November 17, 2018

Winnipeg
-12° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Cully Wilson joins hockey hall

Who? Man few have heard of has rich legacy playing game

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/4/2015 (1313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There were so many names at the unveiling of the 2015 inductees to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, and one by one vice-president Jordy Douglas read them out.

Four players will enter the hall this year, all of them former NHLers, along with a quartet of builders, three teams, a referee and a broadcaster.

When Douglas reached the name of the fourth athlete inductee, he paused. "Pay attention," he said, and mused that for many, the name Cully Wilson would be new.

That's true, but in the jam-packed audience at Monday morning's announcement, there were two for whom Wilson's name carried a special weight. And in that moment, Wes Wilson and his sister Elma Kozub felt a swell of pride -- for the great-uncle they never really knew, and for the work they'd done to bring his name to light.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/4/2015 (1313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There were so many names at the unveiling of the 2015 inductees to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, and one by one vice-president Jordy Douglas read them out.

Four players will enter the hall this year, all of them former NHLers, along with a quartet of builders, three teams, a referee and a broadcaster.

Cully Wilson as a member of the       Seattle Metropolitans.

Cully Wilson as a member of the Seattle Metropolitans.

When Douglas reached the name of the fourth athlete inductee, he paused. "Pay attention," he said, and mused that for many, the name Cully Wilson would be new.

That's true, but in the jam-packed audience at Monday morning's announcement, there were two for whom Wilson's name carried a special weight. And in that moment, Wes Wilson and his sister Elma Kozub felt a swell of pride — for the great-uncle they never really knew, and for the work they'd done to bring his name to light.

'When they called me to let me know, I had a little bit of a cry... I'm thrilled, and very proud'

"I could cry," Kozub said. "We had always felt that this should happen, and when it finally did, it was just like a fulfilment of a dream."

Amongst the crowd that turned out for the announcement, Kozub and her brother came through a very different path.

Most of the others milling about the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame that morning were veteran hockey hands: Near the back of the room, the 1979-80 Transcona Railers were holding a jovial reunion. By the entrance, retired NHLer Cam Connor was chatting in a group that included fellow 2015 inductee, CBC broadcaster Scott Oake.

"It is an honour," said Oake, who was set to fly out Monday night to cover playoff hockey in Vancouver, and offered a self-deprecating joke. "I'm a bit overwhelmed, because I'm going in for talking. Everybody else is going in for actually making a contribution to the game."

The mood was festive and convivial, a gathering of folks who'd long rubbed elbows around the sport — but Carol "Cully" Wilson, almost no one had heard of before.

Hey, it makes sense. Wilson was born in 1892, grew up in an Icelandic enclave in the West End, and played his heyday in the years when the NHL was newborn. His goals and scraps were so old, his two Stanley Cups won so long ago those achievements slipped beneath the radar of the modern world.

Maybe they would have been forgotten altogether, if it wasn't for the family stories Kozub and Wilson remembered, and the facts they set out to find.

The siblings had reason to be curious about Cully. Before their grandfather Albert Wilson died in 1956, he regaled his grandkids with tales about his hockey-star brother. Although Albert was 10 years older, and Cully long since settled in Seattle, the two wrote letters to each other all their lives.

"He was extremely proud that his brother had gone out in the wider world, and really accomplished something quite remarkable in that day," Wes Wilson said.

Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press 
Wes Wilson and Elma Kozub, the great-nephew and great-niece of �Cully� Wilson, at Monday�s induction announcement.

Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press Wes Wilson and Elma Kozub, the great-nephew and great-niece of �Cully� Wilson, at Monday�s induction announcement.

It wasn't until Kozub started digging into their family history in the mid-1980s, though, that a clearer portrait of their colourful great-uncle came into view. Over the next two decades, they would learn much about the man, a dynamo of the early pro leagues, founding member of the Chicago Blackhawks and former Toronto St. Pat.

Though he was slight and only 5-6, Cully was a spark plug — almost, Wilson laughed, like the Tie Domi of his day. An old Seattle Times article called him a "little dervish on skates." He could score and he would tangle with just about anyone. His teammates loved him for that. His opponents, not so much.

In 1924, when Wilson was playing with the WCHL's Calgary Tigers, a sports scribe from Edmonton penned a poem called "Cully the Carver," taking a satirical stab at what he saw as the scrappy skater's dirty play. "It's funny when upon home ice his stick so soft and meek, is knocked aside and takes a slice from some poor beggar's cheek," the Edmonton Journal poem ran.

That fire turned scouts' heads. Wilson spent more than 20 years shuttling around leagues and elite teams, from the Winnipeg Monarchs to his first pro stint out east, where he joined a Toronto Blueshirts squad that thumped the Montreal Canadiens in a challenge match for the Stanley Cup. He would win another in 1917 with the Seattle Metropolitans, a challenge that made history as the first time the trophy had been won by a team outside of Canada.

By then, Wilson had fallen in love with Seattle. He settled there after he retired in 1932, and worked for a shipping line until he retired. He helped kids learn how to skate, and grew roses. Wes Wilson met his great-uncle out there once, on a road trip when he was about 10 years old; Kozub never did, but she heard the tales.

"He was a very gentle soul," she said. "Loved gardening. It was such an opposite to what he did during his hockey career."

When he died in 1962, his widow Violet gave his skates to the city of Seattle, where city sports historians have tended his memory well. For a while, though, that was as far as his legacy went. But in 2005, Wilson and Kozub published a sweeping article about Cully in Manitoba-based Icelandic newsletter Lgberg-Heimskringla. They sent that to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, which encouraged them to file his name for a formal nomination.

Earlier this year, Wilson got a call: Cully was in. "When they called me to let me know, I had a little bit of a cry," Wes Wilson said. "I'm thrilled, and very proud."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin
Reporter-at-large

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us