As part of the NHL Centennial Celebration, renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris will paint original portraits of each of the 100 Greatest NHL Playerspresented by Molson Canadian as chosen by a Blue Ribbon panel. NHL.com will reveal two portraits each Monday in 2017.
This week, the portraits of defensemen Doug Harvey and Tim Horton are unveiled in the 14th installment.
Doug Harvey, whose dominance on the power play was the catalyst for the NHL Board of Governors changing a rule to limit one goal per power play, played 1,113 games for the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. He won the Stanley Cup six times, all with the Canadiens, and the Norris Trophy seven times.
In his NHL100 profile on Harvey, author Wayne Coffey writes about his proficiency in other sports:
"Born on Dec. 19, 1924 and raised in Montreal, the 5-foot-11, 187-pound Harvey was a standout in football and even more so in baseball, starring for the Ottawa team in the Border League for four seasons after serving in the Canadian Navy during World War II. Harvey hit .344 and was one of the most feared sluggers in the league, drawing interest from the Boston Braves, but there was no way he was going to be lured away from hockey, particularly after he helped the Montreal Royals win the Allan Cup as Canada's premier senior hockey team in 1947.
" 'Doug Harvey can skate with the best of them, is big enough to horse around with any of those NHL hard guys, handles his stick expertly and has a head on his shoulders', " the Montreal Gazette reported. " 'He is also something of a blue line general and an organizing force for the Royals'. "
The scouting report turned out to be prophetic, as Harvey made the Canadiens out of training camp in 1947, replacing Frank Eddolls, who had been traded to the New York Rangers. Wearing Eddolls' No. 2 sweater, Harvey began what would become one of the most storied and influential careers in Canadiens history, a run that not only included six Stanley Cup titles, but almost unprecedented two-way dominance, as Harvey's skillful puck-carrying and surgical attacks made him a dynamic force on the vaunted 'Firewagon Hockey' attack."
Artist Tony Harris said his love of Original Six uniforms made painting Harvey fun.
"As an artist I am fascinated with design, so mix that fascination with my love/obsession of sports and you have a recipe for a uniform nerd," Harris said. "The portraits of players from the Original Six era are particularity fun for me because I think the uniforms are among the best in all of professional sports. Doug Harvey's portrait was based on a black and white promotional picture provided to me by the Canadiens and bringing it to life with color was both challenging and satisfying."
Tim Horton, called by Gordie Howe "the strongest man in hockey," was twice a finalist for the Norris Trophy and earned postseason All-Star recognition six times. He won the Stanley Cup four times with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Author Stu Hackel, in his NHL100 profile on Horton, writes that the defenseman was known for his speed and skill long before his name became synonymous with donuts and coffee:
"For many people today, the name Tim Horton means doughnuts and coffee at the fast-food franchise business he founded in 1964. But for more than two decades, Horton's name meant skill, mobility and unsurpassed strength on defense in the NHL."
Harris said he realized how much of a cultural icon Horton is, but not for hockey.
"I painted Tim Horton's portrait as soon as I finished Doug Harvey's. It was a double dipping of sorts into Original Six nostalgia," Harris said. "While working on the portrait my eldest daughter asked who I was painting. She had no idea of his connection to her favorite Timbit supplier. It's weird how ingrained his name is in our culture while generations of Canadians have little clue that he was one of hockey's greatest defensemen."