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July 22, 2014

1933-34: Tragedies and Near Tragedies

The Three Stars:

Chuck Gardiner: Triumph and Tragedy

Two time Vezina Trophy winner Chuck Gardiner guides the Chicago Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup, but literally sacrifices his life in the process. Gardiner, a four time all star, ignores a painful tonsil infection that spring. The infection spread throughout his body while he continued to spectacularly play through, hoisting the Stanley Cup in the process. Days later Gardiner collapses and falls into a coma. The 29 year old later died from a brain hemorrhage that originated from that infection.

Ace Bailey Nearly Killed By Eddie Shore

Boston and Toronto have had some heated battles over the many years, but never more so than the frightening December 12th, 1933 match at Boston Garden. In the first period Leafs star defenseman King Clancy dumps Eddie Shore of the Bruins - perhaps the most feared man in hockey. Clancy headed up the ice while the attentive forward Ace Bailey covered Clancy's vacant position. Mistaking Bailey for Clancy, Shore attacks him from behind and Bailey's helmetless head hits the ice. Bailey is rushed to hospital and is listed in critical condition. A death notice even mistakenly prints in the Boston paper the next day. Bailey would survive, but would never play again. Shore was suspended for 16 games.

Bailey Benefit Game Gives Hockey First All Star Game

Bailey considered suing Shore over his career ending injury, so rather than face precedent setting litigation, the NHL offered a solution - a benefit game between the Leafs and a group of NHL All-Stars. $20,900 was raised, all going to Bailey, who famously shakes Eddie Shore's hands. The NHL All Star game would soon become an annual tradition.

Season Highlights:
  • To enhance scoring, NHL mandates that only three players (including the goalie) can occupy the defensive zone.
  • Visible time clocks are required in all NHL arenas
  • Two referee system replaces one referee/one linesman system.
  • James Norris Sr. buys the Detroit Falcons and renames the team the Red Wings.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens strike a blockbuster trade: Goalie George Hainsworth to Toronto for goalie Lorne Chabot.
  • Leafs win "Canadian Division" with 26-13-9 record. Detroit wins American Division, but Chicago notably gives up the fewest goals in the league, earning goalie Charlie Gardiner the Vezina Trophy.
  • Mush March certainly earned the reputation as a scoring hero. He scored the Stanley Cup winning goal at 10:50 of couble overtime in the fourth and final game.
  • The Hawks not only lost Gardiner after the season but rookie Jack Leswick as well. Leswick, who scored only 1 goal in the 1933-34 season, died in August, 1934 in a drowning accident.
  • The Leafs Charlie Conacher wins the scoring title with 52 points in 42 games. 32 times he scored goals, the third goal scoring title for "The Big Bomber" in four season.
  • Pint sized Aurel Joliat of Montreal wins the Hart Trophy, as he takes over from the injured Howie Morenz as the most valuable player in hockey.
  • The Leafs newest superstar, King Clancy, was celebrated on St. Patrick's Day in a hockey celebration never seen before or since!

1 comment:

Eric Bolesh said...

Joe, just wanted to give you a pat on the back and say thanks for these summaries of a bygone era. Informative, and great summer reading.

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