Saturday, 13 April 2013

As old as it gets: Habs vs. Leafs from 1932 !!


Some very rare footage pops up on the internet, and this is certainly one of those moments. Stu Hackel of first mentioned it two years ago, but with the Leafs and Habs facing off tonight, it’s worth another look.

The short film, named “A Sport Chat on Hockey: Canada’s National Game” is narrated by Foster Hewitt, and features from a game featuring the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs from March 5, 1932.

The segment, running over eight minutes gives a great look at the NHL in the Depression era.

The March 7th Edition of The Montreal Gazette further confirmed the footage, noting in their game report that the game was photographed by sound cameras with the Leafs’ Charlie Conacher and the Canadiens Howie Morenz as the, “’principals’ in the movie drama.”

Lorne Chabot and George Hainsworth tend to the nets for Toronto and Montreal respectively, though you don’t hear Hainsworth’s name mentioned.

The Gazette also noted a fight between Ace Bailey and Aurel Joliat but it was edited out of the film.

Sit back folks and enjoy some real “old school” NHL action featuring some of the greatest players of the 1930’s.


The Montreal Canadiens v. Toronto Maple Leafs March 5, 1932

From the Gazette account, the Leafs strategy was to use their size and physical play to counter the Canadiens speed.

The first period was scoreless, though there was some dispute over a Conacher shot that ripped off the goal post. After a stop in play some 12 seconds later, the goals light came on! Referee Mallinson was present at the goal mouth and had immediately waived off the shot when it had struck the post. No one knew why the light came on so late, but Conacher and the Leafs continued to argue, feeling they had scored, even as Mallinson was getting ready to drop the puck to the right of Hainsworth.

Despite the early second period goal by Conacher, the Canadiens dominated the period. The Leafs saving grace was the play of Chabot and the defensive play of Clancy and Hap Day.

By the time the third period began, the Leafs were tiring and coach Dick Irvin resorted to a defensive strategy to hold onto the lead. Morenz would manage to tie the game and the Canadiens kept pressing at Chabot unsuccessfully for the lead.

Toronto found a second wind in the ten-minute overtime and put the pressure on Hainsworth, who made a series of brilliant saves as Leafs players piled around his crease. As Gazette writer L.S.B. Shapiro put it, “Hainsworth stood out like a beacon. The goalie handled some of Charlie Conacher’s shots like they came from the stick of Morenz’s little son.” Montreal was able to get their chances, but Chabot again answered the call.


The game was crucial for both teams as they battled for top spot in the NHL’s Canadian Division. The Canadiens would finish in first place by four points, earning a bye in their attempt for a third straight Stanley Cup.

Their hopes would be dashed, losing in four games to the New York Rangers in the Semi-Finals while Toronto would go on to win their first Stanley Cup under the franchise name of the Maple Leafs.

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