Sunday, December 23, 2012

Walt Marlow and the World Hockey Association

I could not leave this current series on the Marlow family without talking about Walter Marlow, grandson of Joseph and Annabelle Marlow. Although it has only been about five years since he passed away, I decided to include him due to his accomplishments. I am only drawing upon information freely available on the internet and in books, and therefore I am not disclosing any personal data which is not already “out there”. I myself only found out about him through my research, and had never heard him discussed growing up, despite his having been my father’s first cousin.

Walter W. Marlow was the son and only child of William “Bill” Marlow and Olga Timmerick, and was born in 1926 in Alberta, Canada. (See Verdant Valleys In and Around Lougheed, As a young man, he left Alberta, and married his wife Blanche, with whom he had three children. Starting at the age of sixteen, he worked as a journalist in Canada and in Michigan before he and his family eventually moved to California in 1958 to escape “the bitter winters”. There, he first worked for the Orange County Evening News, and then for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner as a sports writer for many years. He also worked in the field of public relations.

In 1971 he directed the men who were forming the fledgling World Hockey Association to contacts within Canadian Junior hockey, such as “Wild Bill” Hunter, and therefore helped the League to move into Canada. He then became the League’s publicist. (My source for this is The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association 1972-1979, by Scott Surgent, page 3, available through Google Books).

In an article written in about 2003, Walter stated that he had “brought in four Canadian teams” to the W.H.A. “which ultimately merged with the N.H.L.”. ( These teams included the Edmonton Oilers. For an account of how the Oilers were brought in, I strongly suggest you read the article about “Wild Bill” Hunter written by Murray Greig of the Edmonton Sun, October 12, 2012, WHA Oilers Were Wild Bill Hunter’s baby ( In the article, Wild Bill is quoted as having agreed to meet with the two American founders of the W.H.A. and Walt Marlow on the strength of Walt’s recommendation. The writer states that “it took a couple of Albertans to transform the WHA into reality”.

Walter later came to the media’s attention in the 2000’s for being the first person in California and the third in North America to undergo a new procedure for addressing macular degeneration, a disease of the eye (see link above). He had a miniaturized telescopic lens implanted, which unfortunately did not appear to have had the hoped for results.

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