Killing Frank McGee


220 pages
ISBN 1-894263-32-4
DDC 813'.54





Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


In hockey, it takes more than skills and courage to win: you must be
mercilessly brutal. Such was the philosophy of Alf Smith, playing coach
of the first hockey dynasty in Canada, the Ottawa Silver Seven, Stanley
Cup champions from 1903 to 1906. Led by superstar Frank McGee’s goal
scoring and Smith’s coaching, the Silver Seven employed skill,
courage, and brutality to dominate senior hockey in Canada in the early

Killing Frank McGee also shows how skills and brutality were applied in
the carnage of the Great War. Flashing back and forth in time and place
between Ottawa (1903–07) and the front in France (September 1916),
Reddick describes how Alf Smith built the Ottawa Silver Seven into a
ruthless hockey machine. He shows how “winning at all costs” played
out in war, business, and society: having observed graft, corruption,
and brutality in business and government, Smith applied his insights to
winning hockey games.

Frank McGee, hockey superstar and nephew of the assassinated Father of
Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, was raised in a privileged society
in Sandy Hill. He was killed in a senseless war and rests in an unmarked
grave in the Somme because honor and duty compelled him to enlist.


Reddick, Don., “Killing Frank McGee,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,