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Unbreakable Records: Frank McGee's 14 Goals


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Records are made to be broken – or so they say. Technically, there may be no such thing as an unbreakable record in sports, but practically speaking, there are. With this thread, I intend to start a new series: unbreakable records.


Only 44 players in NHL history have scored at least five goals in a game, only seven have scored at least six (none since 1976), and only Joe Malone has scored seven goals in an NHL game, doing so in the NHL’s inaugural season. During the first season on the NHA (the NHL’s predecessor) Newsy Lalonde scored nine goals. Such feats are rare, and the accomplishments of Malone and Lalonde were in a much different era, making them harder to replicate. Even so, even Lalonde’s nine goal game is not the record for goals in a game in top level hockey. That distinction belongs to a man by the name of Frank McGee.


Frank McGee is an unlikely, yet highly deserving Hall of Famer. At the age of twenty, before his senior level career, he lost sight in his left eye after being struck by a stick in a charity game. Once he did reach the senior level with the famed Ottawa Silver Seven, he played only four seasons and 45 games, but managed an incredible 135 goals, for an average of exactly three goals per game. On eight occasions, he scored five or more goals in a game. His most incredible and mind-boggling achievement, however, took place in a Stanley Cup challenge game.


Prior to 1914, the Stanley Cup was won by way of challenges, and for much of its history to that point, any team could issue a challenge to the team holding the Cup. The Silver Seven won the Cup during McGee’s first season in 1903, and held it until losing it to the Montreal Wanderers in the final match of McGee’s career in 1906. Over the course of that run with the Cup, Ottawa warded off nine challenges. The most famous of those was a 1905 challenge by the Dawson City Nuggets of the Yukon Territory.


The story of the Dawson City team is one for another post, but to set the stage for McGee’s accomplishment, I will describe the journey the team took to arrive in Ottawa for the challenge. The team from the Klondike made a 4,400 mile journey by means of walking, bicycle, dog sled, boat, and train. Some players were unable to make the trip, and the team arrived only one day before the match was set to begin. The northern challengers requested a delay in the beginning of the match, but were refused.


I think it fair to say that during his career, Frank McGee was the best player in the world. Apparently, however, the Dawson City team was not very impressed by the reports they had heard, and one said that McGee was “not that hot.” Rarely has someone so quickly been proven so wrong. That the Dawson City team was outmatched and fatigued was obvious after the first game of the best of three series, which Ottawa won 9-2. That performance would pale in comparison to what the Silver Seven as a team, and McGee as an individual would accomplish in the second and deciding game.


Game two was a blowout in every sense of the word, with the final score a brutal 23-2 in Ottawa’s favor. Over half of the goals scored by the Silver Seven came from one player: none other than “not that hot” Frank McGee. Scoring 14 goals over the course of the game, McGee scored eight goals in a nine minute stretch at one point of the game.


It would be virtually impossible to see a scenario in today’s game that would afford a player a chance to do anything remotely similar to what Frank McGee did in that January, 1905 contest, and the constant line changes in today’s game make a repetition of the feat unlikely even if such a matchup did take place. The odds say we will never see Frank McGee’s record broken.

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Fun story.


Imagine an arena announcer trying to deal with such a scenario in today's game.

Having to go "Goal--", "Goal--", "Goal--" before he can even call the assists. Evenutally 

givng up and just announcing over the intercom:


"Ah the hell with it--unless I say otherwise, it was Frank McGee who got the goal,

and we'll just mail stat sheets of tonight's game to everyone."



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@J0e Th0rnton That's true, but that's one of the things that makes it unbreakable. Even so, 14 goals by one team would be pretty remarkable nowadays. The 23 goals for the team could be listed as an unbreakable record too. And the eight goals in nine minutes? That's mind-blowing.


@thenewestlights Said announcer would have a hard time even catching his breath. Lol

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@ScottM  Some sports records will just never be broke. Different sport, but Old Ross Radbourne won 59 games as a pitcher in the 1886 season....and just as incredible, Matt Kilroy struck out 513 batters the same year....they will never be touched.

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