B.C. writer and self-described lifelong hockey fan Paula Johanson reminds us of the ephemeral nature of sports history in King Kwong, her marvellous little biography of the whirlwind on skates who blew out of the dusty interior 75 years ago.
Hume gives a little context for Larry Kwong's sports career, and adds:
...Just as many Canadian kids before and since, Larry discovered the pleasures of playing shinny with a frozen horse apple. One of the most charming hockey photos of the many Johanson unearthed for her book is one of Larry, his sister Betty and a couple of neighbour kids playing shinny outside the Vernon family store.It's important to note that most of the photos which Stephen Hume calls charming were "unearthed" by Chad Soon, many of which came from the private photo albums of Larry Kwong. That particular charming hockey photo was contributed by Larry Kwong's grown daughter from her own family album.
Like many another hockey kid, he wheedled skates out of his mom with a promise that when he was a real hockey player, he’d buy her a house.
Hume goes on to say:
On March 13, 1948, he was called up by the Rangers for a game against Montreal Canadiens. They only played him for one shift — less than a minute — but the China Clipper had ended the era of whites-only hockey in the NHL.
Johanson’s book with Five Rivers Publishing is aimed at young adults but I doubt there’s a hockey fan who will be put off any more than Larry Kwong was by his nickname as he dashed up the ice to score the winning goal for the Smoke Eaters in that long-forgotten B.C. Championship of 1946.
You can read Stephen Hume's entire column here at this link.There's a bio note and a listing of some of his books on a page of Harbour Publishing's website.