The Newsy Lalonde Arena - It Has A Great Ring To It

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Well it only took some 40 years after his death, but the city of Cornwall has finally gotten around to naming an arena after hockey legend Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde.

Lalonde, born in Cornwall in 1887, went on to a stellar career in both lacrosse and hockey. One of the first players inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 1950, he was also named Canada's lacrosse player of the first half century that same year.

Cornwall's 5,000 seat Civic Complex, which houses the Ed Lumley Arena was built and opened in 1976, the former mayor whose name has adorned the rink for the past 34 years has agreed that it is time Lalonde be so honoured. The roadway leading to the Complex will also be renamed "Newsy Lalonde Way".

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The effort to have the longstanding oversight corrected is credited to current mayor Bob Kilger, who has worked dilligently for years to have such an honour bestowed upon the former Montreal Canadiens' great. Kilger, the father of former Canadiens winger Chad Kilger, is also a former NHL official who coached the 1981 Cornwall Royals to a Memorial Cup win.

It is told that once the building is rechristened, it will include a plaque and biography of Newsy inside the building.

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Lalonde grew up in Cornwall, leaving town in his late teens to forge a path in pro sports at the dawn of professionalism in 1908. Within two years, he was one of the most sought after players in two sports from coast to coast.

He made his debut with the Canadiens in early 1910, scoring the team's first ever goal on January 5 of that year. Dealt to the Renfrew Millionaires later that season, Newsy became hockey's first ever rent - a - player. After scoring 16 goals in 6 games with Montreal, he was released from his contract by Canadiens owner J. Ambrose O'Brien, and lucratively signed in Renfrew, where he added 22 goals in 5 games, including 9 in one game on the final night of the season.

Within one season of playing lacrosse with the Montreal National, he set a new National Lacrosse Union record with 60 netters in his first pro campaign. Vancouver Lacrosse Club owner Con Jones then offered Newsy the obscene sum of $5,000 a season to head west. Not long after, with the pocketed knowlege of what kind of money was available in the salaried game, Lalonde became its shrewdest negotiator, often holding out for more cash on a season by season basis.

It was once said of Newsy that he "put the 'con' in contract and the 'hock' in hockey." It was often documented how he would marvelously manage to constantly find himself at the opposite end of the country from where he was most in demand, a ploy that often resulted in increased offers.

Apart from his scoring proficiency, Newsy was also notorious for his many battles with hockey hooligans such as Joe Hall and Sprague Cleghorn.

Between 1910 and 1922, Lalonde played 12 years with the Canadiens, often as playing coach and captain of the team on three separate occasions. In all he scored 266 goals in 200 games with the Canadiens, leaving him as the tenth highest goal scorer to this day. He was coach of the team in 1916 when it won its first of 24 Stanley Cups and lead the club to unsuccessful final appearances against the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917 and 1919. In the latter playoff, he scored 17 goals in 6 games, before the Cup final was shut down due the effects on the Spanish Influenza virus.

In 1922, the Canadiens traded Lalonde to the Saskatoon Crescents for Aurele Joliat. That season, he topped all WCHL scorers with 30 goals in 29 games, thus becoming the lone player in hockey history to have won scoring titles in six different leagues.

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He retired from the game in 1926, after three seasons as player coach of the Crescents. In coaching duties, he would later dress for single games with the New York Americans (NHA), Quebec Castors (Can-Am) and Niagara Falls Cataracts (Can-Pro). Lalonde returned to the Canadiens organization as head coach from 1933 to 1935.

During his playing career, Lalonde spent time with Canadian Soo of the IHL, Toronto of the OPHL, Montreal in the NHA and NHL, the Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA, and Saskatoon of the WCHL. He also made pitstops in Woodstock, Cobalt, Portage-la-Prairie, Haileybury and New York.

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The city of Cornwall had previously honoured the player with a "Newsy Lalonde Day" back on May 13, 1955. Several events, including a parade through town with the Mann Cup were held.

Lalonde passed away at age 83 in a Montreal retirement home on November 21, 1970. His passing resulted from complication arising from hip surgery. His last public appearance is known to have been attending a Canadiens game at the Forum that season. He was laid to rest in Cornwall's St. Columbans Cemetary.

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