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March 24, 2010

Joe Krol

Canadian sporting fans of the 1940s and 1950s certainly knew the name Joe Krol. He was the "King" of the Canadian Football League. Starring as a quarterback, running back, defensive back and placekicker/punter, Joe Krol one of the greatest Toronto Argonauts ever.

But there was another Joe Krol in the sporting world at pretty much the same time. This Joe Krol, 4 years older and born in Winnipeg, starred in hockey. He briefly appeared in the National Hockey League, splitting time with the two New York teams, before having his career disrupted by World War II.

Krol would make a pro hockey living in the New York and Philadelphia area from 1935 through 1942. Originally playing with the New York Rovers of the EHL, he was probably best known as a Philadelphia Ramblers of the IAHL. Over the course of those four seasons he twice played games for the New York Rangers, three seasons apart. In his second game, in 1939 when he replaced the injured Cecil Dillon, he even scored 1 goal and 1 assist, but was returned to the minors.

Someone in New York must have noticed the left winger' one good game with the Rangers. In 1941-42 the cross town Americans, now known as Brooklyn, rescued Krol from the minor leagues. He played in 24 games, scoring 9 goals and 12 points.

That would be the end of Joe Krol's hockey career. World War II summoned. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, achieving the rank of leading aircraftman. He continued playing hockey with RCAF teams based in Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Upon his discharge from military service Krol did not put the skates on again. Instead he found a job with Air Canada in Winnipeg and then Montreal. He would work their for over three decades.

Joe Krol died on October 26th, 1993 in Calgary.

From best as I can ascertain through the newspaper archives, Joe Krol was a very solid minor league player and was well thought of by NHL teams. He appeared to have had some bad timing in that his NHL break came just prior to his departure to the armed forces where he discovered another rewarding career.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My father Fergus Thomas Novak who started local Winnipeg Hockey club in the 1920's drove across Canada and came to the US with friends Joe Krol and Alex Shebicky (NY Rangers) on June 10th 1937.

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