August 27, 2015

Lou Holmes

Lou Holmes was born in Rushall, England, but he grew up in Edmonton, Alberta after moving to Canada when Lou was 18 months old.

Holmes, like all the kids in the neighborhood, took up the great Canadian game. He was very good at it, rising all the way to play junior with the Edmonton Bruins. The local newspaper dubbed him "The Man with the Rubber Legs" when describing his skating ability.

By 1931 the 20 year old Holmes jumped directly from junior to the National Hockey League. The Chicago Black Hawks brought him on board, though would play him sparingly. Wearing number nine, Holmes only scored one goal and four assists in what would prove to be his only full season in the NHL.

Holmes would play another 18 games the following season, failing to score any points, before being farmed out to the American Hockey Association.

In 1933-34 Holmes returned to Edmonton to play for the Eskimos in the Northwestern Hockey League. He would stay there until venturing off to the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1936, finding a hockey home in Portland with the Buckaroos for several seasons. The Bucks won the championships in 1939.

In 1942, he enlisted and fought in World War II. He returned and played senior hockey with various teams in the Edmonton area until he retired from active play in 1949. Holmes would taste more championship champagne in 1948, leading the Vics to the Allan Cup as Canada's amateur champions.

After his playing career, Holmes coached the gold medal winning Edmonton Mercurys at the 1952 Winter Olympics. For the next 50 years he was known as the last coach to lead Canada to Olympic gold in hockey.

Holmes son, Chuck, also made it to the National Hockey League. Interestingly, both father and son scored only one NHL goal each.

Lou Holmes passed away in 2010, some six weeks after his 99th birthday. He is believed to be the longest living NHL player ever. He had been suffering from dementia in his final years.

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