A Toronto Maple Leafs fan is trying to undo a hero's Hall of Fame snubbing
Have you ever heard of Lorne Chabot? He was one of the greatest goaltenders ever to mind the pipes for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and even made the cover of TIME Magazine — the first hockey player ever to do so.
Yet somehow, he's been largely forgotten by history.
However, one hockey fan is leading a campaign to right the wrongs of the past and get this forgotten legend a place in the history books.
Lorne Chabot's longest stint was right here in Toronto, suiting up in the iconic blue and white of the Maple Leafs for five seasons, from 1928 to 1933, even winning a Stanley Cup with the team (something hard to imagine today) in 1932.
Chabot concluded his dozen seasons in the NHL in 1937 with an impressive goals-against average (GAA) of just 2.04, better than Leafs legend and Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower's GAA of 2.51. Yet you're much more likely to have heard the latter's name in hockey conversations.
Among his career highlights, Chabot was in goal for not just the longest game in history (a six-period, over 116-minute marathon in 1936) but also the second-longest game, breaking his own 1933 record that stretched on for almost 105 minutes.
Despite being consistently ranked among the best players not inducted into the Hall of Fame, Chabot has somehow never made the cut. There are few available explanations as to why someone with such an illustrious career in the league would not get the nod as a Hall-of-Famer.
A quote from legend Johnny Bower in a 2002 book about goaltenders, Without Fear, suggests that Chabot's journeyman team-hopping and frequent trades between rival teams may have been a factor in his lack of popularity among fans.
"It's clear that the fact that he spend his career shuffling between teams probably hurt his Hall of Fame candidacy. It's difficult to understand why he was traded so often, especially given how respected he was," Bower is quoted as saying.
Chabot would be in his 120s if alive today, his career ending 84 years ago now. Still, that hasn't stopped one fan from embarking on an annual campaign to get the former Leafs legend the recognition he deserves.
Mike Meehan has been leading the charge to get Chabot a belated induction to the Hall of Fame, getting his message out on the streets to coincide with the Hockey Hall of Fame's yearly induction ceremony this past weekend.
Meehan tells blogTO that his interest in Chabot "started when I was 11 years old, just because I've always been a giant hockey nerd."
"He's been kind of forgotten in the stories of hockey history," says Meehan, who has spent the last few years looking at Hall of Fame inductees, puzzled that Chabot has never gotten the call.
"This year it hit me, I'm just going to make a sign that says Lorne Chabot's name in big letters and be in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame for anyone who passes by during the induction ceremony," said Meehan.
But that wasn't the end of his campaign to get this former legend a place in the hall, attending further Hall of Fame-related events to try and generate more attention. "I went to the Legends' game the day after and wore my Leafs jersey, but on the back, I covered the name and put #LorneChabot," said Meehan.
"Monday night when the nice big gala was happening at Meridian Hall, I brought the sign again [to bring Chabot to the attention of] the most important people in the world of hockey," continued Meehan.
While stressing his utmost respect for the selection committee, Meehan hopes that public awareness can help push the Hall of Fame to correct this wrong.
"I'm hoping to drum up enough attention and awareness so that the selection committee is finally convinced to induct Chabot," says Meehan. "The movement's begun."
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