Saturday, June 07, 2008

More Hockey Information

Because of Pat's current interest in hockey, I decided to track down information about Icelandic Canadian hockey players in the early part of the 20th century. I had dim memories that Icelanders had comprised an entire Canadian national team at one time.

They did. Prejudice against Icelanders was so strong in Winnipeg before WWI that players from the Icelandic immigrant community were not allowed on hockey teams. So the Icelanders set up their own team: the Winnipeg Falcons, which represented Canada at the 1920 Olympics and won the first Olympic ice hockey gold medal.

At the time, Icelanders were called "goolies" in Manitoba. This was not a nice term. My father told me that he once tried to explain prejudice to my uncle Angantyr, who had apparently been using less than nice language about some ethnic or racial group.

"What would you do if someone called you a goolie?" my father asked his brother.

"I'd punch him out," Tyri replied.

Tyri was a high school history teacher and not the kind of person you would assume was a puncher out. I bet he would have done it.

The site I found said "goolie" came from the way Icelanders mispronounced goalie. I thought it originated because Icelanders held meetings at the Grand Old Order of Lions Hall in Winnipeg, though this doesn't sound any more likely than the goalie story.

Anyway, I figure if ever three people gather together, there will be prejudice against them.

The site I found said "goolie" was now an affectionate term. I don't plan to use it. When if I ran into someone like my uncle Tyri?

I also found a site that said the National Hockey team in Iceland has a falcon and a maple leaf on their uniforms in memory of the Icelanders in Winnipeg. I need to check this out. It's a sweet story.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I printed this entry for a co-worker.
Whitey is around 80 and was quite the jock in his youth. He was on one of the US Hockey teams at the first winter Olympics after WWII. He went to Dartmouth and was on the Dartmouth team.

6:32 AM  

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