Friday

Dr. Bill Carson

The Carson family remains legendary in Parry Sound, Ontario. Patriarch D. M. Carson was a lumber baron in the area, moving from Bracebridge in 1905. He built a beautiful Victorian home on 33 Church Street and raised four sons, three of whom went on to play in the National Hockey League in the 1920s and 1930s. The family home still stands in Parry Sound. It is now a bed and breakfast simply known as The Carson House.

Frank Carson, whose hair famously grayed in his early twenties, played seven seasons in the NHL, and was one the junior linemate of the great Howie Morenz.

Gerald "Stub" Carson played in 261 NHL games, mostly with the Montreal Canadiens, but scored just 12 goals.

But it was oldest brother Bill Carson who achieved the most fame on the ice. Once called the best junior hockey player in all of Ontario, he was a dashing and dynamic center. Despite that, he always felt he had another calling in life.

The Toronto St. Pats, forerunner to the Maple Leafs, signed Carson complete with a signing bonus consisting of a new pair of skates. But Bill opted not to attend the professional training camp, choosing to spend the next two years studying dentistry while starring on the varsity team at the University of Toronto. He helped that team win Canada's amateur championship, the Allan Cup, in 1921.

Carson eventually did try his hand at professional hockey, turning pro with the Leafs in 1926. He scored 16 goals in 40 games that first year, and the following year he became the first player in Leafs history to score 20 goals in a season. Playing on a speedy line with Ace Bailey and Butch Keeling or Danny Cox, Carson did it in only 32 games.

The 5'8" and 160lb center would be sold to Boston in the middle of his third campaign. He scored two goals in five playoff games, including the Stanley Cup winning goal!

He played in Boston for one more campaign, opting to retire at the end of the 1929-30 season. He returned to Parry Sound and practiced as a dentist.

In 159 NHL games Bill Carson scored 54 goals and 78 points. He died on May 29th, 1967.

3 comments:

Rod Lahay 5:42 AM  

It's really interesting reading this.....my Aunt was his wife, and as a teen in the 60's - I often heard her mention her ex husband. She was a dental nurse right up until the early 60's - and talked often of how she and Bill practiced dentistry in Parry Sound. Bill had some fantastic records in hockey with the Maple Leafs and Boston. I never met him, unfortunately - wish I had as a teen..... So sorry to hear that in his later years he became an alocholic - which caused his wife Ullah to leave him. She resided in Toronto until her death in the 90's......a fantastic hockey playeer - and superb dentist....

Rod Lahay in Ottawa

Derek 10:01 AM  

Great article Joe - Thanks for the personal response Rod. I will add this:
One of the most educated early Bruins, Bill “Doc” Carson spent 4 years with the team from the University of Toronto. After graduation he played two years for the Stratford Indians in the Ontario Hockey League before being called up to Toronto’s NHL team in 1926, at the age of 26.

Boston acquired Carson on January 25th 1929 and he played an important role in the Stanley Cup win of that year by scoring the winning goal against the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final to eliminate the Rangers 2-0 for Boston’s first Stanley Cup win.

Graham Clayton 1:51 AM  

Carson did not retire immediately from hockey after the 1929-30 season. He played 7 games for the London Tecumsehs of the IHL in 1930-31, and then had a 33-game comeback with the New Haven Eagles of the Canadian-American League in 1933-34.

As mentioned in one of the earlier comments, Carson's later life was blighted by alcohol. He was sentenced to two months in jail in March 1956 for stealing $50 from a friend.

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