Haunted by the ghost of Howie Morenz

Earl Seibert
Hall of Famer has never gotten his due
Photo courtesy www.beehivehockey.com

It’s been 70 years since the tragic death of Canadiens legend Howie Morenz, who died of a coronary embolism when bloot clots went untreated following a multiple leg fracture he suffered in a Montreal Forum game on Jan. 28, 1937.

It was Chicago Black Hawks defenceman Earl Seibert, who some say was the equal of Boston Bruins blue-line legend Eddie Shore, who cleanly bodychecked Morenz, the latter’s skate caught in a rut in the ice, snapping Morenz’s leg in four places. The Canadiens star called it a clean check; nevertheless, Canadiens fans booed Seibert mercilessly until his NHL retirement nine years later.

For more than 50 years, until his 1990 death, Seibert lived with the fact it was his check that put Morenz out of the game and, ultimately, in an early grave. He struggled with this until cancer took his own life, having walked bitterly away from a game that never fully recognized a brilliant talent that won him two Stanley Cups and earned him induction into the Hall of Fame.

The NHL, in turn, chose to ignore his passing without representation at his funeral, an arrangement of flowers or even a card of sympathy.

The big Chicago defenceman deserves a much better legacy for his remarkable life in hockey, explored today by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.

Below: Earl Seibert in a 1930s Chicago Black Hawks team photo, from Montreal Star files; and Canadiens legend Howie Morenz during the same era, from the James Rice Studios collection


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