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1946–47 NHL season

1946–47 NHL season

The 1946–47 NHL season was the 30th season of the National Hockey League. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the 1947 Stanley Cup Final to win their sixth Stanley Cup championship.

1946–47 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 16, 1946 – April 19, 1947
Number of games60
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPMaurice Richard (Canadiens)
Top scorerMax Bentley (Black Hawks)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsToronto Maple Leafs
  Runners-upMontreal Canadiens

League business

Tommy Gorman, who had been associated with the National Hockey League since its inception in 1917, announced his retirement in July 1946 as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. He left behind him seven Stanley Cup champions and a hall of fame career as a coach and general manager. Frank Selke, released from the Toronto Maple Leafs, took over as general manager and would build the greatest dynasty hockey ever knew in the late 1950s. The Canadiens were in financial trouble at this time, despite their winning team and Selke would turn things around by buying up talent and keeping the cream of the crop, selling some players to teams that needed talent.

Red Dutton finally got to resign as president of the NHL, as Clarence Campbell, whom Frank Calder had been grooming as his successor, had come home from Europe. Campbell's experience in law and in hockey made him an ideal choice as president. Campbell hired Ken McKenzie, who would become the league's first publicity director, in September 1946, as his first hiring. McKenzie would go on to found The Hockey News and other publications, including the annual NHL Guide.[1]

Lorne Chabot, whose outstanding career as goalkeeper brought him two Stanley Cups, a Vezina Trophy and a first all-star selection, died October 10, five days after his 46th birthday. He had been suffering from kidney disease for some time and had been bedridden with severe arthritis.


The league extended the season from 50 games to 60 games. Linesmen are to be hired for each game from neutral cities. The system of hand gestures to symbolize penalties, devised by Bill Chadwick, is adopted officially by the NHL. The NHL announces that winners of its trophies, and members of the All-Star team will each receive $1,000.[2] Additionally, the league modified the captaincy rule so that captains wore the letter "C" and assistant captains wear the letter "A" on the front of their jerseys.[3]

Regular season

Detroit lost Syd Howe through retirement, but another Howe started his great career as Gordie Howe was Detroit's new rookie. In one of his first fights, he took care of Montreal's Rocket Richard. Sid Abel then added a taunt that enraged Richard and he broke Abel's nose in three places.

Chicago decided to purchase goaltender Paul Bibeault from Montreal and regretted it. He played badly, one of his losses being an 11–0 whitewashing at the hands of Toronto. Finally, president and general manager Bill Tobin had enough and brought up 20-year-old Emile Francis to replace him. He made his debut on February 9, 1947, in a 6–4 win over Boston. During the season, Maple Leaf Gardens was the first arena in the NHL to have Plexiglas inserted in the end zones of the rink.[4]

A donnybrook took place March 16, 1947, between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. Cal Gardner lifted Kenny Reardon's stick so that it clipped him in the mouth and a fight broke out between both teams and the fans. On that same night, Billy Taylor of Detroit set an NHL record with 7 assists in a 10–6 shootout win over the Chicago Black Hawks.

Bill Durnan broke George Hainsworth's record of consecutive Vezina Trophies as he won his fourth in a row, and Montreal again finished first. Max Bentley edged out Rocket Richard by one point and won the scoring championship. On February 12, 1947, Dit Clapper played his final game with the Boston Bruins. Before the start of the game, Clapper was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was the only active player to be inducted into the Hall.[5] The New York Rangers were the first NHL team to have their home games televised.

Final standings

National Hockey League[[CITE|6|http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=19461947&type=DIV]]
1Montreal Canadiens60341610189138+5178
2Toronto Maple Leafs60311910209172+3772
3Boston Bruins60262311190175+1563
4Detroit Red Wings60222711190193−355
5New York Rangers6022326167186−1950
6Chicago Black Hawks6019374193274−8142


Playoff bracket

SemifinalsStanley Cup Finals


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Boston Bruins

Montreal won series 4–1

(2) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings

Toronto won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

Toronto won series 4–2


Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Playoff runner-up)
Montreal Canadiens
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Best regular season record)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Howie Meeker, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
All-Star teams
First team  Position  Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal CanadiensGFrank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
Ken Reardon, Montreal CanadiensDJack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings
Emile "Butch" Bouchard, Montreal CanadiensDBill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings
Milt Schmidt, Boston BruinsCMax Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
Maurice Richard, Montreal CanadiensRWBobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Doug Bentley, Chicago Black HawksLWWoody Dumart, Boston Bruins

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Max BentleyChicago Black Hawks6029437212
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens6045267169
Billy TaylorDetroit Red Wings6017466335
Milt SchmidtBoston Bruins5927356240
Ted KennedyToronto Maple Leafs6028326027
Doug BentleyChicago Black Hawks5221345518
Bobby BauerBoston Bruins583024544
Roy ConacherDetroit Red Wings603024546
Bill MosienkoChicago Black Hawks592527522
Woody DumartBoston Bruins6024285212

Source: NHL[7]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Bill DurnanMontreal Canadiens6036001382.303416104
Turk BrodaToronto Maple Leafs6036001722.873119104
Frank BrimsekBoston Bruins6036001752.922623113
Chuck RaynerNew York Rangers5834801773.05223065
Harry LumleyDetroit Red Wings5231201593.062220103
Paul BibeaultChicago Black Hawks4124601704.15132531
Emile FrancisChicago Black Hawks1911401045.4761210


  • Boston Bruins: Dit Clapper

  • Chicago Black Hawks: Johnny Gottselig

  • Detroit Red Wings: Jack Adams

  • Montreal Canadiens: Dick Irvin

  • New York Rangers: Frank Boucher

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: Hap Day


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1946–47 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

  • Johnny Peirson, Boston Bruins

  • Pentti Lund*, Boston Bruins

  • Bill Gadsby, Chicago Black Hawks

  • Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings

  • Jim McFadden*, Detroit Red Wings

  • Bill Barilko, Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Garth Boesch, Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Gus Mortson, Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Howie Meeker, Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1946–47 (listed with their last team):

  • Don Grosso, Boston Bruins

  • Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins (Last active St. Louis Eagles player)

  • Dit Clapper, Boston Bruins

  • Babe Pratt, Boston Bruins

  • Clint Smith, Chicago Black Hawks

  • Johnny Mowers, Chicago Black Hawks

  • Joe Benoit, Montreal Canadiens

See also

  • List of Stanley Cup champions

  • 1946 in sports

  • 1947 in sports


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