Reg Noble was a winner at both the amateur and professional levels throughout his career. His consistent scoring and natural skill granted him status as one of the game's top left wings. He was also one of hockey's most independent thinkers, and he often got himself into trouble by ignoring training schedules and team curfews. Despite his free spirit, he was a brilliant stickhandler who played hard and earned the favor of fans everywhere.
His hockey skills were refined with the Collingwood Business College squad, the town's OHA junior outfit at the time. In 1914-15, Noble helped the Collingwood juniors win their league before they lost out to Berlin (later Kitchener) in the provincial semifinals. The next season he played a major role in the Toronto Riversides' OHA senior championship by leading all scorers with six goals in four games. That spring he was also called in to aid the St. Michael's Majors' drive to the junior title. Noble was the top player on the squad with nine goals in six games.
Noble joined the professional ranks with the NHA's Toronto Blueshirts in 1916-17. He was enjoying a solid year with nine goals in 14 games when the team folded and he was picked up by the Montreal Canadiens. As a member of the Canadiens, he contributed four goals in six matches but was deemed too late an addition to be eligible for Montreal's quest for the Stanley Cup. He missed out on the club's trip to Seattle, where the Metropolitans made history as the first American team to win the Cup.
Noble's rights weren't retained when the NHA disbanded and the Canadiens prepared to enter the newly formed NHL. Instead, he was signed a week later by the Toronto Arenas. The new signee scored 30 goals in 20 games during the inaugural NHL season to finish third in the scoring race. More importantly, the Toronto club became the new league's first Stanley Cup winner.
Noble remained a stalwart with the franchise when it was renamed the St. Patricks in 1919-20. During this period, he formed one of hockey's great early lines with right winger Cecil "Babe" Dye and center Corb Denneny. Noble was a crowd favorite at the old Mutual Street Arena and one loyal fan used to wind up a siren whenever Noble stole the puck from an opposing attacker, sending the rest of the crowd into a frenzy. Noble's poke-check to thwart the enemy became nearly as famous as his goal-scoring exploits.
In their third year as the St. Pats, the club finished in second place and faced the powerful Ottawa Senators in the playoffs. They won the first match at home and the second game was played amid large pools of water on the natural surface of the Dey Arena in the nation's capital. This proved to be the last time an NHL game was played on natural ice. The St. Pats held the home side to a scoreless draw to earn the right to play the PCHA champion Vancouver Maroons for the Stanley Cup and the eastern squad triumphed three games to two.
In December 1924 Noble was traded to the Montreal Maroons and was part of a third Cup triumph in 1925-26. Beginning in 1927, he spent over five seasons as a defenseman with the Detroit Cougars/Falcons when Jack Adams refused to believe the rumours that Noble was washed up as a player. Noble still managed to add 23 goals to his career total while functioning in a defensive role. He went on to serve as the second captain in franchise history from 1927 to 1930.
Noble played his last 20 NHL games for the Maroons in the second half of the 1932-33 season. His career totals of 167 goals and 97 assists reflect the fact that assists were credited infrequently during this era. The following year he skated as a pro for the final time with the Cleveland Indians of the IAHL.
After retiring as a player, Noble returned to the NHL for two seasons as a referee. He was elected to the Red Wings Hall of Fame in 1944 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.