Let's Learn From the Past: Herb Drury
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When the Pittsburgh Penguins played in the 2008 and 2011 NHL Winter Classic games, players had to adapt to the rough weather conditions that accompany outdoor hockey.
While today's stars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin shined for the Penguins in those two contests, a Canadian native named Herb Drury had one of the most impressive outdoor performances by a Pittsburgh professional ice hockey player nearly 90 years ago.
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 Olympic Games, where hockey was added to the existing summer sports.
Although the U.S. lost to Canada in the finals, Drury returned to the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets as a silver medalist.
In 1924, Drury headed for the outdoor rink in Chamonix, France, to compete in the first ever Winter Olympic Games. As the 258 athletes from 16 countries paraded through the streets of the French town as part of the opening ceremonies, Drury carried the U.S. flag for his adopted country.
The scrappy defenseman had an incredible offensive run in frigid conditions, as he scored an astounding 22 goals and notched three assists for 25 points in just five games. He would ultimately score the only U.S. goal in the gold medal game in a losing effort against his native Canada.
With his second silver medal in hand, Drury returned to Pittsburgh and signed with the new National Hockey League team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in 1925.
He played for the Pirates for five years until the 1929-30 season.
Drury played in 213 games in his NHL career, but he will always be remembered for his high-scoring performance in the first Winter Games in 1924.
Drury lived in Pittsburgh until his death in 1965.
Visitors to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center can view Drury's 1924 silver medal and scrapbook documenting his career.
More information: www. heinzhistorycenter.org.
First Published January 24, 2013 12:00 am