pressing to prevent him claiming their comradeship. To the younger lads of Regina his life and glorious death will be an inspiration.
“In expressing these thoughts I am but giving voice to those of everyone in the city who knew him. As one who knew him intimately from the time he grew out of boyhood the loss is personally great.”
Potts had named his first-born son after Abbott — J. Lyman Potts was born on Nov. 11, 1916 — and would make certain that Hick wouldn’t be forgotten.
Late in 1918, Joe Potts started a fund-raising drive, the result of which would be the Abbott Memorial Cup, which for years would go annually to the champion of western Canadian junior hockey.
When the subscription drive started, the first name on the list was Lyman Potts ($10). The second name was that of Lieut. Austin Creswell, the captain of the 1914 Victorias.
E.A. Jolly, a prominent Regina druggist, sent in $5, along with a note:
“Captain Abbott was one of the highest types of Canadian citizens and his record on the ice and subsequently on the battlefield proved him a man of whom all of us should be proud. I remember the great games with Melville when Abbott worked so valiantly and well for victory, and I also remember what a great power Abbott was to the Victoria team when they won the Allan Cup on that great night in Winnipeg nearly five years ago.”
Dick Irvin, who would later prove to be one of the NHL’s great coaches, wrote from Belgium where he was a private “doing despatch work on a motorcycle . . . and seeing the sights of France and Belgium over the handle bars.”
Irvin was a 21-year-old centre on the Winnipeg Monarchs team that lost the 1914 Allan Cup final to the Vics.
“I am interested in what you say about the proposed Abbott Cup and you can put (me) down for a five spot,” Irvin wrote. “I think the idea splendid for junior hockey in the west and, as far as the memorial is concerned, you couldn’t have picked on a better name as Abbott was a . . . man all through.”
Hector Lang, the principal of Regina’s Central Collegiate during Abbott’s high school years who later moved to Medicine Hat and would be the Alberta trustee for the Abbott Cup, wrote that Abbott “at his studies, in his games, and on the field of battle, displayed always in the highest degree the character of the true sportsman. I remember, too, the other boys who studied and played with him — all good boys and true sports, and all of them better because of the influence of the big-hearted and fair-minded Hick Abbott.”
Sid Smith wrote from Gull Lake, Sask., expressing the hope that “this trophy will not be handled in such a way that it will fall into disregard, be forgotten as is often the case with such.”
Almost 80 years later, the Abbott Memorial Cup no longer could be considered a prominent trophy. Where it once went to the winner of a best-of-seven series, in its last years it was presented to the winner of one round-robin game between two western representatives during what was then the Royal Bank Cup — aka the national junior A championship.
“I know absolutely nothing about the Abbott Cup,” admitted one member of the Melfort Mustangs, Abbott Cup winners for 1996.
“It’s just an appetizer (for the Royal Bank Cup),” added another player.
It seems, alas, that Sid Smith’s worst fears were recognized.
Hick Abbott, who left Regina to fight for his country’s freedom, never returned to his adopted home town.
He is buried in Roye New British Cemetery, a few miles north of Paris.
Plot 1, Row B, Grave 13.
Hick Abbott was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.