This is Dick Bong. Don't laugh, he's a god in Wisconsin and he will eat your children. (via upload.wikimedia.org)
After a knock-down, drag-out fight, it looks like Dit Clapper is going to be the winner for the 1920s/30s wing of our NHL's Most Interesting Name Finals Bracket. The Punch Broadbent challengers, unfortunately, were no match for a man who preferred to almost sound like a slang term for the human anatomy.
But for as fun as it is to speculate why a person would prefer the name Obs Heximer or Fido Purpur, it's time to move on to the 1940s. Lest you be concerned that the 40s will be lacking compared to the wonders of the Jazz Age and Great Depression naming conventions, I'll remind you that the United States' top World War II ace was Dick Bong, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a fullback named Dick Riffle, and the St. Louis Cardinals had a middle infielder called Creepy Crespi. You'll also notice that this is just "Part I"; thankfully, the 40s comprise only two parts, but nevertheless there were too many to put into one post and vote.
To clarify the goal of the tournament and voting:
...hockey history is chock full of names that can pique a person's interest, whether it's because it's unintentionally funny to the English sensibility (Petr Pohl), almost regal (Normand Rochefort), or lends itself to entertaining wordplay (Darius Kasparaitis). The criteria for our 'most interesting names' is a bit loose, in that the name can strike you as any one of the above descriptors, or all of them, but ultimately you are going to vote on the name that 'strikes' you the strongest.
The first group of contestants...
- Aud Tuten - We start off with grade-school humor. Remember all the ways you could make a joke out of Daren Puppa's name?
- Peanuts O'Flaherty - Hahaha, what?! It's just so overblown. It's like he's an Irish cop in a cartoon or something. I'd half expect the guy to have Mickey Mouse hands.
- Bill Shill - I'm a sucker for rhymes. I can see an old-timer reminiscing, "My greatest thrill was meeting Bill Shill in Belleville."
- Enio Sclisizzi - What Werner Schnarr was to German-sounding names, Sclisizzi is to Italian-sounding names. Foster Hewitt had so much trouble pronouncing his last name he just called him "Jim Enio."
- Zellio Toppazzini - Enio, you have company. Toppazzini was Ontario-born, but embraced by Rhode Islanders because, well, there are not a lot of professional hockey teams in Rhode Island. He lost a post-career coaching job to one Lou Lamoriello, who must have been like 2 years old at the time.
- Hank Blade - The Punch Broadbent of the 1940s. Sounds like a street tough from New York. Don't be fooled by the doughy complexion.
- Bunny Dame - His alternate (read: real) names were Aurelia Dame and Napoleon Dame. He was getting on this list whether he liked it or not.
- Frank McCool - I can just picture this guy purposely changing his name when he turned 18 from "McSeamus" to "McCool." Had a unibrow you could see from 20 FEET AWAY. Dude played one full year as an NHL goaltender, his rookie season, when he won the Calder Trophy, led the Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup victory, and set a record for shutouts in the postseason. After 22 games the next season, he was gone. Probably someplace cool.
- Ernie Laforce - Ernie The Force barely made the list, playing just one NHL game.
- Jimmy Orlando - Porn name!