Two Former Royals Team Members Pass Away

Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings
Two Former Royals Team Members Pass Away

It was a sad week for the Cornwall Royals’ alumni with the passing of two members, Billy Markell and George Rodney, who were team-mates for one season.

Markell, a Cornwall native and once one of the city’s top junior golfers, played four seasons for the Royals – 1965-1969. He was a member of the club that played one season in the Montreal Metro Junior Hockey League that was squeezed between the Central Junior Hockey League and the huge leap to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League which opened the door for three Memorial Cup victories – 1972, 1980 and 1981.

He was a Marty St. Louis type player.

Rodney, who was born in Smiths Falls but spent his formative years in Cornwall, spent two seasons with the Royals – 1968-1970 – before moving on to the University of Windsor Lancers where he got a degree in history.

“A real nice kid, and good hockey player,” recalled Ed Lumley who was the Royals assistant coach. “I hired him for the summer at the Coke plant (Cornwall Bottling).”

Retired, Rodney returned to Cornwall a few years ago.

In the 1969-70 season, the first year for the Quebec Junior Hockey League, Rodney was the club’s third highest scorer with 21 goals and 31 assists in 55 games.

The team’s leading scorer was Pierre Duguay with 20 goals and 44 assists. Duguay got the jump on the Royals 1972 Memorial Cup win when in January 1971 he was traded – for two players and $5,000 – to the Quebec Remparts who won the cup three months later with Guy Lafleur leading the way.

Realizing that the game-ending siren was near, Rodney penned his own obituary, a touching piece.

Rodney and Markell both battled cancer. Both died on July 20.


In July 1933, Cornwall played host to the best high school track and field athletes in the nation.

It was the third straight year the National Inter-collegiate Track and Field Championships were held at the Athletic Grounds which boasted one of the finest cinder tracks in the country. Fans watched from a covered grandstand that held 3,000.

With little thought, the track was ripped out in 1958 to make room for the arena that would become known as the Bob Turner Memorial Centre.

Five Cornwall athletes, four in the junior division, collected medals. Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School’s  14-year-old star Len Stidwill was first in the 75 yard and 220-yard sprints with a third-place finished in the long jump. The week before, Stidwill won the 100 yard sprint at the Ontario championships in Toronto.

Jack Murray of St. Louis de Gonzague – a 12-room Catholic boys’ school at York and Third streets – won the long jump and high jump, while Ian McMartin of CCVS was second to Stidwill in the sprints. Fred Gardiner of CCVS was second in the long jump, while another CCVS runner Floyd Moore placed third in the intermediate 440.

The meet, sponsored by the Canadian Legion, attracted national coverage. Montreal dailies – Star, Gazette and Herald – staffed the meet, as did the Ottawa Journal and Ottawa Citizen. Many papers across the country carried Canadian Press coverage.

ALSO THIS MONTH IN 1933 – Under pressure to reduce costs, Cornwall Public School Board in July 1933 voted to make an offer to teachers: agree to a 10% cut in pay or find another job. Under the new schedule, principals would earn $3,000 a year, while annual salary for teachers would range from $1,350 to $2,500. Teachers had two weeks to agree to the new salary schedules. … Cornwall’s four chain stores – Eatons, Dominion, Loblaws and A and P – agreed to close for the day at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. … To celebrate National Flower Shut-in Day, Whittaker Brothers Florists donated and delivered 2,000 flowers to shut in at Cornwall General and Hotel Dieu hospitals, St. Paul’s Home for the Aged, John Stewart Home, House of Refuge and Nazareth Orphanage. … Being arrested for stealing a bottle of ‘alcohol’ turned out to be a Mille Roches man’s lucky day. On his way out of the police station after paying a fine, he spotted the bottle on a shelf. Thinking nobody was watching, he grabbed the bottle and tucked it under his coat. But an officer saw him and made the arrest just outside the station. The man said he thought it was whisky. “It’s your lucky day,” the cop told the man. “This is alcohol drained from the police cruiser. One sip of that and you would have been on your way to the morgue.”

THIS AND THAT Chief Shawna Spowart will return to work on July 31. She has been on sick leave. Deputy Vincent Foy has served as acting chief. … It is hard to find a more pathetic example of quintessential white privilege than Robert Kennedy Jr. with Hunter Biden, President’s Joe’s son, a close second. … The Assembly of First Nations dumped its first female leader three weeks ago with nary a ripple of protest. The vote to remove Rose Anne Archibald was 70%. She was accused of creating a toxic work place. … Fewer biker club members wearing club colours – Outlaws and Loners – seen around town since the cops crackdown following the dust up in a Brookdale Avenue parking lot. … Just in case you were wondering: the first Barbie doll hit the market in 1959 with a billion sold in the first year. The next year Etch a Sketch was the big seller in the toy market.

TRIVIA ANSWER Cornwall went outside the proverbial box in November 1947 when it came to sending a wedding gift to Princess Elizabeth. The city sent a large shipment of canned goods to be distributed to the citizens still recovering from WW2.

TRIVIA Who played a wheelchair-bound murder witness in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”?

QUOTED “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It ‘s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

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