William "Riley" Hern began his eleven year career as a goaltender with the Stratford junior team in the Ontario Hockey Association. He rose through the amateur ranks and for a time played forward with a team in London, Ontario. Back in goal, he turned professional in 1904, joining the Portage Lake team in Houghton, Michigan in the infamously rough International Hockey League.
Signed by the Montreal Wanderers in 1906-07, Hern is often credited for the team winning their first Stanley Cup championship that season. The Wanderers went on to repeat their victory in 1908 and 1919 with Riley tending the net.
Hern guarded the Wanderers nets until retiring in 1911. Though his 4.68 career GAA may seem alarmingly high by today's standards, keep in mind that the rules of the game at the time dictated that goalies had to remain standing to make saves. There was no sprawling on the ice like nowadays. Hern also had primitive goalie equipment. He borrowed his pads from the sport of cricket, and head protection was still decades away.
Statistics aside with Riley Hern as their last line of defense the Montreal Wanderers were annual contenders. The hockey world did take note of Hern's contributions, as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame in 1962.