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1955-56 NHL season

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The 1955-56 NHL season was the 39th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup as they beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.

League BusinessEdit

At a governors meeting in December, a discussion took place concerning the uniforms worn by officials. It was contended that the present orange and black uniforms were confusing to players and fans, particularly when red uniforms are worn by either of the participating teams. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the existing uniforms showed up black on television. It was unanimously agreed that officials uniforms shoud be changed to black and white vertical stripes.

With Montreal frequently racking up two or three goals on any one power play, NHL President Clarence Campbell said he'd like the penalty rule revised to a penalized player returning to the ice when a power play goal is scored on a minor penalty. The Canadiens were the lone club to vote against the new legislation.

Regular seasonEdit

The streak of seven straight seasons at the top of the NHL held by the Detroit Red Wings' dynasty came to an end as the Montreal Canadiens were tops. The Canadiens set a new record for wins in a season with 45. The Canadiens had a new coach, their one-time great former All-Star left-winger, Hector "Toe" Blake.

Dick Irvin, formerly the coach in Montreal, whom Habs' GM Frank Selke Sr. found a little truculent, took over as coach in Chicago, but could not get them out of the cellar, though they did improve. It was sort of a homecoming for Irvin as he started his coaching career with Chicago in 1930.


When the Hawks went to the Montreal Forum on October 22, Irvin was presented with a set of silver flatware by William Northey, representing the Canadian Arena Company. In the game itself, rookie Henri Richard scored two goals as Montreal shut out Chicago 6-0.

On November 5, Jean Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds as Montreal beat Boston 4-3. The record for fastest hat trick still was held by Bill Mosienko with three goals in 21 seconds.

On January 11, a crowd of 15,570 delighted fans at Madison Square Garden watched the Rangers trounce the Canadiens 6-1. Pete Conacher was a star for the Rangers with two goals. Lou Fontinato and Maurice Richard had a gala fight and Fontinato knocked out Richard with a punch that required several stitches above Richard's eye.

Montreal routed the Rangers 9-4 on February 18 as Beliveau had the hat trick and Richard two. The Rocket was incensed when referee Louis Maschio gave his brother a misconduct penalty and his teammates had to cool him off.

Beliveau set a record for goals by a center when he scored his 45th goal on March 15. Maurice Richard was hurt in this game when he fell over Hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote's skate and went headlong into the goal. He required stitches and was taken to hospital for X-rays. The Rocket was back in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day as the Canadiens trounced the Rangers 7-2 and Richard had the hat trick.

Rookie Glenn Hall had a fabulous year with 12 shutouts and a 2.11 goals against average for the ever-powerful Detroit Red Wings. He received the Calder Memorial Trophy over Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard.

Final standingsEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 70 45 15 10 100 222 131 977
Detroit Red Wings 70 30 24 16 76 183 148 794
New York Rangers 70 32 28 10 74 204 203 911
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 24 33 13 61 153 181 1051
Boston Bruins 70 23 34 13 59 147 185 929
Chicago Black Hawks 70 19 39 12 50 155 216 826

Scoring leadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 70 47 41 88 143
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 38 41 79 100
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 38 33 71 89
Bert Olmstead Montreal Canadiens 70 14 56 70 94
Tod Sloan Toronto Maple Leafs 70 37 29 66 100
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 19 47 66 59

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

see 1956 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracketEdit

  Semifinals Finals
1 Montreal Canadiens 4  
3 New York Rangers 1  
    1 Montreal Canadiens 4
  2 Detroit Red Wings 1
2 Detroit Red Wings 4
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 1  

NHL awardsEdit

First Half WinnersEdit

Calder Memorial Trophy: Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gump Worsley, New York Rangers
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings


Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy: Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

Award VotingEdit

All-Star teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers D Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Tod Sloan, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Bert Olmstead, Montreal Canadiens


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1955-56 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last gamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1955-56 (listed with their last team):

See alsoEdit


NHL seasons

1951-52 | 1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60

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