Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Siebert, Babe

Siebert, Babe

Although born in Plattsville, Ontario, Babe Siebert grew up in nearby Zurich, where he played hockey virtually every day of his childhood. He entered the NHL with the Montreal Maroons in 1925-26 and almost immediately became part of the famous S Line that also featured Hooley Smith and Nels Stewart. In that first year the team finished second to Ottawa in the standings but beat the Senators in the playoffs and then finished off Victoria, the PCHL champs, to win the Stanley Cup.

The S Line was the most feared line in hockey until 1932, when Siebert was traded to the Rangers. Although the line won no more Cup championships after that first year together, the three were consistently near the top of the league in scoring. Stewart was the natural scorer on the line, and Smith was the passer, but Siebert was equally well known for his rushing, his sheer physical strength and his relentless backchecking to get the team possession of the puck.

In New York, Siebert won his second Stanley Cup in 1933 when the Blueshirts defeated Toronto three games to one in the best-of-five finals. He was traded to Boston midway through the following season, but in 1936 Cecil Hart became coach of the Canadiens and insisted the club reacquire Howie Morenz and pick up Siebert. And so, in the twilight of his career, Babe returned to Montreal. His speed was gone, so Hart wisely put him back on defense, where he was just as effective as ever. In his first year with the Canadiens, he won the Hart Trophy.

By this time, Siebert was as popular off the ice as on. His wife had been paralyzed from the waist down after complications during the birth of their second child, and Babe was ever faithful to her.

Most of Siebert's income and savings went to nursing his wife, but he neither complained nor solicited help. After the 1938-39 season, he retired, and just a few weeks later he was named the new coach of the Canadiens. Tragedy struck, however, on August 25, 1939, when he drowned at the family resort while swimming out to get an inflatable tire that his children had been playing with. As the tire drifted away from shore, Siebert apparently grew fatigued and simply disappeared from sight.

Indeed the hockey world was shocked by the loss of Siebert, and the NHL arranged a memorial game at the Forum, with the proceeds going to his wife. It was the third such game in league history - the first, in 1934, had been for Ace Bailey after his career was ended by an Eddie Shore hit; the second, for the family of Howie Morenz, was held in 1937 - and these were the forerunners to the All-Star Game which became an annual fixture starting in 1947. The Siebert game raised more than $15,000 for his family even though attendance was surprisingly weak at just 6,000. Siebert was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964.

Esso hockey medals of achievement