Herbert Carnegie

Herbert Carnegie

Herbert “Herb” Carnegie – In Memoriam (1919-2012), Hockey Player, Philanthropist, Senior Accounts Executive/Financial Planner, Educator, Community Volunteer. Toronto, ON Born: Toronto

“What I wanted was a Canada where kids could dream and dreams could become realities, and the place to start was with young people.”

Herbert H. Carnegie (Herb as he became known) was born November 8, 1919 in Toronto, Ontario to Jamaican immigrants, Adina Janes (née Mitchell) and George Nathaniel Carnegie, a janitor. At age eight, Herb discovered his passion for hockey when he borrowed his older brother’s skates on an icy pond in his North York neighborhood Willowdale.  A naturally gifted skater, Herb soon devoted his free time to practicing hockey with his brother Ossie. Like many young Canadians during the 1920s, Herb grew up listening to radio broadcasts of National Hockey League (NHL) games and dreamed of playing in the NHL. Herb’s father George, however, stressed the importance of getting an education while pursuing sports professionally.

Along with his brother, Herb joined the hockey team at public school; they were the only black boys on the ice and their father the only black man in the stands. During high school, Herb played for a year on the Earl Haig Collegiate team, but transferred to the Toronto Northern Vocational School team, which played at the Maple Leaf Gardens. On the ice, Herb was subjected to racial slurs and despite grabbing the attention of the Toronto Maple Leafs owner, Conn Smythe, when he was eighteen, he was blocked from warranted opportunities to play for the NHL because he was black. In watching Herb play from the stands,  Smythe stated that he would have considered recruiting Herb if only “he could be turned white.” This deeply affected Herb and solidified that the NHL colour barrier would more than likely keep him from his dream. However, Herb continued to play the game and practice diligently, making headlines by scoring five goals in a single game. Around this time, he met the woman he would later marry, Audrey Redmon, whose parent did not approve of the match at first but later relented.

Herb Stats

In 1939, Herb joined his brother Ossie in playing for the Perron Flyers, and soon became one of the league’s top scorers. He eloped with Audrey and the two eventually had four children together. During the 1940s, the couple moved to Timmins where Herb played for the Timmins team and both experienced racism. Herb’s talent was of such renown, it enticed another black player from New Brunswick, Manny McIntyre, to join Herb and Ossie to play for Timmins as the first all-black line in semi-professional hockey.

The three moved on to the Quebec Provincial League and eventually landed on the best team in the North American semi-professional league: the Sherbrooke Saints. In 1946, Herb was made captain and won Most Valuable Player three times in 1947, 1948, and 1949. Herb also went on to play with the Quebec Aces alongside Jean Béliveau, winning the Lloyd Alexander Trophy in 1953. With a good player’s season considered to be 25 goals per season, Herb averaged 27.2 goals in ten seasons. He scored 45 goals in 40 games with 30 assists in 1945-46 with the Sherbrooke Randles and 48 goals in 56 games with 79 assists with the Saints in 1947-48. Despite this impressive record, for a while, Herb failed to attract scouts because of the colour of his skin. A break finally came when Herb was invited to the New York Rangers Camp and was even offered a contract. But offered even less than his current contract and having a family to support: he turned it down, officially squelching his NHL dreams. Herb went on to play for other teams in Canada and even France, retiring from hockey in 1954 at age thirty-four, considered to be the best player to never skate in the NHL.

When Herb’s son, Dale, came to him with dozens of friends looking to learn hockey, Herb founded the Future Aces Hockey School where he taught his original Carnegie System of Positional Hockey. When some of the boys couldn’t afford equipment, Herb began fundraising sponsorships from businesses within the community, to date they have given away over $500,000. While Sports Director at the North York Parks and Recreation Department, to his father’s delight, Herb earned his degree at the University of Western Ontario in 1962. Beginning a career he would excel at for thirty years, Herb became an investment-sales representative, crediting his experience in hockey as the source of his strength for overcoming racial barriers in the corporate world.

Herb rose to Toronto Division Manager and became a Board Member at the company Investors Syndicate. He ended his career as a Senior Accounts Executive and Qualified Financial Planner and was a member of the Millionaires Club with Investors Group for over twenty years; making their wall of fame. The Investors Group named an award in his honour – the Hebert H. Carnegie Community Service Award – presented to the consultant who excels in both business and a spirit of volunteerism. In addition to having various awards named in his honour, Herb also had a school named after him, the Herbert C. Carnegie Public School, opened in September 2008.

Herb was inducted into ten Halls of Fame, including the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University (2006). In his lifetime, he won numerous awards including: the Order of Canada (2004) and Order of Ontario (1996), the Queen’s Golden (2002) and Silver (1977) Jubilee Medals, and the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship  (1988).

Herb continued his Future Aces School amidst his financial career, seeing it develop into clinics in other communities. Herb established a creed for his school centred on attitude, education, cooperation and sportsmanship. It was a creed he hoped would have a positive influence on more racial minorities living in Canada. Herb’s Future Aces led to the creation of the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, a college fund that has provided over $440,000 in scholarships to deserving young people. In reflecting on his reason for starting Future Aces, Herb wrote in his autobiography, A Fly in Pail of Milk (1997):

“What I wanted was a Canada where kids could dream and dreams could become realities, and the place to start was with young people.”

Accolades

Seven Medals for Community Service
• Order of Canada – May 2004
• Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal – 2002
• Order of Ontario (O.Ont.) – 1996
• Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada – 1992
• Metropolitan Toronto Canada Day Medal – 1990
• Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship (O.M.C.) – 1988
• Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal – 1977

Ten Hall of Fame Awards

• Whitevale Hall of Fame – 2008
• African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame – 2007
• Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame – 2006
• Senior Hockey Hall of Fame Immortal – (Career 1940 – 1954) – 2004
• Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (Hockey) – 2001
• International Afro-American Sport Hall of Fame and Gallery (Detroit) – 1997
• Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame (Hockey) – 1997
• Investors Group Ontario Hall of Fame (Business) – 1997
• Pride Hall of Fame (Community) – 1997
• Summit Wall of Fame (Golf)– 1996

Other Community Awards/Recognition

• Zoomers: Recognized as one of the Top 25 Canadians over 45 – 2010
• Dr. Herbert H. Carnegie Community Room – York Regional Police June 2009
• Apple Creek SDA Role Model Award – February 2009
• Herbert H. Carnegie Public School – opened September 2008
• Planet Africa Lifetime Achievement Award – 2007
• Urban Leadership Awards – Local Hero – 2007
• Honorary Doctor of Laws (York University) – June 12, 2006
• Herbert Carnegie –Doll for Democracy commissioned by the Jewish Women International of Toronto. Educational project designed to share the history of noteworthy people through the medium of dolls. – 2005
• Appointed Honorary Chief of Police for York Regional Police – 2005
• Herbert H. Carnegie Service Award – 2004 / an annual award established by the York Regional Police to be given to an officer who displays exemplary service to his community.
• Herbert H. Carnegie Community Service Award – 2004 / an annual award established by Investors Group Financial Services to be given to a consultant who excels in his career and service to his community.
• Black History Makers Award – 2003 / presented by the Peel United Cultural Partners
• Harry Jerome President’s Award – April 2002
• 2001 Harmony Award / presented by the Harmony Movement of Canada for his contribution to bringing harmony to our multicultural community.
• Certificate of Recognition / presented by B’nai Brith Canada 2001 / for outstanding contribution to young people, by establishing the world’s first hockey school, the Future Aces Creed, a scholarship program for good citizenship and community outreach.
• Black History Month Award / presented by the Mayor of Toronto – 2000
• Black History Month Award / presented by the North York Committee on Race Relations –1999
• Volunteer Award of Distinction – 1997
• Salute to the City Award – 1997
• Community Race and Ethnic Relations – 1996
• Toronto Onyx Lions Club Community Recognition Award – 1994, 1995, 1996
• North York Board of Education Champions Award – 1989
• City of North York Volunteer of the Year – 1989