George Reginald "Red" Horner - Born May 28, 1909 in Lynden, Ontario – Died April 27, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario was a Canadian professional ice Hockey defenceman.
As a junior player, Horner played for the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey League. Horner would play his entire Hockey career in Toronto.
Horner made his NHL debut at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, a 3-2 Leafs loss, on December 22, 1928.
Horner wasn't known for being overly aggressive as a junior but took on the role as a policeman on the Maple Leafs team almost immediately. He said that it was never ordered by Conn Smythe but that it was merely understood.
" We had some smaller players on the team and someone had to protect them, " Red said, " I was that someone."
King Clancy was quick to start scraps he had no intention of ever seeing through, it was up to Red to finish the business. And he did so willingly. “He was part of a very wild group of Maple Leafs known as the ‘Gas House Gang.’
Horner was quick to come to one’s defence. While Dec. 12, 1933, at Boston Garden will forever be remembered as the night Boston’s Eddie Shore ended Ace Bailey’s career, Horner was front and centre. He had been pounding the Bruins’ leader with punishing bodychecks all night. Frustrated at one point in the second period after getting drilled, Shore mistook Bailey for Horner on his way back up the ice and violently upended the Leafs forward, slamming his head on the ice. (Emergency brain surgery would save his life, but Bailey would never play Hockey again.) While trainers, doctors and players tended to an unconscious Bailey in the Leafs’ end of the rink, Horner skated up to Shore, informed him that this behaviour would not be tolerated, and promptly laid him out with a single punch. "That was some kind of scene: Ace unconscious at one end of the ice, and Shore out cold at the other end. " Shore, who sustained a bloody scalp, received a 16-game ban while Horner was suspended for 6 games.
Horner was the NHL most penalized player seven times between 1932-40. He also was the most penalized player in the playoffs twice (1936 & 39) No other NHL player have ruled the penalty box more than three times in a row and four times in total. Horner's 167 minutes in 43 games during 1935-36, stood as an NHL record for 20 years, until surpassed by Lou Fontinato’s 202 in 1955-56.. Horner retired as the league's all-time penalty minute leader, a mark he held until Ted Lindsay broke it in the late Fifties.
Horner helped the Leafs win their first Stanley Cup in 1932.
Conn Smythe said of Red: "Because of his courage and color he was one of the best drawing cards in the league. Truly, he helped establish NHL as a popular attraction."
Horner worked for two seasons as an N.H.L. linesman when his playing days ended.
Reginald “Red” Horner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1965.
Red held the distinction of being the oldest living Hockey Hall of Fame member, oldest living former Maple Leaf captain, and possibly oldest living former NHL player until he passed away at age 95.
On Feb. 13, 1999, when the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens, Horner and Mush March, a former Blackhawk, who had played against Horner in 1931 for the first game at the arena, took a ceremonial face-off. And Horner passed a ceremonial banner to Mats Sundin, one Maple Leafs captain saluting another.
Horner was also involved in the opening of the Air Canada Centre.