Herb Cain

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Herb Cain
Hockey player Herb Cain.png
Born (1912-12-24)December 24, 1912
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Died February 23, 1982(1982-02-23) (aged 69)
Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Montreal Maroons
Montreal Canadiens
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1933–1950

Herbert James Cain (December 24, 1912 – February 23, 1982) was a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Montreal Maroons, Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Bruins.

Early life[edit]

Cain was born in Newmarket, Ontario to John (Jack) and Elizabeth "Eliza" Cain (née Currier). He played junior hockey for the Newmarket Redmen and the Hamilton Tigers of the OHA.

Playing career[edit]

Cain's NHL career started when he joined the Montreal Maroons of the NHL in the 1933–34 season. He split that season between the Maroons and the Hamilton Tigers of the OHA. In 1934–35 Cain briefly played for the Windsor Bulldogs of the IHL. With the exception of a one-game stint with the Hershey Bears in 1940–41, he would remain in the NHL for the next 11 seasons.

As a member of the Maroons, Cain played on a line with Gus Marker and Bob Gracie. They were dubbed the "Green Line" and their combined offensive prowess led Montreal to their second Stanley Cup Championship in 1934–35. in his first full season, as a 22-year-old NHL rookie, he scored 20 goals in 44 games. Cain was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in the fall of 1938. After one season in Montreal, he was traded to the Boston Bruins for Charlie Sands and Ray Getliffe. In 1939 with Boston he scored 21 goals and 7 were game winners. He earned his second Stanley Cup ring with Boston in 1941. That year he scored only 8 goals but 4 were game winners.

Cain had his most productive years in Boston. Playing on a line with future Hall of Fame inductee Bill Cowley, he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1940–41. Cain went on to win the NHL scoring title in 1943–44 with 82 points, in 49 games His total set a record for points in a season which stood until Gordie Howe scored 86 in 1950–51. Howe did it in a 70 game season. Despite criticism that the war-depleted league had led to a freak season - his mark was more than double his previous season high - Cain was selected as a Second Team All-Star at left wing and was runner up to Clint Smith of the Chicago Black Hawks for the Lady Byng Trophy. The next year, in which Maurice Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games, Herb Cain scored 32, the next highest number.

In 1946–47 Cain was sent to the Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). And in four seasons, he scored 92 goals. He helped the Bears win the first Calder Cup, the first in franchise history. Near the end of his fourth season he broke his leg. Driving home to Newmarket from Pennsylvania at the end of the season with his leg in a cast, he decided to retire from professional hockey at age 35.

As a member of the Boston Bruins, Cain twice recorded four-goal games. Both came against the Toronto Maple Leafs, on January 11, 1940 and January 16, 1945, respectively.

He was the last active player in the NHL to have ever played for the Maroons. Cain remains the only eligible former NHL scoring champion not inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Cain was a prolific goal scorer and the 13th player to score 200.


In later years, Cain’s 1.67 point per game average from 1943-44, was often not equalled by NHL scoring champions like Guy LaFleur, Stan Makita, Gordie Howe, Jean Belliveau and others. Phil Esposito finally scored more points per game, 1.70 — 25 years after Cain established the record. As late as 1977-78, when Guy LaFleur won the scoring championship in the NHL, his points per game were 1.67, the same as Herb Cain’s in 1943-44.

Switching to career average points per game, Herb Cain’s average is .70, and several Hall of Famers including George Armstrong, Ace Bailey and others who are less well-known are in the Hall but do not meet Herb Cain’s career average points a game.

Armstrong, Bailey and others deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But where does that leave Herb Cain?

As Canada's dean of hockey commentary, Brian McFarlane, author of 40 hockey books, says about Herb Cain, “I find it odd that he’s the only NHL scoring champ not in the Hall.”

In total, Cain played 571 NHL regular season games, marking 206 goals and 192 assists.

Cain's older brother Jack Cain played professional hockey in the AHL for the New Haven Eagles and the Bears. His cousin Jim "Dutch" Cain also played in the NHL.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Records[edit]

1943–44 - Set NHL record for most points in a season with 82

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1931–32 Newmarket Redmen OHA-Jr. 7 7 2 9 6 6 11 0 11
1932–33 Hamilton Tigers OHA-Sr. 22 14 5 19 20 5 3 3 6 2
1933–34 Montreal Maroons NHL 30 4 5 9 14 4 0 0 0 0
1933–34 Hamilton Tigers OHA-Sr. 11 4 2 6 17
1934–35 Montreal Maroons NHL 44 20 7 27 13 7 1 0 1 2
1934–35 Windsor Bulldogs IHL 6 1 3 4 6
1935–36 Montreal Maroons NHL 48 5 13 18 16 3 0 1 1 0
1936–37 Montreal Maroons NHL 42 13 17 30 18 5 1 1 2 0
1937–38 Montreal Maroons NHL 47 11 19 30 10
1938–39 Montreal Canadiens NHL 45 13 14 27 26 3 0 0 0 2
1939–40 Boston Bruins NHL 48 21 10 31 30 6 1 3 4 2
1940–41 Boston Bruins NHL 41 8 10 18 6 11 3 2 5 5
1940–41 Hershey Bears AHL 1 1 0 1 0
1941–42 Boston Bruins NHL 34 8 10 18 2 5 1 0 1 0
1942–43 Boston Bruins NHL 45 18 18 36 19 7 4 2 6 0
1943–44 Boston Bruins NHL 48 36 46 82 4
1944–45 Boston Bruins NHL 50 32 13 45 16 7 5 2 7 0
1945–46 Boston Bruins NHL 48 17 12 29 4 9 0 2 2 2
1946–47 Hershey Bears AHL 59 36 30 66 19 11 9 6 15 9
1947–48 Hershey Bears AHL 49 19 19 38 25 2 0 1 1 0
1948–49 Hershey Bears AHL 49 25 35 60 10 11 4 6 10 6
1949–50 Hershey Bears AHL 41 12 14 26 8
NHL totals 570 206 194 400 178 67 16 13 29 13

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Doug Bentley
NHL Scoring Champion
1944
Succeeded by
Elmer Lach