Fern Gauthier

Don't laugh, but Fern Gauthier literally couldn't put a puck into the Atlantic Ocean. Or so legend has it, anyways.

First some background. The native of Chicoutimi had been a decent scorer with New York in 1943-44 (14 goals) and Montreal in 1944-45 (18 goals). The Detroit Red Wings eagerly pursued Gauthier's rights, as GM Jack Adams figured he could top 20 goals in a Red Wings uniform.

However Gauthier never did. He in fact only scored 14 goals over the next 5 years, though he did add 5 goals in 18 playoff games. But his usual lack of production became the joke of the Detroit media. They quickly said Gauthier couldn't puck the puck into the ocean!

Detroit Times hockey writer Lew Walter apparently put the charge to the test when the Red Wings visited New York for a road game. Walter and a photographer, armed with pucks and sticks, convinced Gauthier to head down to the docks of Manhattan, so that Gauthier could literally attempt to put the puck into the vast ocean.

Fern of course was able to put the pucks into the ocean. However he appeased Walter and allowed him to write a fictitious story. The grand tale Walter concocted had Gauthier missing the first two shots! Supposedly on the first shot a seagull swooped down and snatched the puck before it hit the water. And on the second shot the puck landed on a tugboat pulling a string of barges, one of which intercepted the puck.

Walter later revealed the truth and congratulated Fern on taking part in such a rib.


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