October 12, 2013

Sammy Hebert Was First NHL Player Ever Traded

This rather unassuming looking fellow is Sammy Hebert. Not to be confused with Sailor Herberts, Sammy Hebert goes down in NHL history with an interesting footnote - he was the first NHL player ever traded.

Hebert, a goalie, was traded by the Toronto Arenas to the Ottawa Senators on February 11th, 1918. The ransom - an undisclosed amount of cash. I guess the always popular "future considerations" had not been dreamed up just then.

Hebert never played for the Sens until the fall of 1923, however. Soon after the trade he was drafted into the Canadian military for World War I efforts. When he returned he headed west to continues his pro-career. After playing with Ottawa for 2 games in 1923 he retired, at the age of 30, and tuned and sold pianos for a living.

Hebert's best hockey years actually pre-dated the NHL's existence. Hebert kind of jumped around between Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec in the National Hockey Association, the forerunner to the NHL. It seems while Hebert can claim to be the first NHL player ever to be traded, he was already used to hockey trades thanks to his NHA days.

Hebert only played in 4 official NHL games but he was one of hockey's early major league puckstoppers, participating in 87 games total - mostly in an era when falling to your knees was strictly prohibited! Hebert didn't have a lot of success in that his win-loss-tie record stands at 21-54-3.

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