1936–37 NHL season

The 1936–37 NHL season was the 20th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Eight teams each played 48 games. The Detroit Red Wings were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the New York Rangers three games to two in the final series.

1936–37 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationNovember 5, 1936 – April 15, 1937
Number of games48
Number of teams8
Regular season
Season championsDetroit Red Wings
Season MVPBabe Siebert (Canadiens)
Top scorerSweeney Schriner (Americans)
Canadian Division championsMontreal Canadiens
American Division championsDetroit Red Wings
Stanley Cup
ChampionsDetroit Red Wings
  Runners-upNew York Rangers

League business

Frank Calder had been naming the top rookies commencing with 1932–33. This year, he commenced buying a trophy for the top rookie and Syl Apps was this year's winner.

The Great Depression continued to take its toll on the NHL. At the beginning of the decade there were ten teams and in the years since two teams had folded. It appeared like the New York Americans were to become the third team but the NHL took steps to prevent that from happening. Instead of letting the team cease operating because of money and ownership problems the league assumed control of the team for the 1936–37 season. It was then that team owner Bill Dwyer sued. A settlement then allowed for Dwyer to own the team, run by the NHL, and that Dwyer would be given a chance to pay back his debts.

The Montreal Maroons, short of money, had to sell their star and team captain Hooley Smith to Boston. It was hoped that Carl Voss of the former Eagles would fill in adequately for him, but he came down with influenza and was not much help. However, Bob Gracie started scoring and the Maroons almost nipped the Canadiens for first place in the Canadian Division.

Regular season


The New York Americans had started in first place, but then their players came down with influenza and the team went downhill. But the worst blow was when Roy Worters suffered a hernia and had to retire. Alfie Moore and Lorne Chabot were not adequate replacements and the Amerks finished last in the Canadian Division.

On November 16, 1936, Hal Winkler made his NHL debut for the New York Rangers and gained a 1–0 shutout over the Montreal Maroons. He was the first goaltender to have a shutout in his NHL debut.[1] The Montreal Canadiens had hit the bottom in 1935–36, and Babe Siebert was obtained to shore up the defence. But the most loved of all movements was buying Howie Morenz back from the Rangers. The Canadiens went from last to first in the Canadian Division. Morenz was just hitting his stride in January 1937, when tragedy struck. On one of his hurtling rushes, he was being checked by Earl Seibert of Chicago when his left skate got caught in the dasher of the end boards, and Morenz suffered a badly fractured leg. After suffering a nervous breakdown worrying about if he would be able to come back, more bad luck occurred. On March 8, 1937, X-rays revealed that Howie had blood clots in his healing leg. An operation was scheduled for the next day, but when Howie ate a light supper and told the nurse he wanted to rest, in falling asleep his pallor suddenly changed and the nurse knew something was wrong. A blood clot had stopped his heart, and attempts to revive Howie failed. News of Morenz's death shocked the hockey world, and thousands filed past his bier, many in tears, to pay their last respects.

Beyond Morenz's tragic mishap, it was an injury-filled year for many stars. Already suffering from a bad back, Boston's Eddie Shore suffered a broken vertebra that cost him the remainder of the season. Charlie Conacher of the Maple Leafs repeatedly injured his wrist, costing him much of the season, and was never the same player thereafter. A series of minor injuries precipitated Lionel Conacher's decision to retire at year's end, while Sylvio Mantha and Roy Worters suffered career-ending injuries. Other stars who missed several weeks of time or had season-ending injuries included Red Wings captain Doug Young, Larry Aurie, Russ Blinco, Buzz Boll, Pit Lepine, Dave Trottier, Toe Blake and Art Chapman.

With five games left to play, Chicago owner Frederic McLaughlin, a partisan of American-born players, decided to field an all-American lineup, the first time in major senior hockey that this was done. With incumbent Mike Karakas in goal, the Black Hawks signed Ernest Klingbeil and Paul Schaefer on defense, with a line of Milt Brink centering Al Suomi and Bun Laprairie. The team went 1–3 with the sextet in the lineup.

Detroit, led by Vezina Trophy winning Normie Smith, finished first in the American Division.

Final standings

American Division
Detroit Red Wings482514912810259
Boston Bruins482318712011053
New York Rangers481920911710647
Chicago Black Hawks48142779913135
Canadian Division
Montreal Canadiens482418611511154
Montreal Maroons482217912611053
Toronto Maple Leafs482221511911549
New York Americans481529412216134

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
       Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.


Playoff bracket

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
  C1 Mtl Canadiens 2  
    A1 Detroit 3  
    A1 Detroit 3
  A3 NY Rangers 2
  C2 Mtl Maroons 2  
A2 Boston 1  
C2 Mtl Maroons 0
    A3 NY Rangers 2  
C3 Toronto 0
  A3 NY Rangers 2  


(A2) Boston Bruins vs. (C2) Montreal Maroons

Montreal won series 2–1

(C3) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (A3) New York Rangers

New York won series 2–0


(A1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (C1) Montreal Canadiens

Detroit won series 3–2

(C2) Montreal Maroons vs. (A3) New York Rangers

New York won series 2–0

Stanley Cup Finals

Detroit won series 3–2


The "Rookie of the Year" award now had a trophy, the Calder Trophy, for the first time.

Calder Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Syl Apps, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Marty Barry, Detroit Red Wings
O'Brien Cup:
(Canadian Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(American Division champion)
Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
Normie Smith, Detroit Red Wings

All-Star teams

First Team  Position  Second Team
Normie Smith, Detroit Red Wings G Wilf Cude, Montreal Canadiens
Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens D Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks
Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings D Lionel Conacher, Montreal Maroons
Marty Barry, Detroit Red Wings C Art Chapman, New York Americans
Larry Aurie, Detroit Red Wings RW Cecil Dillon, New York Rangers
Busher Jackson, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Sweeney Schriner, New York Americans
Jack Adams, Detroit Red Wings Coach Cecil Hart, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

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

Sweeney SchrinerNew York Americans4821254617
Syl AppsToronto Maple Leafs4816294510
Marty BarryDetroit Red Wings481727446
Larry AurieDetroit Red Wings4523204320
Busher JacksonToronto Maple Leafs4621194012
Johnny GagnonMontreal Canadiens4820163638
Bob GracieMontreal Maroons4711253618
Nels StewartBoston Bruins/New York Americans4323123537
Paul ThompsonChicago Black Hawks4717183528
Bill CowleyBoston Bruins461322354

Source: NHL.[2]


American Division

Canadian Division


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1936–37 (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 1936–37 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. 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. 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.
  1. Hockey's Book of Firsts, p.19, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. Dinger 2011, p. 147.
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