Tuesday, February 8, 2011
After playing junior hockey with the Barrie Colts in 1942-43, Harry Lumley turned professional with the Indianapolis Capitals of the AHL in 1943-44. He made his NHL debut the same season with a pair of losses playing for the Detroit Red Wings at the age of just 17. In a move unheard of in today's hockey, Lumley was loaned to the New York Rangers for a game on December 23 against Detroit, as an injury replacement!
A young Harry Lumley with the Detroit Red wings. Note the patriotic "V" for "victory" patch on the sleeve worn during World War II which dates this photo from either 1943-44 or 1944-45.
He split time the next season between Detroit and Indianapolis. He not only registered his first NHL win that season, but played rather well, going 24-10-3 in 37 games for the Red Wings and started every game for Detroit in the playoffs, first edging out the Boston Bruins in seven games prior to falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals by a score of 2-1.
Starting in 1945-46 Lumley became a full-time NHLer and played five more seasons with the Red Wings, which saw his win totals increase the first four seasons from 20 to 22, then 30 and finally a career high 34 in 1948-49.
He recorded another 33 wins in 1949-50 and led Detroit to the Stanley Cup by defeating the Maple Leafs in the opening round in seven games, including shutting out Toronto in Game 6 4-0 in Toronto and followed that with a dramatic 1-0 shutout in Game 7 after Detroit was shutout three times in the first five games and lost star player Gordie Howe to a serious injury as well.
In the finals, Detroit came back from being down 3 games to 2 against the New York Rangers with a pair of one goal wins at home to capture the only Stanley Cup of Lumley's career. This series was notable for the fact that games 2 and 3 were played in Toronto because of a circus occupying Madison Square Garden in New York at the time, with the other five games, including 4 through 7 being in Detroit.
Lumley, center, celebrates winning the Stanley Cup with his Red Wings teammates
Lumley's reward for winning the Stanley Cup was losing his job with Detroit in favor of youngster Terry Sawchuk, who had played seven games late in the season when Lumley was sidelined with an injury. In a blockbuster deal, Lumley, along with four other Red Wings, were sent to the Chicago Black Hawks for four players.
The transition was certainly a tough one, going from the Stanley Cup champions to the doormats of the NHL, as Lumley posted a record of just 12-47-10 in 1950-51 and "improved" to 17-44-9 the following season.
A 1951-52 Parkhurst Harry Lumley trading card
After two seasons with Chicago, Lumley was once again on the move following a trade to the Maple Leafs. Life in Toronto was an improvement, and although they missed the playoffs in his first season in Toronto, Lumley's win total took a leap up to 27 in 1952-53.
Lumley had an outstanding 1953-54 season. Even though Toronto finished fifth out of the then six NHL clubs in goal scoring, Lumley's outstanding play helped them to a third place finish in the standings and a berth in the playoffs as the Maple Leafs allowed the fewest goals in the league, which earned Lumley the 1954 Vezina Trophy. His final goals against average for the season in 69 games played was 1.86 and his 32 victories were the third best of his career. In addition, his 13 shutouts set an NHL record which would stand for 16 seasons.
Harry Lumley with the 1954 Vezina Trophy
Two more seasons in Toronto, including a goals against average under 2.00 in 1954-55 at 1.94 were followed by a trade back to the Chicago Black Hawks organization. This did not sit well with Lumley, who obviously had not forgotten his previous experience with the woeful Black Hawks and he refused to sign. Instead he played for the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL for all of 1956-57 and for the first three months of the 1957-58 season.
Lumley with the Maple Leafs. Note the red letters on the blue jersey's crest used from 1954 to 1958.
In need of help in goal due to injuries, he was acquired by the Boston Bruins in January and played in 24 games that season, which included his 300th career victory with a 7-3 win over the Maple Leafs on this date in 1958, making him only the second goaltender in NHL history to reach 300 career wins.
His career began to wind down in 1958-59 when he played in just 11 games with the Bruins and 58 with the Providence Reds on the AHL. He did complete in 42 games for Boston in 1959-60, his final season in the NHL, winning 16 to push his final NHL total to 330.
His final season before retirement was spent with the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League before calling it a career.
Lumley's final NHL totals are 803 games played with a 330-329-142 record, which includes 71 shutouts. In addition he won a Stanley Cup in 1950 and a Vezina Trophy in 1954. His final won-loss recored was certainly not helped by playing on dismal teams in Chicago for two seasons when his record was at 29-85-19.
As of today, Lumley still ranks in the top 20 in career wins for goaltenders despite playing in an era when teams played a dozen less games per season.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980.
Today's featured jersey is a 1957-58 Boston Bruins Harry Lumley jersey. This style of jersey was first worn in 1951 when the black was added to the ends of the sleeves and remained in use through 1958, the season Lumley became only the second goaltender to reach 300 victories.
Today's video segment focuses on Lumley's time spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs.