Former Habs player, Ottawa businessman ‘Rip’ Riopelle dies

A Second World War veteran, NHL player, and prominent businessman passed away Sunday at the age of 91.

Howard “Rip” Riopelle, who launched his professional hockey career in the 1945-46 season suiting up for the Montreal Royals, died in his Blackburn Hamlet home.

“He was a very, very, faith-filled man,” said daughter Julie Wallace.

“His big thing was always doing the will of God.”

The father of four — to Gerry and Jane of Ottawa and Mike of Brockville — suffered from dementia.

Nonetheless, “physically, he was in great shape,” said Wallace.

Riopelle was the youngest of 15 children.

Wallace said he enjoyed telling the story about his own father saw him on the ice as a youngster and told him to toss his skates in the Rideau Canal.

Riopelle played for four seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and the junior Ottawa Senators before opening Ottawa’s first fabric store, Riopelle Fabrics, in the Ô50s.

Disease took their father over the years, but despite his success “he wasn’t defined by what he did,” she said.

Donations in his memory can be made to St. Patrick’s Home or Companions of the Cross.

Funeral arrangements are being finalized and will be published Monday.


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