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July 31, 2014

1942-43: The Original Six Era Begins

The Three Stars

The Original Six Era Begins: After years of sharing Madison Square Gardens with the New York Rangers the Brooklyn Americans are forced out of the arena. Unable to find a suitable replacement, the Amerks fold, leaving the NHL with just six teams. The Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks get dubbed as the Original Six. The six team league - remembered by many as hockey's golden era - lasts until expansion in 1967-68.

New President: Frank Calder, 65, has served as NHL president since it's inception in 1917. But he suffers a heart attack on January 25th, 1943 and dies 10 days later. Former Brooklyn Americans manager Red Dutton is named as the new president.

World War II Continues To Play Havoc With NHL: 80 NHLers are serving in the armed forces. NHL roster sizes are reduced to just 14 players per team, and if necessary teams are allowed to play with less than 12 players.  10 minute overtime periods are scrapped due to wartime travel restrictions. There are even concerns the NHL was considering cancelling the entire season but the US and Canadian governments want the season to go ahead "in the interest of public morale."

Season Highlights:
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are powered by an all brother line as Max, Doug and Reg Bentley. While Max and Doug are future Hall of Famers, Reg's career lasts just 11 games. Doug leads the NHL in scoring with 73 points, while Max is third with 70.
  • Montreal's unproven youngster Maurice Richard badly breaks his leg. Speculation has Montreal giving up on the kid who would soon be known simply as "the Rocket."
  • On January 14th, 1943, Montreal's rookie Alex Smart scores 4 points (including 3 goals) in his first NHL game, setting a record.
  • The Detroit Red Wings, led by goaltender Johnny Mowers, sweep the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

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