Doug Harvey was unquestionably the top defenseman of his era. Along with Eddie Shore and Bobby Orr, he probably had the greatest impact of any player at that position. His dramatic rushes and superior defensive work allowed him to dominate the game. In a franchise deep in heroes, Harvey gained an immortal place in the storied history of the Montreal Canadiens. His role the Habs' record-setting five straight Cup wins from 1956 to 1960 was paramount.
Harvey contributed to his first major hockey title in 1947 when he helped the Senior Royals win the Allan Cup. In 1947-48, he debuted with the Montreal Canadiens, embarking on a stellar pro career. His talent on the ice was matched by unqualified loyalty to the team.
Harvey proved to be an exceptionally talented and versatile player for the Habs. He quarterbacked the power play, set the tempo for the transitional game and the counterattack, defended tenaciously, blocked shots and intimidated the opposition by merely stepping on the ice. As much as any skater before or since, he was the complete player who meant everything to his team.
Beginning in 1951-52, he was selected to the NHL All-Star Team 11 consecutive years, 10 of them on the First Team. He also had a stranglehold on the Norris Trophy, winning it seven times in eight years from 1955 to 1962. His play was a vital component of Montreal's Stanley Cup win in 1953 and the NHL record five straight from 1956 to 1960.
Following the retirement of Maurice Richard in 1960, Harvey took over as the Canadiens' captain. Unfortunately for Harvey, he was one of the individuals blacklisted by the league because of his involvement with the first attempt to form a players' association. In fact, his number wasn't retired by the Canadiens until 1985.
In 1961-62, he joined the New York Rangers as player-coach. He guided the Blueshirts to their first post-season appearance in four years and was presented with his seventh Norris Trophy that summer. After trying both jobs for one year, he went back to being strictly a player for two seasons before retiring from the NHL. He continued to play, chiefly in the AHL, and then made a two-game return with Detroit in 1966-67.
Harvey began the 1967-68 schedule with the Kansas City Blues of the Central Hockey League before rejoining the NHL with expansion St. Louis for the playoffs. He aided the squad's drive to the Stanley Cup finals, where they were swept by his old team from Montreal. The following year he played all 70 regular-season games with the Blues before retiring for good. The legendary blueliner remained in hockey for one more season as the coach of the Laval Saints of the Quebec junior league.
In 1973 as an assistant coach and scout with the WHA's Houston Aeros, Harvey played a key role in luring the Howe family to Texas.
Harvey was unanimously elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.