Lester was born into a great athletic family. His father, W.O. Bligh, was an outstanding shortstop for the Yarmouth Gateways and goaltender for the Bridgetown Hawks. His brother Orlay became an exceptional hockey player. The boys spurred each other on with a healthy rivalry. Nets were often set up in the family kitchen and sometimes it got loud over a disputed goal. They also became proficient ball players on the school team.
Lester's first love of sports was hockey. He first played for the Baptist Trail Blazers and later the high school team. In his first game as a goaltender, he faced one hundred and four shots in a 3-1 playoff game loss to Canning. He said that the first shot hit him in the face and, as goaltenders did not wear masks in those days, it really woke him up and made him more alert.
He had a phenomenal career for the Berwick Three Stars from 1932-36. The play downs had a two-game total goal format. In March 1932, he carried his team past Bear River 5-1 in Annapolis. Next, Bridgewater was beaten 7-1 to propel the Three Stars to play Halifax for the provincial championship. Always in great form and described as having horseshoes hung all over him, he was outstanding! This fourteen-year-old showed he wouldn’t be beaten very often. The Berwick squad lost 4-3 in a two game total goal to the Halifax Junior Canadians.
He started every game and always gave the team a chance to win. On January 10, 1934 against Kings County Academy, the previous season’s provincial champs, Lester led the Three Stars to a 6-0 shutout. In a game that was fast and evenly divided, his goaltending made the difference.
In late winter of 1935, the Three Stars played the Truro Bearcats for the provincial championship. The Halifax Press stated that Truro had the fastest junior team in Nova Scotia. The final game opened lightning fast and never let up for a single moment, which delighted the largest and loudest crowd assembled in Truro in years. The Cats took the game 7-4 and the series 8-7. Berwick had two disallowed goals. The Three Stars played well but it was Lester Bligh who was the real star, "throwing rubber from all sides and angles". Truro fans testified that it was the finest net minding they had seen all winter.
Many great hockey players have stood out helping Berwick win Nova Scotia and Maritime titles, but none more than Lester Bligh. For example, in a 1936 series against the Halifax Canadians a flying puck rendered him unconscious and retired him from the game and Halifax went on to win by an overwhelming 15-3.
He was a Forest Ranger and Safety Instructor for the Department of Lands and Forests. He was active in the community and served two terms as Fire Chief. His daughter, Marlene, was inducted into the KCA Hall of Fame in 1987 and his grandson, Tim Taylor, in 1997.
It is with pride that Lester Bligh is recognized by the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.
Inducted June 2008