Captain William James Arthur Duncan (July 4, 1891 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – April 13, 1975 in Aurora, Ontario) was a Canadian aviator and a professional ice Hockey defenceman, coach, and general manager.
Duncan played his early Hockey in the O.H.A. Intermediate House leagues, and then the International Hockey League. The league consisted of an eastern division (Sudbury, Copper Cliff, Sturgeon Falls, and North Bay) and a western division (Blind River, Little Current, Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan).
Duncan would then head west, to play for the Edmonton Eskimo Hockey Club and the Edmonton Albertas of the Edmonton City League from 1913 to 1915.
Duncan would then head to Vancouver, and debuted in professional Hockey, playing in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association for the Millionaires for the 1915-16 season.
Duncan enlisted for World War I, and during the 1916 and 1917 Hockey seasons, Duncan continued to play, for the Toronto 228th Battalion, as his battalion fielded a team in the National Hockey Association both years. His transfer to France cut off his sporting career.
Duncan first served with the 228th Battalion CEF in France as a lieutenant. On August 1, 1917, Lieutenant W. J. A. Duncan of the Canadian Railway Troops was appointed a Flying Officer in the Royal Flying Corps and seconded for duty with them. He was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and assigned to 60 Squadron in September 1917 as a Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a pilot with a roving commission.
Duncan scored his first aerial victory on November 6, 1917, when he destroyed a German DFW reconnaissance plane northeast of Polygon Wood. He began to accumulate wins. On the day the RFC was consolidated into the Royal Air Force, April 1, 1918, he shared his seventh victory with American ace John Griffith. On May 17, 1918, he raised his tally to nine. The next day, he was promoted to temporary captain. He would score twice more after that, destroying an LVG on June 3 and busting a German observation balloon on June 5, 1918. He was returned to Home Establishment on June 30, 1918. A summary of his victories included an enemy observation balloon destroyed, an enemy fighter plane captured, seven enemy planes destroyed (including four shared wins), and two enemy airplanes driven down out of control.
His combat exploits won him the award of the Military Cross, gazetted on July 26, 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one occasion he attacked and shot down an enemy plane which had been engaged at firing on our infantry. He then led his patrol over the enemy's lines, dived down to an altitude of 100 feet, and attacked large numbers of hostile infantry with machine gun fire, causing the utmost panic amongst them and inflicting heavy casualties. His continuous gallantry and initiative have been most conspicuous.
An award of a Bar to the Military Cross in lieu of a second award followed on September 16, 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer sighted fifteen enemy scouts attacking eight of ours and immediately joined in, destroying one enemy aeroplane, which fell with a wing off. He then attacked and drove down three other machines, maintaining the fight until the eight had got back to their lines. He has also, with another officer, destroyed an Albatros scout, which he followed down to a height of 200 feet, in spite of heavy machine-gun fire from the ground.
On March 31, 1919, Duncan resigned his commission upon ceasing to be employed by the Royal Air Force.
Duncan returned to Vancouver, and continued to play for the Vancouver Millionaires and the Vancouver Maroons in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association until 1925.
Duncan then played with the Calgary Tigers of the Western Hockey League for one season (1925–26).
In 1926 he served as the first team captain, playing coach, and general manager of the Detroit Cougars of the National Hockey League (NHL). In 34 games, he scored three goals and two assists. Jack Adams replaced him as coach for the following season and Duncan decided it was time to move on.
Duncan joined the Toronto St. Pat's club which had recently been bought by Conn Smythe and renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1927-28, Duncan turned out his most successful season. He played in 44 games, scored seven goals and five assists while accumulating 97 minutes in penalties.
Duncan would play for the Maple Leafs until 1930.
Duncan would play in 3 Stanley Cup Finals - 1921, 1922, & 1924 - All for Vancouver
PCHA League Champion: 1918, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924
PCHA First All-Star Team (1920, 1922, 1924)
PCHA Second All-Star Team (1919, 1923)
Aside from Bobby Orr, Art Duncan is credited with being the only other defenseman to ever win the scoring title in a professional Ice Hockey league in the 1923-24 season.
"BUT, Duncan played for the Vancouver Maroons of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association / PCHA, and the PCHA played an interlocking schedule with Canada's other western major league, the WCHL. In 1924, for example, Vancouver played 11 games against each of Victoria and Seattle, the other PCHA clubs, and two games against each of Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon of the WCHL. Although Vancouver was technically in the PCHA, they played 27% of their regular-season matches against WCHL clubs. For all intents and purposes, the PCHA and WCHL were two conferences of the same league, a league with an imbalanced schedule.
This is especially important in this case, because it's clear that the WCHL was the higher-quality league in 1924. In the "inter-league" games, the WCHL teams had a combined 17-5-2 record. This means that Art Duncan had lesser competition to beat for the scoring championship of his league. If we combine the WCHL and PCHA scoring leader lists, we get the following: Bill Cook of the Saskatoon Crescents led the WCHL/PCHA in goals, assists and points. He outscored Art Duncan by five goals and four assists, or nine points, almost 30% more than Duncan. Crediting Art Duncan with a scoring championship is silly; he technically led the PCHA in scoring, but the PCHA was not a self-contained league at the time. Duncan only wins the scoring title if you ignore two-thirds of the teams that he played against in 1924.
So while Art Duncan was certainly a defenceman when he scored 31 points in 1924, he should not be given credit for a scoring title. The PCHA and WCHL were separate leagues in name only; since they played against each other they were simply conferences of the same effective league. Bill Cook led this league in all offensive categories. Duncan's numbers were certainly very impressive, but Bobby Orr is alone in leading a major professional league in scoring from the blueline.
(credit Iain Fyffe for this research)"