1945–46 NHL season

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.

1945–46 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 24, 1945 – April 9, 1946
Number of games50
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPMax Bentley (Black Hawks)
Top scorerMax Bentley (Black Hawks)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upBoston Bruins

League business

Synchronized red lights to signal goals were made obligatory for all NHL rinks.

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.

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[1]
1Montreal Canadiens5028175172134+3861
2Boston Bruins5024188167156+1156
3Chicago Black Hawks5023207200178+2253
4Detroit Red Wings50202010146159−1350
5Toronto Maple Leafs5019247174185−1145
6New York Rangers5013289144191−4735


Playoff bracket

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


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Chicago Black Hawks

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

(2) Boston Bruins vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings

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
All-Star teams
First team  Position  Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins D Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
Emile "Butch" Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens D Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings
Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks C Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Gaye Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens Coach Johnny Gottselig, Chicago Black Hawks

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 BentleyChicago Black Hawks473130616
Gaye StewartToronto Maple Leafs503715528
Toe BlakeMontreal Canadiens502921502
Clint SmithChicago Black Hawks502624502
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens5027224950
Bill MosienkoChicago Black Hawks4018304812
Ab DeMarcoNew York Rangers5020274720
Elmer LachMontreal Canadiens5013344734
Alex KaletaChicago Black Hawks4919274617
Billy TaylorToronto Maple Leafs4823184114

Source: NHL[2]

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 DurnanMontreal Canadiens4024001042.60241154
Harry LumleyDetroit Red Wings5030001593.182020102
Frank BrimsekBoston Bruins3420401113.26161442
Mike KarakasChicago Black Hawks4828801663.46221971
Turk BrodaToronto Maple Leafs15900533.536630
Frank McCoolToronto Maple Leafs221320813.6810930
Chuck RaynerNew York Rangers4023771493.76122171
Jim HenryNew York Rangers11623424.041721



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.
  • 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. 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.
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