SHUBENACADIE, N.S. – Joe Lundrigan’s interesting hockey journey began in the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association during the 1950s.
He appeared on defence in 1967-68 as an 18-year-old rookie with Corner Brook Royals of the Newfoundland Senior
Hockey Association. Varsity hockey followed as he played three seasons with the St. F.X. X-Men (1968-1971).
This was followed by joining Tulsa Oilers of the Central Professional Hockey League for the 1971-72 season. Four seasons in professional hockey were highlighted by suiting up with Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League in 1972-73.
“Bobby Baun was forced to retire from hockey with a pinched nerve in his neck,” Lundrigan, 69, who resides in Shubenacadie, said. “I got called up from Tulsa, it was a real break for me.”
His first NHL action was exciting. It took place at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto playing against the Buffalo Sabres.
“My very first shift I went out on defence and Buffalo had the French Connection Line out there, Gilbert Perreault, Richard Martin and Rene Robert. They were quite a line, they scored quickly and I had to go up in the stands to get my jock strap back.
“Playing a season with the Maple Leafs was a great life-learning and life-changing experience. It does affect a person as they go on in life. I feel very fortunate that I got to play some with the Leafs and later with Washington. It’s certainly a good memory when I look back.”
When asked to pinpoint a couple highlights, the former defenceman shared.
“A highlight was getting picked as one of the games three stars in a game at Maple Leaf Gardens against either Oakland or Los Angeles. My first NHL goal came in Toronto – both my father and mother (Joe and Violet Lundrigan) and my former coach, Frank (Danky) Dorrington, were at that game in Toronto which made it nice. We won 5-3; I’m not sure which goal I got.”
Following the 1974-75 season Lundrigan returned to Newfoundland and played senior hockey for the Corner Brook Royals and Labrador City Lakers up to 1984.
Inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, Lundrigan enjoyed a second career in corporate insurance. Living intimately in Nova Scotia for the past 22 years, after selling their home in Hubley in 2015, Lundrigan and his wife Ann rented an apartment in Halifax for two years.
“We found a home we liked in Shubenacadie, we bought the property and have been living here since August. It’s well landscaped, my wife enjoys gardening and flowers. We like Shubenacadie.”
Legally blind, Lundrigan suffers from age related macular degeneration (wet).
“I have no sight in my left eye and peripheral vision in my right eye. Although it was traumatic at first, in 2009, I get along good. I just have to grin and bear it. My outlook is, it’s easy for people to feel sorry for themselves, and even give up, that’s not my plan.”
A member of the Canadian National Institute For The Blind, Lundrigan is an intelligent, humble and fun-to-be-with individual.
Welcome to Shubenacadie and this area Joe!
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During the summer of 1987, more than 30 years ago, jockey Morah Kerr set a world quarter horse speed record at Truro Raceway.
Aboard Lakeview Van Bolo, owned by Dave Bartlett of Truro, Kerr reined the horse over the 150-yard sprint in a time of 7.02 seconds, world record speed.
“Lakeview Van Bolo was a real pleasure around the barn but was all business on the race track,” Kerr recalled. “When he was turned out I never saw a horse run so fast and he would buck at the same time.”
Kerr has been a successful standardbred owner for many years.
“I have made friends through harness racing, from all over Canada and the United States,” Kerr, of Truro, said. “Many talented people have been raised and went on to do well in harness racing from this area. And, it’s been great to see
Truro Raceway host many extremely successful events over the years.”
Kerr has been involved in ownership of a number of outstanding horses including Maybe Ella, Island Tradition, Super Sydney C, Elleofnxample and Shadow My Jumper.
Morah and her partner Tom Hollis continue to have a passion for local harness racing, they are true supporters of the sport.
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.