Joseph Sylvio Theobald Mantha (Born April 14, 1902 in Montreal, Quebec – Died August 7, 1974 in Montreal, Quebec) was a Canadian professional Ice Hockey player who played fourteen seasons in the National Hockey League for the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Mantha was a three-time Stanley Cup winner - 1924, 1930 (Captain), 1931 (Captain). He played fourteen NHL seasons from 1923–24 to 1936–37, with all but four games as a Montreal Canadiens player. He was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens from 1926–27 to 1931–32 and from 1933–34 to 1935–36.
Born and bred in the St. Henri district of Montreal, Mantha first made a name for himself as a right wing with the Notre Dame de Grace juniors in 1918-19. That was followed by apprenticeships with Verdun in the Intermediate Mount Royal Hockey League, Montreal Imperial Tobacco and Montreal Northern Electric in the city's industrial league and a short stint with the Montreal Nationales of the Quebec senior amateur league. Well-known coach Arthur Therrien made an indelible impression on Mantha while coaching him at Verdun.
Mantha's four goals in nine games with the Nationales impressed the Montreal Canadiens enough to sign him in December 1923.
The Canadiens started Mantha as a forward, then moved him to right defence, because veterans Sprague Cleghorn and Billy Coutu were aging.
When Cleghorn was traded just before the 1925–26 NHL season, Mantha gained a more prominent role.
Mantha scored the first-ever goal in Boston Garden on November 20, 1928, leading the Canadiens to a 1–0 win over the Boston Bruins.
Mantha was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in both the 1929–30 and 1930–31 seasons.
In the 1935–36 NHL season, Mantha became the Canadiens' player coach. After a dismal season, the Canadiens fired him. The Boston Bruins were involved in a contract dispute with Eddie Shore so they signed Mantha at the start of the 1936–37 NHL season—and gave him Shore's number 2 jersey. Four games into the season, Mantha admitted he could no longer play at a competitive level and retired.
After retiring, Mantha tried his hand as a linesman and referee in the American Hockey League and the NHL. However, the grueling travel schedule of an on-ice official proved to be too much. Mantha decided to stay in Montreal and ply his trade as an amateur coach. He coached the Montreal Concordias until 1943, when he switched to the junior ranks. Mantha passed his wealth of experience on to young players on the Laval Nationales from 1943 to 1945, the Verdun Maple Leafs from 1945 to 1947 and the St. Jerome Eagles from 1947 to 1948.
Mantha was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960.
The Georges and Sylvio Mantha Arenas are part of the Complexe Récréatif Gadbois in Montreal and named for him and his brother, Georges Mantha, who also played in the National Hockey League.