skip navigation

US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1977

Earl Bartholome
Edward "Eddie" Olson
William "Bill" Riley

1977 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Minneapolis raised Earl Bartholome began his interest in hockey at an early age.  Like many small boys in the hockey areas of the United States, he learned to skate by putting on four or five pairs of heavy woolen socks under a man’s speed skating shoe.

He attended West High School and played on teams which won three consecutive high school championships between 1929 and 1931.  After a stint with the Flour City amateurs Bartholome turned pro with the Minneapolis Millers going from there to Rochester of the then International League for one season before spending the next decade with the American Hockey League (AHL) Cleveland Barons.  It was at Cleveland that his greatest mark on the game was made.  One of the most popular hockey players to ever play in that Ohio city, he was a dependable trouble shooter for the Barons.  It was Bartholome who would be sent on the ice to help the defense when a short- handed situation arose.  A center, he was a deft stick handler, smart skater, accurate shooter, and expert back checker.  His most outstanding seasons were 1943-44 and 1944-45 when he finished sixth and fifth in the AHL scoring race with 67 and 81 points respectively.  In a prior season, 1941-42, he was team MVP and scorer.  During his tay with the Barons, the club captured the Calder Cup (league championship) on three occasions.  Bartholome is the only American born professional to appear in more than five hundred games with one team.

An example of his adeptness on ice is this extract from a press account of an early Miller’s game.  “There was a scrimmage beyond the Hibbing blue line when the rookie center, alert to any opportunity, hooked the puck from the mass of players, cleared out and then skated prettily and unmolested toward Turner.  The Hibbing goalie was not ready for the blow and before he could set himself, Bartholome drove the puck into the meshes”

The Minneapolis skater returned to his hometown in 1946 and played four seasons with the Millers before retiring from the professional game.  He continued as an amateur for four more seasons. 

1977 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Eddie Olson, one of nine brothers from a great American hockey family, came out of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to create a visibility for American’s in hockey at a time when that visibility was its lowest ebb – the decade of the 1950s.

Olson performed principally in the American Hockey League (AHL) where he attained honors that remain today virtually unmatched for an American player at any level of professional hockey.  While playing for the Cleveland Barons, he twice won AHL scoring titles, 1952-53 and 1954-55, was AHL most valuable player in 1952-53, and was named to the first all star team in 1952-53 and 1954-55.  It was no surprise that during these particular years, the Barons were Calder Cup (league champions) twice and were in the playoffs the other year.  The Marquette skater later coached for three seasons, including one with Victoria of the Western Hockey League, making him the only known American to coach a professional team in Canada.

Olson’s brother Wesley originated the kick shot and the future Hall of Fame used it in his pre-AHL days.  He was described by a Vancouver sports writer as the most feared shot in the old Pacific Coast League.  The writer said that “Even Ripley wouldn’t believe this. Placing his stick firmly on the ice in the shooting position, Mr. Olson rears back like and Army mule, and brings his right foot forward with a crashing intensity on the back of the blade…”

Olson had gotten his start in hockey in his hometown with the Marquette Sentinels.  With war breaking out, he joined the famed Coast Guard Clippers Team which featured such United States Hockey Hall of Fame enshrinees as Frank Brimsek and John Mariucci.  The Clippers played in the Eastern Amateur League and in 1943-44, Olson led that league with 96 points.  The prior season he was team scoring leader with 85 points.  After that, it was on to the Pacific Coast League and then stardom in the American League first with St. Louis and then Cleveland.

1977 United States Hockey Hall of Fame Enshrinee

Bill Riley occupied a unique position as one of the great all time scorers in college hockey and as one of three famous hockey playing brothers.  His brothers, Jack and Joe, were both Dartmouth, 1944 and 1949 respectively.  Jack was the coach at West Point and piloted the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal winners.

Although a member of the class of 1946, Riley’s career at Dartmouth was interrupted by World War II military service.  As a result, he played during the 1942-43 season as a freshman and then resumed competition for 1946-47, 1947-48 and 1948-49.  Playing four varsity seasons, Riley appeared in 71 games scoring 118 goals and 110 assists for 218 points.  He was the team leader in all seasons except 1946-47.  Riley was a major factor in the Big Green’s march to the NCAA finals in both 1947-48 and 1948-49.  In 1948, Dartmouth met Colorado College in the first round of the first ever NCAA tournament and emerged 8-4 victors.  However, in the finals, the score was reversed and Michigan took the laurels.  The following year, the defeat by Michigan was avenged 4-2 in the semi-finals, but Eastern rival Boston College won the title 4-3.

During Riley’s brilliant college career, Dartmouth had compiled a record of 68-11-2.  In that time frame, he had scored five goals in a game against Northeastern and Princeton, four versus Boston College, and had ten hat trick games.  Hockey historian S. Kip Farrington, had placed him on his all time Dartmouth team for the period 1945-1970.

Following retirement as an active player, the Medford skater continued his interest in the game and had become a leading official in New England. In 1958, he was president of the New England Referees’ Association and in 1971 was named commissioner of the New England Amateur League.  Riley was previously honored for his contribution to hockey in March 1977 when he received the Sheaffer Pen Award.