Since the days of playing hockey with the Westfort Athletic Association on the old Wayland Rink, Ralph Stewart's involvement in the game has covered over 30 years. Moving up through the minor ranks with the Elks and Fort William Canadiens, Ralph joined the Montreal Canadiens Junior club in 1965. Turning pro in 1968, "Stewie" caught the eye of fellow Fort William native Bud Poile and was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks from Montreal in 1970.
Moving around the Central and Western Hockey Leagues, Ralph was an exceptional goal scorer, consistently at the top of the CHL point board. In 1972, while with the Fort Worth Wings he scored 5 goals and assisted on another, earning 6 points in one game, tying the league record. In January of 1973 Ralph was leading the Central Hockey League with 57 points in only 38 games, and was traded to New York Islanders, going on to play in the NHL with them for four seasons.
In his first full season with the Islanders, Ralph did not disappoint his fans as he led the team in goals for the 1973-74 season with 23. Considering that he scored five of those goals shorthanded, and five unassisted, and that he earned all of them in just 67 games as a broken collarbone had shelved him for part of the season, his accomplishments on the ice were that much more impressive.
At 6'1 Ralph was the epitome of a big centre, with reach to match and a long skating stride. Islanders coach Al Arbour said that Ralph's size, strength and determination had a lot to do with his scoring abilities, especially when the team was a man down. New York's GM Bill Torrey stated that Ralph brought back memories of the old time players, who could go the length of the ice and hold off two or three players during the push from the blue line in.
Finishing up his pro career following the 1979 season, Ralph returned to Thunder Bay where he contributed his talents to the Thunder Bay Twins. Ralph was with the Twins as a player and coach during most of the 1980s, claiming three Allan Cup titles, rounding out an impressive hockey career.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996