Will Jonathan Huberdeau win the One Jewish NHL Trophy?

Hart Memorial Trophy

Will Jonathan Huberdeau win the one Jewish trophy in the NHL, the Hart Memorial Trophy for the MVP of the League?

In 1752 Halifax was home to about thirty Jews. Most were of German background who had first emigrated to the American colonies and then to the British colonies in what would become Canada. One prominent family was the Hart brothers Abraham, Isaac, Naphtali and Samuel. Levy was the first to exploit the Cape Breton coal fields, while Abraham began a potash industry and the largest purveyor of goods in the entire region was a company called Nathans and Hart. Later they became active in ways that would never have been permitted to Jews in England. [1]

Aaron Hart was postmaster in Three Rivers Quebec. No Jewish settler in this period was more important than he was. The Hart family unlike many of the other early settlers did not intermarry, most had a solid Jewish background in education and almost all played a role in the Jewish life of their times. For the next two centuries the descendants of Aaron Hart served a major role in the history of the Jewish community in Canada.

Aaron became the leading businessman outside of Montreal. He opened a thriving fur trading business with the Indians. He was deeply involved in the liquor trade and he exported grain to England while acquiring vast tracts of land. By the time of his death, he was one of the largest land owner in all of Lower Canada.

Heart was determined to carry on his faith in this new country and so in 1768 he returned to England to wed his cousin Dorothea Judah. They had eleven children seven of whom survived into adulthood all of whom received a traditional Jewish upbringing. He sent his sons Ezekiel, Moses, Benjamin, and Alexander to New York and Philadelphia to stay with Jewish families so they could receive a religious education. He was philanthropic to the non-Jewish community around him and was so generous to the church that at his death 1 local remarked, “Hart had done more for Catholics in Three Rivers than the Pope himself.”

His son Ezekiel in 1807 became the first and then only Jew elected to the legislative assembly of either Upper or Lower Canada. Benjamin became a magistrate. Arthur Wellington Hart son of Benjamin and grandson of Aaron arrived in Toronto in 1832 to represent his family’s business interests. The family continued to expand and prosper. Which brings us to Cecil Mordechai Hart.

He was born on November 28, 1883 in Bedford Quebec, a scion of the great Quebec Jewish family, who was instrumental in the creation of arguably the most important unifying aspect of Quebecers, the Montreal Canadiens. He was the team’s coach for most of the 1920s and 1930s when they won 3 Stanley cups. His father Doctor David A Hart donated the Hart trophy in 1924 for the league’s MVP. In 1960 the league retired it to the Hockey Hall of Fame and replaced it with the Hart Memorial Trophy. The National Hockey League every year acknowledges a winner of the Hart trophy as the MVP of the league and so if Jonathan Huberdeau wins the award it will be in memory of Cecil Mordechai Hart and all the Harts who were direct descendants of Aaron Hart.

[1] All the historical material is from , A Coat Of Many Colours, by Irving Abella

When My Canadian upbringing and my love of hockey merge with my Judaism, how much better does it get? Please share with fellow hockey fans, and Go Panthers.

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