Herbert Thomas English
Born: February 13, 1932 (Montréal)
Died: March 26, 2014 (La Tuque, Québec)
Member: McGill University Sports Hall of Fame (2008)
Herb English was a star football and hockey player at Loyola High in Montréal, where coach Bill Orban was a fanatic about conditioning. (Orban is remembered for his 5BX fitness plan that was adopted by the Royal Canadian Air Force.) English was captain and most valuable player of both the football and hockey teams for the Warriors.
The winger then skated for the Montreal Junior Canadiens, helping the team win the 1950 Memorial Cup in five games over the Regina Pats. English scored eight goals in 16 league playoff games before adding another four goals in 12 games of the Memorial Cup playoffs.
In 1951-52, English scored 18 goals with 38 assists in 49 games with the Jr. Canadiens, who were eliminated from the Memorial Cup in the Eastern finals that season.
Turning down a contract offer from the parent Montreal Canadiens, English followed his parents’ advice and enrolled at McGill University, where he again starred at both football and hockey. He scored 12 goals in 12 games in his senior year with the Redmen in 1954-55, after which the Montreal Gazette described him as “a tenacious type of player and an excellent puck carrier.”
He won the Forbes Trophy that year as the university’s outstanding male athlete, having been captain of both the football and hockey teams. He won the W.S. Lea Memorial Trophy as the varsity football team’s most valuable player in 1953 and was named the winner of the Fred Wigle Memorial Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player on the team in 1954.
The Montreal Alouettes of the Big Four asked him to tryout for the team, but English turned them down.
English grew up in Montreal’s Cote-des-Neiges nieghbourhood and remembers spending his childhood playing pickup sports.
“There was a park right behind where we lived, and from tots we spent most of our time there,” he told Ian MacDonald of the Gazette in 1998, on the 50 th anniversary of leading both Loyola teams to the city championship. “There wasn’t just one season for a sport. We played everything any time.”
After graduating from McGill, English wound up living in La Tuque, Que., where he died on March 26. He leaves his wife, the former Louise Bellevance; a son; two grandchildren; and, a brother.