Des Smith was a big and well-travelled defenseman in the 1930s and 1940s.
Nowadays playing in Europe, even for North American players, prior to coming to the NHL is not unheard of. But back in the 1930s this was hardly the conventional way of making the big leagues. The Wembley teams were made up of all Canadian players. As such they were a power house. In fact they even played exhibition games against Canadian teams.
How Smith was recruited I do not know, but it was a good fit. He was considered to be the best defenseman in his two seasons in the BNL.
After his vagabond career in the NHL ended in 1942, Smith turned to coaching army teams in Ottawa and Montreal during World War II. After World War II Smith returned to the ice, but as an AHL referee for several seasons. By 1962 he became an announcer and public relations director at Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. He worked there until his death in 1981.
Des' sons Brian and Gary both would play in the National Hockey League.