Hall of Fame Members
Norman "Normie" Himes
Destined to become one our community's most dominant sportsmen, Norman Lawrence "Normie" Himes was born in Galt on 16 Apr 1900.
Although small in stature Normie Himes demonstrated an athletic ability in a wide variety of sports including some dominated by much larger men. He proved a gifted amateur on the baseball diamond and on the curling rink. He demonstrated a solid ability in basketball and rugby, was an able competitor in swimming and track and field. He excelled professionally as a hockey player and finally as a golfer. It was on the hockey rink, however, that Mr Himes was to make his most significant mark.
In the mid-1920's the New York Americans of the National Hockey League persuaded him to leave the Galt Terriers Hockey Club to pursue a career in the professional ranks. In the first game of his rookie season in 1926, Mr Himes served notice that he was a force to be reckoned with when he scored both goals in a 2-1 New York victory over the Ottawa Senators. By season's end he ranked second in team scoring, his lowest standing in his first eight years with the Americans. He was to lead the New York Americans in scoring for seven consecutive years. His abilities were recognized by his peers when he was invited to play in the first NHL All-Star game, a benefit game played in Toronto in 1933 for injured Maple Leaf player Ace Bailey.
Mr Himes was described by his contempories as "unquestionably the backbone and sparkplug of the New York Americans", "the Galt terror", the "Little Giant", "the greatest playmaker in the league" and "one of Canada's natural athletes." It was perhaps his misfortune to play on what was, at best, a mediocre team. Had his supporting cast been stronger, he would undoubtedly received the recognition he deserved. One commentator suggested that Mr Himes "should be judged the MVP in the league if the Americans weren't so far down in the standings." In a total of 399 professional games between 1926 and 1935, an average of about 40 games a season, Mr Himes scored 106 goals and 113 assists for 219 points, an average of about 30 points a season. This may not appear to be much by today's standards but came at a time when 50 points could place a player in the top five in league scoring.
In 1936, Mr Himes was sent to coach the Americans' farm team in New Haven. After a three year stint there, Mr Himes returned to Galt to coach first the Guelph Biltmores and then the Galt Red Wings, both of the Ontario Junior "A" League.
After leaving the professional hockey ranks, Normie Himes turned to curling to fill the winter months. He soon mastered the game and became a leading skip in the area playing several times on Galt Curling Club teams that competed for the National Curling Championship.
While curling filled the winter months, golf, which he had taken up in a serious way while pursuing his hockey career, became the sport of choice for the summer months. Mr Himes was employed for some time as the assistant golf professional at the Galt Golf and Country Club and later became the head professional first at Southampton and later at the Westmount Country Club in Kitchener. He capped a 24 year golf professional career by winning the Millar Trophy, the prize presented to the golf champion of Ontario.
While Mr Himes made a name for himself in the professional hockey ranks, he was an outstanding baseball player playing shortstop for the Galt Terriers team that won the Ontario baseball championship in 1922. Mr Himes is said to have adopted the trademark baseball cap that he wore throughout his hockey career to remember his hitting of the home run that helped Galt win the championship. Others suggest that he wore the cap to hide and keep warm a balding head. Whatever the reason his continuing love for baseball did not go unnoticed and in 1929 New York Giants' owner John McGraw invited Mr Himes to attend the Giants training camp in Florida. Mr Himes declined the offer both because training camp started before the hockey season ended and because the Americans owners frowned upon their players being involved in other sports.
After a lifetime dedicated to sport it perhaps fitting that Mr Himes died on 14 Sep 1958 following a friendly game of golf at the Waterloo Golf and Country, now the Galt Country Club.