Golden Gaels Photos
Queen's Golden Gaellery by Jeff Chan
On October 16 and 17, 2009, the Queen's Football Club honoured Moose and Bill "Mik" Miklas during the Legacy Weekend which also features a game versus the Western Mustangs. On November 28, 2009, the Queen's Golden Gaels won their fourth Vanier Cup. I have to believe Moose was looking down on the Laval field and cheering on the Gaels during their second-half comeback against the Dinos. Miss you Moose! - Jeff
On Tuesday, September 16, 2008, the Queen's football community lost one of its icons, Coach Hal "Moose" McCarney. Funeral services for Moose took place Saturday, September 20 at St. John the Evangelist Church, 270 Stone St. S. in Gananoque, at 1 p. m., coinciding with the Gaels' 58-14 win over Varsity in Toronto.
A memorial service for Hal was held in Grant Hall on October 20, two days after the Gaels completed their 2008 regular season undefeated at 8-0. Presiding was Queen's University Chaplain Brian Yealland with readings from former Gael Peter Thompson and Queen's Football Chaplain Father Raymond De Souza. Wonderful rememberances were shared by Chris McCarney representing Hal's extended family, Coach Pat Sheahan, and the so-called Frick and Frack of Queen's Football, Don Bayne and Wally Mellor. The service ended with Frank Sinatra's rendition of Paul Anka's "My Way", a fitting memory of the man who most certainly lived his whole life "My Way."
Here's the text of an introduction I made in 2003.
2003 QUEEN’S ATHLETICS SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD – HAL “MOOSE” McCARNEY
Gaels and guests: After running over my allotted time last year, I never thought I’d get close to the podium again. But here I am, and it gives me great pleasure to honour this year’s recipient of the Queen’s Athletics Special Recognition Award, Hal “Moose” McCarney. If there ever were a person who needed no introduction around Queen’s, it would be “Moose”. A graduate of Arts 51 in Economics, he’s in many ways like the Tom Green character in Road Trip – he never left. And living up to his nickname, he’s a man that truly is, bigger than life. Hal was not always a Queen’s man though – having first graduated from Loyola University, now Concordia, with a degree in the classics. The fact that Hal was elected to the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame for his performance in football and basketball, and that the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen at Concordia are awarded the Hal McCarney Trophy to this day, is testament to the impact he had before he saw the light. But he did, and he arrived in Kingston. During the days he was paying Queen’s tuition – the regulated type I believe – Hal was an integral part of the Golden Gaels senior intercollegiate football team from 1948 to 1951, and he was awarded the Jenkins Trophy as the top male graduating athlete in 1950. One of his student highlights was transporting Boo Hoo the Bear from Moose Head Lodge in Mattawa to Queen’s. That was, of course, in the days when Boo Hoo didn’t have to unzip to relieve himself, and before the animal rights activists created the mascot uniform industry. Despite graduating, Hal refused to get outa town. From 1951 to 1973, He was the assistant defensive coach for the Gaels football team, during which time Queen’s won 8 League Championships and was runner-up 6 times. In 63 and 64, the Gaels went undefeated, allowing the least points against in the nation. It was also in 1963 that Hal began to exhibit his entrepreneurial skills, with the invention of “Moose Hoofs” – a superior type of football cleat that he marketed to college and CFL teams. You probably saw him flogging his mud cleats at the Windsor game last fall during the thunder storm. Since leaving his “official” post with the football team, Hal has stayed extremely committed to the program. Not only did he design the distinctive gold leather football jackets, he established the Queen’s Football Club with Don Bayne and Heino Lilles, both now my colleagues on the Board of Trustees, founded the Queen's Football Hall of Fame, and was himself inducted into that Hall of Fame as a builder and athlete in 1991. Lest you think Hal’s only life exists on the gridiron, he’s also a big man on the water. He’s been a champion paddler and founded the annual North American Paddling Championships. And of course, he is the proud owner of the Gananoque Boat Lines and will be happy to take your reservations at the conclusion of today’s ceremonies. Today, Hal remains the consummate Queen’s alumnus, a very generous and active supporter of Queen’s athletics and student life, and a true Tricolour fan, as evidenced in this photo taken at one of the many games he attended last fall. Often seen counseling both the coaches and current Gaels, he is renown for hosting his annual team dinner. I shudder at the very thought of trying to feed the likes of Landon, Stead, McIlmoyl, Trudeau and Ida. Michael and Adam Douglas I could probably manage. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve probably run over my time again, but when you’re introducing someone with such a storied past, so many accomplishments, and such a big heart, time knows no bounds. Hal – on behalf of Queen’s University, all of your friends in the world of Queen’s athletics and recreation and especially, the football community, it’s my honour to present you with this year’s Queen’s Athletics Special Recognition Award for your outstanding contributions to Queen’s. Congratulations.
Hal McCarney lived life with boundless energy By PATRICK KENNEDY A few years back, Hal McCarney, driving into Kingston along Highway 2, spotted several stands of bleachers sitting on the grounds of Royal Military College, surplus seats no longer needed by the military school at its new gym. McCarney bought the whole works and, calling in a favour, had them stored at Gananoque Airport and covered with a bunch of old parachutes. He had a feeling they might come in handy for someone someday. On another occasion, in his beloved hometown of Gananoque, he noticed a discarded flagpole outside the local firehall. McCarney bought it and laid it outside his nearby riverside home. He knew someone, somewhere, might use it one day. As with most inklings he had during his 81 years, whether it was about a flagpole, a zoo, a statue, a cruise ship or a football play, the big, burly fellow was right. Today those bleachers support the fannies of fans at three different locales: St. Theresa School in Belleville, Queen's University's Ross Gym and Regiopolis-Notre Dame High School. "The day we went to get the bleachers for Regi, Hal took one look and said, 'They're not good enough,' " his son-in-law, Ed Kenney, recalled. "Instead he took them to the [Gananoque] Boat Line and had them repaired and refinished." Only then did the bleachers find a second home in Regi's new gymnasium, and even that was an adventure. "Workers were installing them and, of course, Hal was directing everything and all of a sudden he disappeared," noted Kenney, the school's athletic director. "[Regi teacher] Pat Murphy walked by and I asked him if he'd seen Hal. "Oh, he's teaching my class," replied Murphy, nonchalantly . The course? "Hal 101," Kenney said, laughing through tears. Weeks, maybe months later, McCarney pulled up to Kenney's house with the 35-foot flagpole strapped to the back of a Gananoque Boat Line truck. "Let's go," said the driver. That pole now rises above the northeast corner of Regi's Brother O'Gara Field. Yesterday, the two flags flapping atop it were lowered to half-mast in tribute to McCarney, who died Tuesday at the age of 81. "Hal was a larger-than-life character with boundless energy and enthusiasm that was infectious," said Ottawa lawyer Peter Thompson, a two-way star with the then-Queen's Golden Gaels from 1959-64 who later toiled as a tight end with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. "He was a true renaissance man: Academic, athlete, builder, tutor, sportsman, entrepreneur. "He was very loyal, particularly to those people who were loyal to him," Thompson said of his old coach, who served alongside legendary Queen's coach Frank Tindall for 22 autumns and remained involved with the team until that connection was severed the only way possible. "He thrived on competition, whether it was in business or on the field, and like most of us, enjoyed winning." McCarney's coaching career with the Tricolour sometimes overshadowed the fact the hulking lineman fashioned a stellar two-sport playing career at Loyola (now Concordia), where he played football and basketball. He was elected to the university's athletic hall of fame and, to this day, Concordia honours its outstanding offensive and defensive linemen with the Hal McCarney Trophy. He came to Queen's in 1948 and two years later was awarded the Jenkins Trophy as top male graduating student. He also is enshrined in the school's athletic hall of fame. A wealthy businessman, McCarney was renowned for his generosity and his disdain for recognition of same. Wilf Bilow, a Boat Line worker and McCarney friend the past 40 years, recalls the day his daughter left for nursing school. Hal handed him a cheque for $5,000. "All he said was you could probably use this," Bilow remembered. A Golden Gael great of yesteryear passed through Kingston seven or eight years ago. He rang up his old coach. "He was a special person and I just wanted to say hello," said Jim Young, the hall-of-fame receiver who played here from 1962-64. Young became the first Canadian college player to play in the National Football League (Minnesota Vikings). "I hadn't seen him in years but he hadn't changed a bit. He still had that youthful spirit." McCarney took Young, his wife, his aunt and his mother for a ride on the St. Lawrence in one of his triple-deckers. McCarney's mind was a marvel. He was forever coming up with new ideas. Some never flew, others took off like a peregrine falcon. One was the famous Moose Hoofs, the innovative cleat he designed for wet, sloppy field conditions. The inventor marketed the shoes to college and pro teams, enticing a couple of CFL teams to try them. They caught on ... for awhile. "It was like playing in high heels," quipped Thompson. Merv Daub, who played for McCarney from 1962-65, said Moose -McCarney's nickname -and head coach Tindall were the perfect tandem, the former the motivational wizard, the latter the understated strategist. But it was Moose's show once the referee dropped his arm for the opening kick. "Moose ran the team on the sidelines," Daub said. "He was the motivational force. Hal made it all work." Today, the pair is together again on some celestial gridiron. "It's quite possible that Tindall's legendary status as a coach might not be so legendary without McCarney," said Thompson. "Hal was his right-and left-hand man."
A 'legend' passes on - 'He was bigger than life' By Ann Lukits, Staff Writer
When retired Gananoque postman John Nalon heard that his old friend Hal (Moose) McCarney was laid up in hospital with a broken leg, his first instinct was to rush into Kingston and pay him a visit. On second thought, Nalon figured -correctly - that "half of Kingston would be in that room" and he opted to wait a bit longer. Nalon finally got over to the hospital last week, but McCarney was sleeping so soundly that he couldn't bring himself to wake him. Instead, Nalon jotted a quick note and left, a decision that in hindsight he regrets. On Monday evening, the parish priest in Gananoque called Nalon with sad news: the legendary 81-year-old entrepreneur, civic booster and football coach had succumbed to complications associated with his fractured femur. "He was the pulse of the community, that's the thing," said Nalon, who heads the Gananoque Historical Society and has been friends with McCarney for as long as he can remember. "I sat there after I got the call from the priest and I felt badly. A definite, exciting era has now passed. There will never be another Hal McCarney." It was a sentiment that was repeated over and over yesterday as word quickly spread that the big-hearted Gananoque businessman and former Queen's University football coach, known to most as simply Moose, had died. "He was bigger than life, a legend in his own time," said Wolfe Island ferry captain Brian Johnson, who landed his first job at the age of 21 when McCarney hired him to work as a mate on one of his boats. Johnson, who still works part time for the boat line, visited his former boss at Kingston General Hospital a few weeks ago. He found McCarney in good spirits and excited by the Gaels' latest winning streak. "He's a football coach, so he was a football coach to work for," Johnson recalled yesterday. "He laid down the law but in a way that a football coach can." 'A true renaissance man' Born and raised in Gananoque, Mc- Carney is best known for building and expanding the Gananoque Boat Line over nearly four decades. He bought the business in 1970 and transformed it from a one-boat operation into a thriving company with a fleet of five triple-deck ships. McCarney is also credited with developing the prototype for the triple-decker boats that are used to take tourists all over the Thousand Islands today. "It's a sad time," said Wilfred Bilow, who was shop superintendent for the boat line two years before McCarney arrived. "I don't think he ever considered himself my boss. He was a confidant of mine and vice versa." McCarney had a soft spot for animals, especially his two golden retrievers that accompanied him everywhere in his truck. In 1980, McCarney founded the 1000 Islands Wild Kingdom in Gananoque and ran it for 14 years. He was also a tireless community booster. On the day he broke his leg, he was on his way to check on the fireworks barge for the Festival of the Islands, which he founded. He also co-founded the Gananoque Playhouse and was the driving force behind the Gananoque Community Centre. "He wasn't a loud man," Bilow said. "He was a thinker and a very generous person. He loved to talk to people. He insisted people get educations if they could. It was his biggest drive in life: don't smoke and get your education." A non-smoker himself, McCarney spent six years studying in post-secondary institutions, earning an honours degree in English and philosophy from Loyola College (now part of Concordia University), and an honours degree in economics and politics from Queen's. He excelled in sports as well as academics at both universities. His talent on the football field and basketball court earned him a spot in the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame. Every year, the Hal McCarney Trophy is awarded to the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen at Concordia. At Queen's, he played for the Golden Gaels' senior intercollegiate football team from 1948 to 1951, winning the coveted Jenkins Trophy, awarded to the top male graduating athlete. He went on to serve as Gaels' assistant defensive coach for the next 22 years. He also founded the Queen's Football Hall of Fame and was later inducted into it as a builder and athlete. Former Gaels coach Doug Hargreaves said that McCarney was especially adept at dealing with university bureaucracy. For example, when Hargreaves arrived at Queen's in 1951, he was already married with a young family. The registrar was very strict about admissions and wouldn't allow him to play football because it would place an unfair burden on his wife. McCarney had a word with the registrar and convinced her to let Hargreaves play. Ironically, Hargreaves almost immediately dislocated his left elbow and was out for the season. After graduation, Hargreaves returned to Queen's to coach the Gaels and got to know McCarney as more of an equal. "He recently said to me that after he had retired, [he realized] the best years of his life were the years he was coaching at Queen's," Hargreaves said. "It was a terrific release for him. He got to drive up from Gananoque, spend two hours or plus on football, which he enjoyed immensely, and then drive home. "By the time he got home he was totally relaxed. He missed that after he retired." It was while McCarney was coaching that he met and married Kathleen (Kally) Norris. Together, they raised four children -Chris, Paul, Karen and Katy -all of whom have stayed in the Gananoque area and work in the family businesses. McCarney's vocabulary never included the word "retirement." A man of eclectic interests and talents, he served on the first advisory board of Joyceville Institution, Gananoque Town Council, the board of Hotel Dieu Hospital, the Gananoque Chamber of Commerce, the Summerhill Advisory Board at Queen's, and the 1000 Islands International Council, which he founded and co-chaired. Passionate about his hometown, he erected a 50-foot Christmas tree in the town square every year. He also repaired and erected the fountain in front of the town hall and headed the Gananoque Enviro Dive. McCarney was also a professional diving instructor and used to boast of entertaining the late prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, on diving expeditions in the Caribbean. He was also an avid paddler who founded the North American Canoe Racing Championships. His business interests went well beyond the boat line. He also owned the Ramada Provincial Inn, where he was known to feed members of the Queen's football team from time to time. When he and his wife were first married, they built their own Provincial Motel at the east end of town and the Thunderbird Motel at the north end. "He's certainly going to leave a big hole in the leadership in the town of Gananoque," said former mayor Fred Delaney. "He's going to be missed by so many people. There were so many philanthropic projects he supported." Two years ago, McCarney and members of the Admirals of the St. Lawrence, a bi-national group dedicated to promoting the Thousand Islands area and the St. Lawrence River, erected a statue of the river's namesake, St. Lawrence, on a cliff east of the Ivy Lea International Bridge. "Nobody knows who St. Lawrence is," McCarney told aWhig-Standard reporter at the time. "People who have lived here all their lives don't know about a part of their heritage they interact with every day." McCarney was also an aspiring writer, who wrote and published poetry, songs and a novel,Chess with Violence -Rum Running. Ferry captain Johnson, also an aspiring writer, interviewed McCarney on his 80th birthday in December 2006 for a lengthy profile that was later published in theWhig-Standard.The six-foot- three McCarney reminisced about growing up in a small town and fishing for muskie in the Gananoque River. His one regret, he told Johnson, was not being able to play football anymore. Even in the summer, he often gave summer jobs to members of the Queen's football team. "He loved his boats, he loved the river and he loved football," said friend Wilfred Bilow. "Football was the idol of his life, to be there with that team." Funeral services for McCarney will take place Saturday at St. John the Evangelist Church, 270 Stone St. S. in Gananoque, beginning at 1 p. m. His body is resting at the Tompkins Funeral Home at 63 Garden St. Visitations are scheduled from 7 p. m. to 9 p. m. today and from 2 p. m. to 4 p. m. and 7 p. m. to 9 p. m. tomorrow.
Bleeding Tricolour by Neate Sager
There's a million and one stories about Hal "Moose" McCarney to be shared now that the ultimate Golden Gael has left us. Here's one more Moose tale. It was 2002, right before World Youth Days in Toronto. Moose, a faithful Catholic, had gathered up some pilgrims who were being billeted in the Kingston area and taken them to release some minnows into the Gananoque River, which anyone who's visited Gan knows, is the town's lifeline. There was some religious symbolism involved, but on a more practical level, Moose, as someone put it, figured with all the fish he'd taken out of the river, it was high time he put a few back into the river. (Update: The Whig-Standard has profiles in news and in sports --that's how much it takes to cover off Hal McCarney's life.) A photographer, who had shown up to get some shots for a local weekly, was feeling a little out of his comfort zone -- although as a journalist, you're supposed to go outside your comfort zone, so in a way that was good, to be challenged. Trying to ingratiate himself, the photographer mentioned to Moose that they sort of shared a common touchstone -- the young journalist had gone to Queen's, and covered the football games for the student paper and the radio station for a couple years. A glint flashed in Moose's eye. It was like popping a disc into the CD player, except the last person to use had left the volume turned up to 11. Mr. McCarney was in his mid-70s, by then, and he wasn't a yeller, but his voice picked up just so. Releasing the minnows was suddenly secondary to sharing, his frustration over the teachers' college at Queen's not accepting a star football player who had very good marks, and also stood to be a important cog in that year's Queen's football team. (The player did play that season, brilliantly.) Moose's daughter, who no doubt had seen her dad in action over the years, acted swiftly to get him on-message. "You guys can probably talk about this later," she said, very matter-of-factly. She knew given the chance, the two Queen's football nuts, the older gentleman who had been around as a coach, player and booster for 50 years-plus and the other who'd only been following it through a fan's eyes for about 15 to that point, might have gone on all day about all things Gaels. It would have been to the befuddlement from the visitors from places such as Brazil and Portugal who were gathered at the river. Some people would say, well, that's too bad you didn't get to ask him, say how did Ronnie Stewart compare to Heino Lilles, or what was his biggest memory of the '68 Vanier Cup. Far from it. It was a portal into the world Moose lived in, and if you could be in it for a moment, you felt like a champ. It was like being let in something first-hand, the life of a man who breathed Queen's football for more than a half-century as a player, coach, booster and maybe even moral compass -- since before my parents were even born. There was a sense that football wasn't just a game that takes place on a Saturday afternoon. It wasn't something on his list of interests. The game was part and parcel of how McCarney made sense of the world. Judging from the results, that served him almost as well as he served all of us, if that's even possible. He was the mover in establishing the alumni association, the Queen's Football Club. As someone from Gan, where for generations people grew up spending practically almost as much time on water as on land, he built Gananoque Boat Line. Actually, he pretty much built Gananoque. Hal McCarney was from what often gets called the old school, where a gruff exterior often was a cover for great affection, where you showed love by challenging people in your life to become better at what they did. For 21 seasons, as Merv Daub put it in his history of Queen's football, Gael Force, he was coach Frank Tindall's "right arm and fixer, and the necessary heavy," the one who helped ensure everyone knew where he fit into the grand scheme. At the end of the day, that's all that a lot of us want, to know where we stand. Obviously, the people who knew Moose beyond a few brief conversations should be the ones to speak to who he was and how he lived. This is no attempt to trump what anyone else will have to say over the next few days. All I can say that as I never played football for the Gaels. I'm neither church-going nor water-faring. However, for one moment, simply by the fortunate circumstances of being a Kingstonian/Napaneean who had gone to Queen's and covered Gaels football games as a student journalist, I was pulled into Hal McCarney's world. Thank you, thank you so much, Moose. It was a pleasure.
All photos are by Jeff Chan and Copyright (c) Jeff Chan, but may be used for personal non-commercial use, and by Queen's Football, Queen's University, and the McCarney family All other rights are reserved.