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The 1945–46 NHL season was the 29th season of the National Hockey League (NHL) which lasted from October 24, 1945 to April 9, 1946.

The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Boston Bruins for the team's sixth championship.

League Business[]

Synchronized red lights to signal goals were made obligatory for all NHL rinks.

It was rumored in the press that Lester Patrick planned to retire as general manager of the New York Rangers.

On February 22, 1946, he announced his retirement from the general manager position, however he would stay on as vice president of Madison Square Garden.

Regular Season[]

Veterans came back to their teams this year as World War II ended, but many found they could not regain their form.

One who did regain his form was the man formerly known as "Mr. Zero", Boston Bruins' goaltender Frank Brimsek. He was shelled in an 8–3 contest with Chicago, but got better game by game.

The Bruins had first place at one point, then finished second. Brimsek made the Second All-Star Team as a result.

Max Bentley of Chicago led the league in scoring and because of the "Pony Line" including him, his brother Doug and Bill Mosienko, the Black Hawks were in first place at one point. But misfortune hit the Hawks when Doug Bentley injured his knee in a January 23, 1946 game and the team sagged.

Frank Patrick, (the former Pacific Coast Hockey Association president and former managing director for the NHL) suffered a heart attack and was not released from the hospital for several weeks.

A bombshell exploded on January 30, 1946 when defenceman Babe Pratt was expelled from the NHL for betting on games. However, he only bet on his own team and appealed his expulsion. On his promise, he would not bet on any more games and was reinstated. Pratt missed 9 games during his suspension.

Maple Leaf Gaye Stewart led the league in goals with 37, but Toronto finished fifth and missed the playoffs for the first time since playing at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Bill Durnan equalled George Hainsworth's record of three consecutive Vezina Trophies and led the league in shutouts with 4.


Montreal Canadiens vs. Chicago Black Hawks

  • March 19, 1946: 6-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 21, 1946: 5-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 24, 1946: 8-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 26, 1946: 7-2 (Winner: Montreal)

Montreal wins 4–0.


The NHL changed the criteria for the Vezina Trophy to award it to the goaltender who plays the most games for the team which gives up the least goals in the season.

Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Playoff runner-up)
Boston Bruins
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
All-Star teams
First team   Position   Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins D Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
Emile "Butch" Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens D Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings
Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks C Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Gaye Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens Coach Johnny Gottselig, Chicago Black Hawks

Player Statistics[]

Scoring leaders[]

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Max Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 47 31 30 61 6
Gaye Stewart Toronto Maple Leafs 50 37 15 52 8
Toe Blake Montreal Canadiens 50 29 21 50 2
Clint Smith Chicago Black Hawks 50 26 24 50 2
Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks 40 18 30 48 12
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 50 27 21 48 50
Ab DeMarco New York Rangers 50 20 27 47 20
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 50 13 34 47 34
Alex Kaleta Chicago Black Hawks 49 19 27 46 17
Billy Taylor Toronto Maple Leafs 48 23 18 41 14

Leading goaltenders[]

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

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 40 2400 104 2.60 24 11 5 4
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 50 3000 159 3.18 20 20 10 2
Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins 34 2040 111 3.26 16 14 4 2
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 48 2880 166 3.46 22 19 7 1
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 15 900 53 3.53 6 6 3 0
Frank McCool Toronto Maple Leafs 22 1320 81 3.68 10 9 3 0
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 40 2377 149 3.76 12 21 7 1
Jim Henry New York Rangers 11 623 42 4.04 1 7 2 1


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1945–46:

  • Leo Reise, Chicago Black Hawks
  • George Gee, Chicago Black Hawks
  • Jimmy Peters, Montreal Canadiens
  • Cal Gardner, New York Rangers
  • Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
  • Tony Leswick, New York Rangers
  • Jimmy Thomson, Toronto Maple Leafs

Last Games[]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1945-46:

  • Herb Cain, Boston Bruins
  • Mike Karakas, Chicago Black Hawks
  • Carl Liscombe, Detroit Red Wings
  • Earl Seibert, Detroit Red Wings
  • Flash Hollett, Detroit Red Wings
  • Mud Bruneteau, Detroit Red Wings
  • Syd Howe, Detroit Red Wings
  • Ott Heller, New York Rangers
  • Lynn Patrick, New York Rangers
  • Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Bob Davidson, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Sweeney Schriner, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Lorne Carr, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Mel Hill, Toronto Maple Leafs