No one has given more to Island sport and asked for less in return than Art Perry.
Throughout his lifelong association with sport and youth, Art is perhaps unique in his
contribution at every level: athlete, coach, linesman, referee and pioneering director of
physical fitness for Charlottetown area. But it has been people, not public honors, that
have mattered most to him.
Born March 10, 1920, in Charlottetown, Arthur Lemuel Perry as a boy displayed the
essential characteristics of the natural athlete – strength and speed.
At age 10, young Art would set a provincial speed skating record in his age group, and
go on to be one of the 1930’s leading speedsters. Rinks were scarce on the Island, but
Art joined the West End Rangers, who played on the private rink of then Lt. Gov.
DeBlois, and in 1935, this team would become the province’s first-ever Midget
champions of the Maritimes.
Perry’s hockey career is impressive. He would be the hard shooting right-winger for
the legendary Charlottetown Junior Royals of 1938-39, Eastern Canadian champs.
Upon the outbreak of the war, Art played hockey in whatever city he was stationed here
and abroad. As fate would have it, he would meet his future wife Kay while playing for
Sussex, England. After the war, he would turn down an offer to play pro hockey with
the Sydney Millionaires in order to begin, along with Brigadier Bill Reid [inducted 1985]
and Jim Hogan [inducted 1990], P.E.I.’s fledgling network of minor hockey, baseball
leagues and amateur athletic facilities.
Nowhere was Art Perry’s immense strength and stamina more evident that on the rugby
field. Before his mighty kicking knee was damaged by a stray side tackle, Art’s
towering kicks were the stuff of legends as the Charlottetown Abbies and Nomads
competed for the coveted McCurdy Cup.
Surgery and a metal knee brace borrowed from Wes “Bucko” Trainor [inducted 1983]
could not repair the damage, and another chapter in the Perry saga regrettably closed.
It was common knowledge in Maritime circles that American scouts had eyed Art Perry
as a potential kicker in the National Football League.
Art Perry’s baseball career in many ways parallels that of the great Charlie Ryan
[inducted 1986]. Both men were catchers and powerful hitters. Among Perry’s
outstanding stats was a league-leading .449 batting average with the City League
Despite sports injuries which would have defeated a lesser man, Art Perry would go on
to a career as one of the Maritime’s leading linesmen referees, until a mild heart attack
in 1973, forced him to retire from this branch of sport, which included a stint in the
Maritime “Big Four” Hockey League.
Art Perry the athlete had few equals. Yet it is the Art Perry who would drag heavy
hoses through the woods on Brighton Road all night long, so that “the kids could get a
bit of skating” in Victoria Park, and be ready for a day’s work despite having had no
sleep, that truly defines his greatness as a man. We can truly say that our Island is a
far better place because of Art Perry.
Art Perry passed away on November 8, 2007.
Updated: November 2007