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The 1949-50 NHL season was the 33rd season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New York Rangers in seven games for the Stanley Cup. This is the last season that the O'Brien Trophy was awarded as it went into retirement for the second and final time at season's end. The O'Brien Trophy was originally the league championship trophy for the National Hockey Association and then the National Hockey League until it was replaced by the Prince of Wales Trophy for the 1923-24 NHL season. It came out of retirement a few years later and since 1939 it had been awarded to the Stanley Cup runner up.


The Boston Bruins became the first team to put a European trained player on their reserve list when they added Jaroslav Drobný in 1949.[1]

Regular Season[]

In June of 1949, the NHL decided to paint the ice surface white. This was done by adding white paint to the water before freezing. Previously, the ice surface was just frozen water on concrete, which made a dull grey colour. By "whitening" the ice surface, it made seeing and following the puck much easier, especially on the relatively new medium of television.

Detroit, led by the new Production Line of Lindsay, Howe and Abel won the regular season. The Production line led the league in scoring 1-2-3.


Pete Horeck sports the white "Spoked B" jersey in 1949-50.

With the success of the "Spoked B" jersey worn for their 25th anniversary in the NHL, the Bruins adopted the white jersey for the 1949-50 season, albeit with the "24" and "49" on the horizontal spokes removed. The "Spoked B" became the Bruins logo and would be worn in one form or another every year afterwards. The black jersey with the gold block "B" introduced in the 1948-49 season was also continued but gold shoulder yolks were added and the arm and body stripes were modified

On November 2, 1949 at Chicago Stadium, a rather serious brawl broke out in a game Chicago defeated Montreal 4-1. During the second period, some rinkside fans began to get on Montreal defenceman Ken Reardon, and when one fan grabbed his sweater, Reardon swung his stick and hit one of the rowdies. Leo Gravelle and Billy Reay joined in, and yet another fan climbed over the boards and challenged Reardon, but was forced back to his seat. When the game ended, police arrested Reardon, Reay, and Gravelle. Later, the players were cleared when a judge ruled that the fans were the aggressors and overstepped the prerogatives as fans.

After Chicago defeated Toronto 6-3 on November 27, Conn Smythe told goaltender Turk Broda, "I'm not running a fat man's team!" and said that Broda would not play until he reduced his weight to 190 lbs. At the time, Broda weighed almost 200. Al Rollins was purchased from Cleveland of the AHL and Gil Mayer was brought up for good measure. When he reached 189 pounds, Broda went back into the Toronto net and he gained his 4th shutout of the season December 3 and Maple Leaf fans cheered all of his 22 saves.

Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach, Frank Brimsek during the 1949-50 season.

After the Red Wings clobbered Chicago 9-2 on February 8, writer Lew Walter tried to interview Chicago coach Charlie Conacher. Conacher exploded in anger, criticized Walter's past stories and punched Walter, knocking him down to the floor. Walter announced that he would seek a warrant for Conacher's arrest. NHL president Clarence Campbell took a dim view of Conacher's actions and fined him $200. Conacher then phoned Walter and apologized, saying he regretted what had taken place.

Montreal fans began to boo Bill Durnan, like they had in 1947-48, despite the fact he was the league's best goalkeeper, and in an interview, he stated he was going to retire at the end of the season. In reality, Durnan had been cut a number of times during the season, and at one point, had to take penicillin. It caused a high fever and he missed some action. Despite this, he recorded eight shutouts and won the Vezina Trophy for the sixth time in his seven-year career.

Ken Reardon got himself into trouble when he made a statement to a magazine suggesting retribution to Cal Gardner, stating: "I'm going to make sure that Gardner gets 14 stitches in his mouth. I may have to wait a long time, but I'll get even." On March 1, 1950, Clarence Campbell made Reardon post a $1,000 bond to make sure he didn't carry out his threat. When the season ended, Reardon was refunded the $1,000, since he did not hurt Gardner as he said he would.

Final Standings[]

National Hockey League
Detroit Red Wings 70 37 19 14 88 229 164
Montreal Canadiens 70 29 22 19 77 172 150
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 31 27 12 74 176 173
New York Rangers 70 28 31 11 67 170 189
Boston Bruins 70 22 32 16 60 198 228
Chicago Black Hawks 70 22 38 10 54 203 244

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Scoring Leaders[]

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

Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 69 23 55 78 141
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 69 34 35 69 46
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 35 33 68 69
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 43 22 65 114
Paul Ronty Boston Bruins 70 23 36 59 8

Leading Goaltenders[]

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

Player Team GP Mins GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 64 3840 141 2.20 26 21 17 8
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 63 3780 148 2.35 33 16 14 7
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 68 4040 167 2.48 30 25 12 9
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 69 4140 181 2.62 28 30 11 6
Jack Gelineau Boston Bruins 67 4020 220 3.28 22 30 15 3
Frank Brimsek Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 244 3.49 22 38 10 5

Stanley Cup Playoffs[]

Playoff Bracket[]

Semifinals Finals
1 Detroit Red Wings 4
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 3
1 Detroit Red Wings 4
4 New York Rangers 3
2 Montreal Canadiens 1
4 New York Rangers 4

New York Rangers 4, Montreal Canadiens 1[]

Charlie Rayner foils the Canadiens, Game 1 of the 1950 Semi-finals, March 29, 1950.

Unlike in the previous season, the Montreal Canadiens were favorites as they entered the Semi-finals against the New York Rangers. Right from the start, New York served notice that the series will not be an easy victory. The Rangers win the first two games in Montreal to take a 2-0 series lead. As the series shifted to Madison Square Garden, the Rangers claimed a 4-1 win in the third game to put the Canadiens in a huge hole. To shake up his team, Montreal coach Dick Irvin pulled Bill Durnan from the net after the loss and replaced him with Gerry McNeil. The move worked as the Canadiens won 3-2 win in overtime in the fourth game as Elmer Lach delivered the winning goal. The Rangers completed their upset in five games with a 3-0 victory in the next game. Center Norm Dussault shone in the series with three goals after scoring only 13 during the regular season.

Detroit Red Wings 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3[]

Detroit Red Wings 4, New York Rangers 3[]

The Rangers were forced to use Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, the home ice of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as their "home ice" during the Stanley Cup Finals, as the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was then at Madison Square Garden. Garden management found that they could make more money having the circus at the Garden instead of the Rangers. Moreover, at the time, arenas could not be configured to host a circus and a hockey game on the same day, thus forcing the shift in venue.

The Rangers lost Game 7 in double overtime to the Detroit Red Wings and became the last winner of the O'Brien Trophy as the Stanley Cup runner-up.

see 1950 Stanley Cup Finals

Regular Season Attendance[]

  1. Toronto - 476,603
  2. Chicago - 474,478
  3. Montreal - 472,097
  4. Detroit - 442,372
  5. New York - 437,342
  6. Boston - 390,377

NHL Awards[]

O'Brien Trophy: New York Rangers
Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy: Jack Gelineau, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy: Charlie Rayner, New York Rangers
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
Vezina Trophy: Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams[]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers
Gus Mortson, Toronto Maple Leafs D Leo Reise, Jr., Detroit Red Wings
Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings C Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Tony Leswick, New York Rangers


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1949-50 (listed with their first team, asterisk (*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last Games[]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1949-50 (listed with their last team):



A minute worth of video of Game 4 of the 1950 Semi-Finals, won in double overtime 2-1 by the Detroit Red Wings over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goals by the Leafs Max Bentley, the Wings Marty Pavelich and the OT goal by Leo Reise are shown as are some great saves by Turk Broda.

Over 30 minutes of game footage from the Semi-finals and Finals including the presentation of the Stanley Cup.

See Also[]


  1. The Official NHL 75th Anniversary Commemorative Book, p.96.

NHL Seasons

1945-46 | 1946-47 | 1947-48 | 1948-49 | 1949-50 | 1950-51 | 1951-52 | 1952-53 | 1953-54