1960–61 NHL season

The 1960–61 NHL season was the 44th season of the National Hockey League. The Chicago Black Hawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the 1961 Stanley Cup Final four games to two to win the Stanley Cup. It was the first series since 1950 with two American-based teams. It was Chicago's first Cup win since 1938; they would not win another until 2010.

1960–61 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 5, 1960 – April 16, 1961
Number of games70
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPBernie Geoffrion (Canadiens)
Top scorerBernie Geoffrion (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsChicago Black Hawks
  Runners-upDetroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe of the Red Wings became the first player in NHL history to achieve the career mark of 1,000 regular-season points. It would be seven more seasons before the Montreal Canadiens' Jean Beliveau would match the feat.

League business

The original Hart Trophy was retired, as all its plaques were filled and its general condition had deteriorated. A new trophy was commissioned and the award was renamed the Hart Memorial Trophy.


On September 15, 1960, Maurice "Rocket" Richard announced his retirement from hockey. During his career, he had led all scorers with a record 544 goals plus 82 for the playoffs. Despite the league expanding the number of games in a season to 70 games from 50 since Richard's famous 50 goals in 50 games, Richard remained the only player to score 50 goals in a season, until this season.

Regular season

By this season, the Chicago Black Hawks were a strong team. They had an especially powerful defense, which had Pierre Pilote, Al Arbour, Jack Evans, and Elmer Vasko. Up front, youngsters Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led the offense, and goaltender Glenn Hall was the Hawks' steady presence between the pipes.

It was reported that Eddie Shore, the great Boston Bruins defenseman and four-time league MVP from the 1930s, had been stricken with a heart attack, but was resting comfortably in a Springfield, Massachusetts hospital.

On October 13, the Canadiens routed the Rangers 8–4, with Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore each scoring hat tricks.

Jack McCartan got his only NHL shutout for the New York Rangers by blanking the Black Hawks 2–0 on October 19. Chicago's Reg Fleming set a record with 37 penalty minutes in this game. They included three major penalties for battles with Dean Prentice, Eddie Shack, and John Hanna, a misconduct, and a game misconduct.

On December 1, the Canadiens, who had traded André Pronovost to Boston for Jean-Guy Gendron, defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6–3 at the Montreal Forum. Gendron had a goal, but the main feature was the 21 penalties referee Frank Udvari had to call, including several majors in the third period. Henri Richard took on Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore squared off with Bob Pulford, and Marcel Bonin scrapped with Bobby Baun. Toronto general manager and head coach George "Punch" Imlach was in a bad mood following the game and said to the press among other things that Udvari and linesmen Loring Doolittle and George Hayes should have been picked as the three stars for the help they gave to Montreal. Imlach's comments were brought to the attention of NHL president Clarence Campbell, who fined the Leafs bench boss $200.

In the new year, Stan Mikita helped to spark Chicago. He scored two goals in a 3–2 win over the Rangers on January 4 and scored the winner when the Black Hawks beat Boston 4–3 the following night.

Former Canadiens defenceman Leo Lamoureux died in Indianapolis on January 11 at age 45.

Chicago defeated the Rangers 4–3 on March 8. New York goalie Gump Worsley pulled a hamstring muscle and Joe Shaefer replaced him with the score 1–1. The next night, the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs as Bernie Geoffrion potted a hat trick in a 6–1 pasting by the Canadiens.

Toronto's Johnny Bower, who appeared on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy, strained a leg muscle and would have to take a rest. Cesare Maniago played in goal for the Leafs on March 16 and lost 5–2. It looked like two players, Toronto's Frank Mahovlich and Montreal's Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, were going to hit 50 goals, but Mahovlich ended up slumping near the end of the season and missed 50 by two goals. Geoffrion scored his 50th goal that night and got a wild ovation. He also added 45 assists and led the league in scoring.

Toronto played a 2–2 tie with the Rangers in their final game of the season and Bobby Baun was a victim of his own hard hitting. Camille Henry of the Rangers ran into Baun and Henry's skate cut Baun in the neck. Baun returned for the third period, but after the game, while boarding the team bus, he began to gasp desperately. He groped for attention and waved his arms, and his teammates finally realized he was in trouble and rushed him to the hospital where an emergency operation was performed to permit breathing. Baun missed some action in the playoffs as the result of the injury.

Final standings

National Hockey League[1]
1Montreal Canadiens70411910254188+6692
2Toronto Maple Leafs70391912234176+5890
3Chicago Black Hawks70292417198180+1875
4Detroit Red Wings70252916195215−2066
5New York Rangers70223810204248−4454
6Boston Bruins70154213176254−7843


For the Montreal Canadiens, two streaks came to an end. The Canadiens' streak of ten consecutive Finals appearances and five consecutive Finals wins came to an end with a defeat to eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks in the first round. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the other semifinal to set up an all-American final between Chicago and Detroit.

Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
1 Montreal 2
3 Chicago 4
3 Chicago 4
4 Detroit 2
2 Toronto 1
4 Detroit 4


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

Chicago won series 4–2

(2) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings

Detroit won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

Chicago defeated the Red Wings in six games to win their first Cup since 1938, and their last until 2010.

Chicago won series 4–2


1960–61 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Red Kelly, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs

All-Star teams

First team  Position  Second team
Johnny Bower, Toronto Maple Leafs G Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Allan Stanley, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings D Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Henri Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Frank Mahovlich, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Dickie Moore, 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
Bernie GeoffrionMontreal Canadiens6450459529
Jean BeliveauMontreal Canadiens6932589057
Frank MahovlichToronto Maple Leafs70483684131
Andy BathgateNew York Rangers7029487722
Gordie HoweDetroit Red Wings6423497230
Norm UllmanDetroit Red Wings7028427034
Red KellyToronto Maple Leafs6420507012
Dickie MooreMontreal Canadiens5735346962
Henri RichardMontreal Canadiens7024446891
Alex DelvecchioDetroit Red Wings7027356226


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
Charlie HodgeMontreal Canadiens301800742.4719834
Johnny BowerToronto Maple Leafs5834801452.503315102
Glenn HallChicago Black Hawks7042001762.512924176
Hank BassenDetroit Red Wings342120982.77131290
Jacques PlanteMontreal Canadiens4024001122.80231162
Terry SawchukDetroit Red Wings3820801123.23121772
Don SimmonsBoston Bruins181080583.233961
Lorne WorsleyNew York Rangers5934731913.30202981
Bruce GambleBoston Bruins5231201933.71123370



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1960–61 (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 1960–61 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Coleman, Charles L. (1976), Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol III, Sherbrooke, QC: Progressive Publications
  • 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. Kingston, NY: 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.
  • Dowbiggin, Bruce (2008), The Meaning Of Puck: How Hockey Explains Modern Canada, Toronto: Key Porter Books, ISBN 978-1-55470-041-7
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Duplacey, James (2008), Hockey's Book of Firsts, North Dighton, MA: JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  • 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 (1969), 50 Years Of Hockey, Winnipeg, MAN: Greywood Publishing, ASIN B000GW45S0
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
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