April 13, 2018
No One Trick Pony: Doug Bentley
Doug Bentley only weighed in at an amazing 145 pounds, but his speed, anticipation and heart made up for any shortcomings his diminutive stature forced upon him.
Doug was united with his flashy brother Max and Bill Mosienko on one of the NHL's all-time great forward lines - the Pony Line. All three scored more than 200 goals during their NHL careers, with Doug Bentley getting 219 and winning a scoring title in 1942-43 while tying the then-league record 79 points in a season. In that season he once scored 5 points in a single game, then a NHL record. The following season Bentley again challenged the record with 77 points, but finished second in the scoring race to Herb Cain who set a new record with 82 points.
A 3 time First All Star team (1943, 1944, 1947) and 1 time Second All Star (1949) left winger, Doug was given a very special award when a Chicago newspaper voted him the Half-Century Award as Chicago's best player.
Interestingly, Doug missed the entire 1944-45 season due to problems crossing the US-Canada border. Prior to the NHL season the Hawks were in Canada to play an exhibition game. When they went home, border guards refused to allow Doug Bentley to leave. He was forced to stay for the entire hockey season.
While Max Bentley is considered to be the best of the hockey playing Bentley brothers (Reggie also play in Chicago, briefly on a line with his siblings. He only played 11 games total though), Doug proved to be the ultimate replacement for Mighty Max when the Hawks shocked the hockey world and split up the brother act, sending Max to Toronto in 1947. Doug ended up moving from left wing to center to pivot a new line with Mosienko and Roy Conacher. In his first full season as a center he led the league in assists while finishing 3rd in the scoring race, clearly proving he could excel without his brother.
Doug quit hockey after only 8 games in 1951-52 in order to return to Saskatchewan as coach of the WHL Saskatoon Quakers, but did return for one final NHL season with the New York Rangers in 1953-54. He was reunited with brother Max in the Big Apple for that season. The brothers combined for 8 points in their first game back in New York.
Doug never did get his named engraved on Lord Stanley's Mug, but hockey is forever grateful for his contributions to the game. After retiring as a player in 1954, he remained active as a scout and coach.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964, Doug Bentley quietly passed away on Nov. 24, 1972.