Monday 27 February 2012

Herb Jordan

Herb Jordan

Quebec's great centre from 1903 to 1909, Herb Jordan was one of the most gifted goal-scorers of his time. Largely forgotten today, Jordan actually has a strong case for the Hall of Fame, when you compare his performance to that of his contemporaries.

In 1903, Jordan was third in goal scored, behind two immortals in Russell Bowie and Frank McGee. In 1904, he was behind only Bowie in goals, but actually scored at a greater rate per game than Bowie did, which was no mean feat when comparing oneself to a player who averaged nearly three goals per game for his career. In 1905, Jordan was again third in goals (behind Bowie and Quebec teammate Joe Power), but second in goals per game. In 1908, he was fourth behind three Hall-of-Famers (Bowie again, Tommy Phillips and Marty Walsh), and in 1909 he was second behind only Walsh. He was never able to lead the league in scoring, but came very close several times.

Jordan was recognized as the most dangerous performer on his team, often attracting double-coverage from the defence: 
The Vics paid special attention to Jordan, and he generally had two men on him to attend to, which blocked many of his shots that would have told. (Quebec Chronicle, 9 Jan 1905)
Jordan gave a singularly pretty exhibition of stick-handling and his shooting was deadly. A particularly clever shot was passed out to him from the side by Chubby Power. Although covered by two men, he managed with that funny poke of his to elude both of them and lifted the puck right into the nets. (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Jan 1908)
He scored so many goals by virtue of having a quick, hard shot, and swiftness in play in general:
Jordan finally relieved the monotony by scoring for Quebec with one of his hard, fast shots. (Quebec Chronicle, 4 Jan 1904)
Now Jordan has it, flies past the cover-point, like a veritable streak, and before the crowd can draw their breath the goaler was wondering if it was an electric bolt that had passed him. (Quebec Chronicle, 22 Feb 1904)
In the centre of the ice Herbie Jordan and Joe Power proved a great pair. Some neat combination was engineered between them and their quickness in passing and shooting fooled Waugh a number of times. (Quebec Chronicle, 6 Feb 1905)
...Herbie Jordan, who from a difficult position on the right wing delivered one of his own characteristic scoops to Hern, who failed to negotiate it... (Quebec Chronicle, 22 Feb 1909)
He apparently possessed a "scoop" shoot, which I suppose to mean that he was adept at lifting the puck off the ice with his shot. This would be a useful skill indeed, as he played right in front of the goalkeeper with regularity:
Herbie Jordan played his usual useful game. He bored right in on the nets, and at times the only was in which the Shamrock defence appeared to be able to stop him was by tripping. (Quebec Chronicle, 8 Feb 1909)
Herbie Jordan, one of the greatest centre ice men in the game to-day, again proved his claims to the honor, his efforts being of the gilt-edged variety. He played right in on the poles and he was robbed of many more scored than those credited to him only by the alertness of the Ottawa goal-keeper. (Quebec Chronicle, 8 Mar 1909)
This isn't just a case of looking at big numbers and surmising the player must have been a great one, even though the Hall of Fame never honoured him. Herb Jordan was recognized as an outstanding hockeyist when he played, and deserves such recognition today: 
Herbie Jordan played his usual dashing game, and his heady work and general unselfishness in passing the puck when he might have tried for goal himself, resulted in many a score for Quebec. (Quebec Chronicle, 20 Feb 1905)
Herbie Jordan once more proved himself the peer on any centre man in the game to-day. Fast, aggressive, clear-headed and unselfish, he was a dangerous man around the poles. Time and time again he fooled the Ottawa defence and had LeSueur at his mercy. (Quebec Chronicle, 6 Jan 1908)

1903Quebec AthleticsCAHL458016003.3-
1904Quebec AthleticsCAHL48016009.1-
1905Quebec AthleticsCAHL57114207.00.1-
1906Quebec BulldogsECAHA56412804.50.1-
1907Quebec BulldogsECAHA5408002.
1908Quebec BulldogsECAHA56412806.
1909Quebec BulldogsECHA58016005.3-0.2-
1910Renfrew Creamery KingsNHA5438601.
1911Renfrew Creamery KingsNHA55100-



  1. Here is the answer I received last year form Barry McIsaac, his grand-son.

    "Herb was born Oct. 23, 1884 in Quebec City. He married Blanche Thibaudeau, and they had three children: Irma (known to all as “Jimmy”), Errol, who was my father, and the youngest, Herbert Charles Jordan, who was shot down over Belgium in 1944, and had never been married. Jimmy was my godmother. She didn’t marry until she was 48, so she had no children either. My sisters and I are the only descendants. We were a family of five girls so, as you can imagine, hockey was not a big feature in my family of origin, but here’s the story as I know it.

    To begin with, let me clarify a bit of our family history. Errol Jordan, my father, married Stella Murray of Renfrew. Stella was the granddaughter of M.J. O’Brien, the founder of the Renfrew Millionaires, so M.J. is my great-grandfather on my mother’s side. To be honest, until you wrote to our cousin Kevin O’Brien, I had never heard of the Quebec Bulldogs. We were always told simply that Grandad had been playing hockey in Quebec City, and had been recruited by the O’Briens to play in Renfrew for the Millionaires. As you probably know, M.J. O’Brien and some others formed the Millionaires with the idea of challenging for the Stanley Cup. They offered the players salaries, and set out to assemble the best players they could get.

    Grandad believed that hockey was a game rather than a profession, and he refused to take payment for playing. However, he told M.J O’Brien that he would come and play in Renfrew if they gave him a job. As a result, he was for a number of years M.J. O’Brien’s secretary. As far as I know, he played for the Millionaires in the 1910 – 11 season. When the team failed to win the Stanley Cup, some of the players were lured away to play for other teams for bigger salaries, and they continued playing hockey elsewhere. Grandad remained in Renfrew all his life, and in the later years – the years I remember, he operated the Credit Bureau. He sold that business and retired at age 83. He passed away on June 2, 1973, in his 89th year.

    Clarence Campbell wrote a book called “On the Trail of the Stanley Cup” which says that Grandad scored eight goals in one game. However, the game was played before the formation of the NHL, and so that statistic is not included in the official record book. In later years he was approached by people who wanted to nominate him for inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he refused to let his name stand. The Millionaires are mentioned in the Hall of Fame, so he is there but only as a part of the team photo.

    Renfrew celebrated its centenary in 1958, and those members of the Millionaires who were still living attended. I was only 12 at the time, but I remember the photos and the celebrations, and I know Grandad was very happy to have been reunited with his former teammates on that occasion.

    I have a number of press clippings from the Renfrew Mercury, and the one from the Ottawa Journal sports page after Grandad passed away.

    Barry McIsaac

    1. Where can I contact Mr. Barry McIsaac? I would like to speak with him regarding Herb Jordan.

      Tony Martin
      Petawawa, Ontario


    2. Barry, was his name actually A H Jordan ? John

    3. Hello Barry.

      I have put in a news arfticle in the Renfrew Mercury this week (2013 November 14) about Herb Jordan. If you get the chance, I hope you check this out. Herb also was one of the founders of the Old Renfrew Golf Course!

      PS....Is it possible to get photocopies of those old press clippings you mention you have? That would be so interesting to read about Herb back then.

      Tony Martin

    4. Hello Barry.

      I own Herb Jordan's old piano that I was hoping to contact someone from his family. It is a Mason & Risch upright piano. It was made around 1900 to 1905. Serial number is 8370.

      If you or anyone knows any family member of Herb Jordan, I would be very interested in speaking with them about this. For it's age, it is in very good condition with obvious wear. I would like to have it kept with his family in his memory.

      My phone number is 613-687-7118. E-mail is

      Please pass this information on.

      Thanks very much.

      Tony Martin


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