Wilfred Harold Hart
Hart played in all the major professional leagues in the 1920s and 1930s (including the NHL). At this time, the NHL was not the dominant professional league and teams often played in inter-league games. In 1925, Hart was a member of the Victoria Cougars of the WCHA when they became the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. The following year, the Cougars (who had become part of the WHL) returned to the Stanley Cup, but lost in the Finals. They were also the last non-NHL team to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, since the NHL claimed exclusive rights to the Cup after the season. Hart was a star wherever he went and played during Western Canada's greatest era of hockey.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 1, 1902 - d. June 22, 1964
In 1923, Hart signed as a free agent with the Victoria Cougars of the PCHA after playing the previous four seasons with his hometown Weyburn Wanderers, a seniors team in Canada. That year, Gizzy had 15 goals in 29 games and was a PCHA (Pacific Coast Hockey Association) All-Star. At this time, the PCHA was considered more of a finesse and skating league than the NHL, which had only been formed in 1917. The following year, the Cougars competed in the WCHA (Western Canadian Hockey Association). Hart had 14 points in 26 games and the Cougars finished the regular season in third place with a record of 16-12-0. They went to the playoffs and won the WCHA Championship, then fought the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL for the Stanley Cup. Hart scored four goals in the Finals, including the game-winner in Game 4 and the Cougars defeated the Canadiens to capture the Cup, the last time a non-NHL team took that honor.
In 1925-26, Hart remained with the Cougars, who played in the newly formed WHL (Western Hockey League), scoring ten points in 27 games. The Cougars won the Championship and returned to the Stanley Cup Finals to face the Montreal Maroons (with Sam Rothschild). The Maroons ended up defeating the Cougars in what proved to be the final appearance of a non-NHL team in the Stanley Cup competition. In 1926-27, the NHL had expanded to ten teams and divided the league into American and Canadian divisions. Hart transferred to Detroit after the NHL club purchased the Victoria franchise and changed its name to the Detroit Cougars. By now, the NHL was becoming the dominant professional league. In Gizzy's first NHL season, he played in 6 games for Detroit, and then was traded to the Montreal Canadiens mid-season. He appeared in 40 games for the Canadiens, whose record that year was 28-14-2, but the team was eliminated in the semifinals. The following year, Hart played in all 44 regular season games. The Canadiens finished first in the Canadian Division with a record of 26-11-7, but didn't make it past the semifinals in postseason play.
Hart spent the next six seasons with the Providence Reds of the CAHL (Canadian-American Hockey League), and the Reds won the league championship in 1930, 1932, and 1934. Gizzy briefly reappeared in the NHL during the 1932-33 season, playing in 18 games for the Canadiens, but otherwise spent the remainder of his career playing in the CAHL. He retired from professional hockey after the 1934 season as one of the most successful Jewish players in hockey history. During his career Hart played in 104 games, scoring 6 goals and 8 assists, appeared in two Stanley Cup competitions and was a member of 5 league championship teams.
Gizzy played left wing in the NHL with the Detroit Cougars from 1924-1926. He was traded to the Montreal Canadiens during the 1926-27 season, and played for the Canadiens from 1926-1928, and from 1932-1933.
5'9", 171 pounds
In the NHL:
Penalty Minutes: 12
Use links below to navigate through the hockey section of Jews In Sports.
Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League, edited by Dan Diamond, James Duplacey, Ralph Dinger, Igor Kuperman, and Eric Zweig (New York: Total Sports, 1998)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)