On January 2, 1929 the Boston Bruins took the night train to Montreal for a National Hockey League game with the Montreal Maroons the following evening. As the Pullman slowly rolled away from the platform, Boston Manager Art Ross walked through the sleeping car, counting his players. When Ross reached the last berth he realized that one of them—All-Star Defenseman Eddie Shore—was missing.
" Mr. Ross didn't know it," said Shore recently, "but I was running down the station platform trying to jump on the last car of the train. I didn't make it and had just missed the train because my taxi had been tied up in a traffic accident coming across town."
Shore was determined to reach Montreal in time for the game, however. The Bruins already were shorthanded because of injuries, and Shore was well aware of the $500 fine Ross levied against any player who missed a road-trip train. He first checked the train schedules and found that the next express wouldn't reach Montreal until after game time. He tried the airlines and was told all plane service had been canceled because of a sleet storm. He then decided to rent an automobile but changed his mind when a wealthy friend offered him his limousine and a chauffeur.
At 11:30 p.m. Shore and the chauffeur headed north on a 350-mile trip over icy, snow-blocked New England mountains. It was sleeting and there were no paved superhighways, no road patrols, no sanders.
The chauffeur drove through the storm at three miles an hour. "I was not happy at the rate he was traveling," says Shore, "and I told him so. He apologized and said he didn't have chains and didn't like driving in the winter. The poor fellow urged me to turn back to Boston."
At that point the car skidded to the lip of a ditch. Shore took over at the wheel and drove to an all-night service station, where he had tire chains put on. By then the sleet storm had thickened into a blizzard. Snow caked either side of the lone windshield wiper, and within minutes the wiper blade froze solid to the glass. "I couldn't see out the window," says Shore, "so I removed the top half of the windshield."
His face was exposed to the blasts of the icy wind and snow but he still managed to see the road. At about 5 a.m., in the mountains of New Hampshire, "we began losing traction. The tire chains had worn out."
Slowly, Shore eased the car around a bend in the road where he could see the lights of a construction camp flickering. He awakened a gas station attendant there, installed a new set of chains and weaved on. "We skidded off the road four times," he says, "but each time we managed to get the car back on the highway again."
The second pair of chains fell off at 3 the next afternoon. This time Shore stopped the car and ordered the chauffeur to take over the wheel. "I felt that a short nap would put me in good shape," he says. "All I asked of the driver was that he go at least 12 miles an hour and stay in the middle of the road."
But the moment Shore dozed off, the chauffeur lost control of the big car and it crashed into a deep ditch. Neither Shore nor the chauffeur nor the car suffered any damage, so Shore hiked a mile to a farmhouse for help. "I paid $8 for a team of horses," says Shore, "harnessed the horses and pulled the car out of the ditch. We weren't too far from Montreal and I thought we'd make it in time if I could keep the car on the road."