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Retro Columns

Posted on: 01-15-2017

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    One of the first things the legendary Jack Adams
did when installed as Coach/GM of the Detroit Cougars
(Red Wings) in 1927 was acquire future Hall-of-Famer
Edward Reginald "Reg" Noble from the Montreal Maroons
for the price of $7,500.

    In spite of his reputation as a notorious curfew-
breaker, the 31-year old Noble was immediately made
Captain of the Cougars as the team moved into the
brand new Olympia Stadium after playing its first NHL
season across the Detroit River in Windsor, ONT.

    Noble was no stranger to a leadership role.  At age 25 he had served
as player assistant coach and Capt. of the 1921-22 Toronto St. Patricks
(Maple Leafs) when the team won the Stanley Cup by beating the original
Ottawa Senators.  

    DID YOU KNOW Noble and Adams were teammates on the St. Pats for
two and a half seasons from 1922--24?

    A left wing and center early in his career and primarily a defenseman
late in his playing days, Noble spent all of his major pro career in either
Toronto or Montreal prior to his arrival in Detroit.  Noble split the 1916-17
season between the Toronto Blueshirts and Montreal Canadiens in the
final NHA season.  When the NHL was born, Noble played for the Toronto
Arenas/St. Patricks franchise (which replaced the NHA Blueshirts) from
1917--24.  The St. Pats sold him to the Maroons early in the 1924-25 season
for $8,000 on 12/9/1924.  The Maroons sold him to Detroit prior to training
camp on 10/4/1927.

    During his time in Toronto Noble helped form one of hockey's great early
line combinations with R-Wing Cecil "Babe" Dye and CEN Corb Denneny.   A
crowd favorite at the old Mutual Street Arena, Noble inspired one loyal fan
to wind up a siren whenever Noble stole the puck from an opposing attacker
and the audience responded with a frenzy.  

    Noble's poke-check to thwart the enemy became nearly as famous as his
goal-scoring exploits, which led to his conversion to defense late in his career.

    Noble had won Stanley Cups with the Arenas in 1918, St. Patricks in
1922 and the Maroons in 1926, so he knew what was required to lift a
last place Detroit team out of the NHL basement.

    Noble had scored 30 goals (with a league leading 10 assists) in 20
games for the 1917-18 Arenas and tallied two dozen in the NHL's 24
game schedule of 1919-20 with the St. Patricks.

    By the time Noble came to Detroit he was primarily a rearguard,
so only 23 of his 168 career NHL regular-season goals were scored for
the Motor City's team.

    Noble did help lift the Cougars out of the cellar and to a .500
record in his first season with the club and into the playoffs the next
year.  He was also on the 1932 Falcons playoff squad months before
his Detroit departure.  Noble captained the Cougars until the brief
name change to Falcons in 1930 when George Hay wore the "C."

    Noble would play five years and five games with the Detroit Cougars/
Falcons/Red Wings franchise, getting traded back to the Maroons five
games into the 1932-33 season for DEF Johnny Gallagher on 12/9/1932.
Noble played the final 20 regular-season games of his NHL career with
the Maroons and, perhaps fittingly, two playoff games in the spring of
1933 as Montreal was eliminated by the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup

    Although a fourth Stanley Cup eluded Noble, Sheppard was part of
Detroit's second consecutive S-Cup Championship team in 1937 after
spending some time in the minors.

    Noble skated one more season with the IHL Cleveland Falcons in
1933-34 and retired at age 37.  Noble then returned to the NHL for
two seasons as a referee.

    Noble passed away at age 65 on 1/19/1962 just months before
his Hockey Hall of Fame induction.




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