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1946-47: Kid Named Gordie Howe Arrives

The Three Stars:

Gordie Howe's Rookie Season: At 6 feet and over 200lbs, Gordie Howe was an immediate presence on NHL ice. But it is the 18 year old's hockey skills that really stand out. Ambidextrous and incredibly strong, Howe was more impressive than his meagre stats suggested. Sure he didn't really explode until his 3rd season (not an uncommon trend in that era) but the rest of the NHL quickly learned to respect his heavy shot and quick elbows.

Clarence Campbell Named President: Hoping to revive his inactive Brooklyn Americans franchise, Red Dutton steps down as NHL president after just three seasons. Clarence Campbell - a former NHL referee, a lawyer, a Rhodes Scholar, and lieutenant-colonel in Canadian Army who later participated in the prosecution of Nazis - was named President.

Golly Gee Whiz! Records Set: Two single game records are set by Toronto Maple Leafs players. On March 16th, 1947 Billy Taylor assists on 7 goals, a record only matched by Wayne Gretzky (three times). On January 8th, 1947, Howie Meeker sets a rookie record with 5 goals, later matched by Don Murdoch. Meeker, not Howe, would win the Calder trophy as rookie of the year.

Season Highlights:
  • The NHL officially adopts hand signals to indicate penalties. The signals are based on gestures originated by Hall of Fame referee Bill Chadwick.
  • Montreal replaces retired general manager Tommy Gorman with Toronto's Frank Selke.
  • Rocket Richard returns to his near-goal-a-game pace, scoring 45 goals. Richard wins his only Hart Trophy of his amazing career. Max Bentley (73 points) beats him by one point for the scoring title.
  • Teeder Kennedy leads the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup, scoring the Cup winning goal.
  • It wasn't a great season for Elmer Lach. He suffered a broken jaw and a fractured skull.

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