Sunday, November 8, 2009

Habs Fan Makes a Vintage 1930’s Find


A Canadiens fan’s family member unearths a great piece of history.

A team photo of the 1936-37 Montreal Canadiens.

Bottom row (from l to r): Armand Mondou, Paul Haynes, Georges Mantha, Joffre Desilets, Pt Lépine, Wilf Cude, Johnny Gagnon, Howie Morenz, Aurèle Joliat, Paul Drouin, Rod Lorrain.

Top row (l to r): Jim McKenna (Trainer), Roger Jenkins, Albert “Babe Siebert”, Jack McGill, Toe Blake, Cliff Goupille, Cecil Hart (Coach/GM), Ernest Savard (President/Owner), Jules Dugal (secretary), Bill Miller, George Brown, Paul Runge, Walter Buswell, John Laurin )Assistant trainer)

I recently received an interesting email, last week,from one of my readers named Heather.

Her grandfather had a team picture of the Montreal Canadiens from what he thought was around 1939. The photo was also autographed by goaltender Wilf Cude.

Inquiring if I might have any knowledge of it’s value, she forwarded a scan of the photo.

After uploading the photo, I easily realized that her grandfather was off in the date of the photo, but in a very good way.

The team photo was actually one of the 1936-37 Montreal Canadiens, and one of significant importance.

After a dismal 1935-36 season, the Canadiens had acquired Albert “Babe” Siebert as their captain and brought back coach Cecil Hart.

Hart only agreed to return to Montreal on condition that Canadiens legend Howie Morenz would be brought back as well.

Hart’s wish was granted, and Morenz would have one final fatal season with the Canadiens.

Morenz’s tragic story is legendary after a collision with Chicago’s  Earl Siebert in January of 1937.

Morenz suffered a leg fracture and on March 8th, blood clots resulting from the injury would eventually stop his heart, taking the life of one the NHL’s first superstars.

With the loss of Morenz, the Canadiens, led by Babe Siebert’s MVP season, struggled in the remaining games yet still won their division. They would lose in the semi-finals to the Detroit Red Wings.

The photo belonging to Heather’s grandfather is thus the last team issue to feature Morenz.

The photo is also significant as it is the first Canadiens team photo with a young Toe Blake standing in the back row.

Blake had played in 11 games for the Canadiens in 1935-36, after being acquired late in the season from the Montreal Maroons, and was not in that year’s photo.

While the condition of what appears to be an original photo is in a lower grade condition, the historical value is great in it’s own sense.

I referred Heather to some noted collector site’s for a professional evaluation and appraisal.

100_4158 The personalized Cude autograph looks very authentic to other specimens I have looked at, with some ink faded on the C.

If you have any other appraisal information on this photo, please email me and I will forward it on.

image Wilf Cude in the late ‘30s with the Canadiens

Notes on Wilf Cude:

  • Began his career in the NHL with the Philadelphia Quakers in their only season (1930-31).

  • Was acquired for cash by the Canadiens from the Quakers and was the NHL’s spare goaltender for Chicago and Boston before seeing some full-time work while on loan to the Detroit Red Wings.

  • Recorded a shutout in his first game as a Canadien.

  • Despite a 11-26-10 record in 1935-36, he recorded six shutouts.

  • Second-Team All-Star in 1936 and 1937

  • One of the smallest goalies (5’9”) and listed at 130 to 135 lbs.

  • Born in Wales and learned to play hockey In Winnipeg.

  • A member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame

A special thanks to Carl Lavigne, the Canadiens Manager of History and Archives, for getting me the names to tag the team photo.

1 comment:

Yves said...

A very awesome find.