RI Hockey Legacy

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The Diamond to the Blueline

Gus Galipeau was one of Rhode Island's first multi-sport star athletes.  He was all-state in hockey and baseball at Mount Saint Charles and played both in the pros through the 1940's.  He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned to play for the Cooleemee Cards before being drafted into the US Army in 1942.  After being discharged he played for the Nashua Dodgers where he was teammates with Hall Famers Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe.  Gus had the distinction of being part of baseball's color barrier according to author Steve Daly in his book, Dem Little Bums, The Nashua Dodgers:  "As the Dodgers checked into their hotel in Portland, Maine, on their first road trip of the 1947 season, both Galipeau and Newcombe found themselves without roommates.  "We're standing in the lobby of the hotel in Portland and I said, 'Don, who you rooming with?'' 'No one, Gus,' Newcombe replied.  "With that Galipeau and Newcombe became the first interracial roommates in professional baseball."  Gus played hockey in the off season for the Minneapolis Millers (AHA), Toldeo Babcocks (MOHL) and the Atlantic City Sea Gulls (EAHL) before the war and continued after with the Baltimore Clippers and Boston Olympics in the EAHL.  In 1946-47 season, while playing for the United States National team, he scored the winning goal with two minutes left for a 4-3 victory against Switzerland in the first game of the World Hockey Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  He also scored two goals in a 13-2 romp over Belgium and one goal in a 15-3 win over Romania.  The US would finish in fifth place.  While 1947 United States National team featured players from both the AAU and AHA on their roster, the United States sent both AAU and AAU teams to the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics which caused a great controversy with the IOC.  Ultimately the IOC allowed only the AHA team to participate but disqualified them from medal contention.  AAU player Galipeau and fellow Rhode Islander George Pulliam's Olympic dreams were spoiled.  In following seasons Gus continued to play baseball with the St. Hyacinthe Saints and the Quebec Braves and hockey with the Paris Racing Club in the British National League and the Northside Victorias and Moncton Hawks in Canada.