Friday, May 8, 2009

Butch Songin, Boston Patriots Quarterback Played in the first AFL Game and for the Eastern Hockey League Worcester Warriors

While looking for pictures of EHL players, I found this shot of Ed "Butch" Songin (hand raised to coach Lou Saban of the Boston Patriots) of the 1954-55 Worcester Warriors. It's from this article in the Boston Globe about Saban's passing.

Songin appears to be the only player to have played in the AFL/NFL and also the EHL. He played in the CFL, also - waiting until his season ended with the Hamilton Tiger Cats before signing with the EHL Warriors in 1954.

Songin is mentioned in this article by Evan Weiner about players who played both hockey and football for Hockey Wasn't Berry's Only Game .

The Warriors were a team made up of American amateurs as a bit of an experiment to see how they would fare against the other Canadian-filled teams. The Warriors also enabled the EAHL to reform after a year off into the EHL, merely by icing a team. The Hudson Valley Bears of the EPHL performed a similar function this year, with similar results - the results being few wins, few fans and often getting shellacked.

The original EHL schedule had Worcester playing every Tuesday at home, though many of these were later cancelled. Road games, except for nearby New Haven were usually played on weekends so the players could make the games. Bill Ballou gives a good account in his March 29, 2007 Worcester Telegram article: Short-lived Warriors Had Fun.

Like a few of the purely amateur Warriors, who needed day jobs, Butch Songin appears to have only played home games and one at New Haven. Aside from the CFL, he also missed a game for a snowstorm, a game that the league cancelled due to rescheduling, and another game where he played for the the "Boston Collegians" on January 2, 1955.

Here's a recap of Songin's lone EHL season as quoted from Worceter Telegram articles. The dates are the date of the newspaper, not the games.

Worcester Telegram, December 7, 1954
Ed (Butch) Songin, the ex-Boston College football and hockey star, has informed the Worcester Warriors that he will definitely be on hand. Songin signed last week has been resting up after a starring season with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League
The Warriors won their first game (1-6) beating league-leading Clinton 6-5, however Songin did not play and no reason was given in the paper.

Worcester Telegram, December 14, 1954

Ed (Butch) Songin, the ex-Boston College star, and more recently a performer in the Canadian grid league, will make his first appearance tonight and will team with (Rod) O'Connor on defense.
Worcester Telegram,December 15, 1954

Songin, making his debut with the Worcesters as a result of little skating or practice and help the starring (Dusty) Burke (from Athol, MA) and the improved O'Connor in the games to come.
Songin had two assists in his first game, a 6-5 home win over the New Haven Blades:

O'Grady (Duffy, Songin) 17:09 1st - Frank O'Grady's long shot from the left, after a pretty combination play in which Ed (Butch) Songin, the ex-B.C. star, and Duffy helped, made it 3-2 (New Haven) just before the period closed.

Duffy (Cahoon, Songin) 16:45 2d - Duffy locked it up again at 4-4 on a pass from Songin.
Worcester Telegram, December 21, 1954

Songin, the burly ex-B.C. footballer, who made his debut with the Warriors last Tuesday, will be back to the team with Burke at the points. Songin, busy playing football with Hamilton in the Canadian Football League, wasn't in his best shape last week. But he has been skating daily since and expects to be in full stride from here in.
There was a huge east coast snowstorm and the Washington Lions, along with the individual Warriors players barely made it to the arena by game time. Songin didn't make it to the game. The Warriors (3-6) won their third game 5-3 in front of 304 fans.

December 29, 1954
Songin played in a 7-5 home loss to the arch-rival New Haven Blades before a sellout crowd of 1014 at Worcester Arena. Songin didn't make the box score or any mention in the article.

The following night at New Haven, possibly Songin's only road game, was a 10-2 loss to the Blades. Songin picked up an assist for 3 points in 3 games.
Jordan (Sennott, Songin) 9:12 3rd

January 2 & 3, 1955
The Warriors lost 7-1 vs. the Washington Lions at Uline Arena, and 10-4 vs. the Baltimore Clippers at Carlins Iceland. Songin did not make the trip. In fact, there is an article next to the Baltimore game article which shows Butch Songin and Jimmy Duffy stayed home and each scored for something called the Boston Collegians - not to be confused with Boston College which both had played for in the late 40s - beating St. Francis Xavier from Nova Scotia at Boston Arena in front of 2648.

Worcester Telegram, January 5, 1955
Songin had two goals, but the New Haven Blades beat the Warriors 5-3 on 2 late 3rd period goals.

Songin (Ceglarski, Burke) 18:58 2d- The Warriors however after the game stopped for a few minutes because of a pair of fights between Dick Hamm and Don Perry and Rod O'Connor and Al Fontana, broke the ice as Songin drove the puck past goalie Jack Geutens (Also spelled Geuten and Geutin in the box score) at 18:50. Both clubs were playing with three men on the ice at the time.
Len Ceglarski, who assisted is better known today as the highly successful hockey coach at Clarkson and Boston College. This may have been his only point as a pro (well, amateur) , but that's another post.
Songin (Sennott) 12:32 3rd - Worcester, however, trailing 3-1 seconds after the third period opened, dispalyed its best hockey of the game and tied the game at 12:32 on Butch Songin's second goal.
January 16, 1955
Songin (nor partner Burke) did not play in New Haven, an 8-1 Blades rout.

January 19, 1955
Songin (nor partner Burke) did not play in exhibition game against the US National team, which included Worcester Warriors Johnny Titus, Walter Greeley and Frank O'Grady.

A road trip followed, which I can only assume Songin did not make.

February 7, 1955
Two Songins in the lineup, H & W, neither one Butch. From we can derive that these were probably Walter (confirmed in a later article) and Harold, who I read somewhere were Butch's brothers. Harold got an assist and Walter got a high sticking minor.

February 13, 1955
A Songin, presumably Walter, was listed as a forward for the Warriors in a 14-2 loss at Clinton according to the Utica Observer.

February 23, 1955
Walter was a no show in spite being tabbed as on the top line in the previous day's paper. No Songins played as the New Haven Blades routed the Warriors 20-3 in the Warriors final game of the year and ever in the EHL. The Washingtoin Lions protested this game. An article in the February 26, 1955 Washington Post reads...

Thanks to a decision by league president Tom Lockhart, acting on a protest by Washington general manager Jack Riley, the Lions received a boost in their bid for second (place). Lockhart ruled that New Haven's 20-3 victory over Worcester Monday was an unofficial game as that game along with Worcester's final matches with Washington and Baltimore had previously been cancelled.
So the final EHL tally for Butch Songin appears to be:
4 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, no PIMs. 1 win 3 losses.

Still that's enough to be the only known player to have played in the EHL and the AFL/NFL, though not the only EHLer to have played professional football...

No comments:

Post a Comment