by Jennifer Conway - Women's Hockey Legends.com
Submitted by Wendy Anctil
b. 10 Aug 1898 in Cornwall to parents Philip and Metilda Lapensée
As Canadian men traded their hockey sticks for guns and headed to the battlegrounds of Europe, hockey began to suffer. In Montreal, the Wanderers made the patriotic gesture of offering free tickets to soldiers and their families but only if the soldier was wounded. Clearly hockey needed help, and women skated in to fill the gap. "Perfect ice is promised, and it is probable that the match will attract the largest crowd that has ever witnessed a girls' game in Ottawa," claimed the March 4, 1916 Ottawa Citizen. The reason? The woman called "The Miracle Maid," Albertine Lapensée. The twenty-six year old Miss Lapensée played for her hometown Cornwall Victorias. Her hockey debut came in January 1916 against Ottawa and she scored five of the six goals in the Cornwall victory. Immediately after her debut game, Ottawa players complained that she was really a man. Suspicions and accusations dogged her the rest of her hockey career.
A week after her debut, Lapensée scored four goals in an 8-0 shutout against the Montreal Westerns. A crowd of about three thousand turned out to watch her play. Having been warned about the strength of Lapensée's shot, the Montreal goalie chose to wear a baseball catcher's mask to protect herself, which places her ten years ahead of Elizabeth Graham, who is usually credited with wearing the first goalie mask. The Montreal players also yanked off Lapensée's toque at one point in the game to see how long her hair was. She had braids that fell past her shoulders. The continuous rumors about Lapensée caused the Cornwall Standard to vouch for her. Miss Lapensée, it seems, "played more with her brothers and other boys than with her girlfriends, and this accounts for the masculine style of play she has developed." Further more, "scores of people in East Cornwall have known her since her infancy." Albertine played on, indifferent to the rumors, and the fans didn't seem to mind too much either, as a reported crowd of three thousand once came to watch her play. In one game she scored fifteen goals, and when the Victorias agreed to play against the Ottawa Alerts the Vics' manager had to guarantee Lapensée's appearance by contract. She even behaved like her male counterparts off the ice. She once refused to play until she had been paid, which nearly caused a riot.
She also wasn't afraid to fight. During one game against the Westerns, Lapensée was checked early and often by a Miss Deloro. After one particularly hard check, Lapensée took off her gloves and told her opponent to knock it off. Miss Deloro then challenged her by saying, "I'm not afraid of you, even if you are from Cornwall. I'll be glad to meet you after the game and we'll settle this the way men do." The promised fight didn't take place, as the victorious Cornwall team had to rush to catch their train. Frustrated by their inability to stop her and in an effort to find an answer to the Miracle Maid, the Montreal Westerns found Ada Lalond. Thought to be a prodigy one day, the next day hope was shattered when it was revealed Lalond was actually a boy hoping to play against Lapensée.
Although scoring records for the time are incomplete, they indicate Albertine scored 80 percent of Cornwall's goals in the 1916-1917 season. The next season, Lapensée led her team to an undefeated season. After two spectacular seasons, Albertine Lapensée vanished. There is no record of her playing hockey again, at least as Albertine Lapensée. Family legend says she went to New York in 1918 and had a sex change operation. She then married, and settled down to run a gas station near Cornwall, all under the name of Albert Smyth. Truth or just legend? No one seems to know for certain, not even her family. All that's left is the faded memory of the Miracle Maid from Cornwall.
Ottawa Journal, 20 January 1917
Submitted by Wendy Anctil
The speed and stickhandling of Miss Albertine Lapensee was too much for the Ottawa Alerts, and the Cornwall Ladies Hockey Club won the match at the Arena last night by the score of 6 to 3. Miss Lapensee notched five of the six goals her team secured, and during every minute of the game was head and shoulders over her opponents and team mates alike.
The Cornwall girl proved a wonder at the game last winter, but she is much better this season. She has had all the rough edges smoothed off in her skating and stickhandling. Time after time last night, though checked by three or four of her opponents, she would get away and go the length of the ice to drive the rubber at Miss Laberge.
The only girl on the ice that was in her class at all was Miss Edith Anderson, of the Alerts. Miss Anderson was much the best of the Ottawa team and scored all three goals that they secured. Outside of Miss Lapensee, the Cornwall team was outclassed by the Alerts, and the latter would have won away off only for the sensational "Miss".
Cornwall -- Miss Dawson, Miss Carpenter, Miss Lapensee, Miss McDonald, Miss Lefebvre, Miss Bourgeon and Miss Masson.
Alerts -- Miss Leberge, Miss Hagen, Miss Murray, Miss D. Quinney, Miss Brown, Miss H. Quinney, Miss Edith Anderson, Miss Bessie Ault, Miss Eva Ault, Miss Lill McCarthy, Miss Loasby.
© Down The Lane by George Wilson
The Cornwall Standard, 21 September 1934
Submitted by Wendy Anctil
b. 10 Sep 1853 in St-Andrews
Aged Lady Has Watched City Progress From Village Stage
...81 years behind her and in the enjoyment of splendid health, the mother of 12 children, ten of whom are living, is the pleasant experience of Mrs. Lucy Leroux of 5 Walton Avenue, who has had a residence in Cornwall of close....
Mrs. Leroux's 81st birthday occurred on September 10 and on the previous evening she was surrounded by members of her family who reside in Cornwall and a few intimate friends, and a family dinner was partaken of at the home of one of her daughters, Mrs. Allan Sabourin, 24 McConnell Avenue North, whose home is next door to that of Mrs. Leroux. The vulnerable lady, despite her age, was as young in spirit as the youngest member of the party, and enjoyed the assembly of her family and friends immensely. To mark the happy anniversary, Mrs. Leroux received many nice gifts from her family and friends, as well as the congratulations of all, with the added wish that she should be spared to enjoy, in her present good health, many more birthdays. The mailman brought her a good many birthday cards and letters, and altogether, her 81 st birthday was indeed a happy one. Attending the dinner from out-of-town were Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Dextras, Armand Leboeuf and Miss LaRose, all of Montreal.
Mrs. Leroux was born at St-Andrews, a few miles North of Cornwall on September 10, 1853, a daughter of Louis Amell and his wife Mary Gadbois, her maiden name being Lucy Amell. At the age of 19 years she was married to Daniel Leroux on September 30, 1872, at St-Andrews, by Rev. Father Hay. Mr. Leroux died in Cornwall on May 7, 1893, in his 44th year so that Mrs. Leroux has been a widow for over 41 years. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Leroux resided in Alexandria for a number of years. They then moved to Seward, Nebraska, where they made their home for five years. Then they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where they remained for three years, afterwards returning to St-Andrews to the old home section. In the fall of 1888 the family decided to come to Cornwall. Some of their children were growing up and facilities for school and employment were greater in Cornwall than in the smaller community of St-Andrews and these facts prompted Mr. and Mrs. Leroux to make the move. That was 46 years ago and Mrs. Leroux has made her home here continuously...
...became ill and five years after taking up residence here, he passed away, leaving his wife to bring up the large family. She measured up to the task which lay before her in a manner most creditable to her, and it is little wonder that her children show great reverence for her as the years creep along, for she surely was a good and brave mother...
...46 years of residence in Cornwall, Mrs. Leroux has seen the town make advance after advance. Each improvement in living conditions came as a welcome advancement in the home, as the turn of an electric light button was a great help over cleaning chimneys and filling lamps with coal oil. as was the advent of the waterworks system to residences instead of hauling water in a pail from one's own well or that of a kindly neighbor. The electric street cars, too, came as a boon to pedestrians, as people were enabled to go from one point in turn to another for a mere five cents, where, under the old rule, an hour's laborious walk might be necessary to reach ones destination. Even yet, Mrs. Leroux finds the electrics quite handy when she has occasion to go up town, as her home on Walton Avenue, is separated by a considerable distance from Cornwall's Broadway. For shorter walks, such as to points in East Cornwall, or to attend to her religious duties at the Church of the Nativity, where she is a faithful and regular attendant, she covers the distance to and fro on foot, being still quite smart and active, for which she is truly...
Mrs. Leroux's twelve children, in the order of their birth, are as follows: Hubert Leroux, born in Alexandria who died at the age of 11 months. Louis D. Leroux, born in Alexandria, now an employee of the Cornwall Electric Street Railway Company and conductor of a passenger car. Mary Elizabeth Leroux (now Mrs. Frank Blanchette, of Massena, NY), born in Alexandria. Julia Ann Leroux (now Mrs. Norman Taillon, of Williamsburg, ON), born in Alexandria. Magdaleine Leroux (now Mrs. Louis Banville, of Cornwall), born in Seward, Nebraska. Margaret Adda Leroux (Mrs. James Gagnier, of Valleyfield, QC), born in Seward, Nebraska. Moses Leroux, born in Lincoln, Nebraska, died in Lowell, Massachusetts March 19, 1930. William Albert Leroux, known to his friends as "Dan" Leroux, of Cornwall, born in St-Andrews. Catherine Sophia Leroux (Mrs. John Lemieux, of Cornwall), born in St-Andrews. Sarah Amelia Leroux (Mrs. Allan Sabourin of Cornwall), born in Cornwall. Josephine Leroux (Mrs. Philip Lapensée, of Falher, Alberta), born in Cornwall. George Angus Leroux, of Cornwall, now manager of the Canadian National Telegraphs, born in Cornwall.
Mrs. Leroux has a long lineage. She has 42 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. If she and all her children and her children's children were gathered in one community, they would form a respectably good sized village, which might very aptly be termed Lerouxville. One of her grandchildren is Kenneth Leroux, second son of Mr. and Mrs. George Leroux of Cornwall. A peculiarity of grandmother and grandson is the fact that both celebrate their birthday on the same date, for Kenneth was also born on September 10. When Mrs. Leroux was observing her 81st birthday, Kenneth Leroux was quietly celebrating his 16th birthday the same day, so that double congratulations were quite in order, though there is a difference of 65 years in their ages. Mrs. Leroux is not only Kenneth Leroux's grandmother but she is also his...