Ottawa businessman, NHL alum Howard 'Rip' Riopelle dies
Played with Montreal Royals, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators after Second World War
Respected Ottawa businessman Howard "Rip" Riopelle, who played in the NHL after serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, died Sunday at the age of 92.
Riopelle grew up in Ottawa's Little Italy neighbourhood. After returning from war service abroad, he played hockey at the pro level for the Montreal Royals from 1945-47.
He then joined the Montreal Canadiens from 1947-50, where he played left wing with Maurice Richard.
From the Montreal Canadiens website:
"Assigned to a line with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach when Toe Blake suffered a career-ending broken leg, the rookie forward was briefly used to try to rekindle the Punch Line before spending the bulk of his three years in Montreal filling a defensive role with Leo Gravelle and Billy Reay on the third trio.
"Making the most of his offensive chances, Riopelle increased his scoring totals annually. From a five-goal freshman campaign in 1947-48, he doubled to 10 as a sophomore and then potted an even dozen in 1949-50, his final NHL campaign."
Inducted into Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame
Back injuries forced Riopelle to return to the Quebec league, where he played with the Ottawa Senators for four seasons before retiring to focus on his business, the popular Riopelle Fabric Centre, which operated for nearly 50 years from the 1950s until the 1990s.
He was inducted into Ottawa's Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Riopelle was a member at the Rivermead Golf Club and he also served on the board of directors for the St. Patrick's Home of Ottawa for many years.
The visitation will take place at the Kelly Funeral Home on Somerset Street West Tuesday from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral mass takes place Wednesday at St. Mary's Church at 10:30 a.m.