Wednesday

Earl Seibert

Earl Seibert was born on December 7, 1911. He is the son of Hall of Famer Oliver Seibert.

In 1931 Siebert was traded from Springfield of the Canadian - American Hockey League to the New York Rangers. In New York he was part of the outstanding defensive corps that included Ching Johnson, Doug Brennan and Ott Heller. Seibert quickly developed into a star on the blue line. In 1933 Seibert helped the NY Rangers win the Stanley Cup.

Seibert quickly emerged as a no-nonsense defender with a reputation as among the toughest in the game. His arrival allowed the Rangers to replace Taffy Abel, another monster on the blue line, who they moved to Chicago a couple of years earlier. Seibert was paired with Abel's defense partner, the sinister Ching Johnson, quickly reinstating New York's ultra-aggressive back line.

Johnson was happy to play with the 6'2" 220lb Seibert.

“Let’s put it this way, no one wanted any part of ‘Si’ in a fight. Even Eddie Shore (Boston) and Red Horner (Toronto) steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time," said Johnson.

But Seibert was much more than just a rearguard roughian. He was a great shot blocker, and he was a far better skater and puck handler than the departed Abel. Seibert rarely gets remembered as the excellent hockey player that he was. Between 1934-35 and 1943-44, he made the All Star team 10 seasons in a row, six times on the first squad and four times on the second squad. Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.

Seibert's hulking presence must have made it easy for fans to spot him on the ice, although he wore a special piece of equipment that made it even easier for them. After suffering a serious concussion in Springfield, he permanently wore a helmet, making him the first NHLer to do so.

Though he was intimidating and unforgiving, most of the time Seibert was very clean. That is why it is unfortunate that he is remembered for one hit in particular. On January 28, 1937 Siebert cross checked Howie Morenz from behind, sending the Montreal Canadiens' superstar sliding feet first into the end boards. Morenz crumpled in pain and Seibert fell on top of his helpless leg, breaking it in four places. Morenz would never skate again, and six weeks later the great Howie Morenz died.

By this time Seibert was playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. In 1935-36 Siebert was traded, due largely to his multiple contract disputes with the Rangers, to Chicago for Art Coulter. He played a huge role in what was his second Stanley Cup championship in 1938. It was an unexpected, Cinderella run to the championship by Chicago.

Seibert was exiled to Detroit in the 1944-45 season, for Cully Simon, Don Grosso and Byron McDonald. It was said that previous owner Major McLaughlin had given Seibert a percentage of ownership in the team, but once McLaughlin died, manager Bill Tobin wouldn't recognize the deal and banished him to the Motor City. Seibert would play through 1946 before retiring as a player.

Earl Siebert finished his career with 645 games played, 89 goals and 187 assists for 276 points and 746 PIM. In 1964 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining his father and becoming the first father-son combination to achieve such distinction.

In his post-hockey career, Seibert owned and operated a liquor store in Agawam, Massachusetts. He died at the age of 79, succumbing to cancer.

3 comments:

Josh,  1:25 AM  

Thank You for a lot of insightful information about seibert. I love hockey and always have. Of course played my whole life too. I've never heard of him, but glad i just learned alot about him. I came across something and was trying to find out more about him. it looks like you summed it up on his career which is pretty amazing. I cant imagine how fun it would have been to watch a game from those days. Did Morenz die from his injuries? Again Thanks, can't wait to find out more in my little hunt for info!

Dennis Lee,  3:05 PM  

Yes Morenz died. Earl was married to my mother's cousin. He owned a package store in Agawam, MA. One dayin th late sixties two guys tried to rob him.He disarmed one, and beat him pretty god. The other guy triex to take him on, and got bloodied as well. Both were arrested. Alledgedly, they begged the police to hurry up get them away frkm him.

dan james 7:14 PM  

I remember Big Earl running the package store on the state line in the late 70's. It was right before Riverside Park Amusement Park. He was a big man not to be messed with. He walked with a limp caused by the years of playing a rough sport.

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