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Old Boyes club

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

Something that long puzzled me: the Wikipedia entry for Art Boyce (aka Art Boyes), a goaltender for the Montreal Wanderers of the National Hockey Association from 1911-15, stated that after serving overseas during World War I, “He returned to Canada in 1917 and settled in Nelson, BC where he played one season with the Nelson team in the British Columbia League.”

Yet I’d never seen anything to confirm this. If true, I was curious what brought Boyce to town. The recent digitization of the Nelson Daily News from 1902 to early 1920 let me look into this — and quickly discover that it was in error.

Nelson’s senior hockey team did have a goaltender named Boyce/Boyes in 1917, but he was Tommy Boyes, no relation to Art. Someone just drew the wrong conclusion.

Thomas Thompson Boyes was born Sept. 14, 1894 or 1895 in Fort William, Ont. to James and Annie Boyes. While I’m not sure when his family came west, they show up in Nelson on the 1911 census. James was listed as a machinist. Tommy, although only 16, was working in a liquor store.

As a junior, Tommy played goal from 1909-12 for the Nelson Rovers and from 1912-15 for the Nelson Tigers (where one of his teammates was Syd Desireau, who I recently wrote about).

Tommy Boyes is seen at far right with a Nelson team, 1912-13, in a photo by B. McGregor. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Tommy was called up to the senior ranks in late 1914 for a game against Trail, which they lost 6-3. Despite this, the Daily News praised his play:

For Nelson the outstanding player of the evening was Tommy Boyes in goal. All through the game the Trail boys poured in shot after shot on him and the fact that only six of them bulged the nets behind him is probably the greatest tribute that can be paid. He acted like veteran, not an intermediate, throughout.

Tommy rejoined the senior ranks in January 1916, where his performance in a 7-3 win over Rossland received this fabulous description in the Daily News: “Long, hard shots and short, snappy shots … were rained in at Boyes, whose monotonous stopping brought protestations upon his devoted head from the Rossland fans present.”

In 1917, playing for the seniors, Tommy was in net for 730 minutes over 12 games. He gave up 31 goals for a 2.55 average while the team went 7-4-1 in the games he played. The Sandon hockey club also borrowed him for one game that season, a 3-1 win over Silverton.

Apparently by now he was commuting to games. The Daily News of March 2, 1917 noted that he “has returned to his home in Trail,” where he worked at the smelter.

On Oct. 16, 1917, Tommy enlisted for World War I at Nelson, giving his occupation as sheet metal worker. He arrived in England in December, was sent to France in March 1918, and was wounded on Aug. 9, 1918, suffering a fractured femur. He was discharged in April 1919.

In 1919-20, Boyes suited up for the Trail hockey club, giving up 19 goals in 258 minutes over four games for a 4.42 average. The team was 0-3-1 in those games. While I am not sure where he was for the next few years, Tommy went on to play for Drumheller in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Throughout his hockey career he was also a referee.

Tommy Boyes died in Matsqui in 1966, age 72, survived by his wife and four sons.

I’ve since edited Art Boyce’s Wikipedia entry to delete the mention of Nelson and added Tommy Boyes’ Kootenay statistics to the Society for International Hockey Research database.

While Art never lived in Nelson, he did have a minor Kootenay connection: from 1913-15, one of his Montreal Wanderers teammates was Carl Kendall, who would go on to star for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the 1920s and ‘30s, building the team into a perennial Savage Cup contender.

Coincidentally, an Arthur Boyce was listed in the 1931 Nelson civic directory, but he was a CPR telegrapher.

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Sep 29, 2020

Greg you always have such interesting information it always a pleasure to see what you have next . I always loved the old steam engines years ago I would walk down to the CPR station and walk home with my Grandfather who worked down there --I loved the old puffer engines with the steam puffing out . Nice simple days then


Sam McBride
Sam McBride
Sep 29, 2020

Thanks for another wonderful piece Greg. It is especially good to correct a mistake, for the record. I noticed in Craig Bowlsby`s book that there was a Nelson ladies hockey team called the Wanderers that included Dora and Cynda Patrick, sisters of Lester and Frank.

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