Revisiting Calder Trophy Seasons: Carl Voss’ 1932-33 Season

Carl Voss was 26 years old when he kicked off the 1932-33 NHL season with the New York Rangers. Having played 14 games prior to that season with the Toronto St. Pats and the Toronto Maple Leafs between 1926 and 1929, Voss’s career hadn’t really taken off until the puck dropped on what would be considered his rookie season.

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In today’s game, his age would be a topic of discussion when it comes to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy for the NHL’s rookie of the year, but in 1932-33 Voss put his name in the NHL’s record books as the first winner of said award.

Calder Trophy
Calder Trophy (The Hockey Writers)

In fact, his story may be more unique than most when it comes to winning the award. Not only was he the first to do so, but he may be one of the few that were traded during his rookie season before going on to win the top rookie accolade.

With that, we’ll go back and take a look at what made Voss the original owner of the NHL’s Calder Trophy, revisiting his 1932-33 season.

Voss’ Trip From Broadway to the Motor City

Voss began the season with the New York Rangers and for the first time had earned a full-time roster spot in the NHL. His season didn’t start off overly productive — with two goals and three points in 10 games with the Rangers — and the Rangers sold the eventual rookie of the year to the Detroit Red Wings for cash on Dec. 11, 1932.

From there, Voss went on to have a relatively productive season for the Red Wings. He played 38 regular season games for Detroit following the trade and over that span tallied six goals and 21 points to finish the season with a total of 24 points over 48 games — an average of 0.5 points per game.

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Voss finished the season tied for 30th in NHL scoring with three other players — including Syd Howe, Earl Robinson and John Sorrell. His 21 points with the Red Wings was good enough for sixth on the team in scoring that season 13 points back of the team lead, which was future Hall-of-Famer, Herbie Lewis. However, it’s also worth noting that Voss played 10 fewer games than Lewis for the Red Wings that season.

The 26-year-old was the lone candidate for the Calder Trophy in 1932-33 and hence became the first winner of the NHL’s award for the rookie of the year.

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The Red Wings finished the season with a 25-15-8 record in 48 games and ended up losing to the Rangers — Voss’ team to start the year — in the semi-final while the Rangers went on to defeat the Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup under head coach Lester Patrick.

As for Voss, his career was short-lived, but he did manage to add to his accolades beyond his rookie season.

Voss Was a Constant Trade Piece

Between 1932 and 1936, Voss was traded three more times. He spent time with Ottawa in 1933. He was selected again by the Red Wings in the WHA Dispersal Draft in 1935, before they traded him to the New York Americans on Oct. 16, 1935. Finally, Voss was moved from the Americans to the Montreal Maroons in September 1936.

Voss started the 1937-38 season with the Maroons, but signed as a free agent with the Chicago Black Hawks on Dec. 6, 1937. He went on to tally three goals and 11 points in 33 games for the Hawks in his final NHL season — totalling 34 goals and 105 points in 264 regular season games.

Retiring NHL referee-in-chief Carl Voss

He added another eight points in 23 playoff games over his career — with his rookie season being his third most productive season during his eight-year career. Still, while he earned the first ever Calder Trophy in 1932-33 with possibly the biggest individual highlight of his career, Voss’ trophy case didn’t just hold the singular accomplishment.

In fact, along with being a unique winner of the Calder Trophy, he was also a unique champion when it came to two sports.

A Champion of 2 Sports

In his lone season with the Black Hawks, Voss helped the team earn a spot in the playoffs and go on a deep run. The team went on to defeat Voss’ former club, the Americans, in the semi-finals before defeating the Maple Leafs in four games to win the Stanley Cup.

Voss scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the final to secure the Cup for his team, but it wasn’t the first time that Voss became a champion. However, the first time around wasn’t as a professional hockey player.

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As a member of the Queen’s Golden Gaels while at university from 1924 to 1927, Voss played football for the school. In his rookie season there, in 1924, Voss was a member of the Grey Cup champion team, having his name engraved on the trophy. It’s a feat that has only been accomplished by two other players outside of Voss — including Lionel Conacher and Joe Miller — while others have done it as presidents and owners of clubs in both leagues.

While he certainly won’t be the most memorable Calder Trophy winner as the year’s go on, Voss will always be remembered as the inaugural winner of the award — and maybe one of the only ones to ever be traded amidst his Calder-winning year. As for him, the 1932-33 season was one for the ages and one that played out unlike any other Calder season.