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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.

Gordie Howe became the first player in NHL history to achieve the career mark of 1000 regular season points. It would be 7 more seasons before Jean Beliveau matched the feat.

The original Hart Trophy was retired, as all its plaques were filled and its general condition had deteriorated. It was decided to donate the Hart Memorial Trophy in its place.

Regular season

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.

Chicago now had a powerful team, especially its defence, which had Pierre Pilote, Al Arbour, Jack Evans and Elmer Vasko.

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.

In a game on October 13, the Canadiens routed the Rangers 8–4, with Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore each having hat tricks.

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.

Final standings

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 70 41 19 10 92 254 188 811
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
Boston Bruins 70 15 42 13 43 176 254 810

Scoring leaders

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
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


see 1961 Stanley Cup Finals.

Playoff bracket

Semifinals Finals
1 Montreal Canadiens 2
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

NHL awards

1960–61 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy: Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Memorial Trophy: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Red Kelly, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy: Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs

All-Star teams

First team   Position   Second team
Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs G Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Allan Stanley, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings D Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Frank Mahovlich, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens


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):

Last games

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):

See also


NHL Seasons

1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60 | 1960-61 | 1961-62 | 1962-63 | 1963-64 | 1964-65