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hockey hall of fame
neil armstrong
hockey players
hall of fame
Sarnia: Sports Stars Past And Present
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Sarnia: Sports Stars Past And Present

Millions of Hockey fans around the world would probably never have heard of Phil Esposito, if it had not been for Tommy Norris. Mr. Norris was the manager of the Sarnia Legionnaires Jr. "B" squad. It appears that Phil Esposito had tried out for the St. Catherine Tee Pees junior "A" team in 1960. Being young and headstrong he kept breaking the teams curfew so he was ousted from the roster and he was sent on his way. He was ticked off so he decided that he was going to quit hockey, probably an I'll show them moment and he headed out the door on his way back home to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

At that point, Mr. Tommy Norris stepped into the picture and managed to talk Phil into playing for his Junior "B" team. Despite being a lazy skater, Phil soon became a scoring sensation with the Legionnaires. He racked up an amazing 46 goals and 61 assists in just 32 games. All in all he scored or assisted in 107 of the Legionnaires 184 goals. an amazing achievement. This superb performance earned him a position with a junior "A" squad in 1961 presenting him a chance with the NHL, and the rest as they say is history.

Moving back in time, ​I would like to move to the other side of hockey. The not so popular job of the referees. Definitely not the most popular job in the eyes of the fans, but somebody's got to do it, right. Sarnia has had it's share of great hockey players but not one of them has ever been elevated to the "Hockey Hall Of Fame". Well there was a young lad from Camlachie, just a few short kilometers outside of Sarnia who managed to rise to that level. In 1991, Neil Armstrong, star linesman, was inducted into the NHL's Hall of Fame.

Neil admitted that hockey was not really his strong point but he did enjoy officiating at the games. His career began in Guelph where he started refereeing minor hockey games. This was followed by rural and industrial leagues in smaller towns and villages. As his officiating skills matured he was soon called upon to referee junior B games and later junior and senior A games. His big break came in 1957 when he was prevailed upon to officiate the Memorial Cup in Toronto. This led to calling two pre-season NHL games. From this point in time there was no looking back.

In total Neil served the league for 21 years and a total of 1,900 games in both regular season and playoff games. He still holds the title of most games ever officiated by a linesman at 1,744. He also worked 48 Stanley Cup finals as well as 10 all-star games. Upon retiring in 1978, he moved on to take up a position as a full time scout for the Montreal Canadians.


Street Talk

TroyF  

Hi Peter. Nice article. I like how you plug Sarnia, good for you. I have lived her most of my life and love this city. Keep up the good work.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you for the kind words Troy. I moved to Sarnia in 1993. I love this city as well. Sarnia has been good to me. I think that the time has come to sing its praises. There is so much to write about here.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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