One of hockey’s true early mercenaries, Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes had a habit of following the money from league to league. The Stanley Cup had a habit of following him around while he did it.
Hockey has an exclusive club, just seven members deep, who have been the No. 1 goalie for two Cup-winning franchises. But Holmes is without peer, winning four Cups with four teams in four leagues. He won with the Toronto Blueshirts of the National Hockey Association in 1913-14, the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association three years later, the Toronto Arenas of the newly formed NHL in 1917-18 and the Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League in 1924-25. (He might have even won a fifth with Seattle in 1919, but the final was cancelled because of an influenza epidemic.)
Holmes, who was bald, wore a ball cap in the crease because lore has it that his shiny head made for an easy target for fans who wanted to spit tobacco juice on him. He later said people would still spit on him and once said after games his sweater looked like it had been dragged through oil. It didn’t seem to throw him off his game, as he not only played for Cup teams but starred on them. “If you look at that Toronto team in ’17-18, they got him a month into the season and they were off to a terrible start,” said hockey historian Bob Duff. “As soon as they got him, they became a contender. They had some good players. They just weren’t getting any goaltending. Then they got him, and they were running neck-and-neck with Montreal the rest of the season.”
Born: Feb. 21, 1888, Aurora, Ont.
NHL Career: 1918-28
Teams: Tor, Det
Stats: 39-54-10, 2.47 GAA, 17 SO
Stanley Cups: 1
DID YOU KNOW?
Holmes not only won Cups but historic Cups. His first in 1913-14 was the first won by a team based in Toronto. His second with Seattle the next season was the first won by a U.S.-based franchise. His third with the Toronto Arenas in 1916-17 was the first won by an NHL team. And his fourth with the Victoria Cougars in ’24-25 was the last won by a non-NHL team.