December 01, 2012

Clare McKerrow

Clare McKerrow was a dominant hockey player with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association at the end of the 19th century. Better known for his prowess in lacrosse (he captained Canada's Olympic lacrosse team in 1908), his hockey brilliance was brief. He played on five seasons with "the Winged Wheelers." 

Clarence McKerrow joined Montreal in 1895 when he Billy Barlow fell to an injury in a Stanley Cup match against Queen's University. McKerrow scored a goal in his only game, helping Montreal win the Stanley Cup. It was McKerrow's only Stanley Cup championship as a player, though he would win another with MAAA as coach in 1902.

The hockey history book Ultimate Hockey described McKerrow as "a true gentleman, a honey of a skater, a natural goal scorer, and a diligent checker."

But Ultimate Hockey suggests his biggest contribution to hockey may have been his influence on a young Lester Patrick.

"McKerrow is said to have had a profoundest influence on the greatest hockey mind of the twentieth century, Lester Patrick. As a youngster, Patrick would go and watch the MAAA players practice. On one occasion, he mustered up the sass to ask the great Clare McKerrow if he could carry his sticks and equipment bag. McKerrow took an almost immediate shine to the tall youth and started teaching him about hockey and about how to carry himself as a gentleman. McKerrow was a lasting influence in Patrick's long and eventful life.”. Later in his life, Lester Patrick was quoted as saying that "It was Mr. McKerrow who taught me to carry myself with a certain air and act with class".

Clare McKerrow was one of hockey's most underrated performers of the 19th century.

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