Feb 082010


People must have laughed when LaPorte, the high school teacher from the small town of Inkerman, population approximately 100,  applied for a junior A  franchise.

“There’s not a single junior A calibre player in your area,” he was told.

Inkerman Rockets Team Photo 1948-49

Still, to everyone’s surprise, he was awarded a franchise.  When nay-sayers protested that “No team is going to play on your rinky-dink rink”,  he retorted that he’d find a rink and he’d have no trouble bringing in players.

And by golly, he did find a rink and he found those players.   He recruited farm boys who played on backyard ponds all winter.   Two of them, the Duncan twins, became outstanding juniors. He found a 15 year old in Prescott, Ontario—as lad named Leo Boivin—who went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NHL.

I was about 15 years old when I first saw the Rockets play. I lived in Ottawa then and my dad took me to a junior playoff game at the old egg-shaped Auditorium where I played my high school games.  “You watch these kids from Inkerman ,” my dad told me. “This fellow LaPorte has some boys who can skate like the wind. They don’t have a league to play in so they play exhibition games all season. They’ll do well against St. Pats.”

When I saw them skate out for the warm-up I felt sort of sorry for them. They were little fellows, most of them. And their hockey pants were too small. Surely they’d be no match for St. Pats, the Ottawa City league champs.

Then the game began and the Rockets went to work. They whipped the Ottawa boys easily that day with non-stop skating and an energy that was truly impressive. Twins Erwin and Edwin Duncan, supplied most of the offense and that stocky sparkplug  named Leo Boivin was awesome. I’d never seen anyone skate backwards like he did.

I was so impressed I told me dad, “That’s the team I’m going to play for some day.”

More about the Inkerman Rockets another day.

 Posted by at 11:32 pm

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