Frank Nighbor

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Frank Nighbor
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1947
Frank Nighbor, Vancouver Millionaires.jpg
Nighbor with the Vancouver Millionaires in the 1913–14 season.
Born (1893-01-26)January 26, 1893
Pembroke, ON, CAN
Died April 13, 1966(1966-04-13) (aged 73)
Pembroke, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg; 11 st 6 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Toronto Blueshirts
Vancouver Millionaires
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1912–1930

Julius Francis "Pembroke Peach" Nighbor (January 26, 1893 – April 13, 1966) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey Association (NHA) and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA and Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). An excellent defensive forward, his poke check, backchecking and bodychecking abilities thwarted enemy forwards' scoring attempts.[1] For his somewhat high penalty totals, he was a clean player and one of the last 60 minute hockey players. For his contributions on the ice, Nighbor was the first player ever to be awarded the Hart Trophy and the first to be awarded the Lady Byng Trophy.

Playing career[edit]

Nighbor first played professionally for the Port Arthur Bearcats of the Northern Ontario Hockey League in 1911. Fellow Pembroke native Harry Cameron was invited to play for Port Arthur but refused to go without Nighbor. The club agreed to bring Nighbor along, but they left him on the bench until injuries gave him an opportunity to play. He made the most of his opportunity by registering six goals in his first appearance.[1]

In 1912, he joined the new Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA where he scored 25 goals in 18 games. He only played the one season in Toronto, jumping to Vancouver of the PCHA the following season for two seasons, and was an important member of the Millionaires team which won the Stanley Cup over the Ottawa Senators in 1915.

He returned east after the Stanley Cup series and joined the Senators, whom he would play for until 1930, an important part of the dynasty of the 1920s winning four more cups in 1920, 1921, 1923, and 1927. He had his best season in 1916–17, scoring 41 goals in 19 games, finishing tied for the league lead with Joe Malone. In 1919–20 he scored 26 goals and 15 assists in just 23 games, then had a further 6 goals in 5 playoff games and led the Senators to their first Cup in the NHL. Nighbor would win the Stanley Cup again with Ottawa in 1921, 1923, and 1927.

Late in the 1925 season, Lady Byng, wife of the Governor-General of Canada and an avid Senators fan, invited Nighbor to Rideau Hall after a game. She showed Nighbor an ornate trophy and asked him if he thought the NHL would accept it as an award for its most gentlemanly player. Nighbor said he thought it would be a good idea—and to his surprise, Lady Byng presented him the trophy on the spot, making him the first winner of the Lady Byng Trophy.[2][3] A year earlier, he had been the first winner of the Hart Trophy.[1]

In 1929–30, Nighbor was traded to Toronto, as part of the fire sale of the failing Senators for Danny Cox and cash. He played 22 games for the Maple Leafs and retired in the off-season.

Playing style[edit]

Nighbor was considered a master of the "sweep check," as well as the "poke check", an almost entirely different action, taking the puck off the opponent's stick.[1] He was skilled and crafty with the puck and a good scorer.[1] He impressed with his sportsmanship, inspiring Lady Byng to donate the Lady Byng Trophy in his honour to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."[4] and she presented it personally to him.[5]

Post-playing career[edit]

Nighbor coached for the Buffalo Bisons and London Tecumsehs of the International League and the New York Rovers of the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. He would later turn to an insurance business he was a partner in and run it until he became ill.[1] Nighbor died of cancer on April 13, 1966 in Pembroke, Ontario at the age of 73.

Nighbor was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. He has also been inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. In 1998 he was ranked number 100 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.[5] In March 2010, at a Quebec auction, an American collector paid $33,000 USD to secure Frank Nighbor's game-worn Ottawa Senators sweater from the 1926–27 season.[6] A street in Ottawa's Kanata neighbourhood is named in memory of Nighbor - "Frank Nighbor Place."

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1910–11 Pembroke Debaters UOVHL 6 6 4 10 3 2 6 2 8 0
1911–12 Port Arthur Bearcats NOHL 4 0 0 0 9
1912–13 Toronto Blueshirts NHA 19 25 0 25 9
1913–14 Vancouver Millionaires PCHA 11 10 5 15 6
1914–15 Vancouver Millionaires PCHA 17 23 7 30 12
1914–15 Vancouver Millionaires St-Cup 3 4 6 10 6
1915–16 Ottawa Senators NHA 23 19 5 24 26
1916–17 Ottawa Senators NHA 19 41 10 51 24 2 1 1 2 6
1917–18 Ottawa Senators NHL 10 11 8 19 6
1918–19 Ottawa Senators NHL 18 19 9 28 27 2 0 2 2 3
1919–20 Ottawa Senators NHL 23 26 15 41 18
1919–20 Ottawa Senators St-Cup 5 6 1 7 2
1920–21 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 19 10 29 10 2 1 3 4 2
1920–21 Ottawa Senators St-Cup 5 0 1 1 0
1921–22 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 8 10 18 4 2 2 1 3 4
1922–23 Ottawa Senators NHL 22 11 7 18 14 2 0 1 1 0
1922–23 Ottawa Senators St-Cup 6 1 1 2 10
1923–24 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 11 6 17 16 2 0 1 1 0
1924–25 Ottawa Senators NHL 26 5 5 10 18
1925–26 Ottawa Senators NHL 35 12 13 25 40 2 0 0 0 2
1926–27 Ottawa Senators NHL 38 6 6 12 26 6 1 1 2 0
1927–28 Ottawa Senators NHL 42 8 5 13 46 2 0 0 0 2
1928–29 Ottawa Senators NHL 30 1 4 5 22
1929–30 Ottawa Senators NHL 19 0 0 0 0
1929–30 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 22 2 0 2 2
1931–32 Buffalo Bisons IHL 1 0 0 0 0
NHA totals 61 85 15 100 59 2 1 1 2 6
NHL totals 349 139 98 237 249 20 4 9 13 13
St-Cup totals 19 11 9 20 18

References[edit]

  • Dryden, Steve (1998). The Top 100: NHL players of all time. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-4175-6. 
  • Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: the ultimate A-Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Doubleday Canada. ISBN 0-385-25999-9. 
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f Podnieks(2003), pg. 627
  2. ^ Hunter, Douglas (1997). Champions: The Illustrated History of Hockey's Greatest Dynasties. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-213-6. 
  3. ^ Frank Nighbor at the Hockey Hall of Fame site[dead link]
  4. ^ "Lady Byng Memorial Trophy history". Legendsofhockey.net. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  5. ^ a b Dryden(1998), pg. 147
  6. ^ Boswell, Randy (March 19, 2010). "Historic Senators jersey headed to U.S.". News. Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2010-03-20. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
New Award
Winner of the Hart Trophy
1924
Succeeded by
Billy Burch
Preceded by
New Award
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
1925, 1926
Succeeded by
Billy Burch