August 23, 2014

1965-66: Hull First Player To Top 50 Goals

The Three Stars:

Bobby Hull Tops 50 Goals - In typical fashion Bobby Hull blasts a slap shot to beat Cesare Maniago for a power play goal against the New York Rangers on March 12th, 1966. It is Hull's 51st goal of the year, making him the first player to score more than 50 goals in a single season. Previously Rocket Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion and Hull himself had scored exactly 50 goals - therefore also making him the first player to score 50 goals twice. Hull would finish with 54 goals for the campaign, establishing a new NHL record.

NHL Announces Expansion Plans - On February 9th, 1966 the NHL announces that it will double in size, from 6 teams to 12 teams, for the 1967-68 season. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Oakland, Los Angeles and St. Louis are all granted franchises at the expansion fee of $2 million. Outrage erupted in Vancouver and Buffalo where interested and snubbed ownership groups cried of cronyism. The NHL had granted St. Louis a franchise even though there was no one ready to own the team. But Chicago owners Arthur Wirtz and Jim Norris secured the franchise as they also owned the St. Louis Arena.

Habs Win 13th Stanley Cup - Despite the fact that Norm Ullman led all skaters with 15 playoff points and goalie Roger Crozier wins the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP, the Detroit Red Wings lose the Stanley Cup final in 6 games to the Montreal Canadiens. Henri Richard scored the Cup winning goal 2:20 into OT in game six.

Season Highlights:
  • Bobby Hull also runs away with the all out scoring lead, winning the Art Ross Trophy with 97 points - another new NHL record - 19 better than runner-up, teammate Stan Mikita
  • Montreal's Bobby Rousseau has a fantastic season, tying Mikita for 2nd in the scoring race and finishing directly ahead of Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe.
  • Howe becomes the first player to score 600 career goals when he beats Montreal's Gump Worsley in a game on November 27th, 1965. Interestingly, Worsley also surrendered Howe's 500th goal 3 years earlier.
  • Montreal's Jacques Laperriere wins the Norris Trophy as top defenseman.
  • Jack Adams is named as the first ever winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding hockey service in the United States. The former player became the long time coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, turning the franchise around from dire straights to a NHL powerhouse.
  • Toronto uses three goalies in the final game of the season as the Leafs tie Detroit 3-3. Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk and Bruce Gamble all play, marking a first in NHL history.
  • How about this for goalies of the future: Boston debuts Gerry Cheevers and Bernie Parent in net. The New York Rangers also make room for young Eddie Giacomin, moving the legendary Jacques Plante to do so.
  • The last pre-season All Star Game is staged, as the exhibition becomes a mid-season format the following season.
  • Born October 5th, 1965 - Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy.
Mario Lemieux vs Patrick Roy in junior hockey

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