Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Turner, Lloyd

Turner, Lloyd

Although he was one of the most versatile and passionate hockey promoters of his time, Lloyd Turner loved baseball as much as hockey. As a youngster he spent much more time on the ball diamond than the hockey rink. In fact, his work at hockey rinks in the winter was designed to help pay for baseball equipment to be used in the summer.

Hockey did become a true love of Turner's however, a fact that could be seen in his immense legacy. He worked tirelessly to assemble teams, organize leagues, and construct arenas. One of Turner's greatest achievements was playing an integral role in the establishment of the Allan Cup as a lucrative nation wide competition during the 1930s and 1940s.

Born in Elmvale, Ontario, Turner attended school in nearby Barrie. His family later settled in Sault-Ste. Marie and Calgary. While living in the Soo his involvement in hockey grew and he suited up with the same amateur squad as the well-known brothers George, Harold and Howard McNamara. Turner honed his organizational skills at this time by working as the icemaker and personnel manager for the rink when he wasn't playing. In 1906 he relocated briefly to Fort William, Ontario where he was the player/manager of the city's hockey club.

When Turner moved with his family to Calgary, Turner continued to play baseball and was the only non-American in the whole Western Canada League. It was also here that the off-ice version of "Mr. Hockey" became heavily involved in the winter game. One of his first tasks was to transform the old Sherman Arena from a roller skating rink to an ice hockey venue. He added ice, established a team and new league while continuing to thrive as a player/manager. Turner's efforts were rewarded with a provincial amateur title in 1914. When the Sherman rink burned down in 1915, Turner opened an open air facility across the street to keep the team going.

In 1918 Turner made his greatest impact on the hockey fortunes of Calgary by leasing the horse show building at the Calgary exhibition grounds and adding ice. During this period he worked diligently to create a hockey league with two teams each in Calgary and Edmonton. This circuit became known as the Western Canada League and expanded to Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and Portland. Turner manager the Calgary Tigers to great success in the WCHL which peaked with an unsuccessful appearance against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1924 Stanley Cup final.

Following the Stanley Cup setback, Turner sought a new challenge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He spent four years there and won a league championship in 1925-26 before heading to Seattle to guide that city's Pacific Coast League squad and manage the arena.

Turner returned to Calgary in 1931 to re-structure the Western Canada League during its merge with the former Pacific Coast Hockey Association franchises. The following year he headed a company that installed artificial ice in the Calgary arena that kick-started that trend across the Prairies.

Turner next became involved with senior amateur hockey, a sector of the sport that lacked a consistent following across the country. The Allan Cup had been around since 1908 but often had trouble attracting a sufficient number of entrants. Turner's boldest move to enhance the profile of the Allan Cup competition was to guarantee CAHA president Dr. WG Hardy $1,500 a game for the finals if they were to be played in Calgary. The local media did its part to drum up support and raise the level of consciousness in southern Alberta. Turner personally financed the use of special trains from Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Drumheller to ensure that fans within 150 miles of Calgary would have easier access to the finals. The result was a resounding success. The arena was jammed, the hockey was superb, and the status of the Allan Cup was elevated via radio broadcasts and newspaper reports. Over the next several years Calgary hosted both the semi-finals and finals and the revenue generated went towards a much needed nest egg for the CAHA.

Turner continued to offer his expertise as manager of the new Calgary Stampede Corral after its construction in 1950. He continued to be the most revered hockey consultant in the area while organizing a host of civilian and military leagues.

Turner also set up organized hockey for the native tribes of Alberta. This began with the Calgary-based southern Alberta Indian Tournament that featured three nearby tribes. The competition grew throughout the province and Turner donated trophies for junior, intermediate and senior divisions for the Alberta native population. His commitment and sincerity earned Turner the honourary title "Chief Sitting Bull" from the Stoney tribe.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958.

Esso hockey medals of achievement