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."
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.
I have researched the Montreal Gazette and the Ottawa Citizen newspapers extensively for the years 1895 to 1905. Clare McKerrow's name not only came up time and time again for hockey and lacrosse but also for his dedication to amateur sports via the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. McKerrow was much more than a fine athlete. He was an educated gentleman.
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