Newfoundlander Wins Olympic Gold in Hockey

Updated: December 7, 2012

Before Brad Gushue won gold in curling, there was another Newfoundlander who walked away with an Olympic gold well before Gushue’s accomplishment.  Harry Ellis Watson or “Moose” Watson as he was more commonly known as, was born on July 14, 1898 in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Watson moved to England at an early age before moving to Manitoba and later to Toronto at the age of 15.  He learned to play hockey as a left winger and played his junior days with the Whitby Athletics in the Ontario Hockey Association.  In 1915, Watson played with St. Andrews College.  During the 1916-17 season, “Moose” Watson signed on to play with the Toronto Aura Lee, a senior club, before joining the Canadian Flying Corps to serve during World War I in Europe.

Harry Ellis “Moose” Watson, an Olympic gold medalist from Newfoundland.

His return to hockey came shortly after returning home, playing a single game for the Toronto Dentals before being made the “star player” as part of the newly-formed Toronto Granites.  From 1919-1923 Watson was a member of the Granites, leading them to two Allan Cup championships, the first in 1921-22 and the second in 1922-23.  During both of these seasons he was named a first-team all-star.

In 1924, the Toronto Granites represented Canada in the 1924 Winter Olympics.

Watson scored 36 goals in just 5 games as the heavily favoured Canadians dominated the entire tournament, outscoring their opposition 132-3 over a six-game stint.  Watson himself scored 13 goals in a single game against Switzerland.

With the Olympic gold medal and two Allan Cup victories to his name, Watson was offered several deals to play in the NHL.  Watson declined all offers, including a $10,000 offer to join the Toronto St. Patricks, opting instead to go into business.

“Moose” Watson retired as a player in 1924.

In 1930, Watson returned to hockey, this time as a coach, standing behind the bench of the Toronto National Sea Fleas, another senior team.  He led the team to the Allan Cup in 1932.

At one point in his coaching career, “Moose” Watson strapped on the skates for one last time after one of his players was unable to make a roadtrip.  At the age of 33, Watson picked up where he had left off as if he hadn’t missed a single game.

Watson died in 1957 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.  He was later inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1998.

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