Former Canadien Cain denied Hall of Fame

Herb Cain in his 1930s Canadiens team photo. He won the 1943-44 NHL scoring title with Boston.
Rice Studios, Courtesy Erle Schneidman, canadiensmemorabilia.com

From the Canadiens’ Joe Malone in 1917-18 through the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Mario Lemieux in 1996-97, there are 37 NHL scoring champions, deceased or alive, who are eligible for induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Thirty-six have been so honoured.

Solely not among them is the late Herb Cain, the former Montreal Maroon and Canadien and two-time Stanley Cup champion who won the league scoring title in 1943-44 with the Boston Bruins.

And it’s been reasonably argued through the decades that the apparent blackballing of Cain by former Bruins boss Art Ross – because Cain once held out for a pay raise – has played a role in his exclusion.

Cain retired from the game in 1950, banished to the minors by Ross, and would miraculously survive Hodgkin’s disease, treated with an experimental serum used on animals.

The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs profiles Cain, an NHL great who deserves to be among those honoured in hockey’s shrine.

4 Comments

  1. The Ian Cobb says:

    Dave, we are only getting half inch of your picture, two days in a row. Can’t tell what it is!!

  2. krob1000 says:

    I don’t know much about Herb Cain but I dug around into his career statistics and agree that given the era he probably should be given serious consideration. His 206 career goals in 571 games works out to an average of 30 goals per season in todays terms (over eighty-two games). He spent four years (still productive ones based on his stats) in Hershey where it appears he could have been padding those career totals. I have a suggestion for the National Hockey League……why not consider renaming some of the leagues trophies and awards as owners of older eras were not the most respectable sorts. I hear horror story after horror story about guys like Art Ross and Conn Smythe. Yes they helped lay the foundation for the game but they also helped make the lives of the players who played the game very difficult and therefore made life difficult for their families as well.

    Abusers of power don’t seem likely candidates to have awards named after them to me….then again what do I know….maybe the Bill Wirtz and Harold Ballard trophies are coming soon to an awards show near you.

  3. Naila Jinnah says:

    Excellent feature. It was so sad… I was especially impressed by the fact that he score all the goals for his school squad. Every single goal of the season. Either his teammates sucked (or were extremely gallant) or he outshone everyone.

    It’s a pity he hasn’t been recognized. Thanks for the history lesson!

  4. Keith says:

    Great story Dave. I totally agree with krob1000 in that men like Art Ross and Conn Smythe had absolute and total control over their players and ran their teams as they saw fit, regardless of how the players were treated which was mostly bad as only so many jobs were available during that era.


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