Tracers: Morenz

“People just don’t seem to understand the severity of the injury and cannot accept the fact that an athlete can die of a broken leg. It was an embolism caused by blood clots that formed in his left leg.”

“His left leg was shattered–compound fracture, broken in four or five places–and required a steel pin inserted through his ankle so a weighted pulley could be attached to reposition the bones. This was weeks before a cast was placed on the leg (News pictures from the hospital show this).”
“The night of his death, the doctor did an x-ray on the leg and saw the clots. Blood clots are extremely dangerous and once loose in the blood stream can be fatal. It is our understanding that, even in 1937, they had the means to dissolve blood clots. But the doctor decided the problem could wait until morning.”
“The morning was too late.”

-H. Morenz III

SOURCE: Society for International Hockey Research, 2005.

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3 Responses to "Tracers: Morenz"

  1. Bruce says:

    The Stratford Streak was a once-in-a-generation superstar, the Wayne Gretzky of his day, or in contemporary terms “the Babe Ruth of Hockey”. He finished in the top 10 scorers for ten consecutive seasons, winning two Art Ross Trophies, three Hart Trophies, and three Stanley Cups. When he died he was the all-time leading scorer with 270 career goals.

    Morenz’ career was pretty much done even before that broken leg, but his untimely passing at age 34 was a shame. A popular misconception is that he died of a broken heart at the prospect of the end of his career. His funeral service was held in the Montreal Forum where many thousands of his fans came to pay their respects.

    Morenz was in the inaugural group of 12 enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and in 1950 was named by the Canadian Press as the greatest hockey player of the half-century.

    It is unfortunate that the NHL didn’t see fit to name a trophy after him as they had done for another Hab who died suddenly, Georges Vezina. Of the two, Morenz was by far the greater player, but Vezina has the more recognized name today.

  2. Lord Bob says:

    A popular misconception is that he died of a broken heart at the prospect of the end of his career.

    Less “misconception”, more “myth”. One of my favourite things about the Montreal Canadiens is that their fans can elevate their superstars to the levels of the tragic Greek heroes. The brilliant Howie Morenz who bled bleu, blanc, et rouge. The passionate Richard. The gentlemanly Beliveau. The irrepressable artist Lafleur. What other team in any sport comes close?

  3. Bruce says:

    What other team in any sport comes close?

    On this continent, only the Yankees with the larger-than-life Babe, the indomitable Gehrig, the graceful DiMaggio, the “natural” Mantle, the swaggering Reggie …

    You’re right, lb, “myth” is the word.

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