Earl was definitely not considered to be a star hockey player by most standards, but rather a spirited and determined journeyman who did his job very well although virtually unnoticed. Only three times did the underrated Earl score more than 20 goals, yet he was known for his graceful skating and a booming shot.
After completing junior hockey for his hometown Lethbridge Native Sons, Earl turned pro in 1954, playing just two games for Vancouver of the WHL. However he soon put together 3 successful years under his belt and earned a trial with the New York Rangers in 1958. For the first two years in NY he saw little ice time, but by 1960 the soft spoken Earl made the team permanently, notching 13 goals in 66 games.
The following season, he enjoyed his best season as a pro, scoring 26 goals, 31 assists and 57 points while playing a full 70 game schedule.
Earl often played center with Andy Bathgate on the right side and Dean Prentice on the left. The 1962 playoffs against Toronto really defined Earl's career. With Earl in the lineup the Rangers were on the verge of upsetting the heavily favored Leafs. However Earl got knocked out of the series with a serious injury. The result was disastrous for the Rangers, who ended up losing the series. New York newspapers quickly immortalized Earl by criticizing the Rangers play minus Earl.
Earl remained on Broadway until the beginning of 1967-68. The Pittsburgh Penguins took the veteran forward in the first ever expansion draft. Earl played a year and a half in "Steeltown" before a trade to the west coast. Earl eventually finished his career in usual anonymity in Oakland, but did in 54 games have a 21 goal, 45 point year in 1969. He retired in 1971.
Earl's son Earl Jr also enjoyed a professional hockey career, but was nowhere near as successful. He scored 4 goals and 4 assists in 39 career NHL games.
Earl Ingarfield stayed involved with the game and went on to coach the Regina Pats (WCJHL) and later became a scout for NY Islanders as well as the director of player personnel.