Scotty Davidson: Talented right winger killed in action in First World War

Allan M. (Scotty) Davidson's hockey career included winning a Stanley Cup, but it was tragically cut short when he as killed in action in Belgium during the First World War.

Born in Kingston on March 6, 1892, Davidson developed into one of the best players of hockey's early era. Even though he was good enough to play in the senior ranks, at the tender age of 16 he chose to stay in junior hockey and first rose to prominence as the captain of the Kingston Junior Frontenacs. Under Davidson's leadership on the ice, the Frontenacs won two consecutive Ontario Hockey Association championships, in 1910 and 1911.

Davidson decided to turn pro and played briefly for the Calgary Athletics during the 1911-12 season, before returning east and joining the Toronto Blueshirts of the National Hockey Association. Playing right wing and defence, the swift-skating Davidson scored 19 goals in 20 games for the Blueshirts during the the 1912-13 season. He had an even better season in 1913-14. Davidson, the team's captain, scored 23 goals and added 13 assists in 20 games in the regular season and he then led the Blueshirts to a 6-2 total-goals win in a two-game series against the Montreal Canadiens to capture the Stanley Cup.

After the season ended, the Blueshirts accepted a Stanley Cup challenge from the Victoria Aristocrats of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. The challenge was ruled unoficial because the Victoria team had not applied to the Stanley Cup trustees, but Davidson's Blueshirts swept the series in three straight games anyway.

That brilliant 1913-14 season would be Davidson's last. When England declared war against Germany, Davidson was quick to answer the call. He volunteered to become a "bomb thrower," lobbing grenades at enemy troops.

In June 1915, just over one year after winning the Stanley Cup and at the age of 23, Davidson died in action. He was struck by German machine-gun fire while trying to carry a wounded officer back to his own line.

How good a hockey player was Scotty Davidson?

In 1925, Maclean's Magazine named him as the right winger on its all-time all-star team. Some years later, a number of hockey men gathered in Montreal to pick the greatest stars in the history of the game, and Davidson's name was prominently mentioned. Kingston's Capt. James Sutherland, who had coached Davidson in Kingston, expressed the view that Davidson was "as good as any player to ever patrol a wing position."

He added: "Scotty Davidson was such a great wing player and also an Eddie Shore on defence, and those kinds do not come into action every day." Edward Allan, a sportswriter for the Toronto Mail and Empire who had followed hockey for 30 years, said Davidson was one of the best and added that Davidson could skate backward faster than most players could skate forward. And Montrealer Ernie Hamilton, who, as a coach, had taken teams to Kingston to play against Kingston clubs, remarked that Davidson's shot was so hard it knocked a Montreal goalie right back into the net. "I never saw such hard shooting."

Scotty Davidson was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.