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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.

In an exhibition game in Trail, British Columbia, Jean Beliveau tore knee ligaments and would be unavailable for some time. This followed a knee injury to Dickie Moore.

Several holdouts on the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks were reported. Stan Mikita, Reg Fleming and Dollard St. Laurent refused to sign their contracts, but they eventually came to terms.

League Business

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.

Regular Season

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.

Goalie Don Head played his only NHL season in 1961-62.

Boston Bruins goalie Don Head did everything he could to spark his team. During the 4-0 over Detroit on October 26, 1961, Head had a fight with former Bruin Vic Stasiuk in the first period. During the 5-2 win over Montreal on November 2, 1961, Head had another scrap, this time with Marcel Bonin. During the 4-3 Bruins win over Toronto on November 12, 1961, a delayed penalty was called on the Maple Leafs. Instead of going to the bench, Head raced to the Leafs blue line and played point on the power play. This led to the league instituting a rule forbidding goalies to skate back the center red line.

Ab McDonald had a hat trick December 6th, as Chicago drubbed the Rangers 8-3 at Madison Square Garden. Red Hay had four assists for the Black Hawks.

Toronto took over first place January 10th when they beat the Bruins 7-5. Frank Mahovlich scored two goals on his 24th birthday and Dave Keon also had two goals.

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 on 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.

Final Standings

National Hockey League
Montreal Canadiens 70 42 14 14 259 166 98
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 37 22 11 232 180 85
Chicago Black Hawks 70 31 26 13 217 186 75
New York Rangers 70 26 32 12 195 207 64
Detroit Red Wings 70 23 33 14 184 219 60
Boston Bruins 70 15 47 8 177 306 38

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
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

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
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 70 4200 166 2.37 42 14 14 4
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 59 3540 151 2.56 31 18 10 2
Glenn Hall Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 185 2.64 31 26 13 9
Hank Bassen Detroit Red Wings 27 1620 75 2.78 9 12 6 3
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 60 3531 173 2.94 22 27 9 2
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 43 2580 141 3.28 14 21 8 5
Don Head Boston Bruins 38 2280 161 4.24 9 26 3 2
Bruce Gamble Boston Bruins 28 1680 121 4.32 6 18 4 1

Stanley Cup Playoffs

see 1962 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff Bracket

Semifinals Finals
1 Montreal Canadiens 2
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

NHL Awards

1961-62 NHL Awards
Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Bobby Rousseau, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, New York Rangers
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Carl Brewer, Toronto Maple Leafs
Jean-Guy Talbot, Montreal Canadiens D Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks C Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks LW Frank Mahovlich, Toronto Maple Leafs


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):

Last Games

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):


See Also


NHL Seasons

1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60 | 1960-61 | 1961-62 | 1962-63 | 1963-64 | 1964-65 | 1965-66