Sault Legends: James “Babe” Donnelly


James “Babe” Donnelly may be known for playing 34 games for the Montreal Maroons in 1926-27. “He was best known as a fine amateur player and a reliable worker in the minors,” says the Hockey Hall of Fame history on him.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Donnelly played with the Toronto 227th Battalion in 1916-17 before serving a year in World War I. He then spent many seasons with the Sault Greyhounds through each of their transition periods before recording an assist in 34 games for the Maroons in 1926-27.

After receiving his taste of the NHL, Donnelly played for several clubs in the AHA and the IAHL. In 1932-33 he coached for two years in the NOHA with the Falconbridge Falcons. He then ventured to Britain to play and coach with the Streatham Redskins before retiring in 1937.

Not much more is known to me right now as of James but if I find anything out or anyone comes forward because of this column I will let you know. Here is a list of his time in hockey:

1916-17 Hamilton 227th Battalion
1916-17 Toronto 204th Battalion
1919-20 Edmonton Eskimos
1920-21 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1920-21 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1921-22 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1921-22 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1922-23 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1922-23 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1923-24 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1923-24 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1924-25 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1925-26 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1926-27 Montreal Maroons
1926-27 Stratford Nationals
1926-27 Detroit Greyhounds
1927-28 Minneapolis Millers
1928-29 Philadelphia Arrows
1929-30 London Panthers
1929-30 Toronto Millionaires
1930-31 Buffalo Majors
1931-32 Buffalo Majors
1931-32 Tulsa Oilers
1932-33 Falconbridge Falcons
1933-34 Falconbridge Falcons
1934-35 Falconbridge Falcons
1935-36 Streatham Hockey
1935-36 Streatham Hockey
1936-37 Streatham Hockey

I did however receive an email regarding Joe Brunette from his only surviving daughter. We contact each other and I am hoping to have some more history on Joe in the coming months.

Christopher Shoust
Christopher Shoust, Dip. J, BFA (honours), is a working artist in Sault Ste. Marie, who primarily works as a painter, writer, sculptor, filmmaker and reporter for He is excited to be a part of the SaultOnline team and has great things to contribute!