Date of Birth: 1935
Place of Birth: Corner Brook, NL
Inducted: 2008 (Player Category)
Great speed and the ability to stand out when attacking opponent’s nets highlighted the 13-year provincial senior hockey career of Jake “The Bird” Critch. It was rewarded by four Herder Memorial Trophy championships for the Corner Brook Royals. He was simply one of the better players to ever wear a Corner Brook uniform.
Born in Humbermouth, his contributions to every Royals club with which he played included all aspects of the game. His attacking ability was such that he played for many seasons with center “Danky” Dorrington and with wingers Clobie Collins and Ernie Hynes. He was a relentless penalty killer and a valuable member of the power play unit. Despite his size, he never backed down from a physical game and supported his considerable ability with obvious determination.
After all-star play in the Corner Brook school hockey system in the 1950’s he earned all-star status as a member of the Humber Hawks in the Corner Brook senior league and joined the Royals in 1955. He was a major asset in the successes the Royals enjoyed, especially winning four Herder Memorial provincial titles and in the fine showing the club made in the 1968 national Allan Cup competition.
From 1955 to 1968, he was an impressive contributor to the Royals. His speed was a major asset and he finished within the league top ten point getters every year of his career. In 1964, he was second in provincial scoring with a remarkable 43 points from 17 goals and 26 assists in only 20 games. He compiled 35 points for 20 games in 1966 and had 55 points from 40 games in1968, fine examples of his scoring prowess.
Throughout his career, his love of hockey was very evident and his enjoyment continued after his senior playing was finished. In 1975, at an international old-timers tournament in Amsterdam, Holland, he was named to the competition’s Canadian all-star team. When the 2000-century arrived, he remained very active with the Corner Brook old-timers hockey.