INKERMAN — Percy Armstrong, member of the legendary Inkerman Rockets hockey team of the 1940s and 1950s, has died.
Even at the age of 87, Armstrong remained a local celebrity and hockey star for his time with the Rockets seven decades ago. He proudly wore his original team jacket while signing pucks and other memorabilia for visitors at Inkerman’s winter carnival just this past February.
The exploits of the Inkerman Rockets were well known when a Jr. C hockey team was re-established in Chesterville a few years ago. The North Dundas Rockets thus took their name from their famous forebears in the same township. A handful of original Rockets players — including Armstrong, a left-winger from 1944 to 1949 — were honoured at centre ice when the new team made its 2011 debut at the Chesterville Arena.
In a Facebook post today, current Rockets general manager Robyn Sadler wrote: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Armstrong family following the recent passing of former Inkerman Rocket Percy Armstrong. I had gotten to know Percy the last couple of years working with the organization. A real character and a great human being. North Dundas has lost a really special person this past Friday. All the best to his loved ones.”
The team itself issued the following statement on Facebook: “It is with heavy hearts that the Rockets wish to extend our condolences to the Armstrong family following the passing of former Inkerman Rocket Percy Armstrong. A local hockey legend and pioneer, Percy laid down the groundwork for organizations like ours in the North Dundas community. We thank him for his dedication, commitment and character to hockey. North Dundas lost a great human being this past Friday.”
Armstrong’s wake will take place 4-9 p.m. tomorrow (May 1) at the Winchester Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Funeral Home. His funeral is scheduled 11 a.m. the next day at Winchester United Church.
Above, as posted on Facebook, the North Dundas Rockets’ Kent Young presents Armstrong with a new, personalized replica team jersey in the style worn by the Inkerman Rockets many years ago.