Ironstone, Joe "Kelly" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Ironstone, Joe "Kelly"

Ironstone, a goalie, was the second Jewish player ever signed by a NHL team and the second to appear in a NHL game. He signed with the Ottawa Senators on October 30, 1924, only ten days after Sam Rothschild signed with the Montreal Maroons.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 28, 1898 - d. Dec. 12, 1972

Career Highlights:
Born in Montreal, Ironstone moved to Sudbury, Ontario with his family when he was a child, and then made Sudbury his lifelong home. In 1906, his father, Hyman, opened Ironstone Men's Wear and the Ironstones were among the first Jewish families in Sudbury to sponsor the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue. A terrific athlete who was an original member of the Sudbury Curling Club, Joe played amateur hockey in Sudbury in the early 1920s. In 1921-22, he led the city's senior league in wins with three; and the following year as a member of the Sudbury Wolves, Joe led the NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association) in shutouts with two.

In October, 1924, Ironstone signed a professional contract with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, but did not play during the 1924-25 season and was used only as a spare goaltender. The following season, he was signed as a free agent by the New York Americans of the NHL. He played in one game and allowed 3 goals in 40 minutes of work, but did not get the decision; it was his only game of the season. In 1926, Ironstone joined the Niagara Falls Cataracts of the Canadian Professional Hockey League (a professional minor league) and spent a little more than a season with the club before moving to the Toronto Ravines in the middle of the 1927-28 season.

It was while he was a member of the Ravines that Ironstone returned to the NHL and appeared in his second, and final, NHL game. In March 1928, the Ravines lent Ironstone to the Toronto Maple Leafs for one game when John Ross Roach, the Leafs' goalie, was injured. Ironstone played well and had a shutout, and the Leafs tied the New York Americans, 0-0. While his appearance for the Leafs was his final NHL game, Ironstone continued to play professional hockey. He returned to the Ravines to finish the 1927-28 season and then led the CPHL in shutouts (2) and goals against average (2.57) in 1929-30 while playing with the Kitchener Flying Dutchmen.

Ironstone continued to play through the early 1930s and was back in Subdury, playing with the Falconbridge Falcons in 1935-36. That year, he led the Northern Ontario Hockey Association in goals against average in both the regular season (2.00) and the playoffs (3.00). The season also saw the Falcons battle for the Allan Cup (the Canadian senior amateur hockey championship) against the Kimberly Dynamiters, but lost the series, three games to none. After retiring from hockey, Ironstone remained in Sudbury to run the family business with his brother Moe, and was an avid hunter and fisherman. The brothers sold Ironstone Men's Wear in the early 1960s.

Origin:
Montreal, Quebec

Career Dates:
Ironstone played goalie in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators in 1924-25; with the New York Americans in 1925-26; and for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927-28.

Position:
goaltender

Physical description:
5'6", 180 pounds
right-handed

Career Statistics:
In the NHL:
Games: 2

Wins: 0
Losses: 0
Ties: 1

Goals against: 3
Goals against average: 1.64
Shut outs: 1



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References:
Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, edited by Dan Diamond, James Duplacey, Ralph Dinger, Igor Kuperman, and Eric Zweig (New York: Total Sports, 1998)
Jewish Sports Review, September/October 2000 issue (Vol. 2, No. 8, Issue 21)
The Sudbury Star, December 13, 1972 (page 3)


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