Thursday, July 14, 2011

EHLer Lorne O'Donnell - Clinton Comets, Jersey Devils, Syracuse Blazers

Lorne O'Donnell played center and left wing in the Eastern Hockey League from 1963 to 1968. Lorne was traded from the Montreal Canadiens organization to Springfield of the AHL in September 1963. O'Donnell played 13 games as a rookie for the EHL champion Clinton Comets in 1963-64. He was in the Springfield training camp in 1964, but returned to Clinton, where he was the Comet's second leading scorer, until he broke his leg in November. Returning in mid-January, Lorne still ended up with 70 points in 47 games for the Comets, his most productive season. Lorne played one more season, 1965-66, with the Comets.
O'Donnell was the player to be named later in the biggest trade in EHL history, which sent Pat Kelly, Ed Babiuk, and Borden Smith to Clinton with Norm Defelice, Hec Lalande, Benny Woit and Orval Tessier (who retired and was replaced by Ted Szydlowski) being sent to Jersey. The Devils with O'Donnell advanced to the 1966-67 EHL Finals, before losing to champion Nashville. That summer O'Donnell was drafted by the expansion Syracuse Blazers and became their first captain, before being traded back to Jersey on November 21st with Bill Horton for Benny Greco and Carlo Longarini. O'Donnell initially returned home after the trade, but finished the season with Jersey. He spent the remainder of his career in the OHA Senior League, mostly with Belleville.

From the Peterbough (ON) Examiner:

Ex-Pete Lorne O'Donnell dies

By Mike DAVIES, Peterborough Examiner, July 8, 2011

Lorne O'Donnell, who made Peterborough his home after coming here to play for the Petes, passed away Wednesday.

Mr. O'Donnell, whose only son Steve once worked for the Petes as their first marketing director, suffered a heart attack.

Petes' executive Pat Casey said Mr. O'Donnell's death was a shock as he was expecting him to be in his foursome Thursday at the inaugural Petes' Alumni Association golf tournament at Baxter Creek Golf Club.

Mr. O'Donnell, 68, grew up in Kingston and came to Peterborough to join the Petes in 1960 playing 106 games over three seasons. A forward, he went on to play pro in the EHL with Clinton, New Jersey and Syracuse. He also played senior hockey in Belleville, Napanee and Lindsay.

He was a catcher in the Peterborough Men's Softball Association city league and played oldtimer's hockey. He retired eight years ago after more than 30 years at Quaker Oats.

"He came back after playing hockey and worked at Quaker Oats for years," said Casey. "We played oldtimer's hockey with the oldtimer's Petes and went on golf trips. He played golf every Monday and Friday with about 24 guys.

"He was a real quiet kind of guy," Casey said, "but real solid. He was a reliable player and person. He always gave his best and was true to his word."

George Godson was Mr. O'Donnell's teammate with the Petes and a golfing buddy.

"He was a good all around athlete," said Godson. "He was a great guy. He was a guy's guy. He enjoyed playing golf and hockey. We played oldtimer's together and we have a group of guys, about 28 of us, who play golf together and he was one of the core guys. It's a sad thing."

From the Peterborough Pete's (OHA) website:

It is with deepest regret that the Peterborough Petes announce the passing of Alumni member Lorne O'Donnell (1960-63). Mr O'Donnell passed away suddenly this week following a work out in Peterborough. Lorne O'Donnell would have turned 69 next month. Lorne O'Donnell was originally from Kingston Ontario before joining the Petes for the 1960-61 season. He played three seasons with the Petes recording 19 goals and 44 points in 129 games. Following his playing career with the Petes Lorne played five seasons of professional hockey in the EHL (Now known as the ECHL) where he recorded 83 goals and 221 points in 258 games. Lorne's son Steve worked as the teams Marketing Manager in the early 1990's.


Lorne O'Donnells stats at hockeydb:

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