Sports Hall of Fame
FRED KEARNEY - Athlete
Born on May 19, 1897 in Pembroke, Ontario, Fred arrived in northwestern Ontario in 1909. A stellar goalie, he moved through the Fort William amateur ranks beginning in 1913. Winning the 1924 Thunder Bay Intermediate League with the Lakehead Intermediate Hockey Team, the team then went on to challenge for the Scotland Woollen Mills Trophy.
In 1927 'Fred the Silent' was a part of the Fort William Senior Hockey Team which won the Western Canadian Senior Hockey Championships. Facing off against the Toronto Grads 'Wonder Team' in the Allan Cup finals in Vancouver, Fort William's ''Thundering Herd', were part of the most memorable and hard fought Allan Cup finals in the history of the game.
Not expected to present any type of challenge to Toronto, the Fort William squad surprised everyone, including the over 10,000 fans at each game. Forcing the series to a fourth and deciding game, Fred was a stand out in net, demonstrating incredible skills when facing his opponents, which saw Toronto emerge victorious in the 2-1 final that was decided in overtime play.
From 1929-31, 'the eagle-eyed one' played professional hockey for the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey Association. Constantly making what were referred to by his teammates and opponents as 'impossible stops', he had streaks of at least 3 shut-outs on more than one occasion, establishing a record of 103 stops in 2 games. In 1931 the Flyers folded due to the Great Depression.
Following a mandatory 3 year waiting period, this 'wizard of the net' rejoined the amateur ranks as a goalie for the Fort William Senior Hockey Team winning the Thunder Bay District League Championships in 1934, as well as the Western Canada Senior Championship, rounding out a glittering hockey career. Now 101, Fred still follows hockey, listening to games on the radio.
Inducted into the Northwestern
Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 1998