September 03, 2016

Ike Hildebrand

Yes, Ike Hildebrand was a notable hockey player who appeared in 41 games with New York and Chicago back in the 1950s.

But he is actually more notable for playing Canada's other national sport - lacrosse.

Hildebrand was born in Winnipeg but grew up by Grande Prairie, Alberta. He, like so many young boys on the Canadian prairies, grew up playing hockey every chance he could get.

When he was 14 he and his family moved to New Westminster, BC, just outside of Vancouver. New West was a real lacrosse hub at the time. It was there that Hildebrand was introduced to the game.

Though he had never heard of lacrosse when he first arrived, he made a senior team and was named rookie of the year.

In his second year, at the age of 15, he made the famed New Westminster Salmonbellies team and helped them win the Canadian championship in 1944.

As a 16 year old he returned the Salmonbellies to the Mann Cup finals and was named as the Most Valuable Player.

The bulk of his lacrosse playing career would end up being played in Ontario, with Peterborough or Mimico. In total his teams played for the national title thirteen times. He won nine of those tournaments.

Though his hockey career was well-travelled and less notable in comparison, he played eight seasons as a pro before breaking his leg and ending his career. He became the player-coach of the Belleville McFarlands, winning the Allan Cup and then world championship in Prague in 1959.

Hildebrand, a member of both the Canadian Lacrosse and Canada's Sports Halls of Fame, coached both sports and got into sporting equipment sales.

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