Drury propels US hockey team to runners-up spot
Herbert Drury was born in Midland, Ontario (CAN) on 2 March 1896, but his ice hockey career led him to the USA, where he starred for the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets, prior to joining the US army and fighting in the First World War, after which he was granted American citizenship for services rendered to his adopted country.
A defenseman with a larger-than-life personality, Drury was selected to play for the US hockey team that competed at the inaugural Olympic ice hockey tournament at the Antwerp Games in 1920, which also doubled as the first-ever IIHF World Championships.
The naturalised American performed well in Belgium, scoring six goals in a resounding 29-6 quarter-final victory over Switzerland. He was unable to stop Canada – represented by the Winnipeg Falcons – from defeating the USA 2-0, as which meant the Americans were forced to settle for a silver medal.
During the Opening Ceremony in Chamonix, Drury proudly carried the US flag, and he would more than repay that symbolic vote of confidence on the ice in the days that followed. Exhibiting scintillating form, the Drury and his team-mates comprehensively overcame Belgium (19-0), France (22-0) and Great Britain (11-0) in the first group phase.
In the final group, the Americans assured themselves of at least a silver medal by comfortably seeing off Sweden 20-0, setting up another gold-medal clash with the Canadians, who again proved too strong on the day, recording a 6-1 victory.
Drury had been the driving force behind the US team’s run to the final, scoring a startling 22 goals and providing three assists, giving him a total of 25 points for the tournament. His country’s top goals and points scorer, he ended up second in the overall scoring charts behind the prolific Canadian, Harry Watson (36 goals), and also contributed the one American goal of the de facto final.
After the Games, Drury pursued a professional career in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Pirates until his retirement in 1931. Although he made a total of 213 NHL appearances matches, he is most fondly remembered for his two silver medals and a wonderful showing in Chamonix.