April 2, 1919 Winnipeg Free PressThe 1918-19 Stanley Cup final between the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans lasted a hard-fought five games. It included two overtime games, the March 26 match went to double overtime before being called a draw. Suddenly, at 2:30 pm on April 1, 1919 it was announced that the final game of the Stanley Cup finals was postponed indefinitely.
Initially, there were mixed messages coming from Seattle.
An April 3 telegram to Canadian media supposedly sent by by Canadiens' Team Manager George Kennedy said that the team was doing well with a few members under the weather. That was not the case as even Kennedy's own wife had been summoned to be by her husband's bedside due to the severity of his illness. (He never fully recovered from the effects of the flu and died in 1921 at the age of 39.)
Things went form bad to worse as members of the Metropolitans began falling ill and the first athlete succumbed to the disease.
On April 5, 1919 sports fans were stunned by the news that 37 year-old Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall had succumbed to influenza.
Hall was born in Stafforshire, England in 1882 but his family settled in Brandon when he was a young boy. His amateur and professsional career spanned 18 years, winning Stanley Cups with the Kenora Thistles (1907) and Quebec Bulldogs (1912 and 1913). As a member of the Habs he won the 1919 National Hockey League championship which is what saw him off to Seattle, Pacific Coast League champs, for the Stanley Cup.
Any thought of playing that final game at a later date was quickly put off.
"Bad Joe Hall", as the nickname implies, was a rough, tough player. the reputation as a rough, tough player. During his early career with teams in Brandon and Winnipeg, he spent a fair bit of time before governing bodies and watching his teams from teh stands while under suspension.
Despite this, he had the reputation as a friendly, kind person off the ice. The president of the Pacific Coast League said that "Off the ice he was one of the jolliest, best hearted, most popular men who ever played." A Free Press writer agreed, saying that to those who knew him off the ice he was "Good Old Joe Hall". (Source: April 7, 1919 WFP).
Despite playing for teams across the country, Brandon remained home-base for Hall, his wife Mary and three children. He worked for the railroad on the off-season and invested in land around Brandon. (Toronto World, Apr 7, 1917).
Wife Mary was summoned from Brandon to be by Joe's bedside in Washington State but she did not make it in time. Word arrived en route that he had died.
Initial plans were to have Hall's body shipped from his place of death, the Columbia Sanatorium in Washington State, via Vancouver to Brandon for burial but his final resting place ended up being Vancouver.
The hockey community rallied around Joe's family. A trust fund was set up in Winnipeg and "Joe Hall Memorial" games were played in Winnipeg and Montreal.
Joe Hall was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
The 1918-1919 Canadiens' ourhistory.canadiens.com
Joe Hall Hockey Hall of Fame
Hall's Death Reminder of 1919 Flu Canwest Aug 26, 2009