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Retro Columns

Posted on: 02-20-2017

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    In the early 1900s professional
hockey seasons were a fraction as
long as today's 82 game NHL regular

    Therefore it's no small wonder
that 200 career goal scorers were a

    One of the first was Frank C.
Foyston, whose pro career spanned
from 1912--30.

    Foyston started his major league
career in 1912 with the Toronto
Blueshirts of the NHA (forerunner of
the NHL) and concluded it with the
NHL Detroit Cougars (Red Wings) in 1928.  Nine of his 16 major pro seasons
were spent with the PCHA Seattle Metropolitans where he scored 174 of
his 240 regular season big league goals.

    Universally acclaimed as a scoring wizard, Foyston was equally
dangerous playing rover, center or on the wing.

    DID YOU KNOW that Foyston had a better scoring average than either
Wayne Gretzky or Gordie Howe?

    The top two goal scoring leaders of all time couldn't match the
average of .66 goals-per-game by "Frank The Flash."

    Foyston played 361 regular season games in the National Hockey
Association, Pacific Coast Hockey Association, the Western Canada Hockey
League/Western Hockey League and the National Hockey League.  He
averaged .66-GPG (37 goals in 56 games over four seasons) for the NHA
Toronto Blueshirts.  Foyston tallied an amazing .86-GPG for the PCHA
Seattle Mets (174 goals in 202 games).  He had .31-GPG in his two years
with the WCHL/WHL Victoria Cougars (12 goals in 39 games). When
that team went defunct and the players contracts were purchased by
the NHL expansion Detroit franchise in 1926, Foyston averaged .27-GPG
(17 goals in 64 games) over a season and a half.

    Gretzky came closest to Foyston, averaging .60-PPG in his major pro
career.  "The Great One" had 940 goals in 1567 NHL/WHA regular season
contests.  During his rookie year in the World Hockey Association, Gretzky
had a .58-GPG average (46 goals in 80 games).  In a 20 year NHL career
with four teams, Gretzky had a .60-GPG average (894 goals in 1487 games).

    Howe was hailed as the greatest player of all time by both Gretzky and
Bobby Orr at the recent 100th NHL Anniversary celebration. "Mr. Hockey"
played almost all of his career in the tight-checking "Original Six" era.  In
a miraculous 32 season NHL/WHA career Howe had 960 goals (20 more than
Gretzky) in 2106 games for a .46-GPG average.  In his 26 NHL seasons, the
first 25 with the Red Wings and the last at age 51 with the Hartford Whalers,
Howe scored 786 goals in 1687 games for a .47-GPG average.  In his six WHA
seasons with two clubs Howe totaled 174 goals in 419 games for a .42-GPG

    But back to Foyston...

    As deadly as he was as a regular season sniper, Foyston rose to the
occasion in the playoffs.  

    Foyston scored twice in the 3-game 1914 east-west Stanley Cup
Challenge series, including the deciding goal in the NHA Toronto
Blueshirts' 2-1 final game win over the PCHA Victoria Cougars.

    After his finest season as a pro for the 1916-17 PCHA Seattle
Metropolitans with 36 goals in the 24 game schedule for a 1.5-GPG
average, Foyston led the Mets to the 1917 Stanley Cup Championship.  
Foyston scored seven goals in four games including a game two Hat
Trick as Seattle beat the NHA Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in a best-of-five
format to become the first US-based team to win the trophy.

    Foyston was even better in the 1919 S-Cup Finals in Seattle's rematch
with the now NHL Canadiens.  Foyston had nine goals and an assist in
five games.  However, with the series tied at 2-2-1 including a game four,
four period scoreless tie, deciding game six was never played due to the
influenza epidemic which hospitalized five Habs players and would claim
the life of Montreal DEF Joe Hall.

    After the PCHA folded, Foyston moved on to the WCHL/WHL Victoria
Cougars.  There he won a third Stanley Cup with three different teams in
three different leagues, scoring once in four games as the Cougars bested
the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in the 1925 east-west challenge to become
the last non-NHL club to claim the Cup.  

    By the time he came to Detroit, "Frank The Flash" didn't have a lot of
flash left at age 35.  He scored 10 goals with five assists in 41 games of a
44 game season when the Cougars played their initial 1926-27 schedule at
Border Cities Arena in Windsor, ONT.  That was good for third best in goals
and second best in scoring points on the team.

    When the Cougars moved into the newly built Olympia Stadium in
November of 1927, Foyston was installed as player-coach of the Cougars'
in-house Detroit Olympics farm team.

    Foyston did have one last big league hurrah.  When the Cougars of first
year boss Jack Adams needed a mid-season roster boost, the NHL team
purchased Foyston's contract back on 1/10/1928 in an on-paper transaction.  
Foyston had seven goals and a pair of assists in his final 23 NHL contests.

    Foyston returned to the Olympics as player-coach in 1928-29 and 1929-30.
In his two and a half seasons skating for the Olympics Foyston totaled 23 goals
to conclude his on-ice career.

    After leaving Detroit, Foyston coached the minor league Syracuse Stars,
Bronx Tigers and Seattle Seahawks in the early to mid-1930s.

    Foyston and his Victoria/Detroit Cougars teammate Frank Fredrickson
were part of the fifth Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Class of 1958.

    Foyston passed away on January 19, 1966, exactly two weeks shy of his
75th birthday.



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