John Phillip "Jack" Walker - Born November 29, 1888 in Silver Mountain, Ontario – Died February 16, 1950 in Seattle, Washington was a Canadian ice Hockey left winger, rover, coach, linesman and referee.
Walker played his first senior Hockey in the Northern Ontario Hockey League / NOHL with the Port Arthur East Greys in 1905. He joined the Port Arthur Lake City Hockey team for the 1907-8 NOHL season, and would play with Lake City until 1912. Port Arthur challenged for the Stanley Cup on March 16, 1911 vs the Ottawa Senators, losing 13-4, and Walker scored 1 goal in a losing cause.
While playing in the NOHL, Walker had been practising the hook-check (a defensive technique in which the player sweeps his stick low to the ice in an effort to remove the puck from an opponent's stick), and he would become a master at it.
Walker turned pro at the start of the 1912-13 season with the Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA, but after just 1 game in Toronto, he left for the Maritime Professional Hockey League / MPHL, where he would play with the Moncton Victorias to finish the season.
Walker was back in Toronto for the 1913-14 season, scoring 20 goals, 16 assists in 20 games. He helped the Blueshirts win the 1914 O'Brien Trophy as NHA champions, then in the best of 5 Stanley Cup vs the Victoria Aristocrats, Walker scored the winning goal in the first game, and Toronto went on to win games 2 and 3, sweeping the series, and winning the 1914 Stanley Cup championship. Walker played 1 more season in Toronto.
Walker and five of his Toronto teammates jumped their contracts to join the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Walker, along with Frank Foyston, Eddie Carpenter, Cully Wilson and Harry Holmes ended up in Seattle, Washington and formed the nucleus of the new franchise known as the Metropolitans. a team he would play for until 1924. He missed the majority of the 1917-18 season due to military commitments, but did play 8 games for his old team, the Port Arthur Lake City in the NOHL.
In Seattle, Walker was noted as being an outstanding defensive forward and his play won him selections to the PCHA First All-Star Team in 1921, 1922, and 1924, to go with previous Second Team honours he received in 1917, 1919, and 1920.
Walker played on his second Stanley Cup champion team while with Seattle in 1917 vs the Montreal Canadiens. The Metropolitans became the first United States based team to win the Stanley Cup. All games were played at the Seattle Ice Arena. Walker had 1 goal, 2 assists in the playoffs, and it was noted in the press prior to the last game “If Seattle wins the Stanley Cup, the glory should go to Jack Walker, the hook-check artist of the Metropolitans who, during the last two games has practically stopped every Frenchmen’s rush.”
Walker and the Metropolitans reached the 1919 Stanley Cup finals vs the Montreal Canadiens. No champion was declared; the series was cancelled after five games had been played due to an outbreak of Spanish flu. It was the only time in the history of the Stanley Cup that it was not awarded due to a no-decision after playoffs were held.
Seattle would again reach the Stanley Cup final in 1920, this time vs the Ottawa Senators. The Metropolitans would lose the best of 5 series 3-2, with Walker scoring 1 goal, 3 assists.
Many sources credit Walker with “inventing” the hook check. While it isn’t clear if he actually invented the maneuver, it is certainly true that he was considered an expert in its use and popularized it on the west coast.
The owners of the newly built Olympic Hotel told the University of Washington that they needed the Seattle Ice Arena as a parking garage. The UW bought out the final year of the Metropolitans lease (1924-25), sending the franchise's leadership scrambling to secure funding to build a new arena. When it became apparent they would not succeed, the Metropolitans folded with the core of the team, including Walker signing with the Victoria Cougars on November 10, 1924.
Vancouver and Victoria joined the Western Canada Hockey League / WCHL for the 1924-1925 season. Walker had a good season with the Cougars, but his scoring dropped, with only 7 goals, 7 assists in 28 regular season games. Victoria reached the 1925 Stanley Cup finals vs the Montreal Canadiens, a best of 5 series. Walker opened the scoring in game 1, and had another goal which turned out to be the game winner, as Victoria won 5-2.
Walker again opened the scoring, this time in game 2, as the Cougars won 3-1. Montreal won game 3, and Victoria won game 4 to clinch the 1925 Stanley Cup championship at Patrick Arena, in Victoria.
The WCHL became the Western Hockey League / WHL for the 1925-26 season, and Victoria would become league champion. Walker scored 9 goals, 8 assists during the regular season. The 1926 Stanley Cup final was played between the Cougars and the Montreal Maroons, but Clint Benedict the Maroons goalie had 3 shutouts to give Montreal the championship at the Montreal Forum.
The WHL dissolved after the season. That spring, a group of businessmen from Detroit, Michigan won an NHL expansion franchise and bought the rights to many of the players from the Stanley Cup finalist Cougars, including Walker. The new NHL franchise would retain the nickname "Cougars" in tribute. Walker played for Detroit for 2 seasons, his only NHL experience.
Hockey was slated to return to Seattle in the fall of 1928, and Walker obtained his release from Detroit to return to the west. One of the owners of the new franchise (known as the Eskimos) was Pete Muldoon, Walker’s coach during his previous stint in Seattle. Muldoon was savvy enough to know that the forward was still popular with local Hockey fans and would be a great draw for the team. Though slowed some by age (he was now 40 years old), the veteran Walker was still good enough to play on a regular basis. He scored the first goal in franchise history during the season opener in Portland and led the entire league in assists in both the 1929-30 and 1930-31 seasons. Walker was awarded the 1931 Pete Muldoon Trophy.
When the Eskimos folded in the summer of 1931, Walker headed south to California where he spent a couple of seasons as a player and coach with the Hollywood Stars and Oakland Sheiks.
Professional Hockey returned to Seattle in the fall of 1933 and Walker returned with it, only this time he was on the ice as an official and not a player. He was both a linesman and referee over the next 10 years, officiating in both the professional Pacific Coast Hockey League as well as the amateur City Hockey League.
Jack Walker was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960.
Walker is one of only 11 players in Stanley Cup history to win the Cup with three or more different teams.