Wilf Cude’s NHL career got off to a rocky start. In 1930-31, as the netminder for the fledgling Philadelphia Quakers, he got dinged with a 2-23-3 record and 4.38 goals-against average. But one of those wins came by shutout and, given how bad the Quakers were in their only NHL season, it’s fair to say Cude did what he could.
Once the Wales product bounced around the NHL and other pro leagues for a few seasons, he came back with a vengeance in 1933-34, posting four shutouts in 29 games for the Detroit Red Wings, establishing a pattern of solid play the rest of his career. Known as one of the lightest goaltenders in league history, Cude weighed anywhere from 130 to 145 pounds on a 5-foot-9 frame. He was clearly no physical intimidator with that size, but he brought a heated passion to the ice and was acrobatic for the time. After Detroit, he spent the rest of his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens, who were in a downturn. Cude managed six shutouts on an 11-win, last-place team in 1935-36, earning second-team all-star status. He nabbed all-star honors the next season as well, helping the Habs get back into first place in the division.
Cude never won a Stanley Cup, but his contributions were usually quite outsized. After spending most of the 1939-40 season in the minors with New Haven, Cude played three more games with the Canadiens in 1940-41 before calling it a career.
He did coach for one season in the 1960s, helming the Rouyn-Noranda Alouettes of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association. While there, he also went into the gasoline business by acquiring the local rights to distribute British American Oil, which eventually became known as Gulf Canada.
Born: July 4, 1910, Barry, U.K.
NHL Career: 1930-41
Teams: PhQ, Bos, Chi, Mtl, Det
Stats: 100-132-49, 2.72 GAA, 24 SO
All-Star: 2 (Second-2)
DID YOU KNOW?
In an era when rosters were small and netminders usually didn’t give up the crease, Cude was once the NHL’s “spare” goaltender, meaning he would play backup for whichever franchise needed him.