Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Seibert, Oliver

Seibert, Oliver

Skating and playing hockey were traditions with the Seibert family of Berlin, Ontario. Berlin has long since been renamed Kitchener, but the Seibert name has remained synonymous with Kitchener hockey at the turn of the last century.

Oliver Seibert was the first-born of a family that loved hockey to the extent that, at one time, he organized a hockey team comprised entirely of family members. His brothers--Edward, Nelson, Clarence, Albert and Shannon-- played alongside Oliver and his father Frank "Butch" Seibert. His father was an ice skater of some renown and, as legend has it, once skated against a trotter. The horse evidently had a one-mile record of two minutes and thirteen seconds but Frank Seibert, wearing only his old rocker skates, won a match race covering a distance of one mile over a course laid out on the ice of the Grand River. Oliver Seibert was, by reputation, a very fast skater and versatile player. He actually began his hockey career as a goaltender, a position usually reserved for those who were weaker on the blades. But, he switched to centre by the time he stepped on the ice with Berlin in the Western Ontario Hockey Association in 1900. In his initial season he scored ten goals in eight games played and increased his production the following year to 13 goals in six games played. By 1902, his third year in the league, he led the scoring derby with 17 goals in eight games. Seibert was one of the first to use the wrist shot and it would seem that he found the mark more often than not.

His play had earned him the respect and admiration of Buck Irvin, coach and manager of the Guelph O.A.C., and one of Berlin's main rivals in the W.O.H.A. In an era when obtaining player transfers from one team to another was almost impossible, Irvin somehow managed to acquire Berlin's star player, Oliver Seibert, for the 1903 season. The acquisition did not result in the expected championship for Guelph and Seibert was back with his hometown team the following year.

When the International Pro Hockey League began operations in time for the 1904-05 season, Seibert made his way from Berlin to Sault Ste. Marie to play for the Canadian Soo, becoming one of the first Berlin players to turn professional.

Oliver Seibert went on to play professionally with London and Guelph in the Ontario Pro League and Northwestern Michigan League. His son, Earl Seibert, is also an honoured member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Oliver Seibert was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

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