Antoine Alphonse Ligouri Bonneville
Christened Antoine Alphonse Ligouri Bonneville, Pete was born March 10, 1913. His father was Alfred Bonneville and his mother, the former Angela Richer of Summerstown. The Bonneville family later moved to Lancaster and Pete, as a school boy, helped in the store and did delivery work.
The Depression of the 1930s caused the Bonnevilles to close their Lancaster store and move to Cornwall. Mr. Bonneville was among the fortunate to be employed. This also marked the beginning of a national lacrosse and hockey career for teenager Pete Bonneville.
Pete Bonneville was the most promising young lacrosse player in Cornwall; he was cut from the senior camp. Alex Stewart welcomed Pete and he was signed, along with other such players as Windy Deebank and the Whitfords. In the role of centre forward, Pete Bonneville was not only the scoring ace of the Celtics but also the league. As we have said so often of other great athletes, from this point on, Pete Bonneville never looked back.
That winter St. Columban's organized an all-star Cornwall junior hockey team. John Denneny was coach and Father R. J. MacDonald a director. Familiar player names were the Donihees, Tilden, Joe and Garth, Lloyd MacDonald and Charlie MacPhee. Summerstown's native son Pete Bonneville played outstanding hockey as a forward. He made a creditable showing against super star Bill Cowley, as the team lost to the Ottawa Shamrocks in the first round of Memorial Cup play.
Another successful season in lacrosse was followed by the Cornwall Canadiens hockey team signing Pete Bonneville, now emerging from the junior ranks. Pete led the Central Ottawa Valley League in scoring points. He crowned this achievement in the championship final, scoring all five goals against Chesterville's star goalie Fyke.
By this time Pete Bonneville was out of school and out of work. The executive of Cornwall Canadiens had promised Pete a service station job as a reward for his stellar hockey during the past winter. They neither lived up to their word nor realized the ambitious character of Pete Bonneville.
Pete Bonneville was hit by the ancient cliche, "Go West young man, go West." Obviously the Canadiens wouldn't give him any money and his family took a dim view of his intentions to hitchhike by both rail and highway. They gathered the sum of $37 for transportation and food. Pete was on his way to Calgary.
He arrived in Calgary in time to play out the lacrosse schedule with senior team Calgary Models. That fall set the stage for Pete's chance to make the grade to one stop below the NHL. He was invited to the Calgary Ranger camp, a farm team of the New York Rangers.
Although not overpowering in size, his skating ability and stick handling skill impressed the Rangers and Pete was signed. He'll tell you that he will always cherish the memory of playing in Canada's Allan Cup class hockey.
His first game was at centre against Drumheller. There were the famed Bentley brothers, five of them, in the lineup. Pete Bonneville's reputation for lacrosse skills as a junior with Cornwall Celtics in our senior league had trickled west and proven to be true by his play with Calgary Models. For this reason Pete was lured to Nelson, BC, to play lacrosse, following his impressive hockey season with Calgary Rangers. But money was the deciding factor in the Depression years. Pete moved on to Nelson Maple Leafs. Trail and Rossland were the other teams in this West Kootenay league.
This was 1936. Pete was a mature young man and rated among Canada's best lacrosse and hockey pro prospects. He justified the confidence Nelson officials had placed in him. In the final championship game against Trail, Pete scored 14 goals and 3 assists. He won the league scoring title with a record 101 points, 67 goals and 34 assists. This was a season that Pete Bonneville cherishes and for that reason artist Doug Fales has sketched Pete in the uniform of Nelson Maple Leafs.
Pete married the former Ruth Olive Fisher. They had one son Richard and a daughter Debbie. With the induction of Pete Bonneville on Wednesday, July 10 in Williamstown, still another of our great athletes will be awarded a deserving niche in the Glengarry Sports Hall of Fame.
Return to the Inductee Directory.
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