A Biography of Pro-Hockey Player Eddie Shore

All Star Defenseman and Management Villain

An on-ice picture of NHL player Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins, taken December 8, 1936.
NHL player Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins, taken December 8, 1936. Getty Images

Also known as "the Edmonton Express" and "Old Blood and Guts," Eddie Shore is always listed among the great defensemen of all time. He also carries a reputation as one of hockey's most vicious and vindictive men. The Boston Bruins took full advantage, promoting him as the NHL's number-one hoodlum in a career that ran from 1926 to 1940.

Shore did his best to live up to the billing. He set an NHL record with 165 penalty minutes in his second season. His career is sprinkled with tales of broken bones, bloodied faces, and long-running vendettas. Opposing players are said to have pooled money in a bounty on his head. Shore even took on teammates, once nearly losing an ear in a brawl at a Bruins' practice.

His defensive skills and ability to control a game were never in doubt. Shore was named the NHL's most valuable player four times in the 1930s. But his hot temper earned him lasting infamy in 1933 when his attack on Irvine "Ace" Bailey ended the career - and nearly the life - of the Maple Leafs' star.

In 1940, Shore purchased the Springfield Indians, a minor league club that became known as "hockey's Siberia" for the next quarter-century. Acting as owner, manager, coach, trainer, ticket puncher - you name it - Shore was the man nobody wanted to play for. He made players walk the streets with sandwich boards advertising games. He fed them a vile home remedy of how own making. He called them in to blow up balloons or sweep the aisles when the Ice Capades came to town. He once called a meeting of players' wives, asking them to withhold sex until the men played better. He was a legendary penny-pincher, forcing his players to use the cheapest sticks and equipment.

Tensions finally boiled over in 1966, when the Indians players walked out, issuing a list of demands. The stand-off ended with Shore agreeing to resign as team president, but the players did not have long to celebrate. As a parting shot, Shore sold the entire roster for $1 million the following summer.