Herbie Lewis was born in Calgary, Alberta, and was to become known for his relentless defence and blinding speed during an eleven-year career in the NHL. He was rough for a little guy, a good defensive winger and accurate playmaker, and considered the fastest skater in the NHL in his day with his trademark short, mincing steps.
Lewis started out in 1921-22, playing for the Calgary Hustlers of the Calgary City Junior League. In 1922-23 he played for the Calgary Canadians of the Calgary City League and led the team to the Memorial Cup playdowns where he was first in scoring with 17 goals and 24 points in 12 games. He followed up in 1923-24 with 20 points in seven Memorial Cup playdown games while still with the Canadians. Lewis journeyed to Duluth in 1924 and played with the Hornets in the USAHA where he was given the nickname "The Duke of Duluth." He led the CHL in points (28) and assists (11) in the 1925-26 season and was a CHL First Team All-Star that year.
Lewis reportedly turned down a $20,000 offer from the New York Rangers prior to signing with Detroit in 1928, and played for the Cougars, Falcons, and Red Wings during his eleven-year NHL career. He participated in the first NHL All-Star game in 1934 (the Ace Bailey Benefit Game) and went on to lead the team in playoff scoring with five goals. He played in the longest NHL game on March 24-25, 1936, when Detroit defeated the Montreal Maroons 1-0 after six overtime periods. The Wings went on to capture the 1936 Stanley Cup and won it again the next year as Lewis combined on a line with Marty Barry and Hec Kilrea to dominate almost every game of the finals.
In 1939, with his NHL career behind him, Lewis brought hockey to Indianapolis as general manager, coach, and player with the Indianapolis Capitols of the IAHL. Lewis was behind the bench as coach of the team when the Capitols won the Calder Cup in 1942.
Herbie Lewis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.