New Brunswick has held to the tradition of ‘home grown talent’ doing well. In this issue we highlight two of New Brunswick’s local winter sports athletes who have gone one to garner international recogni-tion in the sports world.
One of New Brunswick’s greatest athletes was Charles Gorman. Born in Saint John on July 6, 1897, he went on to become a legendary interna-tional speed skater in the 1920’s, and was dubbed by some as the “Man with the million-dollar legs” or the “Human Dynamo”. It was his never-give-up attitude and tenacious spirit, however, which made him such a great athlete. A machine gunner at Vimy Ridge during World War I, Gorman was wounded in September 1918 and spent almost a year at a French hospital recuperating from bad shrapnel wounds to one of his legs. Despite this, Gorman went on to become an international speed skating sensation, and one of Canada’s most respected athletes.
During the 1920s, Gorman was a speed skating leg-end in North America. One of the greatest shows ever put on by Gorman was his win over Finland’s Clas Thunberg, a five-time Olympic Gold medalist, for the World Champion title in 1926 at Lily Lake in Saint John. An estimated 20,000 people watched as Gorman beat Thunberg to take home gold med-als in the 220 yard and 440 yard races.
He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 and into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1970. Gorman retired in 1928 from competitive skating undefeated and died on Febru-ary 11, 1940 in his 43rd year. The City of Saint John erected a memorial in King Square to pay tribute to New Brunswick’s first winter Olympian and a great man. The memorial plaque on the back of the mon-ument lists many of Gorman’s major accomplish-ments in the world of speed skating.
Another great athlete from this area is Donald Clarke Sweeney. The current General Manager of the Bos-ton Bruins, Sweeney was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick in 1966. He played hockey throughout his high school years and played for Harvard Uni-versity while earning a degree in Economics before making his NHL debut in the 1988-89 season with the Boston Bruins. In 1990 he played with the Bru-ins in the Stanley Cup playoffs and was a member of the Canadian Gold Medal hockey team that de-feated Sweden in the 1997 World Championships.
Sweeney played over 1,000 games in his 15 years with the Bruins and played one season for the Dal-las Stars prior to retiring in 2005. He returned to the Bruin organization in 2006, accepting the position of Director of Player Development and was promoted to Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development in 2007. In 2009 he accepted a position as the As-sistant General Manager with the organization and in May 2015, became the General Manager of the Boston Bruins.
Don Sweeney is married to Christine Hough, former pairs Canadian Figure Skating Champion (1987-88). They live in Boston along with their twin sons Jarred and Tyler.