1945–46 NHL season

1945–46 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 24, 1945 – April 9, 1946
Number of games 50
Number of teams 6
Regular season
Season champion Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Max Bentley (Black Hawks)
Top scorer Max Bentley (Black Hawks)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Boston Bruins
NHL seasons

The 1945–46 NHL season was the 29th season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Boston Bruins for the team's sixth championship.

League business

Since World War II had ended, the NHL and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) reverted to the pre-war agreement not to sign any junior ice hockey players without permission. CAHA secretary George Dudley stated that tryout contracts must be honoured, and junior-aged players on NHL reserve lists must be reinstated as amateurs to return to the CAHA. The wartime practice of the NHL borrowing amateur players for three games or less was discontinued.[1] The NHL and the CAHA discussed updates the financial terms of the agreement. The NHL offered a flat payment of $20,000 to signing amateurs, which Dudley felt it was too low.[2] The CAHA ultimately accepted the lump sum payment, preferring not to break its alliance with the NHL.[3][4]

Synchronized red lights to signal goals were made obligatory for all NHL rinks.[citation needed]

It was rumoured in the press that Lester Patrick planned to retire as general manager of the New York Rangers. On February 22, 1946, he announced his retirement from the general manager position, however he would stay on as vice president of Madison Square Garden.[citation needed]

The NHL and the International Ice Hockey Association agreed to mutually enforce suspensions for players not fulfilling a tryout contract.[5]

Regular season

Veterans came back to their teams this year, as World War II ended, but many found they could not regain their form. One who did regain his form was the man formerly known as "Mr. Zero"—Boston Bruins' goaltender Frank Brimsek. He was shelled in an 8–3 contest with Chicago, but got better game by game. The Bruins had first place at one point, then finished second. Brimsek made the Second All-Star Team as a result.

Max Bentley of Chicago led the league in scoring, and, because of the "Pony Line" including him, his brother Doug and Bill Mosienko, the Black Hawks were in first place at one point. But misfortune hit the Hawks when Doug Bentley injured his knee in a January 23 game and the team sagged.

Frank Patrick, former Pacific Coast Hockey Association president and former managing director for the NHL, suffered a heart attack and was not released from the hospital for several weeks.

A bombshell exploded on January 30, 1946, when defenceman Babe Pratt was expelled from the NHL for betting on games. However, he only bet on his own team and appealed his expulsion. On his promise he would not bet on any more games, he was reinstated. Pratt missed 9 games during his suspension.

Maple Leaf Gaye Stewart led the league in goals with 37, but Toronto finished fifth and missed the playoffs for the first time since playing at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Bill Durnan equalled George Hainsworth's record of three consecutive Vezina Trophies and led the league in shutouts with 4.

Final standings

National Hockey League [6]
1 Montreal Canadiens 50 28 17 5 172 134 +38 61
2 Boston Bruins 50 24 18 8 167 156 +11 56
3 Chicago Black Hawks 50 23 20 7 200 178 +22 53
4 Detroit Red Wings 50 20 20 10 146 159 −13 50
5 Toronto Maple Leafs 50 19 24 7 174 185 −11 45
6 New York Rangers 50 13 28 9 144 191 −47 35


Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
1 Montreal 4
3 Chicago 0
1 Montreal 4
2 Boston 1
2 Boston 4
4 Detroit 1


The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the league with 61 points. The Chicago Blackhawks finished third with 53 points. This was the seventh playoff meeting between these two teams with the teams splitting the six previous series. They last met in the 1944 Stanley Cup Finals where Montreal won in four games. Montreal won this year's ten game regular season series earning eleven of twenty points.

Montreal wins 4–0

The Boston Bruins finished second in the league with 56 points. The Detroit Red Wings finished fourth with 50 points. This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams with Detroit winning the three of the four previous series. They last met in the previous year's Stanley Cup Semifinals where the Red Wings won in seven games. Boston won this year's ten game regular season series earning eleven of twenty points.

Boston won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams with the teams splitting the four previous series. They last met in the 1943 Stanley Cup Semifinals where Boston won in five games. Montreal won this year's ten game regular season series earning eleven of twenty points.

Montreal won series 4–1


The NHL changed the criteria for the Vezina Trophy to award it to the goaltender who plays the most games for the team which gives up the fewest goals in the season.

Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
Boston Bruins
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Max Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 47 31 30 61 6
Gaye Stewart Toronto Maple Leafs 50 37 15 52 8
Toe Blake Montreal Canadiens 50 29 21 50 2
Clint Smith Chicago Black Hawks 50 26 24 50 2
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 50 27 22 49 50
Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks 40 18 30 48 12
Ab DeMarco New York Rangers 50 20 27 47 20
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 50 13 34 47 34
Alex Kaleta Chicago Black Hawks 49 19 27 46 17
Billy Taylor Toronto Maple Leafs 48 23 18 41 14

Source: NHL[7]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 40 2400 104 2.60 24 11 5 4
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 50 3000 159 3.18 20 20 10 2
Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins 34 2040 111 3.26 16 14 4 2
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 48 2880 166 3.46 22 19 7 1
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 15 900 53 3.53 6 6 3 0
Frank McCool Toronto Maple Leafs 22 1320 81 3.68 10 9 3 0
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 40 2377 149 3.76 12 21 7 1
Jim Henry New York Rangers 11 623 42 4.04 1 7 2 1



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1945–46 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1945–46 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  1. ^ "Pros Agree Not To Sign Juniors". Medicine Hat Daily News. Medicine Hat, Alberta. September 19, 1945. p. 5. Free to read
  2. ^ "C.A.H.A. Wants Best Deal Possible". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. May 17, 1946. p. 11. Free to read
  3. ^ "C.A.H.A. and N.H.L. Reach Hockey Player Agreement". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. June 20, 1946. p. 16. Free to read
  4. ^ "C.A.H.A. Not Satisfied". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. December 30, 1946. p. 20. Free to read
  5. ^ "Allan Cup Finals Awarded To West". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 2, 1946. p. 11. Free to read
  6. ^ "1945–1946 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  7. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 148.

External links