Harry “Apple Cheeks” Lumley was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, November 11, 1926. He took to hockey and found himself playing for the senior ice hockey Owen Sound Mercurys and the Junior A Barrie Colts. It was while playing with the Barrie Colts that the Detroit Red Wings signed him—he was only 15.
He spent most of the 1943-44 season with the Indianapolis Capitals, then the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. However, he was called up to the National Hockey League briefly—largely due to the fact that most of the adult hockey players were over in Europe fighting in World War II. He has the distinction of being the youngest goaltender to play in the NHL, having been only 17 at the time.
When he was called up to play with the Detroit Red Wings, he didn’t make the best of impressions. Despite having been a star in the lower levels, in his two games played he allowed a total of 13 goals in the two Red Wing losses. Not surprisingly he was returned to the Capitals, where in the 52 games he played in the 1943-44 season he had a 19-18-15 record with a goals against average of 2.84.
The following year, after spending half of the season with the Capitals, he was again recalled to Detroit. This time he would stick. He helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1950, in which he had three shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average. However, Red Wings manager Jack Adams had seen something he liked when, while Lumley was injured towards the end of the 1949-50 regular season, Terry Sawchuk was called up, playing in seven games. As a result, Lumley found himself traded to the Chicago Black Hawks (as they were known at the time).
Two years after being traded to Chicago, he would then spend four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs—the team he had helped the Red Wings beat in the Stanley Cup Championship in 1950. It was during his time with Toronto that he would win the Vezina Trophy in 1954. During the 1953-54 season he earned 13 shutouts, an NHL record that would not be surpassed until Tony Esposito got 15 in 1970.
His 1956-57 season was found playing back in the AHL, this time with the Buffalo Bisons, after being sold that summer back to the Black Hawks, with whom he refused to sign. His final NHL team was the Boston Bruins. He had 11 games with the Boston club and the rest of his 1958-59 season was spent playing for the AHL Providence Reds.
It was while he was a member of the Black and Gold that on February 8, 1958, that he became the second NHL goaltender to reach the milestone of 300 wins. Perhaps not surprisingly, the win came in a game against the Maple Leafs, played at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Boston would win 7-3.
Lumley retired after the 1959-60 NHL season with a career 803 games, a record of 330-329-142, 71 shutouts, and a goals against average of 2.74 He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980.