skip navigation

Frank "Moose" Goheen

Francis Xavier "Moose" Goheen Born Feb 9, 1894- in White Bear Lake, Minnesota - Died November 13, 1979). American Amateur ice hockey player. Along with Hobey Baker, Moose was considered one of the best American born players of the early part of 1900's. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952.

Frank "Moose" Goheen began his hockey career with the White Bear High School and City Team and was said to have been the finest player produced in the state of Minnesota. He was even considered by some to be even better than the legendary Hobey Baker. In addition to hockey he was an excellent football and baseball player at the University of Indiana.

Goheen was a member of the St. Paul Athletic Club when that team won the McNaughton Trophy in 1915-16 and 1916-17 as United States

Amateur Hockey champions but he did not play in 1917-18 and 1918-19, choosing instead to serve in the United States Army during the First World War. After being discharged, he became a member of the 1920 United States hockey team that played in the Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, bringing home a silver medal. Goheen was named to the 1924 United States Olympic hockey team but he elected to stay home because of job commitments and did not join his countrymen in Chamonix, France. Goheen turned professional with the St. Paul Saints Hockey Club starting in the 1925-26 season after having turned down offers from Boston and Toronto of the National Hockey League because of a reluctance to leave his employment in St. Paul with the Northern States Power Company. In an age when the almighty dollar sign rules, it’s difficult to imagine an athlete turning down a professional contract to stay close to home. But it was a different time in the early 1900s, when Francis Xavier “Moose” Goheen laced up his skates to practice his craft on the outdoor rinks of White Bear Lake and St. Paul, Minn. He was a gifted football and basketball player, but turned his focus to hockey in 1915, when he joined the St. Paul Athletic Club, a team that boasted players such as Tony Conroy and Nick Kahler, both future inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Goheen was a defenseman, but the boisterous crowds at the St. Paul games delighted in Goheen’s offensive abilities. He also gained the approval of the Minnesota fans by throwing his 6-foot, 200-pound body at opponents in bone-crushing checks.

St. Paul captured the MacNaughton Trophy (now the league championship trophy for the WCHA) in 1917 and 1918. They won it again in 1920, once Goheen returned from serving with the U.S. Army in World War I. The U.S. first fielded an Olympic hockey team that same year, and Goheen helped solidify the team’s blueline corps – as well as a silver medal finish in the tournament. St. Paul achieved professional status in 1925, and Goheen turned pro right along with them. He played parts of seven seasons as a professional in the Central Hockey League and the American Hockey Association for the St. Paul Saints and the Buffalo Majors, tallying 52 goals and 39 assists in 187 games. There was no professional hockey in U.S. at that time; the U.S. Amateur Hockey League included Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Duluth, Eveleth, Sault Ste. Marie and Portage Lake Houghton, Michigan. Despite having the talent to play in the National Hockey League, Goheen twice turned his back on NHL teams. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins and was offered a contract by the Toronto Maple Leafs, but chose to stay in Minnesota due in part to his responsible position with the Northern States Power Commisssion for which he was employed and later skated with after the St. Paul AC and Saints teams ended play.

Recognition for Goheen’s achievements didn’t come until several decades after his retirement in 1932. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952, Goheen was only the second American to be so honoured, and is the only hockey player in the Hall of Fame who never played in the National Hockey League. Frank was also honored by his induction into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 1958, and also into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1973, six years before his death. Halsey Hall, sportswriter of the day for the St.Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Tribune and Journal was a great admirer of the "Moose". He wrote, "Nothing in sports could ever beat the sight of Moose Goheen taking the puck, circling behind his own net, and then taking off down that rink, leaping over sticks along the way."

The achievements of the St. Paul Athletic Club hockey team in the early 1900's, and by Captain Moose Goheen go unrecognized by many people today, Author Roger Godin's book titled: Before the Stars sheds a fascinating history of the evolution of the sport from its amateur days to the arrival of the professional version as we know today. Before the Stars brings it's readers back to a time when players skated seven-man teams using rovers, angry skaters swung at opposing coaches and referees. Goal umpires raised white flags to signal goals, and fans watched games in massive Hippodromes and celebrated their teams in torchlight parades. In the words of Roger Godin; "If not for Frank "Moose" Goheen and the rest of his teammates on the St. Paul Athletic Club team, there might not have been a "State of Hockey" for which the Minnesota Wild have coined.

Neither money nor fame could pull Moose Goheen away from the state that he loved so dearly. Minnesota showed Goheen that the feeling was mutual in 1958, when the Minnesota Hall of Fame named him the greatest hockey player ever bred in the state. He was called "the best all-round player of his time" by many astute hockey followers of that period, according to "The Hockey News" of August, 1952, which reported his election.

Moose Goheen NSPC Team Photo

St. Paul AC Photo with Goheen