Leafs Albumen-nation: Why When I Write Wikipedia-Researched Crap Drunk for a Cheap Buck Leafs Smell Like a Rotten Egg.
Chapter D’uh. Francis "King" Clancy
Imagine a kid growing up in a dilapidated sod-house on a joyless Irish potato farm with cow-drawn carriages and pig-carts during the Great Potato Famine of 1851. His father is a two-fisted-drinking, brawling vegetarian who raises his children on the traditional seven-course Irish supper: six Guiness and a potato. His mother has hiccoughed herself to death at the tender age of 96 after bearing the minimal Irish-Catholic requirement of 47 children. The kid is a scrapper. No, this is not the opening chapter of a long-lost Frank McCourt novel. It is the childhood of Francis Clancy.
It just isn’t the childhood of Francis "King" Clancy. Francis Patrick Lloyd Moon-Unit McGuinty McKenna Oh Danny Boy Fitzsimmons Fitzpatrick "King" Clancy was born in Ottawa to novelist Tom Clancy and his wife Shaniqua. He was nicknamed "King" because of his king-sized head which was said to have made his mother’s uterus pop like a champagne cork loudly enough to wake the neighbors when he was pulled out by the ankles on February 25, 1903. The nickname stuck through life.
As a youngster Clancy played all the games and sports big-meloned Ottawa youngsters of the day played: stickball, hockey, football, kick-the-can, beat-up-the-more-recent-immigrant, try-and-get-laid-with-a-hooker, smoke-ciggies-‘til-you-barf, bean-Clancy-in-the-head and steal-daddy’s-liquor-when-he’s-passed-out. King took a particular liking to hockey and the ponies. Since taking too much of a particular liking to ponies is even still a criminal offence in Ontario, Clancy decided to stick to hockey and give girls a go.
Clancy finished grade 8 ("Best three years of my life," he later admitted) making him one of Ottawa’s most educated citizens and shortly thereafter became a member of a poor excuse for Canada’s Upper House, the Ottawa Senators. Clancy helped the Senators win almost all the Stanley Cups they ever will in 1923 and 1927. In 1930 Conn Smythe, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, purchased Clancy from Ottawa for the then astounding price of a bucket of shiny glass beads, miscellaneous doo-dahs, some gim-cracks, a gazebo and the rights to Carl Brewer. Ottawa is still looking for the puck-moving defenceman to replace Clancy.
In Toronto Clancy helped the Leafs win a Stanley Cup and quickly afterwards began the rapid spiral descent that saw him become an NHL referee, a coach and assistant GM and finally Harold Ballard’s paid "friend". The NHL has named a trophy after Clancy but everyone has forgotten what it is for. It’s kinda like the Lady Byng but less prestigious.
Clancy and Ballard in the Maple Leaf
Clancy was Curly to Harold Ballard’s Moe, taking slaps to the head, nose pulls, pokes to the eye and other good-natured ribbing in order to put food on the table and a dollar or two on the ponies. [Larry "Larry" Tanenbaum did not arrive on the scene to complete the Stooge triumverate until later, say Chapter 16 or so.]
Clancy fulfilled his final dream by managing to die before that bastard Ballard leaving Ballard friendless and alone. Clancy is fondly remembered for his impact on Leafs history, the ready twinkle in his eye, pretending to be Irish, getting totally blotto on St. Paddy’s Day and his watermelon-sized cranium.
And, of course, everything he did somehow made the Leafs stink.
Next installment: Chapter 3. How Punch Imlach Shattered the Hopes, Dreams and Ambitions of Entire Generations of Torontonians by Being Extra-Icky.