The Herder Memorial Trophy, or Herder, is the championship trophy awarded annually to the senior ice hockey champions of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The trophy was originally donated in 1935 by the Herder family, owners of The Evening Telegram newspaper, as a memorial to five brothers who played hockey in St. John's. The Herder was first awarded to the Corner Brook team that won the inaugural all-Newfoundland hockey championships on March 22, 1935. The most recent winners of the Herder Memorial Trophy were the Clarenville Caribous on April 14, 2018.
The Herder trophy was the brainchild of Ralph Herder, then president of The Evening Telegram, as a memorial to his five late brothers, Arthur, William, Douglas, Augustus and Hubert, who were all avid hockey players in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The trophy was donated in 1935 by the Evening Telegram newspaper and was to be awarded to Newfoundland's best ice hockey team. The Evening Telegram was published by a member of the Herder family since the founding of the paper in 1879 up until the retirement of Stephen Herder in 1993. The Telegram has played an integral role in the promotion and sponsorship of the Herder, which continues to this day.
Originally donated by Ralph Herder in memory of five of his late brothers, the trophy now honors the memory of eight members of the Herder family including Ralph's brothers Ralph and James. In 2009, the name of Ralph's son Stephen was added to the trophy. All seven Herder brothers were fine hockey players and often played together, with four of them sometimes playing together on a championship team. James Herder coached the 1935 Guards team that lost the inaugural Herder championship to Corner Brook in March 1935.
The St. John's Guards had earned the right to compete for the inaugural Herder Memorial Trophy in 1935 by first defeating St. Bon's in a 2-game series to become St. John's city champions, and later toppling the Bay Roberts Rovers in a 2-game, total goal series to become the Avalon Peninsula champions. The championship match-up was then set - the Guards of St. John's would play host to the Corner Brook All-Star Team. Fans in St. John's eagerly awaited the arrival of the Corner Brook Royals; tickets to the 2 games were sold out quickly. The Royals edged the Guards 1-0 in Game 1, and were victorious in Game 2 by a 4-2 margin to become the island's top team, and Herder Trophy Champions.
Today, fan interest and competition is as keen as it was in the glory days of senior hockey. The Herder Memorial Trophy will live forever in the minds and hearts of the people of Newfoundland.