1931–32 NHL season

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1931–32 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration November 12, 1931 – April 9, 1932
Number of games 48
Number of teams 8
Regular season
Season champions Toronto Maple Leafs
Season MVP Howie Morenz (Montreal Canadiens)
Top scorer Busher Jackson (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Canadian Division champions Montreal Canadiens
American Division champions New York Rangers
Stanley Cup
Champions Toronto Maple Leafs
  Runners-up New York Rangers
NHL seasons

The 1931–32 NHL season was the 15th season of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Quakers suspended operations, leaving eight teams to play 48 games each. In the Stanley Cup final, the Toronto Maple Leafs swept the New York Rangers in three games to win the franchise's third Stanley Cup championship.

League business

At the September 26, 1931, NHL meeting, the requests of the Philadelphia Quakers and the Ottawa Senators to suspend their franchises for the season were granted.[1] The eight remaining teams divided up the Ottawa and Philadelphia players, whose contracts were leased from Ottawa and Philadelphia. (The Quakers would not return) The players went to other teams, but their contracts were intended to revert to the original clubs. Ottawa received an offer of $300,000 for the team, on the condition that it could move to Chicago and play in the new Chicago Stadium but the owners of the Chicago Blackhawks refused to allow the new team within their territory.[2] The Detroit Falcons were bankrupt and went into receivership.

Meanwhile, the American Hockey Association, which had become the American Hockey League (AHL) in 1930–31 and declared itself a major league, was condemned as an outlaw league by NHL president Frank Calder. Among the reasons Calder cited for his actions was that the AHL had put a franchise in Chicago, which had an NHL franchise, and a franchise in Buffalo where the NHL had a minor league affiliate. The AHL proposed as Stanley Cup challenge, and the Stanley Cup trustees ordered the NHL to play off. However, the Buffalo team collapsed and Calder entered into negotiations to merge the Chicago Shamrocks, owned by James Norris, with the Detroit Falcons, now bankrupt. The AHL signed an agreement with the NHL to become its minor league affiliate.

Regular season

Howie Morenz was as effective as ever for the Montreal Canadiens and won the Hart Trophy again, as the Habs once again finished first. The Rangers finished first in the American Division. But it was to be the year of Toronto, with the NHL's leading scorer Harvey "Busher" Jackson leading the way. The Maple Leaf Gardens was built and opened in November 1931, a remarkable achievement. At one point, the whole project was near collapse, but when Conn Smythe and Frank Selke convinced the unions to accept stock in the Gardens as partial payment of wages, Maple Leaf Gardens was built. Chicago spoiled the home opener with a 2–1 win and it was the Black Hawks Mush March who scored the Gardens first goal.

The Montreal Maroons were very interested in obtaining Eddie Shore from Boston. James Strachan, president of the Maroons, said he was willing to pay up to $40,000 for his contract. However, there was no deal. As Boston had fallen to the bottom of the league, it was doubtful that the Bruins would part with their ace defenceman.

Final standings

American Division
New York Rangers 48 23 17 8 134 112 54
Chicago Black Hawks 48 18 19 11 86 101 47
Detroit Falcons 48 18 20 10 95 108 46
Boston Bruins 48 15 21 12 122 117 42
Canadian Division
Montreal Canadiens 48 25 16 7 128 111 57
Toronto Maple Leafs 48 23 18 7 155 127 53
Montreal Maroons 48 19 22 7 142 139 45
New York Americans 48 16 24 8 95 142 40


The Montreal Canadiens were favored for a third straight Cup, but injuries to Pit Lepine and Aurel Joliat dashed that dream. With Joliat half throttle and Lepine out, the Canadiens were no match for the speedy Rangers. Toronto broke through Chuck Gardiner's goaltending to polish Chicago off, then they beat the Montreal Maroons.


The Toronto Maple Leafs swept the best-of-five series against the New York Rangers three games to none. The first two games were to be played in New York City but because the circus was in town, the second game was played in Boston. The third and final game was played in Toronto. It was called the "Tennis Series", because the Leafs scored 6 goals in each game. The Rangers scored 4 times in their own building, twice at Boston Garden, and four more in Toronto.

Playoff bracket

  Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
  C1  Montreal Canadiens 1  
    A1  New York Rangers 3  
    A1  New York Rangers 0
  C2  Toronto Maple Leafs 3
  C2  Toronto Maple Leafs 6G  
A2  Chicago Black Hawks 2G  
C2  Toronto Maple Leafs 4G
    C3  Montreal Maroons 3G  
C3  Montreal Maroons 3G
  A3  Detroit Falcons 1G  


Howie Morenz won the Hart Trophy for the second time in his career. Joe Primeau won the Lady Byng, the one time he would win the trophy in his career. Chuck Gardiner won the Vezina, the first of two times he would win the trophy.

1931–32 NHL awards
O'Brien Cup:
(Canadian Division champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(American Division champion)
New York Rangers
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Joe Primeau, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
Chuck Gardiner, Chicago Black Hawks

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Chuck Gardiner, Chicago Black Hawks G Roy Worters, New York Americans
Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins D Sylvio Mantha, Montreal Canadiens
Ching Johnson, New York Rangers D King Clancy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens C Hooley Smith, Montreal Maroons
Bill Cook, New York Rangers RW Charlie Conacher, Toronto Maple Leafs
Busher Jackson, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Aurel Joliat, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick, New York Rangers Coach Dick Irvin, Toronto Maple Leafs

Player statistics

Leading scorers

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Busher Jackson Toronto Maple Leafs 48 28 25 53 63
Joe Primeau Toronto Maple Leafs 46 13 37 50 25
Howie Morenz Montreal Canadiens 48 24 25 49 46
Charlie Conacher Toronto Maple Leafs 44 34 14 48 66
Bill Cook New York Rangers 48 34 14 48 33
Dave Trottier Montreal Maroons 48 26 18 44 94
Hooley Smith Montreal Maroons 43 11 33 44 49
Babe Siebert Montreal Maroons 48 21 18 39 64
Dit Clapper Boston Bruins 48 17 22 39 21
Aurel Joliat Montreal Canadiens 48 15 24 39 46

Source: NHL.[3]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP W L T Mins GA SO GAA
Charlie Gardiner Chicago Black Hawks 48 18 19 11 2989 92 4 1.85
Alec Connell Detroit Falcons 48 18 20 10 3050 108 6 2.12
George Hainsworth Montreal Canadiens 48 25 16 7 2998 110 6 2.20
John Ross Roach New York Rangers 48 23 17 8 3020 112 9 2.23
Tiny Thompson Boston Bruins 43 13 19 11 2698 103 9 2.29
Lorne Chabot Toronto Maple Leafs 44 22 16 6 2698 106 4 2.36

Source: NHL.[4]


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1931–32 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Another notable debut in 1931 was Canadian national radio coverage of Toronto Maple Leafs games on the Canadian National Railway radio network. The program, originally known as the General Motors Hockey Broadcast, evolved over time into the modern CBC TV broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1931–32 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  1. "Ottawa and Philadelphia Out of National League". The Globe and Mail. September 28, 1931. p. 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Large Offer Is Made For Ottawa Team". The Globe and Mail. September 28, 1931. p. 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 147.
  4. "1931–1932 – Regular Season – Goalie – Goalie Season Stats Leaders – Goals Against Average". nhl.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links