Elmer Lach, a Hockey Hall of Fame member who won the Hart Trophy in 1945 while centering the famous "Punch Line" with Maurice Richard and Toe Blake, and helped the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup three times, died Saturday at age 97, the Canadiens announced.
Lach was born in Nokomis, Saskatchewan, on Jan. 22, 1918. He played 14 seasons in the NHL, all with Montreal, before retiring after the 1953-54 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.
"The National Hockey League deeply mourns the passing of Elmer Lach -- center on Montreal's legendary 'Punch Line' with Toe Blake and Maurice Richard, owner of the sole assist on Richard's 50th goal in 50 games in 1944-45 and someone who, at 97 years of age, was just a few months younger than the League itself," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "The League sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this three-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time scoring champion and 1945 Hart Trophy winner."