One of the finest players in the London-based English National League before World War Two, Bert Peer was one of the many Canadians whose skills and showmanship led to the league being dubbed ‘the best outside the NHL’.
When the weekly Ice Hockey World inducted him into the Hall of Fame, the editor described him as: ‘Possibly the greatest right winger in the history of senior amateur hockey. If he had taken his hockey more seriously, there is no doubt he would have made the NHL.’ As it turned out, he played just one game for Detroit Redwings in 1939-40.
Standing five feet, 11 inches – tall enough to be considered a ‘giant’ in those days – he was inserted into Harringay Racers’ very first line-up in 1936-37 alongside centreman Wally Monson, another Hall of Famer.
The Racers finished runners-up in the league and won the London Cup and Coronation Cup tournaments. Bert was the league’s third highest scorer with 60 points (38 goals) in 40 games and was voted onto the All-Star ‘A’ team.
Refusing offers to turn pro in North America, he returned to Harringay for the 1937-38 campaign and helped the Racers to capture the league title convincingly with 17 wins in 24 games. Despite missing several weeks through injury, his deceptive changes of pace and agile body swerves enabled him to score another 47 points (19 goals) and earn a berth on the All-Star ‘B’ team.
Herbert John Peer was born in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada on 12 November 1910 and died on 19 July 1992 in Mississauga, Ontario. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.