August 01, 2015

Cowboy Pettinger

Of all the children born in the North Bierley neighborhood of Bradford, England in and around the time of the turn of the 20th century, very few went on to become Western Canadian cowboys.

Even fewer went on to become National Hockey League players.

We can name one such lad who did both of those things. 

Eric Pettinger, like his brother Dick, Bill and Gord, were all born in England. They relocated to Saskatchewan and all played the game on the many frozen sloughs to be found on the prairies in those desolate winters.

All were pretty good, too. All would play Regina at the junior level, with Eric and Gord graduating all the way to the National Hockey League.

Eric played three seasons in the NHL. He started the 1928-29 season with Boston but was moved to Toronto half way through. His best season was in 1929-30 when, as a depth player, he scored four goals and thirteen points in 48 games.

In 1930-31 he was involved in one of the biggest trades in NHL history. He and Art Smith were traded to Ottawa for the legendary King Clancy. The Leafs also had to include $35,000 cash - which, in the days of the Great Depression, was truly a King's ransom. It was money well paid by the Leafs as Clancy became arguably their greatest player ever.

Pettinger nor Smith did so well in Ottawa. Pettinger only played thirteen games, never scoring a point. His NHL career was over, though he would continue playing many more years in London. London, Ontario, that is. He would later coach at the London-based University of Western Ontario and work for a glass company.

Regarding the cowboy reference. We have no idea why, but Eric Pettinger was known as "Cowboy" Pettinger.

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