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THN.com Blog: Olympic aspirations

Jack Johnson drove to Vancouver to be a part of Friday's opening ceremony. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Jack Johnson drove to Vancouver to be a part of Friday's opening ceremony. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Did you know the all-time leading goal-scorer for the USA at the Olympics was actually born in Midland, Ont?

Herbert Drury, who played for the Americans at the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games (and who is a relative of mine) was born in 1895 and began his hockey career with Midland of the Ontario Senior League in 1914 and he played in that league until the 1916-17 season, when he moved to Pittsburgh.

There, Drury played for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in the USAHA, disrupting his career in 1918-19 to fight in World War I. In 1920, when hockey made its unofficial first appearance at the Olympics during the Summer Games, Drury scored six goals in three games en route to a silver medal. In fact, he was the only player in the entire tournament to score against the gold medal-winning Canadians, who outscored their opponents 29-1.

In 1924, Drury was back. In five games he scored 22 goals, the second-most ever in a single tournament, next to Canada’s Harry Watson, who scored 36 at the same Olympics. Meeting Canada in the final for a second time, the Americans lost 6-1 and Drury, once again, was the lone goal-scorer.

After the 1924 Games, Drury’s Pittsburgh team became the Pirates as they joined the NHL. At 30 years old, Drury played five NHL seasons with Pittsburgh and one with the Philadelphia Quakers, posting 24 goals, 37 points and 203 penalty minutes in 213 career NHL games.

A neat side story is his younger brother, Morley. A hockey player himself, Morley was most noted as a football player who quarterbacked and captained the 1927 USC Trojans. Morley played three years (’25-’27) for USC at the same time a young Marion Mitchell Morrison (a.k.a. John Wayne) was on the team.

Morley never went to the Olympics, but he was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and had a statue erected in his honor, proclaiming him as “The Noblest Trojan Of Them All.”

• Kudos to American defenseman Jack Johnson for getting into the Olympic spirit.

Johnson, whose Los Angeles Kings didn’t play a game on the night of the opening ceremony, chartered his own flight from L.A. to Bellingham, Wash., where a driver took him, his parents and his 11-year-old brother Kenny across the border and to Vancouver.

Johnson’s plane took off at about 6 a.m., and arrived in Bellingham just shy of 9 a.m.

He reportedly invited fellow Americans Bobby Ryan, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown, all of whom turned him down.

Johnson was the first active NHL player to march in the opening ceremony with his team. But because the Kings still had one more game Saturday before the Olympic break, Johnson had to leave once the ceremony was over and fly back to Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times reported Johnson’s plane arrived back around 2:30 Saturday morning.

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"It was a great experience. Probably the coolest thing I've ever done," Johnson told the Times. "It was worth every minute of it to get there. It was everything I thought it would be. And more."

• And finally, on a non-Olympic related note, in putting together a recent video on the Sedin brothers with THN video producer Ted Cooper, I had a unique run-in with the look-alikes.

First of all, one of my best friends growing up had two younger twin sisters who I never learned how to properly tell apart. Needless to say, I was a little concerned about picking out Henrik from Daniel.

However, when we entered the Canucks dressing room following their morning skate, I breathed a sigh of relief because the players had nameplates above their stalls.

But when I went to ask “Daniel” about Henrik’s scoring prowess earlier in the season, he looked a little upset and sat down, telling me I’d have to “ask his brother.”

Confused, I thought he misunderstood my question. That is, until Mikael Samuelsson started laughing and pointed out to, what turned out to be Henrik, the nameplates had been switched. Henrik was a good sport and actually apologized before we got on with our interview about Daniel.

Sedins double trouble for opponents

 

REPORTER: Rory Boylen | PRODUCER: Ted Cooper | PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Matt Krebs

Rory Boylen is TheHockeyNews.com's web content specialist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Tuesdays and his feature, A Ref's Life, appears every other Thursday.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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