The 1961-62 NHL season was the 45th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Six teams each played 70 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup as they defeated the Chicago Black Hawks four games to two.
A big trade took place between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers with Doug Harvey and Albert "Junior" Langlois going to the Rangers for Lou Fontinato. Harvey was named player-coach of the Rangers.
At a meeting of the owners and governors, Conn Smythe tendered his resignation as Toronto's governor, to be replaced by his son, Stafford Smythe. Thereupon, Conn Smythe was appointed honorary governor.
Glenn Hall got one of the greatest standing ovations in NHL history just before the NHL All-star game began. He had difficulty suppressing his emotions at the tremendous welcome he received. The All-Stars defeated the Black Hawks 3-1.
Doug Harvey scored a goal in his debut as player-coach of the Rangers when they trounced the Boston Bruins 6-2 at Boston Garden. The Rangers downed the Bruins again at Madison Square Garden 6-3 as Andy Bathgate had a hat trick and Camille Henry had two goals.
Montreal downed the Rangers 3-1 in their home opener as Henri Richard led the way with two goals playing with Beliveau and Moore, two injured players who were not expected to play. Doug Harvey was given an ovation by the crowd as he skated out in a Ranger uniform. The new defence pair of Al MacNeil and Lou Fontinato turned in a good game.
Earl Ingarfield had a hat trick November 19th as the Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 5-3. The Broadway Blueshirts were showing some power, and three nights later, Doug Harvey picked up three assists and Gump Worsley had a shutout as the Rangers blanked the Red Wings 4-0. The win put the Rangers into first place and the following night they beat the Bruins 4-3 as Harvey scored the winner.
Glenn Hall played his 500th consecutive game January 17th, but was beaten 7-3 by Montreal. In a losing cause, Bobby Hull scored two goals, including his 20th of the season. Glenn Hall received a car from James D. Norris, president of the Black Hawks.
Percy LeSueur, famous Ottawa goaltender in the old NHA, died January 28th at age 79.
Bobby Hull scored four goals February 1st as the Black Hawks defeated Detroit 7-4.
The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 3-2 at home March 14th, but the two highlights were Gordie Howe's 500th goal on Gump Worsley and a penalty shot for the Rangers Andy Bathgate. Howe took a pass from Alex Delvecchio and made a nice move to get by Doug Harvey. Howe switched to a left-handed shot and beat Worsley with a backhander for the 500th goal. Midway through the third period, Dean Prentice had a breakaway and was skating toward the Detroit goal, when Hank Bassen, the Detroit goalkeeper, slid his stick to break up the play. Referee Eddie Powers awarded a penalty shot, but somehow forgot that the rules had been changed that season to read that the offended player must take the shot, not one of his teammates, and Powers permitted Andy Bathgate to take the shot. Bathgate gave Bassen some of his slick dekes and Bassen flopped on his face, allowing Bathgate to fire the puck into the open net for the winning goal. From there, the Rangers held on and made the playoffs for the first time since 1958.
Bobby Hull joined the 50 goal club when he scored his 50th goal at about the five minute mark of the first period as the Chicago Black Hawks beat the New York Rangers 4-1 right at Madison Square Garden in the final game of the season.
The first 43 NHL seasons saw only one 50 goal scorer, Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Then last season, 1960-61, Bernie Geoffrion scored 50. This season saw another 50 goal scorer in Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. From this point onwards, far more seasons than not would see at least one player score fifty in a season.
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|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||37||22||11||85||232||180||762|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||31||26||13||75||217||186||894|
|New York Rangers||70||26||32||12||64||195||207||668|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||23||33||14||60||184||219||684|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Bobby Hull||Chicago Black Hawks||70||50||34||84||35|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||28||56||84||44|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||33||44||77||54|
|Stan Mikita||Chicago Black Hawks||70||25||52||77||97|
|Frank Mahovlich||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||33||38||71||87|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||2|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|4||New York Rangers||2|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1961-62 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Ed Westfall, Boston Bruins
- Pat Stapleton, Boston Bruins
- Pit Martin, Detroit Red Wings
- Red Berenson, Montreal Canadiens
- Vic Hadfield, New York Rangers
- Gerry Cheevers, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1961-62 (listed with their last team):
- Dollard St. Laurent, Chicago Blackhawks
- Leo Labine, Detroit Red Wings
- Marcel Bonin, Montreal Canadiens
- Johnny Wilson, New York Rangers
- Bert Olmstead, Toronto Maple Leafs
|National Hockey League|
|1961–62 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game • 1962 Stanley Cup Finals|