Eric " Doc" Prentice, a Timmins area boy and brother of Dean, still has the distinction of being the youngest player ever signed by the Toronto Leafs. The only thing is that it wasn't the Leafs that had their eyes upon the left winger. Jack Adams, of the Detroit Red Wings, intended to place Prentice with their O.H.A. junior " A" affiliate, Galt. It was the fall of 1943 and Galt was making plans to return to big-time hockey after an absence of seventeen seasons.
Adams wished to season the boy in Galt for awhile before deciding on his future. The Maple Leafs Hap Day had other ideas for the young player. Day, realizing that Adams was close to signing Prentice, swept into Galt and inked the young man to a contract. A furious Adams responded by snatching a player on the Leafs list, Tommy Love. Adams immediately sent a telegram to Day, requesting a trade of prospects. Day' s response was, " Sorry, not interested in that kind of Love"
Eric Prentice was one of twenty-three rookies in the St. Catherines' camp and he was one of the few that made it to the opening night lineup, a five all tie with the same Red Wings he was to sign with. Prentice didn't show up in the penalty or scoring lists for the game, but he did take a regular shift on the second line. " Doc" didn't help his cause during a road trip to New York. Babe Pratt, who had come over to the Leafs the past season, had an embarrassing moment with Prentice while sitting in the dressing room. Eric had just come from a practice, and had not removed his blades, when he rounded a corner and skated over Pratt' s toes. Pratt, despite heavy bandages, still played that night.
A few days later, Prentice picked up his only mention in the scoring summaries, two second period minor penalties, against the Canadiens. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to Providence, the Leafs farm team. Eric Prentice never did get back to the N.H.L. but he did continue playing for the rest of the forties in the American Hockey League and the Pacific Coast Hockey League before retiring as a player.