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

Dye, Babe

Cecil "Babe" Dye was a halfback for the Toronto Argonauts and such a good baseball player that Connie Mack offered him the extraordinary salary of $25,000 to join his Philadelphia Athletics team in 1921. But Dye limited his baseball to playing outfield with Baltimore, Buffalo and Toronto in the International League. His real career was in professional hockey.

Dye joined the Toronto St. Pats in 1918 when the team was still a senior OHA operation and led them to the championship. The coach of that team was the same man who coached the De La Salle team, Eddie Powers Sr. and Dye cited this man's influence as a major factor in his development as a player. Dye went on to play with the NHL St. Pats in 1919-20 on a line with Reg Noble and Jack Adams. Later, when Adams left Toronto to play in the Pacific League with Vancouver, Corb Denneny played on the line in his place. Dye was short at 5'8" and slight at just 150 pounds, and his strengths and weaknesses as a player were quickly exposed. On the downside, his skating ability was behind other NHLers, but because of his brilliant stickhandling and hard shot he made an impressive contribution to the team, scoring 11 goals in just twice as many games during his first season.

Three times between 1920 and 1925 Dye led the league in scoring. He twice scored goals in 11 consecutive games and in the 1924-25 season he counted 38, a Toronto record that stood for 35 years, until Frank Mahovlich entered the NHL. In his first six seasons, Dye scored a remarkable 176 goals in just 170 games, a pace that wasn't equaled until Wayne Gretzky came along in the 1980s and rewrote the NHL record book. Because of his weak skating combined with his high scoring, Dye always had an unbalanced goals-to-assists ratio. During his career, he scored 202 goals but made only 41 assists.

Dye's name is also in the record book on account of the 1922 Stanley Cup playoffs. The St. Pats played the champions of the Western Canada Hockey League, the Vancouver Millionaires, in a best-of-five finals. Dye scored two game-winning goals, including four in the fifth and final game, a 5-1 Toronto rout. In all he scored nine of the team's 16 goals, and those nine are still a Stanley Cup finals record. This was to be Dye's only taste of Cup victory.

Ironically, Dye's departure from Toronto to Chicago contributed to Conn Smythe, who was then general manager of the New York Rangers, becoming owner of the Toronto franchise and later renaming the team the Maple Leafs. At the start of the 1926-27 season, the St. Pats sold Dye to Chicago. When Rangers owner Colonel Hammond discovered that Smythe hadn't expressed an interest in Dye, Hammond fired him.

Dye played one season with the Hawks on a line with George Hay and Dick Irvin. But at training camp in Winnipeg for his second year, Dye suffered a broken leg that caused him to miss the entire 1927-28 season and in effect end his career. He was sold to the Americans the next year but scored only one goal, and the year after that he played with New Haven in the minors. After a few games with Smythe's Maple Leafs in 1930-31, he retired for good with the best goals-to-games ratio in the history of the game.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1970.

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