By: Andrew Lindroth! Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh
Hap Emms was born on January 12th, 1905, in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. He began playing in the Canadian Professional league for the Stratford Nationals (Can-Pro) as a 22-year-old versatile utility player who often played on the wing or blue line. After scoring ten goals and 15 points in just 25 games that season, the Montreal Maroons made their move on November 10th, 1926, when Emms signed his first NHL contract.
Emms continued to develop with the Stratford Nationals (Can-Pro) the following season, scoring 13 points in 29 games, before Montreal requested his services. Emms saw his first piece of action in the NHL in 1927 and again in 1928, playing 18 games and recording one point. After two opportunities of cracking Montreals’ roster, Emms was re-assigned to play for the Windsor Hornets (Can-Pro) and did not disappoint with 21 goals and 26 points with a whopping 104 PIM. He spent the next season continuing to develop, but this time in the International Hockey League (IHL) with the Windsor Bulldogs (IHL). He went on to score 21 goals and 37 points in 38 appearances. After a strong performance, Monreal decided to cash in on the versatile player and traded Emms to the NY Americans with Frank Carson, Red Dutton, and Mike Neville for $35,000 cash.
Emms was finally called back up to the NHL to suit up for the NY Americans and appeared in all 44 games that season, producing five goals and nine points with 56 PIM. In 1931, the 27-year-old played just 12 more games with the Americans before being traded to Detroit with Frank Carson in exchange for Tommy Filmore and Bert McInenly. Still, though, Emms hardly missed a beat, appearing in 43 games while putting up six goals and 15 points between both teams that season.
The next two campaigns, Emms continued to play for Detroit, suiting up for 88 games and putting up 16-20-36 numbers with a whopping 129 PIM. Due to internal issues regarding management and Emms, he went to have his contract cleared from the team and secured Detroit’s release in October 1934. After being released from Detroit, the gritty player signed a deal with the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately for Emms, his tenure as a Bruin would only last just ten games before Boston decides to trade him to his former team, the NY Americans, with Obs Heximer in exchange for Walter Jackson. He ended up finishing up the season by playing a total of 39 games while tallying six points.
Emms went on to play for the NY Americans from 1935-1938, combining for 22 points and 98 games played, before being re-assigned to the IAHL his final year with the team. He finished the 1937-1938 season with the Pittsburgh Hornets (IAHL), scoring five goals and 18 points in 26 contests. Although he would not return to the NHL, Emms went on to play another season for the Pittsburgh Hornets (IAHL), then later transferred to the AHA, where he signed a deal to play for the Omaha Knights (IAHL). He played for three years with the Omaha Knights (IAHL), appearing in 101 games and contributing 17-31-58 numbers. After the 1941-1942 season, many American players began to serve in the military due to the active World War 2. Thus, Emms had a few-year hiatus from the hockey world and returned to play for the St.Louis Flyers (AHL) but played only two games before officially announcing his retirement in 1944.
After his playing career ended, Emms planted his legacy within the Canadian Hockey League, serving as; coach, general manager, and owner for over 33 years. He became a pioneer for the game and eventually had a trophy named after him. The “Hap Emms Memorial Trophy” is presented every year to the most outstanding goaltender of the Memorial Cup Tournament.
Throughout his ten-year tenure in the NHL, Emms recorded 36-53-89 numbers with 324 PIM in 330 total appearances. Hap Emms passed away on October 23rd, 1988, at the age of 83.