The Olympics on Ice: Herb Drury

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U.S. vs. Belgium on outdoor rink, Chamonix, France, Jan. 28, 1924. Courtesy of Frederick R. Favo.

The 2018 Olympics mark the 91st anniversary of the winter games and recall the importance of Pittsburgher Herb Drury in the story of ice hockey and the Olympics.

Born in Midland, Ontario, Canada in 1895, Drury came to Pittsburgh in 1916 to play for the Yellow Jackets at Duquesne Gardens. Following military service in World War I, he represented the United States as a naturalized citizen in the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Olympic Games, where hockey was added to the existing summer sports.

The 1920 U.S. Olympic team, chosen by Roy Schooley, the manager of both Duquesne Gardens and the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets ice hockey team, featured 11 players, three with a connection to Pittsburgh – Herb Drury and Larry McCormick and his brother Joe, who captained the team. Joined by players from Boston and St. Paul, they trained at Duquesne Gardens, playing a series of exhibition games against Canadian teams to raise money for the journey to Belgium. There they represented the U.S., defeating Czechoslovakia 16-0 and outscoring their opponents by a 52-to-2 ratio. Although the U.S. lost to Canada in the finals, Drury returned to the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets as a silver medalist.

The U.S. team parades through Chamonix, France in the opening ceremonies. Herb Drury leads his team carrying the banner, 1924. Courtesy of Frederick R. Favo.

In 1924, Drury headed for the outdoor rink in Chamonix, France to compete in the first ever Winter Olympic Games. Drury was the only Pittsburgh player to return from the 1920 squad. As the 258 athletes from 16 countries paraded through the streets of Chamonix for the opening ceremonies, Drury led the American contingent, carrying the banner for his adopted country.

 

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