The 1960–61 NHL season was the 44th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. For the first time since 1950, two American based teams competed for the Stanley Cup and it was the Chicago Black Hawks beating the Detroit Red Wings four games to two. It was Chicago's first Cup win since 1938, but their last Cup won as of 2008.
On September 15, 1960, Rocket Richard announced his retirement from hockey. During his career, he had lead all scorers with a record 544 goals plus 82 for the playoffs. Despite the league expanding the number of games in a season to 70 games from 50 since Richard's famous 50 goals in 50 games, Richard remained the only player to score 50 goals in a season, until this season.
It was reported that the old-time great defence player Eddie Shore had been stricken with a heart attack, but was resting comfortably in a Springfield hospital.
Jack McCartan got his only NHL shutout for the Rangers by blanking the Chicago Black Hawks 2–0 on October 19. Reg Fleming set a record with 37 penalty minutes in this game. They included three major penalties for battles with Dean Prentice, Eddie Shack and John Hanna, a misconduct and a game misconduct.
On December 1, the Canadiens, who had traded Andre Pronovost to Boston for Guy Gendron, defeated the Maple Leafs 6–3 at the Forum. Gendron had a goal, but the main feature was the 21 penalties referee Frank Udvari had to call, including several majors in the third period. Henri Richard took on Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore took on Bob Pulford and Marcel Bonin took on Bobby Baun. Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach was in a bad mood following the game and said to the press among other things that referee Udvari and linesman Loring Doolittle and George Hayes should have been picked as the three stars for the help they gave to Montreal. This was brought to the attention of NHL president Clarence Campbell who fined Imlach $200.
Stan Mikita was helping to spark Chicago. He scored two goals in a 3–2 win over the Rangers on January 4 and scored the winner the next night when the Black Hawks beat Boston 4–3 the following night.
Leo Lamoureux, former defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens, died in Indianapolis on January 11 at age 45.
Chicago defeated the Rangers 4–3 on March 8. Gump Worsley pulled a hamstring muscle and Joe Shaefer replaced him with the score 1–1. The next night, the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs as Bernie Geoffrion hat the hat trick in a 6–1 pasting by the Canadiens.
Johnny Bower, who appeared on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy, strained a leg muscle and would have to take a rest. Cesare Maniago played in goal for Toronto on March 16 and lost 5–2. It looked like two players, Frank Mahovlich of Toronto and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion of Montreal, were going to hit 50 but Mahovlich ended up slumping near the end of the season and missed 50 by two goals. Geoffrion scored his 50th goal that night and got a wild ovation. He also added 45 assists and led the league in scoring.
Toronto played a 2–2 tie with the New York Rangers in their final game of the season and Bobby Baun was a victim of his own hard hitting. Camille Henry of the Rangers ran into Baun and Henry's skate cut Baun in the neck. Baun returned for the third period, but after the game while boarding the team bus, he began to gasp desperately. He groped for attention and waved his arms, and his teammates finally realized he was in trouble and rushed him to the hospital where an emergency operation was performed to permit breathing. Baun missed some action in the playoffs as the result of the injury.
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||39||19||12||90||234||176||844|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||29||24||17||75||198||180||1072|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||25||29||16||66||195||215||655|
|New York Rangers||70||22||38||10||54||204||248||591|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Bernie Geoffrion||Montreal Canadiens||64||50||45||95||29|
|Jean Beliveau||Montreal Canadiens||69||32||58||90||57|
|Frank Mahovlich||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||48||36||84||131|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||29||48||77||22|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||64||23||49||72||30|
|Norm Ullman||Detroit Red Wings||70||28||42||70||24|
|Red Kelly||Toronto Maple Leafs||64||20||50||70||12|
|Dickie Moore||Montreal Canadiens||57||35||34||69||62|
|Henri Richard||Montreal Canadiens||70||24||44||68||91|
|Alex Delvecchio||Detroit Red Wings||70||27||35||62||26|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||1|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||4|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1960–61 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Ted Green, Boston Bruins
- Chico Maki*, Chicago Black Hawks
- Bobby Rousseau, Montreal Canadiens
- Gilles Tremblay, Montreal Canadiens
- Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers
- Jean Ratelle, New York Rangers
- Cesare Maniago, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1960–61 (listed with their last team):
- Willie O'Ree, Boston Bruins
- Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
- Tod Sloan, Chicago Black Hawks
- Red Sullivan, New York Rangers
- Larry Regan, Toronto Maple Leafs
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 14th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
|1960-61 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston · Chicago · Detroit · Montreal · New York · Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game · 1961 Stanley Cup Finals|
|National Hockey League|