The hockey world has lost another member of the Original Six era with news of the passing of Ray Gariepy on March 16, 2012.
After learning to skate at the age of 13, Gariepy joined the Barrie Flyers in 1945-46. He was 16 years-old at the time.
Following his junior career which ended after the 1947-48 season, Gariepy played for several minor-league teams. In 1950-51 he found a home with the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League.
Gariepy's chance to crack the line-up of the parent club, the Boston Bruins, came in training camp prior to the 1953-54 campaign.
An opening on the Bruins blueline came when defenceman Hal Laycoe was unable to start the season due to a knee injury. Three days before the start of the regular season, Gariepy got word he would be on Boston's roster.
Bruins coach Lynn Patrick was impressed with Gariepy's effort in camp and commented that he showed "the most improvement of any player in camp." Patrick went on to say, "He can hit and he can skate. He has improved a great deal since last year."
Gariepy took an analytical approach to his promotion.
"This game of hockey is like any other business in life. Sometimes the opportunity for advancement comes earlier to one man than it does for another. Some fellows who started with me got their chances when they were 19, 20, 21 years-old. I've had to wait for mine, but I never got discouraged. I'm still young," observed the 5-foot-9, 180 pound, rearguard known as "Rockabye Ray".
Giving credit where it was due, he didn't hesitate to praise his former coaches. "I had the advantage of playing under John Crawford and Murray Henderson both fine defenceman," noted Gariepy.
During the 1953-54 season, Gariepy skated in 35 games with Boston. He recorded his first and only National Hockey League goal. Also, he helped out with seven assists. In addition to his time in Boston, Gariepy participated in 24 games with Hershey in '53-54.
Gariepy's only other NHL contest would be played with the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 29, 1956. He joined the Leafs organization as a result of a trade between Boston and Toronto on September 23, 1954. The Leafs sent John Henderson to the Bruins in exchange for Gariepy.
In 1956, Gariepy returned to his home province to close out his playing career. He skated for several clubs in the OHA-Senior League. His final stop coming with the 1968-69 Barrie Flyers.
He remained in Barrie after hanging-up skates. Away from hockey, Gariepy worked as a bricklayer and a salesman (concrete). His business ventures included ownership of Simcoe Block Company Limited and Simcoe Building Materials.
Raymond Joseph Gariepy was born on September 4, 1928 in Toronto, Ontario. Early in his life, he was adopted my Malvina and Joseph Gariepy. He passed away in Barrie, Ontario at the age of 83.