STUART, WILLIAM HODGSON, hockey player; b. 1879 in Ottawa, son of William Stuart and Rachel —; m., probably in 1903, — Loughlin from Quebec; d. 23 June 1907 in Belleville, Ont., and was buried the following day in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa.
William Hodgson Stuart, who would be a bricklayer by trade, was raised in a sports-oriented family: his father was a curler in Ottawa and his brother Bruce was interested in hockey. Hod, as he came to be called, excelled at football and played with the Ottawa Rough Riders for a while.
After coming up through the various levels of minor hockey in their home town, where they studied, Hod and Bruce joined the Ottawa Silver Seven (also known as the Senators) for the 1898–99 season. This team was affiliated with the Canadian Amateur Hockey League, which also included the Shamrocks, the Victorias, and the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, all from Montreal, as well as the Quebec Bulldogs. In 1900, after two seasons with the Ottawa club, the Stuart brothers decided to move to the Bulldogs. Bruce went back to Ottawa in 1901 and Hod stayed at Quebec.
During the 1902–3 season the International Hockey League, a professional body, started up in the United States. The services of the Stuarts were sought by the team from Calumet, Mich., where Hod would play from 1902–3 to 1904–5. In his first season he became the captain and manager of the team. Even beyond the confines of his own country, he was known as an excellent defenceman. He stayed in this league until December 1906, playing also with the team from Houghton, Mich., in 1905–6. He started the next season with Pittsburgh, Pa, but left following a dispute.
The Montreal Wanderers Hockey Club, which had approached Hod earlier, offered him a very good contract for that season, and he became one of the best-paid players in the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association (the successor to the Canadian Amateur Hockey League). Indeed, through the Wanderers professional hockey got its start in Canada. It was the first team to announce that players were being paid during the 1906–7 season. In January 1907 the Wanderers lost the first series for the Stanley Cup [see Frederick Arthur Stanley] to the Thistles of Kenora, Ont. In March the Wanderers took the cup back from the Thistles. Stuart helped his team to win, even though he did not score during the four-game series. Of the ten members of the Wanderers who played during the season, six have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Bruce Stuart was supposed to rejoin his brother with the Wanderers for 1907–8, but in June 1907 Hod lost his life in an accident. While swimming in Lake Ontario off Belleville he dived into shallow water and broke his neck.
At the beginning of the 1907–8 season, an Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association all-star game was organized, with the proceeds to be given to Stuart’s wife and two children. This was the very first all-star game in the world of hockey. The Wanderers competed against a team made up of players from the Shamrocks, the Victorias, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, the Silver Seven, and the Bulldogs. Bruce could not play because of an injury; nor could Jean-Baptiste (Jack) Laviolette of the Shamrocks, against whom Hod had played in the International Hockey League. Of the 14 players who competed in that game on 2 Jan. 1908, seven, besides the two who were absent, have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
During his five seasons with a Canadian team, William Hodgson Stuart had scored 16 goals in 33 games. This feat in itself was remarkable since defencemen at that time had a purely defensive role and rarely went on the attack. Contemporaries and observers from subsequent generations recognized his talents and in 1945 he was admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Beechwood Cemetery (Ottawa), Burial records, 24 June 1907. Gazette (Montreal), 24 June 1907: 16; 3 Jan. 1908: 2. Montreal Daily Star, 24 June 1907: 3; 3 Jan. 1908: 2. Ottawa Evening Journal, 24–25 June 1907. Dan Diamond and Joseph Romain, The Hockey Hall of Fame; the official history of the game and its greatest stars (Toronto, 1988). Donald Guay, L’histoire du hockey au Québec; origine et développement d’un phénomène culturel (Chicoutimi, Qué., 1990). The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame; 12th induction ceremonies, 23 May 1990 ([Ottawa?, 1990?]).