As the international game grows in popularity, many can lay claim to the title of “Mr. Hockey”, but in the Parry Sound area that honour is reserved for only one person – the man with a championship history and an enduring love of the game – Alex Eagar.
On February 3, 1911, during the community’s boom-town days, Alex was born in Depot Harbour. He moved to Parry Sound in 1933 and began to develop the
entrepreneurial skills that would become the foundation of his career. In 1935 Alex and his wife Leona purchased the Mansion House and renamed it The Brunswick Hotel. A link with hockey was formed – a tradition of sports and camaraderie that continues to this day. After Leona’s death in 1943, Alex ran The Brunswick, and its later incarnation, The Brunswick Motor Inn, until his retirement in 1973.
Alex got started with local hockey in the early 1950s when he managed the intermediate hockey team, and he soon sponsored and managed the Junior C Shamrocks. From those earliest days with Alex’s support, the Parry Sound Brunswicks, and later the Shamrocks, became synonymous with hockey excellence in Ontario. In order to help develop a minor hockey system in Parry Sound, Alex lured retired NHL all-star Bucko
McDonald into the area. Bucko helped to nurture a fledgling hockey program and soon the area was producing fine young hockey players. Alex bought Bobby his first pair of skates and knew “there was something different” about this young boy who just had a natural ability to skate and play the game well beyond his years.
To assist boys from out of town playing on Parry Sound teams he sponsored or managed, Mr. Hockey supplied room, board, laundry services, and even jobs. After retiring from the hotel business, Alex cut back on his hockey involvement, but never stopped attending games and assisting where needed.
The man who will be fondly remembered as Mr. Hockey, passed away at the West Parry Sound Health Centre on June 12, of 2004. He was 93. Funeral service was held at the Parry Sound Pentecostal Tabernacle on June 16th.
Robert Alexander Eagar’s enduring love of hockey and his dedication to the game and the children who loved to play have earned him special honour as an inductee into the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame.