What big shoes you’re in

Here’s a photograph from the January 23 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a hockey player who had just become a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The caption features some startlingly purple prose. As near as I can tell, the phrase “the Busher carrying the Smythian torch of the port bows of the good ship Leafy-pop” meant that Harvey “Busher” Jackson was going to play left wing for the Leafs, who were owned by Conn Smythe.

Jack Markle (1907-1956) had been playing well for the Syracuse Stars of the International Hockey League, as he scored 27 goals in 43 games for them in the 1935-36 season. Unfortunately, he was not successful as a Maple Leaf, managing only one assist in his eight games with the club. He never played in the NHL again; he remained with Syracuse until his career ended in 1940. I could find out nothing else about him, including why he died so young.

The line that Markle was temporarily joining was the famous Kid Line, featuring Joe Primeau, Charlie Conacher, and Jackson. The three of them had been playing together since 1929 and had led the Leafs to the Stanley Cup in 1932. I don’t know for sure whether the injury that sidelined Conacher derailed his career, but he was less effective after the 1935-36 season.

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