1931–32 NHL season
|1931–32 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||November 12, 1931 – April 9, 1932|
|Number of games||48|
|Number of teams||8|
|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|
|Champions||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Runners-up||New York Rangers|
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
|New York Rangers||48||23||17||8||134||112||54|
|Chicago Black Hawks||48||18||19||11||86||101||47|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||48||23||18||7||155||127||53|
|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.
|Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|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|
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|
(Canadian Division champion)
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(American Division champion)
|New York Rangers|
(Most valuable player)
|Howie Morenz, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Joe Primeau, Toronto Maple Leafs|
(Fewest goals allowed)
|Chuck Gardiner, Chicago Black Hawks|
|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|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|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|
|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|
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.
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):
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