About the Book

History comes to life in this sweeping saga about the first captain of Toronto’s original NHL team. Ken Randall’s journey begins in the days of pro hockey’s infancy as he toiled in over 100 arenas that no longer exist, won two Stanley Cups, and played with and against the early icons of the sport. You’ll meet all the characters that wove the game, highlighted by family anecdotes that will surprise you.

You may become convinced that Randall was the toughest ‘hombre’ to ever play the pro game in its first quarter century. There is no doubt he was the most versatile, playing several positions, sometimes in the same game. His story will inform and amaze you.

During the dawn of professional hockey, when the amateur game reigned supreme, there were a group of players and contributors who blazed a trail for the development of the pro game, a path that has taken the NHL to heights unfathomable back in the inaugural season of 1917-18. The captain of that year’s Toronto Arenas, the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup, was Ken Randall, known as one of the most vicious players of the era, but also among its most efficient and versatile. “The Pepper Kid” accumulated over 500 stitches above the neck during his 20 year professional career and did not miss a game due to injury. Hockey Hall of Fame member, writer, and NHL referee Lou Marsh considered Randall’s contributions the most valuable of any player in both of his teams’ Stanley Cup triumphs in 1918 and 1922. Toronto’s GM Charlie Querrie and Hall of Fame writer Elmer Ferguson echoed Marsh’s comment.

Trent Frayne wrote in his hallmark novel The Madmen of Hockey; ” In the memory of men who have watched the game or been part of it for five decades…the roughest era by far was the early NHL when free-swinging hit men like ‘Bad Joe’ Hall,Minnie McGiffen, ‘Newsy’ Lalonde, Billy ‘Backwoods’ Coutu, Ken Randall, and Sprague Cleghorne carved stitches in rival hides like Stuttgart duelists.”

You’ll meet these characters and more in your journey back to hockey’s storied beginnings.