Ice Hockey Wiki

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 2007.

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 Béliveau 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 15th, 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 13th, the Canadiens routed the Rangers 8-4, with Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore each having hat tricks.

Jerry Toppazzini became the last regular position player to play goaltender during a October 16, 1960 game. Bruins goaltender Don Simmons was hurt in the last minute so Toppazzini volunteered to platoon in for Simmons and faced no shots.

Jack McCartan got his only NHL shutout for the Rangers by blanking the Chicago Black Hawks 2-0 on October 19th. 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.

Ed Litzenberger goes into the stands at the Boston Garden assisted by #9 Tod Sloan and #2 Al Arbour, October 23, 1960.

During the October 23, 1960 game versus the Chicago Black Hawks at Boston, a fan threw a light bulb at goalie Glenn Hall. It hit Hall in the face, which allowed Don McKenney to tie the score 2-2 with 1:45 left to play. Several angry Black Hawks, including Ed Litzenberger, climbed into the stands and went after abusive fans that picked fights with the players. Litzenberger scored both Chicago goals.

For the November 19, 1960 game against the Detroit Red Wings, two changes were made to the Bruins line-up. In goal, the days of Don Simmons as a starting goaltender had passed. Struggling behind a weakened defense, Simmons was sent to the minors and 22 year old Bruce Gamble was recalled and played the rest of the season in the Bruins net. Willie O'Ree was also recalled for his second and final stint in the NHL. He wore jersey #25 and the changes sparked the Bruins, as they won 6-4 with Don McKenney scoring a Hat trick. O'Ree played the next four games but went pointless and was pulled from the line-up as the Bruins went winless in the remaining games in November.

On December 1st, 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.

Willie O'Ree's first goal, January 1, 1961 against Montreal's Charlie Hodge was the winner as the Bruins edged the Habs 3-2.

On December 18, 1960, O'Ree was inserted back into the Bruins line-up. He'd be a regular for the remainder of the season and record his first points in the next game on December 22, 1960 against Chicago. He assisted on the first goal of the game by André Pronovost and then 37 seconds later, assisted on a goal by Autry Erickson. The Bruins won 4-2 in the only multiple point game of O'Ree's NHL career. The Bruins had a 7-20-5 record entering the January 1, 1961 game against Montreal at the Boston Garden. O'Ree had switched to jersey #22 (which he'd wear for the remainder of the season) and entering the third period, the Bruins were leading 2-1. Just past the halfway mark, Leo Boivin sent O'Ree on a breakaway against Canadiens netminder Charlie Hodge. O'Ree fired a low shot to Hodge's glove side which proved to be the game winner as the Bruins triumphed 3-2.

Willie O'Ree dekes Tim Horton, January 7, 1961.

O'Ree also scored the winner on January 19, 1961 versus Detroit in a 4-2 victory. O'Ree scored in each of the last two games of the 1960–61 Boston Bruins season and finished his last NHL season with 4 goals and 14 points.

Stan Mikita was helping to spark Chicago. He scored two goals in a 3-2 win over the Rangers January 4th 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 January 11th at age 45.

Chicago defeated the Rangers 4-3 March 8th. 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.

Willie O'Ree passes to Charlie Burns, March 18, 1961.

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 16th 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 goals but Mahovlich ended up slumping near the end of the season and tallied 48. 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
Montreal Canadiens 70 41 19 10 254 188 92
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 39 19 12 234 176 90
Chicago Black Hawks 70 29 24 17 198 180 75
Detroit Red Wings 70 25 29 16 195 215 66
New York Rangers 70 22 38 10 204 248 54
Boston Bruins 70 15 42 13 176 254 43

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

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

Leading Goaltenders

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

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Charlie Hodge Montreal Canadiens 30 1800 74 2.47 19 8 3 4
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 58 3480 145 2.50 33 15 10 2
Glenn Hall Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 176 2.51 29 24 17 6
Hank Bassen Detroit Red Wings 34 2120 98 2.77 13 12 9 0
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 40 2400 112 2.80 23 11 6 2
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 38 2080 112 3.23 12 17 7 2
Don Simmons Boston Bruins 18 1080 58 3.23 3 9 6 1
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 59 3473 191 3.30 20 29 8 1
Bruce Gamble Boston Bruins 52 3120 193 3.71 12 33 7 0

Stanley Cup Playoffs

see 1961 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff Bracket

Semifinals Finals
1 Montreal Canadiens 2
3 Chicago Black Hawks 4
0 Chicago Black Hawks 4
5 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