Definitions

sweep check

Frank Nighbor

Julius Francis "Frank" Nighbor (January 26, 1893 in Pembroke, OntarioApril 13, 1966) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey Association(NHA) and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA and Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). An excellent backchecker, his poke check and bodychecking abilities thwarted enemy forwards' scoring attempts. For his somewhat high penalty totals, he was a clean player and one of the last 60 minute hockey players. For his contributions on the ice, two NHL trophies were dedicated to him, the Hart Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy.

Playing career

Frank first played professional for the Port Arthur Bearcats of the Northern Ontario Hockey League in 1911. Fellow Pembroke native Harry Cameron was invited to play for Port Arthur but refused to go without Nighbor. The club agreed to bring Nighbor along, but they left him on the bench until injuries gave him an opportunity to play. He made the most of his opportunity by registering six goals in his first appearance.

In 1912, he joined the new Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA where he scored 25 goals in 18 games. He only played the one season in Toronto, jumping to Vancouver of the PCHA the following season for two seasons, and was an important member of the Millionaires team which won the Stanley Cup over the Ottawa Senators in 1915.

He returned east after the Stanley Cup series and joined the Senators, whom he would play for until 1930, an important part of the dynasty of the 1920s winning 4 more cups in 1920-21-23-27. He had his best season in 1916-17, scoring 41 goals in 19 games, finishing tied for the league lead with Joe Malone. In 1919-20 he would score 26 goals and 15 assists in just 23 games, then had a further 6 goals in 5 playoff games and led the Senators to their first Cup in the NHL. Frank would win the Stanley Cup again with Ottawa in 1921 1923 and 1927. As a member of the Senators, Frank was the first recipient of the Hart Trophy, as well as the first recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy.

In 1929-30, Frank would be traded to Toronto, as part of the fire sale of the failing Senators for Danny Cox and cash. He played 22 games for the Maple Leafs and retired in the off-season.

Playing style

Frank was considered a master of the "sweep check," (today called the "poke check"), taking the puck off the opponent's stick in a way never seen before. He was skilled and crafty with the puck and a good scorer. He impressed with his sportsmanship, inspiring Lady Byng to donate the Lady Byng Trophy in his honour to the "player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." and she presented it personally to him.

Post-playing career

Frank coached for the Buffalo Bisons and London Tecumsehs of the International League and the New York Rovers of the East Coast Hockey League. He would later turn to an insurance business he was a partner in and run it until he became ill. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. He has also been inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. In 1998 he was ranked number 100 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

He died of cancer on April 13, 1966 in Pembroke, Ontario at the age of 73.

Career statistics

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1914–15 Vancouver Millionaires PCHA 17 23 7 30 12 - - - - -
1914-15 Vancouver Millionaires Stanley Cup 3 4 6 10 6 - - - - -
1915-16 Ottawa Senators NHA 23 19 5 24 26 - - - - -
1916-17 Ottawa Senators NHA 19 41 10 51 24 2 1 1 2 6
1917-18 Ottawa Senators NHL 9 11 0 11 3 - - - - -
1918-19 Ottawa Senators NHL 18 18 4 22 27 - - - - -
1919-20 Ottawa Senators NHL 23 26 7 33 18 - - - - -
1920-21 Ottawa Senators NHL 24 18 3 21 10 - - - - -
1921-22 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 8 8 16 2 - - - - -
1922-23 Ottawa Senators NHL 22 11 5 16 16 - - - - -
1923-24 Ottawa Senators NHL 20 10 3 13 14 - - - - -
1924-25 Ottawa Senators NHL 26 5 2 7 18 - - - - -
1925-26 Ottawa Senators NHL 35 12 13 25 40 - - - - -
1926-27 Ottawa Senators NHL 38 6 6 12 26 - - - - -
1927-28 Ottawa Senators NHL 42 8 5 13 46 - - - - -
1928-29 Ottawa Senators NHL 30 1 4 5 22 - - - - -
1929-30 Ottawa Senators NHL 19 0 0 0 0 - - - - -
1929-30 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 22 2 0 2 0 - - - - -
NHL Totals 348 136 60 196 242 - - - - -

References

  • Dryden, Steve (1998). The Top 100: NHL players of all time. McClelland & Stewart.
  • Podnieks, Andrew (2003). Players: the ultimate A-Z guide of everyone who has ever played in the NHL. Doubleday Canada. Notes

External links

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