The fact that Hank Goldup did not own his own pair of skates until he was 16 years old did not prevent him from achieving success in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers in the 1940s.
Conn Smythe first noticed Goldup as a 17 year old when he scored 29 goals in just 16 games in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Smythe signed him up and brought him to Toronto to continue his amateur career.
Goldup ended up playing at Northern Vocational school in Toronto along side Herbie Carnegie. Swivel Hips Carnegie was as fine a hockey player in the country at that time, but he would not be destined for the NHL due to his skin colour. Carnegie was the son of Jamaica immigrants. But in this season the two worked magic together, with Goldup averaging 2 goals per game.
Speedy Hank would move on to star with the Toronto Marlies, leading the entire OHA in scoring with 25 goals and 41 points in just 14 games.
Goldup finally signed a pro contract with Smythe's Leafs in 1939. He started the season with the AHL Pittsburgh Hornets but finished the season in Toronto alongside fellow newcomer Pete Langelle and veteran winger Gus Marker.
Impressions of Goldup's first NHL games were mixed at best. He scored 6 goals in 21 games and newspaper reports at the time suggested he showed little interest in playing defensively. But by playoff time he was turning into a star, scoring 5 goals (including a couple of game winners) in 10 games, tying Syl Apps for the playoff scoring lead. Newspapers changed their tune, proclaiming "Hankus Pankus Goldup" as "the most consistently dangerous puck pusher" on the team. Another paper said Goldup "makes Houdini look like a rookie."
The New York Rangers would win the Stanley Cup in 1940, but Goldup had made his impression in the NHL. It was a good thing, too. He would never recapture that playoff magic in the next couple of seasons in Toronto, thanks in part to a nasty hip injury when he crashed into the immovable goal posts of the day. Still, he was a member of the Leafs amazing 1942 Stanley Cup championship team.
While the Leafs grew impatient with him, the Rangers remembered his previous exploits and gave him a chance. They traded future Hall of Famer Babe Pratt for Goldup and Red Garrett. Pratt would go on to greatness, while Goldup and Garrett went on to serve in World War II shortly thereafter. Only Goldup would return.
Goldup rejoined the Rangers in 1945 but only for a season and a half before being demoted to the minor leagues. His stay there was successful but short thanks to injuries suffered in a summer softball game. Torn ligaments all but ended his playing days in 1947.
Goldup retired and became a salesman for Molson Breweries and Andres Wines. Later he served as a sales executive for Victoriaville hockey sticks. He stayed involved with hockey by coaching youth, including his own son Glenn who would go onto his own NHL career in the 1970s.
Hank Goldup suffered a stroke in 2002 and for the final three years of his life he lived in a care facility, unable to communicate verbally. But legend has it when the Stanley Cup dropped by for a visit Goldup whispered the trophy's name.
"Those were the clearest two words I heard him speak in years," Glenn said.
Hank Goldup died in 2008.