Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 32
The Stanley Cup Journal


In 686 regular season games, Johnny Wilson scored 161 goals and 171 assists for 332 points. He spent his first six seasons in Detroit, joined Chicago for two seasons, returned for two seasons with the Red Wings, played two seasons with Toronto and concluded his NHL career with two seasons as a New York Ranger. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
During the 1949-50 season, two young boys from Kincardine, Ontario achieved the dream of every boy across Canada. That season, both Johnny and Larry Wilson played their first NHL game. That season, they both got their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Johnny Wilson, a leftwinger and the elder sibling by 16 months, and his kid brother Larry, a centre, were both summoned by the Detroit Red Wings from the USHL Omaha Knights to join the parent club on February 15, 1950. Although the game ended in a 3-0 loss to the Black Hawks in Chicago, only Larry got his name on the scoresheet when he picked up a minor penalty.

Although both were sent back to Omaha after their one-game tryout, both brothers were recalled during the playoffs that spring. It was a very tough semi-final played against the Maple Leafs. Gordie Howe almost died after an encounter in the Game 1 and although he survived to become one of the greats of the game, he was certainly lost for the series. Jimmy Peters twisted his knee and would miss several games. Pete Babando hurt his thumb and would miss a game or two. The Red Wings called up the Wilson boys. Johnny had scored 41 goals and accumulated 80 points for the Knights through the regular season while Larry picked up 22 goals and 79 points. Both played in Games 5, 6 and the triumphant Game 7 of the semi-final against Toronto.

Although he played just one regular season game with the Red Wings in 1949-50, Johnny joined the roster for the playoffs and earned the right to call himself a Stanley Cup champion that season.
(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
Both Johnny and Larry were on the Wings' roster for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final between Detroit and the New York Rangers, with Johnny picking up a second period assist on George Gee's goal in a 4-1 win for the Wings. Larry didn't see any further action that spring, but Johnny played in Game 2's 3-1 loss, Detroit's 4-0 win in Game 3 and the Rangers 4-3 victory in Game 4. Without a Wilson in the line-up, the Red Wings lost 2-1 in Game 5, won 5-4 in Game 6 and then celebrated their Stanley Cup victory with an exciting 4-3 win with Pete Babando scoring in double-overtime.

* * *

Johnny Wilson welcomed the Stanley Cup to West Bloomfield, Michigan on Tuesday, September 13. The 76-year-old Wilson had the busiest individual itinerary of the summer, using much of his time with the historic trophy to raise money in aid of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

While parading the Stanley Cup through the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield, Wilson visited St. Mary's College and had his photo taken with members of the hockey team and administration. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The morning started at 8:30 with a visit to Thomson Gale, a world leader in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses. For two hours, fans made donations to Hurricane Katrina efforts in exchange for pictures with the Stanley Cup and/or autographs from Johnny Wilson. Then, Thomson Gale matched the donations of the fans to add even further support to assisting those in need.

Just before lunch, Johnny took the Cup to Paddock Pools in West Bloomfield, where a friend, a huge hockey fan, works. In an office upstairs from Paddock, Johnny visited another friend — none other than Gordie Howe, who maintains an office there and was delighted to get a visit from his old teammate with the Stanley Cup.

At one o'clock, Wilson took the Stanley Cup to the Westland Center, a local mall, where fans were already lining up to meet him and to get their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. Donations were being accepted which would then be forwarded to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. A woman from New Orleans rushed over and shook Johnny's hand. "I'm originally from this area but we moved down to New Orleans several years ago," she began. "It's awful, Johnny. Just awful! My husband was off hunting in Montana when Hurricane Katrina hit.

During the Red Wings dynasty that included four Stanley Cup celebrations through the 1950's, Johnny Wilson starred alongside Gordie Howe. Here, the two pals greet each other with the bond that will forever hold them together -- the Stanley Cup!
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
I was evacuated from our home and could only grab a few things. One of the few shirts I could take was my Detroit Red Wings t-shirt. I'm back here staying with my family. Thank you for everything you're doing! It means so much to me and my family."

Between 1:00 and 3:00, more than 500 people had their photo taken with the Stanley Cup. Then, Johnny carried the Cup over to St. Mary's of Orchard Lake School. Faculty, parents and members of the college's hockey team gathered around to get pictures with the historic trophy.

Johnny hosted a private dinner at Sposita's Ristorante. Owner Joe Sposita is clearly a hockey fan as his walls are decorated with photos of greats like Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull taken there at the lovely Italian restaurant. He now has one more to hang in his restaurant — a picture of hockey's legendary Stanley Cup on its visit to his eatery.

* * *

Playing on a line with Maurice Richard and Toe Blake, many teams suddenly got 'Punch Line-itis' when they saw Montreal on their schedule. Lach scored 215 goals and added 408 assists for 623 points in 664 NHL games and earned the honour of being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966. (Hockey Hall of Fame)
With the Second World War raging overseas, the ranks of the National Hockey League were decimated and a score of call-ups filled the rosters of the six NHL teams in 1943-44. The Montreal Canadiens were the least affected by the war and it reflected in the standings at the end of the regular season. Montreal finished first with 83 points, leaving second place Detroit and their 58 points in their dust

After losing the first game against the Maple Leafs 3-1, the Canadiens dusted the Toronto Maple Leafs in four straight games, including an 11-0 thrashing in Game 5, to move from the semis to the Stanley Cup final. Elmer Lach collected 8 points in the series.

The final saw the Canadiens facing the Chicago Black Hawks for the Cup. Game 1 ended in a 5-1 win for Montreal with Lach picking up an assist on Toe Blake's goal in the second. The line of Maurice Richard, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach was unstoppable, and single-handedly beat the Hawks in Game 2. Richard scored all 3 goals with Lach collecting assists on two of them. After Richard's third goal, the game had to be halted. It was the contention of Chicago coach Johnny Gottselig that Elmer had held Clint Smith on the play that resulted in the tally, and the Chicago fans agreed, showering the ice with programs and other debris.

In 1943-44, Elmer Lach finished fifth in NHL scoring with 72 points. His 11 assists that spring led all playoffs scorers as he and his Punch Line wingers earned the Canadiens the Stanley Cup.(Dave Sandford/HHOF)
A 5-5 win in Game 3 set up the final game of the 1943-44 season. Lach scored 2 goals and Richard added 2 more through regulation time, but at the end of sixty minutes, the score was tied 4-4. At 9:12 of overtime, Toe Blake, who had assisted on all four Montreal goals to that point, picked up a pass from Butch Bouchard and wired the winner past Mike Karakas in the Chicago goal. The game was over and Montreal celebrated their Stanley Cup win!

* * *

Elmer Lach, now 87 years of age, made plans for the Stanley Cup to visit his golf club — the Summerlea Golf and Country Club in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec — on Wednesday, September 14. The immaculate club, like many of its members, is quite storied. Built in 1922 but originally located in Lachine, the club survived several tough times only through the incredible generosity of Senator Donat Raymond, a highly successful businessman who counted ownership of the Montreal Forum and Montreal Canadiens as part of his portfolio. An Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Senator Raymond died just months after the golf club was relocated to its present location in 1963.

 
Elmer Lach won the Stanley Cup on three occasions during his 14-season NHL career spent entirely with the Montreal Canadiens. An avid golfer, Lach took the Stanley Cup to the Summerlea Golf Club on his special day.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
  Henri Richard, whose brother Maurice played on a line with Lach, joined Elmer at the golf club on September 14. Here holding the Stanley Cup, Henri Richard holds the distinction of winning the trophy more than any other player, celebrating 11 times! (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
After completing his round of golf, Lach greeted the Stanley Cup, joined by the staff of Summerlea and many of Lach's colleagues, including several former members of the Canadiens. It was quite the illustrious group — Lach has won the Stanley Cup three times, Rejean Houle five times, Phil Goyette four, Donny Marshall five times, Henri Richard an extraordinary eleven times and Dollard St. Laurent five times!

The group pictured here has won a collective 33 Stanley Cup chamionships! Pictured are Donny Marshall (2nd from left), Elmer Lach (3rd from left), Phil Goyette (5th from right), Dollard St. Laurent (4th from right), Henri Richard (3rd from right) and Rejean Houle (2nd from right). (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Elmer was most appreciative of getting the opportunity to spend a day with the Stanley Cup and although he retains his passion for hockey, shares an equal passion for golf. "Two years ago," he smiled, "I shot my age."

* * *

Gump Worsley joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1963-64 after spending ten hapless seasons with the New York Rangers. As the expression goes, Gump went "from the outhouse to the penthouse," helping the Habs win Stanley Cup championships in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969.

At 40 years of age in 1969, Gump was facing the prospect of winding down his career. Nonetheless, Gump won 19, lost just 5 and tied 4 during the regular season, sharing duties with Rogie Vachon and rookie Tony Esposito. The Canadiens finished first through the NHL's regular season.

During his remarkable 21-season career, Gump Worsley recorded 335 wins, 150 ties and 352 losses in 861 regular season games. He was the NHL's rookie of the year in 1953, shared the Vezina Trophy on two occasions and was a two-time All-Star.
(Graphic Artists/HHOF)
The goaltending assignment going into the playoffs went to the veteran Worsley, and he handled the task with aplomb, eliminating the Rangers in four consecutive contests in the quarter-finals.

The semi-finals pitted Montreal against the Boston Bruins. Montreal edged the Bruins 3-2 in Game 1 with Ralph Backstrom scoring the deciding goal early in overtime. Game 2 was another tight contest with Montreal earning a 4-3 victory on an overtime marker from Mickey Redmond. But Game 3 delivered two losses for Montreal — a 5-0 loss was less critical than the loss of their goaltender. Gump broke the baby finger on his catching hand and was out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Rogie Vachon stepped in admirably for Game 4 but Boston beat the Canadiens 3-2. Montreal rebounded with a 4-2 win in Game 5 and closed out the series with a breathtaking 2-1 win, the result of Jean Beliveau's goal in double-overtime.

The Montreal Canadiens, the cream of the East Division, faced the St. Louis Blues, best in the West. The series was over quickly, with Gump Worsley watching his Canadiens dump the Blues 3-1, 3-1, 4-0 and 2-1.

The Montreal Canadiens had won their fourth Stanley Cup in five seasons. But by the next season, Gump Worsley would join the Minnesota North Stars and embark on an entirely new era in his legendary career.

* * *

Yvon Lambert (left) and Hall of Fame netminder Gump Worsley greet fans at the Montenach Mall in Beloeil, Quebec.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Gump Worsley took his turn with the Stanley Cup on Friday, September 15. Each morning for several years, Gump has driven over to the Montenach Mall in nearby Beloeil, Quebec to start his day with a coffee. He decided to orchestrate an appearance at the mall so fans could get the opportunity to see the Stanley Cup up close and, while there, get an autograph from the Hall of Fame goalie.

In tandem with management at the Montenach Mall, Worsley made plans to hold the event from noon until 3:00. Yvon Lambert, a four-time Cup winner with Montreal during his 9-season NHL career, was invited to join Gump for the afternoon. The two met more than 200 fans who showed up to see and get pictures taken with Lord Stanley's Cup and to secure autographs from the two Montreal stars.

* * *

The summer has wound down but we still have two superstars left to join us in the Stanley Cup Journal. Bobby Hull had some surprise guests join him and you'll find out whom on Tuesday.

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services.
Spirit Of Hockey, shop online now!
NHL Team Fan Days
Find out about renting the facilities at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Donate your hockey artifacts to the Hockey Hall of Fame
The Weston Harbour Castle Toronto