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Lorne Park Hockey Association and LPHA News. Lorne Park Ojibwa News and Events - Mississauga Hockey League News - Mississauga News

A Brief History of LPHA

11/18/2015, 12:15am EST
By Kevin J. Johnston

Lorne Park Has Been Around A Long Time

The Lorne Park Hockey Association germinated in the mind of a young, 34 year-old hockey enthusiast named Lyman Chapman. The year was 1944 and Lyman was in charge of tumbling, wrestling and boxing at the Lorne Park Community Club. In that year, hockey was added to the programme as only a segment of the club's interests. The first team was an assembly of older boys from the local school who were looking for something to satisfy their particular interest.
 
Although quite popular as a spectator sport and as evening and weekend recreation, the playing of hockey among organized teams was a little haphazard in Lorne Park at the time. Lyman felt that there was sufficient interest among young people in the community for a more organized approach; thus was born the Lorne Park Hockey Club.
 
Games were arranged with teams from the neighbouring communities of Oakville, Streetsville, and Clarkson. The season was as short as the availability of natural ice. Not much was available until just around the end of December and the deterioration was rapid following the end of February ; a good year might see as little as five weeks of ice. The objectives were common; playing good hockey in an organized manner with proper coaching and arranged schedules. An early reference to these objectives can be found under the heading "Lorne Park/Clarkson Announcements" in the area's weekly newspaper, the Port Credit Weekly, dated February 22, 1945:
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The actual founding date has always been in question. Other than the dated reference in the Port Credit Weekly, there is no actual recorded date on which the association (club) first came into existence. Some consider it was as early as 1944 when hockey was added to the community's programme and some believe it was not until 1947 when the Toronto Township Hockey League was formed. Even Lyman himself was unsure of the actual founding date. In a speech he gave just before his retirement in 1963, he made reference to his 19 years as president. This would coincide with the formation of the first hockey team but not necessarily the founding of the association. Regardless, the important point is that someone took the initiative to start the ball rolling and by all indications that ball has rolled a long way.
 
The Lorne Park Hockey Club, as it was then known, was in no way the association it is today, but it was a beginning. It was still referred to as a club as late as May 8, 1963 (Ref. Port Credit Weekly -May 2, 1963) even though, in Lyman Chapman¹s retirement speech notes, he did refer to it as the "Association". In the same newspaper reference, the date "1947" is tagged as the founding date, with Lyman having been its only president from that date up to 1963. Regardless of all of the debate, it has generally been accepted that 1946 was the "real" beginning; when the club started to make it on its own.
 
The Lorne Park Hockey Club, as it was then known, was in no way the association it is today, but it was a beginning. It was still referred to as a club as late as May 8, 1963 (Ref. Port Credit Weekly -May 2, 1963) even though, in Lyman Chapman¹s retirement speech notes, he did refer to it as the "Association". In the same newspaper reference, the date "1947" is tagged as the founding date, with Lyman having been its only president from that date up to 1963. Regardless of all of the debate, it has generally been accepted that 1946 was the "real" beginning; when the club started to make it on its own.
 
In those very early years, the men around Lyman Chapman could not have foreseen what they were spawning. They had objectives that were simple; give boys something to do other than getting into trouble on the street. Credit has to go out to many of Lyman's recruits for that initial push. Gord Kerr, Max O'Brien, Doug Sherman, Gene Higashi, Art Corbett and probably many others, all contributed as coaches, fund raisers and organizers.
The skating facilities were as simple as the objectives. Lyman and a group of men got together and made a rink behind the present location of the Lorne Park Community Hall on Lorne Park Road. The local fire department was called to help when flooding time came around.
 
Their hoses were able to get the job done much faster and there was no need to invest in costly hoses by Lyman and his group. There were no boards at that rink at the Community Hall, just a low board barely above the ice surface, enough to describe the boundaries of the surface. The only thing that stopped a puck shot high was time and gravity. Many hours were spent looking for some of those shots that were buried deep in surrounding snow banks. There were always the scavengers who, in early spring, slushed their way around the melting rink picking up those lost pucks as they became exposed.
 
By today's standards, the cost of equipment was very small; however, by the standards of the day, those costs were high. There was much less likelihood of a family being able to afford to outfit a boy for hockey at that time than there is today. A reasonably good salary was under $50 per week and an ordinary hockey stick cost $2.60. That did not include the ten cents worth of black electrical tape that was used up taping the blade and putting the knob on the end of the shaft. A good pair of used skates, complete with a substantial layer of rust, cost as much as $8.50 if purchased at a store. The equipment was mostly "hand me downs" dug out of trunks where they were stored during the war years.
 
It was recognized early that a source of revenue was needed to operate even the smallest of organizations. As the driving force, Lyman raised money from sponsors and dances to help defray the costs of outfitting the boys. One of the first social events held was a dance on May 4, 1945, but the amount of money raised by this means was limited. Sponsors were the only effective source of funds. If dedicated parents and coaches are the red blood cells of an organization, then the sponsors must be the white cells. Without sponsorship, no organization could survive, no matter how dedicated its staff of volunteers. There are sponsors who are there for the short haul and those for the long and some had little, if any, knowledge of what they were sponsoring. Lyman was known to simply approach a likely source and just ask for a contribution. No matter what the circumstances, every source was and still is important.
 
Lorne Park has been very fortunate to have had many sponsors that recognized the benefits the young people and the community derive from their contributions. Two sponsors, in particular, cannot escape special recognition; those being Bill Petrie (Petrie Plumbing -Crescent Plumbing) and A.E. Rule Construction. Whether or not any player sported either of those names on his team¹s jersey, a part of that jersey could truly be said to be the responsibility of either Bill Petrie or Albert E. Rule.
 
The rules that league teams had to follow in the early years dictated that no sponsor name could be displayed on team sweaters. Considering that one sponsor, the A.E. Rule Construction Company, was recognized as supplying the majority of the funds for most of those sweaters a special way of recognizing that contribution was made. That recognition exists to this day. The forest green and gold colours of the Lorne Park Hockey Association were the corporate colours of the company headed by Albert E. Rule.
 
Probably unknown to the world of hockey, the use of the form fitting goaltender face mask started right here in Lorne Park. Through the concern for his players and his inventiveness, Lyman Chapman fabricated the first full face protection for goaltenders anywhere. His netminders were wearing the "mask" in 1955, a full four years before Jacques Plante was credited with being the first to wear one in a professional hockey league game.
 
In the nineteen years under the leadership of Lyman Chapman, the association grew and grew. More and more interest was created and teams were added. The momentum has carried on to this day. The sixty boys on the first four Lorne Park teams that were entered in the Toronto Township Hockey League in 1946 had expanded to approximately 300 boys on 24 teams by 1972 with an annual budget in excess of $15,000.
 
In 1995-96, Lorne Park iced 35 teams and had a formidable pre-tyke programme. The participation had grown to better than 600 young hockey players, playing in nine arenas with an annual budget of almost ten times that of the 1972-73 hockey season.
 
The numbers have continued to grow. The 2002-2003 season saw 48 teams with 840 players with a budget proportionately higher. The inaugural years of the association were truly humble and the ambitions probably much the same. But, from that modest beginning, has risen a fine and financially secure hockey organization of which all of those who have contributed can be truly proud.
 
As we approach our diamond anniversary year we can all look back at the achievements of those who have enriched the association and fulfilled the objectives of our founder, Lyman Chapman. His legacy certainly lingers on.
 
The foregoing is, obviously, only a part of the history of the Lorne Park Hockey Association. In 1995, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Lorne Park Hockey Association, a book entitled Two Score and Ten was published. In it may be found many more details of the growth of our association. The book is available at the Lorne Park Public Library or at the Mississauga Central Library.

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