coeurs de lyon

Sporting Club de Lyon won the very first French hockey championship in January of 1907, beating Louis Magnus’ Club des Patineurs de Paris by a score of 8-2 on their circular home rink in Lyon, the Palais de Glace.

The following year, in Chamonix, the Parisians got their revenge. In the 1908 championship, though Lyon took the lead on a controversial penalty shot, Paris came back to win the game (and the title) by a score of 2-1. That year, Lyon lined up the forwards O. Grillet, Albert Kimmerling, and Raymond Aubert, with J.A. Delon at halfback and Guillermin and D. Lehmann as backs. Barbezat — in the middle here — was the goaltender. 1908 was SC Lyon’s swan song: the Palais de Glace closed that same year, and the city didn’t get a new rink until 1953.

Albert Kimmerling — “Kiki,” they called him — was Lyon’s captain, and their star: in 1907, he scored five goals in his team’s 8-2 triumph. After carefully studying moustaches across a selection of historical photographs, I’ve determined that (I think) he’s on the end to the right here.

When he wasn’t playing hockey, Kimmerling was a pioneering aviator, and is credited with having piloted the first ever flight in Africa (launching in 1909, from East London in what’s now South Africa) and being involved in its first aircraft crash (a minor one, in 1910, also in East London). I’m sorry to say that Kimmerling died, aged just 29, in another crash, in northern France, in 1912. There’s a Rue Kimmerling in Lyon today, not so far from Patinoire Charlemagne, the rink where the modern-day Lyon HC plays in France’s Division 3.