Harvey Pulford

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Harvey Pulford was a man for all seasons in Ottawa. They called him the Bytown Slugger, although he never gained fame in Ottawa on baseball or softball fields. Nonetheless, he was a world-class athlete before and after the turn of the 20th century and would have gained more stature in sports lore had it not been for a chap by the name of Lionel Conacher. Conacher was voted top Canadian athlete of the first half of the 20th century and Pulford wouldn’t have been far behind.

Pulford was born in Toronto but moved to Ottawa where he became a multi-faceted athlete. He was a jack of all trades (oops, sports) and master of all of them. What a 'résumé' he compiled. In a hockey uniform, he was known for being a defensive-minded but very physical defenceman, who loved to throw his 6-foot-1, 200-pound tank of a frame around. Not talented offensively or skating-wise, he kept the opposition honest with his punishing style – he was strictly on the ice to protect his own end and to protect goals from being scored against his team. Pulford started with the Ottawa Silver Seven in 1893-94 and remained a stellar contributor with the team through the 1904-05 season. Along the way, he captained the squad to three consecutive Stanley Cup titles. Pulford was a member of the Ottawa Rough Riders that won Canadian football championships from 1898-1900 and played on the Ottawa Capitals lacrosse squad that won national titles the last four years of the 19th century.

In a much smaller arena, Pulford showed off some of that hockey meanness by winning the Eastern Canada light-heavyweight and heavyweight boxing titles.

On water, Pulford was a Canadian champion in both single and double-blade paddling and won international honours in the sport of rowing. He also won Ottawa squash titles in 1922-23. Pulford was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945, the first year of inductions.

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