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

 

8 Comments

  1. TradeRyder says:

    Great story Dave. Reminds you of the risk these players take with their bodies… and that the real heart and soul of hockey is the comraderie of the men on the ice – and of course, ours is part of that too… the love of the sport and respect for the strength, talent, and dedication of the players… that’s what it’s all about!

    ____________________________________________________
    Too late to trade Ryder now….shoulda listened!

  2. earl says:

    A guy named Earl, couldn’t have been that bad a guy.

  3. vic says:

    My Mother took me to the Forum When Howie was laying before his burial.
    Not that I remember but she always talked about Howie Morenze.

  4. Naila Jinnah says:

    That is so sad.

  5. Keith says:

    It’s a crime that the NHL (which seems to lack some class)would not even send a card or flowers to Earl Seibert’s funeral. I read a story in The Hockey News before Seibert died and the question posed to him about Howie Morenz and he replied, “Yeah I killed Howie Morenz”. He had a tremendous amount of guilt that followed him the rest of his life. Very sad story from a guy who deserved far better treatment from the NHL.

  6. Robert L says:

    Thanks for the great read, Dave! I’d never known that Siebert was the player who checked Morenz, or that he’d been so remorseful about it throughout his life.

    It is quite shameful what the NHL had done upon Siebert’s death, and just as unfortunate that hockey left him so bitter that he didn’t attend his own induction.

  7. Sulemaan says:

    What a shame. I think players such as Downie, Boulerice and Simon should read this article.

  8. yathehabsrule says:

    Great read Mr. Stubbs.

    Never realized Earl Siebert delivered that check.

    Real shame he lived through that guilt all those years to the point he did not acknowledge his own induction into the Hall of Fame.

    But pathetic that the NHL could not send even a card to his funeral…


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