Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - One on One with Earl Seibert
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One on One with Earl Seibert

10 APRIL 2012
During the 1935-36 season, Earl Seibert was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks.
During the 1935-36 season, Earl Seibert was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Earl Walter Seibert was born December 7, 1911 in Berlin, Ontario, the same birthplace as his Hall of Fame father, Oliver. During the First World War, Canadian reaction against all things German led to the name of the city being changed to Kitchener in 1916, named after The Right Honourable The Earl Kitchener, a British Field Marshal who had died that year when his ship was sunk by the Germans off the Orkney Islands.

Earl played two years of junior hockey with the Kitchener Greenshirts beginning in 1927-28 before turning professional with the Springfield Indians of the Can-Am League in 1929-30. During his two years in Springfield, Seibert suffered a concussion and for the rest of his career, he wore a helmet, making him the first professional player to wear head protection on a regular basis.

In May 1931, the New York Rangers purchased Seibert's contract from Springfield, and he joined a blueline that included Ching Johnson and Ott Heller. Compared to most in the National Hockey League, Seibert was a big man at 6-foot two inches in height and 220 pounds. He played the game tough but fair, but had a mean streak, and when partnered with Johnson, was one of the most formidable defence pairings in the league at that time. In addition, Seibert was an excellent puck-moving defenceman who was also a good shot-blocker. He quickly developed into a star.

In 1932-33, Earl helped the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup, defeating the defending Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the best-of-five final.

Seibert scored a career-best 13 goals in 1933-34, and in 1934-35, was named to the NHL's First All-Star Team. It would be the first of ten consecutive seasons in which he would be named an NHL All-Star on defence; four times to the First All-Star Team and six times to the Second Team.

In 1931 Seibert joined the New York Rangers where he would spend parts of five seasons.
In 1931 Seibert joined the New York Rangers where he would spend parts of five seasons.
(Hockey Hall of Fame)
Earl employed his father, Oliver Seibert, as his agent during his time with the Rangers, and the contract negotiations were animated and acrimonious. The Rangers finally tired of the constant back and forth, and traded Earl to the Chicago Black Hawks for Art Coulter in January 1936. There, he continued his All-Star play.

Earl is remembered for an unfortunate incident that occurred on January 28, 1937. During a game against the Montreal Canadiens, Seibert and Howie Morenz chased the puck behind the Chicago net. Seibert tied up his man on the play, but Morenz fell awkwardly into the boards with Seibert toppling on top of the star forward, shattering Morenz's leg in four places. Morenz was taken to the hospital and would never play again. He died six weeks later, on March 8.

The Black Hawks won an improbable Stanley Cup championship in 1937-38. They finished the regular season with a record of 14 wins, 25 losses and 9 ties, finishing in third place in the NHL's American Division, a full 23 points behind the second-place New York Rangers. Yet, they soldiered on to the Stanley Cup final, facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in a best-of-five series, and took the series in four games. The league was so certain they wouldn't win the series in Game 4 that they didn't send the Stanley Cup to Chicago, so the Hawks had to celebrate their championship without the Cup. Seibert was moved up to forward for that series and picked up a goal and an assist.

Earl Seibert went on to coach the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League for one season in 1946-47.
Earl Seibert went on to coach the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League for one season in 1946-47.
(Ernie Fitzsimmons/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Earl was so popular in Chicago that it is reported that team owner Major McLaughlin gave his All-Star defenceman a piece of the team's ownership, but when McLaughlin died, manager Bill Tobin refused to recognize the deal and instead, traded Seibert to the Detroit Red Wings on January 2, 1945 for Don Grosso, Byron McDonald and Cully Simon.

Earl played just 43 games over a season-and-a-half in Detroit before he retired. His NHL statistics total 645 regular season games played, scoring 89 goals and 187 assists for 276 points along with 746 penalty minutes. In 75 playoff games, he added 12 goals and 12 assists as well as 82 minutes in penalties. In 1998, The Hockey News list of the 100 greatest players of all-time had Seibert ranked number 72.

Earl briefly coached Detroit's AHL team in Indianapolis before Eddie Shore hired Earl to coach his Springfield Indians, the team with which he'd begun his professional career. He remained for five seasons, but on-going feuds with Shore finally ended the relationship at the conclusion of the 1950-51 season.

Earl Seibert was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963, joining his father, Oliver Seibert, who was elected in 1961. They became the first father-son combination elected to the Hall of Fame in the Players' Category.

Earl spent the rest of his days in Agawam, Massachusetts, and died May 12, 1990 at the age of 78.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Earl Seibert was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1944-45 season and went on to play 43 games in over a season and a half
Earl Seibert was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings during the 1944-45 season and went on to play 43 games in over a season and a half.
(Ernie Fitzsimmons/Hockey Hall of Fame)