The 1946–47 NHL season was the 30th season of the National Hockey League (NHL) which lasted from October 16, 1946 to April 19, 1947.
Tommy Gorman (who had been associated with the NHL since its inception in 1917), announced his retirement in July 1946 as the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.
Gorman left behind him seven Stanley Cup champions and a hall of fame career as a coach and general manager. Frank Selke (who was 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.
Lorne Chabot, whose outstanding career as goalkeeper brought him two Stanley Cups, a Vezina Trophy and a first all-star selection died October 10, 1946 (five days after his 46th birthday). Chabot had been suffering from kidney disease for some time and had been bedridden with severe arthritis.
The league extended the season 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.
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.
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.
Francis 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.
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. The New York Rangers were the first NHL team to have their home games televised.
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Best regular season record)
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
|Howie Meeker, Toronto Maple Leafs|
(Most valuable player)
|Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins|
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens|
|First team||Position||Second team|
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens||G||Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins|
|Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens||D||Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings|
|Emile "Butch" Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens||D||Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings|
|Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins||C||Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens||RW||Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins|
|Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks||LW||Woody Dumart, Boston Bruins|
(Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes)
|Max Bentley||Chicago Black Hawks||60||29||43||72||12|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||60||45||26||71||69|
|Billy Taylor||Detroit Red Wings||60||17||46||63||35|
|Milt Schmidt||Boston Bruins||59||27||35||62||40|
|Ted Kennedy||Toronto Maple Leafs||60||28||32||60||27|
|Doug Bentley||Chicago Black Hawks||52||21||34||55||18|
|Bobby Bauer||Boston Bruins||58||30||24||54||4|
|Roy Conacher||Detroit Red Wings||60||30||24||54||6|
|Bill Mosienko||Chicago Black Hawks||59||25||27||52||2|
|Woody Dumart||Boston Bruins||60||24||28||52||12|
(Note: GP = Games played; Mins – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)
|Bill Durnan||Montreal Canadiens||60||3600||138||2.30||34||16||10||4|
|Turk Broda||Toronto Maple Leafs||60||3600||172||2.87||31||19||10||4|
|Frank Brimsek||Boston Bruins||60||3600||175||2.92||26||23||11||3|
|Chuck Rayner||New York Rangers||58||3480||177||3.05||22||30||6||5|
|Harry Lumley||Detroit Red Wings||52||3120||159||3.06||22||20||10||3|
|Paul Bibeault||Chicago Black Hawks||41||2460||170||4.15||13||25||3||1|
|Emile Francis||Chicago Black Hawks||19||1140||104||5.47||6||12||1||0|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1946–47:
- 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
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