Lloyd John Ernst
Born: November 22, 1926 (Halifax)
Died: September 13, 2013 (Taber, Alta.)
A hard-hitting defenceman from Halifax, Bingo Ernst had a brief try out with the Boston Bruins’ amateur farm club in 1944-45. He did not win a roster spot on the Olympics and returned to Halifax for seasoning.
He was no stranger to the penalty box. He spent 10 seasons playing senior hockey in Quebec, mostly with the Valleyfield Braves under coach Toe Blake. The Ottawa Citizen described him as a “rough, tough customer.” The Braves won the Alexander Cup in 1950-51 as the top major senior team in Canada. The bruising bodychecker also suited up with the Quebec Aces, Montreal Royals and the Trois-Rivieres Lions. Ernst twice led the Quebec Hockey League in penalty minutes (161 minutes with Valleyfield in 1954-55 and 177 minutes with Quebec the following season).In 1956, Quebec sold him to the Rochester Amerks of the American Hockey League.
He rarely scored. His final goal as a professional came in a 3-2 win for Valleyfield over the visiting Sherbrooke Saints on Nov. 1, 1950. His hapless victim was Saints goalie Roger Bessette, a former teammate. Ernst played in more than 400 pro games without ever scoring another goal.
The rugged rearguard’s playing career ended while playing for Cornwall in an Eastern Senior Interprovincial game in 1960. Pembroke’s Dawson Schraeder crosschecked him into the boards and Ernst was rushed to hospital, where it was discovered he had suffered two fractured vertebrae in his back.
After retiring from hockey, he lived in Quebec and Calgary before settling in St. George, Utah, where he was active in the Church of Latter-Day Saints. He returned to Alberta for health reasons in 2009. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at 86.