Ernie Bumbacco was local hockey star that is from the formative years of hockey, locally or anywhere else. It was the ’30s and he played for about every team in the north.
Bumbacco was a star centre in the Canadian Secondary Schools Association hockey championships in Ottawa in 1938 when he played for the Scollard Hall Bears for North Bay.
“A flashy little centre from Sault Ste. Marie who scored the winning goal in the last two minutes to beat Ottawa Tech for the title,” was how he was described in The North Bay Nugget.
Bumbacco’s goalie was another Sault Legend: Horace ‘Bud’ Lamarche.
Bumbacco was a star again the following year with the North Bay Trappers of the Ontario Junior A League championships. In a two-game, total goals series “Ernie electrified the crowd with his performance,” as the Nugget also wrote. Both games went into overtime, but North Bay lost both games.
Beginning in 1936, North Bay got a new arena and it sparked interest in hockey at the junior and senior levels.
Ernie moved back to the Sault to play intermediate and senior hockey alongside his brother Mello and Willy Naccarato on ‘the spaghetti line.’
Ernie also played softball and was said to be just as good as a hockey player. This was with the Marconi Esquires.
In 1983 he was inducted into the Sault’s Hockey Hall of Fame.
Also worth noting, Ernie played for the Sault Indians from 1938 to 1941. He also played for the Soo Atomics for the 1945-46 season and the Soo Greyhounds for 1947-48 season.
Ernie passed away in 2002.