The 1955-56 NHL season was the 39th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup as they beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.
At a governors meeting in December, a discussion took place concerning the uniforms worn by officials. It was contended that the present orange and black uniforms were confusing to players and fans, particularly when red uniforms are worn by either of the participating teams. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the existing uniforms showed up black on television. It was unanimously agreed that officials uniforms shoud be changed to black and white vertical stripes.
With Montreal frequently racking up two or three goals on any one power play, NHL President Clarence Campbell said he'd like the penalty rule revised to a penalized player returning to the ice when a power play goal is scored on a minor penalty. The Canadiens were the lone club to vote against the new legislation.
The streak of seven straight seasons at the top of the NHL held by the Detroit Red Wings' dynasty came to an end as the Montreal Canadiens were tops. The Canadiens set a new record for wins in a season with 45. The Canadiens had a new coach, their one-time great former All-Star left-winger, Hector "Toe" Blake.
Dick Irvin, formerly the coach in Montreal, whom Habs' GM Frank Selke Sr. found a little truculent, took over as coach in Chicago, but could not get them out of the cellar, though they did improve. It was sort of a homecoming for Irvin as he started his coaching career with Chicago in 1930.
When the Hawks went to the Montreal Forum on October 22, Irvin was presented with a set of silver flatware by William Northey, representing the Canadian Arena Company. In the game itself, rookie Henri Richard scored two goals as Montreal shut out Chicago 6-0.
On November 5, Jean Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds as Montreal beat Boston 4-3. The record for fastest hat trick still was held by Bill Mosienko with three goals in 21 seconds.
On January 11, a crowd of 15,570 delighted fans at Madison Square Garden watched the Rangers trounce the Canadiens 6-1. Pete Conacher was a star for the Rangers with two goals. Lou Fontinato and Maurice Richard had a gala fight and Fontinato knocked out Richard with a punch that required several stitches above Richard's eye.
The Boston Bruins were without Terry Sawchuk for the January 14, 1956 in Montreal and planned to start John Henderson in the nets. However, Henderson had equipment problems leaving Boston without a goalie. Canadiens practice goalie Claude Pronovost (brother of Wings Marcel Pronovost) was loaned to the Bruins and he proceeded to shut his own team out, 2-0. Pronovost made 31 saves and also took a delay of game penalty.
Montreal routed the Rangers 9-4 on February 18 as Beliveau had a hat trick and Richard two goals. The Rocket was incensed when referee Louis Maschio gave his brother Henri Richard a misconduct penalty and his teammates had to cool him off.
With poor attendance at home and having played three home games in Indianapolis during the 1953–54 season, and six home games in St. Louis in the 1954–55 season, the Chicago Blackhawks played another five home games in St. Louis in 1955-56 but for the last time. The New York Rangers won 6-4 in the last Chicago home game played in St. Louis on March 8, 1956. They also played the Boston Bruins in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 23, 1955 in a 3-3 tie.
Beliveau set a record for goals by a center when he scored his 45th goal on March 15. Maurice Richard was hurt in this game when he fell over Hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote's skate and went headlong into the goal. He required stitches and was taken to hospital for X-rays. The Rocket was back in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day as the Canadiens trounced the Rangers 7-2 and Richard had the hat trick.
The Bruins went into the last game of the season tied in points with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last playoff spot. Both teams had an identical 23-33-13 record. The Leafs last game was against the second place Red Wings while the Bruins faced last placed Chicago. The Black Hawks were spoilers, beating the Bruins 3-2, while the Leafs shutout the Red Wings 2-0.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||30||24||16||76||183||148||794|
|New York Rangers||70||32||28||10||74||204||203||911|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||24||33||13||61||153||181||1051|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||19||39||12||50||155||216||826|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Jean Beliveau||Montreal Canadiens||70||47||41||88||143|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||38||41||79||100|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||70||38||33||71||89|
|Bert Olmstead||Montreal Canadiens||70||14||56||70||94|
|Tod Sloan||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||37||29||66||100|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||19||47||66||59|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|3||New York Rangers||1|
|2||Detroit Red Wings||1|
|2||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||1|
Boston Bruins April 1956 Tour of NewfoundlandEdit
In April 1956, the Bruins travelled across the island of Newfoundland, on an exhibition good-will tour playing in five arenas. Some Bruins played for the opposing team, including Terry Sawchuk playing goal for a team from Corner Brook. During the tour, the Bruins made hockey history by playing on an outdoor rink with artificial ice in the town of Bay Roberts on April 9, 1956. This would be just the second recorded outdoor game by an NHL team. 
First Half WinnersEdit
|Calder Memorial Trophy:||Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Gump Worsley, New York Rangers|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:||Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:||Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1955-56 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
- Norm Ullman, Detroit Red Wings
- Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens
- Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens
- Bob Turner, Montreal Canadiens
- Bronco Horvath, New York Rangers
- Andy Hebenton, New York Rangers
- Jean-Guy Gendron, New York Rangers
- Billy Harris, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1955-56 (listed with their last team):
- Bill Quackenbush, Boston Bruins
- Ed Sandford, Chicago Black Hawks
- Bob Goldham, Detroit Red Wings
- Butch Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens
- Don Raleigh, New York Rangers
- Joe Klukay, Toronto Maple Leafs
Over nine minutes of highlights beginning with a minute of the Rangers-Canadiens Semi-finals then goals of all five games of the 1956 Stanley Cup Finals.
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 9th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
|National Hockey League|
|1955–56 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game • 1956 Stanley Cup Finals|