Moose Goheen

Around the time of the first World War, there were two great American hockey players - Hobey Baker and Frank "Moose" Goheen. Though neither ever played in the National Hockey League, by most accounts they were every bit as good as the Canadian pros.

As great as they were on the ice, Baker and Goheen could not have been more different people.

Baker was the son of a socialite, blessed with movie star good looks and natural talent in many arenas, especially hockey and football. He would become a sporting legend while at Princeton University, resisting all offers to turn pro. To watch Baker perform was truly an event on to itself. He would not return from the War where he was a fighter pilot. His plane mysteriously crashed during one final flight of Europe on the day of his discharge.

Despite growing up in poverty Goheen became the undisputed best player in all of Minnesota, hockey's American homeland. He, too, was a superb athlete, excelling as well at hockey and football. A natural talent he was not, instead relying on amazing desire and work ethic. His undeniable intensity helped earn him the nickname Moose despite his small size. He was quiet and kept to himself, and on the ice he was all business.

Goheen remains a high school hockey legend in Minnesota, playing at White Bear High School while also playing against men in the city leagues. He starred for the St. Paul Athletic Club when that team won the McNaughton Trophy in 1915-16 and 1916-17 as United States Amateur Hockey champions.

Goheen sat out the 1917-18 and 1918-19 seasons as he served with the US Army in the World War I, laying telephone wire in recaptured areas of Belgium and Germany.

Following his discharge he returned to his beloved game, skating for USA at the first ever Olympic hockey event at the Olympic Games in 1920 in Belgium. This trip to Belgium was much better than his visit during the War. He scored 7 goals in 4 games in leading the Americans to the silver medal.

Goheen returned to St. Paul where, aside from one season in Buffalo, he played until 1932. He resisted offers to go to the NHL or PCHA, as well as declining to play in the 1924 Olympics because of he was reluctant to leave his family and his steady employment in St. Paul with the Northern States Power Company. All along he played for the Saints, first as an amateur and later as a professional.

The NHL was definitely interested in Goheen. None other than the great Lester Patrick proclaimed Goheen to be the greatest American hockey player of all time. Boston, Toronto, the Montreal Maroons and New York reported to have table contract offers. The Montreal Wanderers beat everyone to the punch way back in 1917. The Bruins were the most persistent, trying to legal bind Goheen's professional hockey career to the Bruins in 1928.

Moose Goheen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952. He was elected to Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 1958 and to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.

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