In mid-century and despite having no major home sports team, sports columnist John Hanlon’s insightful articles and whit combined with Frank Lanning’s legendary cartoon style to help rank the Providence Journal sports pages among the best in all of America.
Hanlon was a commanding yet gentlemanly press box presence at all RI Reds home games throughout the 50’s and 60’s. His columns covered the full spectrum of RI and regional sport and were read across the country.
In 1967, John penned a documentary story for the April 17 issue of Sports Illustrated about Malcolm G. Chace, a Rhode Islander born in Central Falls in 1875. Chace, who is enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, was a 6-time collegiate tennis champion (3 in singles, 3 in doubles) and played ice polo at both Brown and later at Yale.
In his colorful and detailed documentary, Hanlon traces the movements of the young Chace in the early and mid-1890’s, enamored with the game his Canadian tennis counterparts described to him that seemed so much like the ice polo he knew so well.
Curiosity and adventure led him and a group of fellow ice polo players, including four Brown men, to accept an invitation from a Montreal hockey team to see and play the game up close and personal. The events that followed reveal Chace as the one person who can be traced back to the origins of ice hockey in the United States.
Yes, a Rhode Islander is the “father” of hockey in the United States
Click HERE to read John’s full story and account from the vaults of Sports Illustrated.