Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 31
The Stanley Cup Journal


In 128 regular season games, Max McNab scored 16 goals and added 19 assists for 35 points, all with the Detroit Red Wings. (Hockey Hall of Fame)
Las Vegas — bright lights, bright stars — a city that never sleeps; a city filled to the brim with excitement!

And then, the Stanley Cup arrived in Vegas on Wednesday, September 7 and the town got just that much more exciting!

September 7 was reserved for Max McNab, a lifelong devotee to hockey. Max McNab is one of the few men to have served the game as a player, coach and as a general manager.

Just over 55 years ago, Max McNab and the Detroit Red Wings had collected the Stanley Cup. They had been favoured to win it all in 1949-50 after finishing the season in first place with 88 points, 11 more than second-place Montreal and a full 14 points more than the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished third. Toronto had won the Stanley Cup in three successive seasons going into the playoffs in 1949-50. The semi-final that pitted Detroit against Toronto would be as exciting as the eventual Stanley Cup final that spring.

A back injury curtailed McNab's NHL career, but his legacy includes a Stanley Cup victory, a lifelong career and a son named Peter who went on to star in the NHL.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
The series was vicious. Gordie Howe was so seriously injured in an on-ice incident in Game 1 that his parents were summoned from their home in Saskatchewan. "Some people said it was a dirty check but I saw it happen and I knew it wasn't," admitted McNab. But the Red Wings constantly attempted to force the Leafs to atone for the incident. Wing after Wing flew at the Leafs — any Leaf — and cause the penalty-filled series to turn into a grudge match.

Toronto buried Detroit 5-0 in Game 1, but that only poured gasoline on the Red Wings' smoldering fire. Game 2 was a 3-1 Detroit win followed by a 2-0 Leaf win in Game 3. The penalty benches were seldom barren throughout the series as blood spilled and vendettas were avenged. Game 4 was a 2-1 Detroit overtime win but Toronto came back with a 2-0 shutout effort in Game 5. Detroit then slammed the door on the Leafs with a 4-0 spanking in Game 6. Game 7 saw Toronto eliminated with the Red Wings earning a 1-0 win in overtime.

After exacting revenge on Toronto, McNab and the Wings met the New York Rangers for the Stanley Cup. It was a seesaw battle, with Detroit winning Games 1 and 3 by scores of 4-1 and 4-0 as New York took Games 2 and 4 with 3-1 and 4-3 wins. Game 5 saw the Rangers edge Detroit 2-1, with Eddie Slowinski scoring the deciding goal. The Wings battled back in Game 6 and collected a 5-4 win with captain Sid Abel scoring the winning goal.

55 years after winning the Cup with Detroit, Max McNab finally got to lift the Stanley Cup over his head in triumph. Two friends help Max lift the 34 1/2 pound trophy.
(Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
The stage was set for an exciting finale in Game 7. New York looked to be on their way to clutching Lord Stanley's Cup after scoring two powerplay goals in the first period; one by Allan Stanley followed quickly by a goal from Tony Leswick. But Detroit had overcome too much adversity already and were unwilling to surrender without a fight. Pete Babando and Sid Abel scored back-to-back Detroit goals within 21 seconds of each other to tie the game. The Rangers found a goal in the stick of Buddy O'Connor to go ahead but Detroit clambered back, gathering a goal from Jimmy McFadden to tie the game at 3 going into the third period.

Neither team scored in the final period of regulation. Neither team scored in the first overtime stanza, either. Then, at 8:31 of the second overtime frame, Pete Babando lofted a shot that eluded Rangers' netminder Chuck Rayner to gave Detroit the win…and the Stanley Cup!

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Max McNab, now 81-years old, held a private reception for his old pal, the Stanley Cup, at a community centre in Summerlin, a town high above the valley about ten minutes away from Las Vegas, Nevada. From noon until 3:00 on September 7, Max and his wife June moved amongst friends and neighbours at the local community centre.

Spending a day in Las Vegas with the Stanley Cup gave champion Max McNab a warm and fuzzy feeling -- much like the feeling he got standing beside the mascot for the Las Vegas Wranglers, a franchise in the ECHL. (Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
One of those who insisted on seeing Max McNab with the Stanley Cup was his son Peter who, like his Dad, enjoyed an NHL career. But unlike his father, Peter McNab was never fortunate enough to play on a Stanley Cup champion. "I'd love to hoist the Cup with Dad, but I don't dare," Peter stated, after flying in from New Jersey. "I never won it so I haven't earned the right to lift it."

The emotional afternoon was followed by a public display of the Stanley Cup at a resort/rink in Las Vegas. Max greeted the public, signing autographs and posing for pictures with the Cup between 5:00 and 8:15 that evening. During the latter part of the afternoon, the assembled group insisted that Max lift the Stanley Cup over his head; the sign of a true champion. "Help your Dad hoist the Cup," hollered a fan, but Peter refused to touch the trophy, insisting that two arena employees help his Dad lift the Stanley Cup to the heavens.

As an administrator and player, Max's unique vantage point gives him a view of hockey that few others can claim, and he was enjoying every second of his day with the Cup. "Today, I might have seen my Dad smile his greatest smile ever," claimed Peter.

* * *

Al 'Junior' Langlois played 497 regular season NHL contests, scoring 21 goals, 91 assists and 112 points. Junior played with Montreal, New York, Detroit and Boston during his 8-year career.
(Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
It was the thrill of Al Langlois' life when he was called up to join the Montreal Canadiens during the playoff series of 1957-58. 'Junior' had toiled all season with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League that year, although he did play his first and only NHL game during that regular season. With just one NHL game on his hockey resume, Langlois was an unlikely choice to join the reigning Stanley Cup champions during the spring of '58.

When the semi-final against Detroit opened on March 25, 1958, 24-year-old Junior Langlois started the game on the blueline paired with perennial all-star, Doug Harvey. Usual partner Tom Johnson was sidelined with torn knee ligaments. Game 1 was a blowout — Montreal dumped the Red Wings 8-1. Montreal scored on each of its first 4 shots. Langlois picked up an assist and a third period minor. Game 2 was almost as one-sided as Montreal beat Detroit 5-1. On just his second shift, Junior picked up a penalty early in the first period.

Al Langlois won the Stanley Cup in each of his first three seasons in the NHL -- 1958, 1959 and 1960. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Detroit tightened up but still couldn't hold the fort against Montreal's attack. The 2-1 Canadiens' win included a bench-clearing brawl in the second period, precipitated by the Wings' Bob Bailey charging Montreal's netminder, Jacques Plante. To settle the teams (and the crowd), referee Frank Udvari sent both teams to their dressing rooms and added the 5:22 remaining in that second period to the third stanza.

Game 4 ended Detroit's hopes as Montreal dumped the Wings 4-3 to earn a spot in the final against the Boston Bruins.

Game 1 of the final was tougher than alligator hide, but Montreal emerged with a 2-1 victory on Dickie Moore's winning marker. Doug Harvey played a remarkable 44 minutes in that game, with Langlois and St. Laurent splitting duties as his partner. Boston battled to a 5-3 win in Game 2 but Montreal rebounded with a 3-0 shutout in Game 3.

Game 4 saw the Bruins beat Montreal 3-1. Tom Johnson returned for his first game since mid-March to help the Montreal Canadiens edge the Bruins 3-2, using an overtime goal by 'Rocket' Richard to record their Game 5 victory. Game 6 resulted in a 5-3 win for the Montreal Canadiens, earning the franchise its third Stanley Cup victory in a row. For Junior Langlois, a veteran of 8 NHL games, the victory ensured his spot in hockey history, earning him the opportunity to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. It would be the first of three times for the Magog, Quebec native.

* * *

While visiting the Los Angeles Kings' practise facility -- the Toyota Sports Center -- Langlois traded stories with another alumnus of the Candiens, netminder Rogie Vachon (right). Here, the two Habs' heroes pose with some young fans excited about seeing the Stanley Cup and two true Stanley Cup champions. (Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup was driven from Las Vegas, through the Nevada desert to Southern California on Thursday, September 8. First stop — the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Located close to LAX, the facility serves as a training centre for the L.A. Kings and basketball's Lakers.

The well-attended public event took place from 3:00 until 5:00, with fans anxious to see the fabled Stanley Cup and get pictures taken beside it. Rogie Vachon, former netminding star for the Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins, showed up and shared memories of winning Stanley Cup championships with the Canadiens in 1968, 1969 and 1971.

On the evening of September 8, the Stanley Cup was the guest of honour at a very special party hosted by Al Langlois at the Mulholland Tennis Club. Now 70 years of age, the three-time Stanley Cup champion belongs to the fabulous, private club, rubbing shoulders with other members including Al Pacino.

The Mulholland Tennis Club is located just above Beverly Hills nestled in the hills separating Los Angeles from the San Fernando Valley, straddling the legendary Coldwater and Laurel Canyons. The incredible panoramic view stretches southeast to downtown Los Angeles and all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.

With the lights of Los Angeles twinkling below, Al Langlois hosted an impressive Stanley Cup celebration at the Mulholland Tennis Club.
(Lynne Guenette)
From 6:00 until 11:00 pm, the Stanley Cup was the focus of attention at the exclusive club, with hors d'oeuvres and drinks being served as Al Langlois posed for photos with the historic trophy. Actress Morgan Fairchild was enjoying the evening as were historian Bob Borgen (who produces the telecasts for the Los Angeles Kings) and his lovely wife Minako, who played Rosie the bartender (under the name 'Eileen Saki') on the television series M*A*S*H.

During the party, the Stanley Cup was briefly excused so that Bob Miller, the 'Voice of the Kings', could tape a segment for an upcoming one-hour TV special celebrating the twentieth year of Kings' hockey being televised on Prime Ticket (now the Fox Sports Network). Miller, a Media Honouree in the Hockey Hall of Fame, did the taping with the Stanley Cup in a breathtaking spot that allowed the camera to see the lights of Los Angeles in the background.

The Cup returned to Al Langlois' celebration at the Mulholland Tennis Club. On any given day, the most photographed icon in Southern California is the Hollywood Sign, sitting high atop Mount Lee and visible for miles and miles around. But for one day, on Thursday, September 8, there is little doubt that Lord Stanley's Cup gave the Hollywood Sign a run for its money.

* * *

During his eight NHL seasons, Dutch Hiller played 383 games, scoring 91 goals and adding 113 assists for 204 points. Dutch dressed for the Rangers, Red Wings, Bruins and Canadiens during his career, winning Stanley Cup championships in New York and Montreal. (Hockey Hall of Fame)
Wilbert Hiller was born in 1915 Berlin, Ontario. The city changed its name to Kitchener after World War I and Wilbert's friends changed his name to 'Dutch.' Just 18 years old, 'Dutch' moved to Sudbury, Ontario to continue his junior career. After playing one season in England, Hiller was signed by the New York Rangers and joined the team during the 1937-38 season.

In 1939-40, Hiller's second full season with the Rangers, the Rangers earned their shot at the Stanley Cup by defeating the Boston Bruins in the best of five semi-final. Dutch Hiller scored a goal and two assists to help his team eliminate Beantown's Bruins.

The Ringling Brothers Circus had been scheduled to open at Madison Square Garden on April 4; simultaneous with the start of the Stanley Cup final. Either the Rangers' management was pessimistic or the lure of the circus money was too strong to ignore but either way, the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers agreed to play consecutive nights in New York on April 2 and 3, then schedule all remaining games for Toronto.

The Rangers claimed victories in both of their home games, winning Game 1 2-1 on an overtime thriller from Alf Pike, then following with a 6-2 win in which Dutch Hiller collected a goal and an assist.

Dutch Hiller's assist on Bryan Hextall's overtime marker in Game 6 of the 1939-40 final gave the Rangers a Stanley Cup victory. Hiller won again with the Montreal Canadiens in 1945-46. (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Toronto picked up wins in the next two games. Playing at Maple Leaf Gardens, Game 3 ended in a 2-1 Leaf win while Game 4 was a 3-0 whitewash for Toronto. Game 5 went into double overtime before Muzz Patrick's goal gave New York a 2-1 victory.

Game 6 was tighter than a mouse's ear. Toronto collected goals in both the first and second periods, but New York responded with two goals in the third to tie the contest. Then, the line of Dutch Hiller, Bryan Hextall and Phil Watson struck. Hextall scored at 2:07 with his linemates assisting to give the New York Rangers the Stanley Cup! "I went into the corner to dig out the puck and passed it to Hextall, and he scored to give us the Cup," smiled Hiller. "Greatest moment of my career!"

* * *

Here, Dutch Hiller and the ROMEO Club congregate for their daily Burger King breakfast. This time, though, there was need for an extra seat. The Stanley Cup had joined the club!
(Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
During his NHL career, Dutch Hiller was a member of four clubs — the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. As a result, he became a de facto member of the exclusive club comprised of Stanley Cup champions, winning with New York in 1939-40 and Montreal in 1945-46. But the club in which Dutch Hiller is most active is the ROMEO Club - Retired Old Men Eating Out. Virtually every morning for the past seven years, a group of approximately 10 gentlemen meet at the local Burger King in La Crescenta, California. There, over coffee, the guys solve the world's troubles and talk about other important topics — like health, women…and hockey.

At 7:15 on the morning of Friday, September 9, the ROMEO Club convened at the Burger King as usual but this time, Dutch brought along a friend — the Stanley Cup!

Sporting a Rangers' ballcap, Dutch had to gulp his coffee between autographs, while his fellow club members pored over scrapbooks Hiller compiled during his career. "I thought people had forgotten me," admitted the 90-year-old champion. "It's unbelievable!" Astonished patrons picking up a coffee and Croissan'wich strained their necks when they realized that the Stanley Cup was in their midst.

Two-time champion Dutch Hiller finally got the opportunity to drink out of the Stanley Cup after first winning the trophy in 1940. Dutch's daughter and granddaughter tilt the Cup so Dutch can sip his drink of choice -- a refreshing Margarita -- out of the Cup's gleaming bowl. (Philip Pritchard/HHOF)
At 11 o'clock, as the breakfast crowd had all but evaporated, the Stanley Cup was taken to Dutch's home in nearby Montrose, which borders Glendale to the south and west. There, daughters Pat and Rosemarie hosted as family and friends dropped by to visit Dutch and the Stanley Cup. Hiller regaled his friends and grandchildren with stories about being a goal judge for the Los Angeles Kings during their early years.

"What brought you to L.A., Dutch?" asked a friend. "Well, after we won the Cup with the Canadiens in '46, I got traded to Toronto and played with Pittsburgh (the Leafs' AHL affiliate). Then, I went home for a year (and played with the senior Kitchener Dutchmen in 1947-48). I got a call to coach the Los Angeles Monarchs (of the Pacific Coast Hockey League) in '48-49 and '49-50. We finished in second that last year." Dutch shrugs. "I loved the area and stayed here after that."

Reviewing the scrapbooks and being asked for autographs did Dutch Hiller a world of good. "It's good to be near the Cup again," he admits with a grin.

* * *

We'll turn the page of the Stanley Cup Journal on Friday, and take readers first to the Detroit area for a visit with Johnny Wilson, then head up to the Montreal area once again to visit Stanley Cup champions Elmer Lach and Gump Worsley.

Kevin Shea is the Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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