Who is Larry Twombly?
couldn’t have written a better story about the life of Larry
Twombly. It’s so good – a former hockey standout at
Harvard who now presides as CEO of the growing California-based
beverage company he founded last year – it appeared in Monday’s
edition of USA Today.
But much of it, particularly the information regarding his hockey
career, is untrue.
full story from Monday's USA Today about Larry Twombly
and his company, Hat Trick Beverage, here.
Early Thursday morning, the newspaper ran a
follow-up report addressing Twombly's claims.
When the story
ran in the multi-color earlier this week, it sent me to the archives
to find out more about this guy – the son of a New Hampshire
truck driver who was drafted by the Boston Bruins and, by earning
an invitation to play for the Crimson, the first member of his family
to attend college. Despite being involved in a horrific motorcycle
accident as a freshman that pulverized his leg, he returned to the
Harvard team, and spent time in the minor leagues with the Maine
Mariners and Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and
the International Hockey League’s San Diego Gulls after graduation.
the massive statistics database which is to hockey history what
The Weather Channel is to hurricane coverage. The first search,
using Twombly’s last name, turned up nothing. For the second
search, I entered just the first three letters of his last name.
Nope. We tried using the letters “T-r-o”. Uh-uh.
Time for Plan B: Delving
into HockeyDB’s vault of team statistics. Just to be sure,
the INCH staff searched each of Harvard’s final stats sheets
from the 1980’s. No luck. Then we checked old Maine Mariners
numbers. Not there, either. Our search of San Diego Gulls statistics
was fruitless, too. We investigated the Providence Bruins’
history – pretty easy since they’ve only been around
since 1992. No sign of Twombly. On the Baby Bruins’ official
site, he’s not listed among the franchise’s alums.
On to Plan C, which probably
should’ve been Plan B, but I digress. If he was drafted by
the Bruins, Twombly’s name would be in the team’s media
guide. Granted, my copy is a little dated – three years old
– but he doesn’t show up in the B’s draft history.
A breeze through the 2005 NHL Draft Guide was also unsuccessful.
Finally, Plan D: Rummaging
through the official Web site of Harvard athletics. A document on
the men’s ice hockey page detailing the program’s past
letterwinners doesn’t mention Larry Twombly. Nor is he listed
among the Crimson players taken in the NHL Draft.
It sure looks
like Twombly hoodwinked USA Today, but it’s not the
first time he’s alluded to a hockey career in print. A Google
search turns up references to past playing days ranging from the
San Diego Union-Tribune to a number of stock analysis Web
So the guy fabricated
a hockey history. Big deal, right? He runs a growing company –
Hat Trick Beverage’s stock peaked at 7.5 cents per share Wednesday
after opening at one cent Monday morning, the day the article came
out. Approximately 7.5 million shares have moved this week, not
bad for an outfit that had only traded more than a million shares
twice since going public in December. Must be that international
business degree Twombly earned from Harvard in 1988, eh?
Uh, wait a second.
In Cambridge, supposed classmates and teammates were left questioning
their memories – something we expect Harvard alums don't do
often. INCH couldn’t find anyone who could remember Twombly,
and a glance at an alumni directory came up empty as well.
We wondered, Is USA Today aware of all this? I e-mailed
Stephanie Armour, who wrote the story, Wednesday afternoon. About
an hour or so later, she called me and said that, indeed, they'd
found similar discrepencies.
the CSI approach and found a phone number for Hat Trick Beverages
via Google, hoping to speak directly to the source. Our optimism
soared, buoyed by a quote in the USA Today feature in which
Twombly says he “has his phone number on everything”
and takes his own calls.
Not long after
dialing, I was greeted by Larry Twombly…and his voice mail
message. After the tone, I explained who I was, that I saw the USA
Today piece and wanted to ask him a few questions about his
called back, which is kind of a surprise. On his voice mail, he
said he’d get right back to me. No fooling.