|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1963|
Hern in 1910
December 5, 1878|
St. Marys, ON, CAN
|Died||June 24, 1929
Montreal, QC, CAN
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)|
|Played for||Pittsburgh Keystones (WPHL)
Portage Lakes (IPHL)
Montreal Wanderers (ECAHA/NHA)
Hern began playing ice hockey at an early age, playing for school teams in St. Marys and Stratford, playing both as a goaltender and a forward. Hern played for Stratford Legionnaires from 1898 to 1901.
He began his professional career with the Pittsburgh Keystones of the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League (WPHL) during the 1901–02 season. In his first season, Hern led the league in victories, with nine in 14 games. Hern, as a result, was named to the WPHL All-Star Team. However, in the next season, he led the league in losses, losing 10 out of 11 games. In the 1904–05 season, Hern played with the Portage Lakes Hockey Club of the International Professional Hockey League (IPHL). He played, in total, three seasons with Portage Lakes.
In the 1906–07 season, Hern joined the Montreal Wanderers of the Eastern Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA). Hern posted a 10–0 regular season record in his first season with the Wanderers. The Wanderers won the Stanley Cup four times, three straight seasons, from 1906 to 1908, and in 1910. The Wanderers also successfully defended the Cup in six out of seven challenges in that time span. The only challenge they lost was against the Kenora Thistles in January 1907; the Wanderers reclaimed the Cup in their own successful challenge two months later.
Hern retired from playing professional ice hockey in 1911, at the age of 30. Hern went on to become a successful businessman, owning a haberdashery in Montreal. He was involved in organizing various ice hockey leagues and printing schedules. Hern also served as an NHL referee and a goal judge.
Hern's grandson is Allan F. Nicholls, who played the role of Charlestown Chiefs captain Johnny Upton in the 1977 film Slap Shot.
Riley Hern is regarded by some as being among the best goaltenders of all time, coming in at 25th overall according to veteran hockey writers Kevin Allen and Bob Duff in their 2002 book Without Fear: Hockey's 50 Greatest Goaltenders.
- Hockey Hall of Fame (2003). Honoured Members: Hockey Hall of Fame. Bolton, Ontario: Fenn Publishing. ISBN 1-55168-239-7.
- Kevin Allen and Bob Duff (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 107. ISBN 1-57243-484-8.
- "Riley Hern — Biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Kevin Allen and Bob Duff (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 108. ISBN 1-57243-484-8.
- "Riley Hern — Career statistics". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Kevin Allen and Bob Duff (2002). Without Fear: Hockey's 50 greatest goaltenders. Chicago: Triumph Books. p. 109. ISBN 1-57243-484-8.
- Hockey Hall of Fame 2003, p. 56.
- "Riley' Hern died in his 49th year". Montreal Gazette. June 25, 1929.