The above picture was taken sometime in 1943-44. This neighborhood hockey team was known as the Elmhurst Roamers because they had no home park. The majority of the time the Roamers used Windmueller Park in Woodside, where they were fortunate to have won most of their games.
Their uniforms of red, white and blue are a story all their own. One of the Roamer players worked at Madison Square Garden as a stick boy for a league that played games in the morning. One day he saw a pile of shirts and thought he and his friends might look good in them. It took a few secretive adventures. Each day this Elmhurst Roamer player wore two or three of the hockey shirts out of the Garden under his own clothes. He did this until all the players on the Roamers were outfitted. Times were tough, and to the victors, the creative, go the spoils! The Elmhurst Roamer players wore those shirts everywhere but were smart enough to never wear them on any trip to Madison Square Garden when they went to a NY Rangers game. The shirts were never missed, and the morning hockey league soon folded.
The Elmhurst Roamers won the YMCA Championship during the 1943-44 season. After the championship most of the team received a letter from the United States government, the letter started with the now famous word of GREETINGS, and one by one the players were given a new uniform, one where they became part of the Armed Forces of the United States, and off to fight in WWII.
My father, Robert Henry Sr., shipped off with the US Army to the Philippines in 1945 (photo below), Warren Keith went to the Marines. Jack Hines and Julie Cleesattel were sent to join the Air Force, and Willie McAuley the Navy.
When the war ended the team didn’t get together again but two of the players Robert Henry Sr. and Jack Hines have remained good friends for over 70 years and counting. The picture of them (r.), looking a little bit older, was taken in Palm City, Florida at my fathers 85th birthday party.