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This Date in NHL History

Sept. 21: Canadiens star Howie Morenz born in Ontario

Plus: Marcel Dionne, Lanny McDonald among Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1902: Howie Morenz, the most electrifying NHL player of his era, is born in Mitchell, Ontario.

Morenz becomes known as "the Stratford Streak" while playing junior and senior hockey in Stratford, Ontario. He signs with the Montreal Canadiens for the 1923-24 season and soon becomes the most spectacular player in hockey. Morenz scores 28 goals in 30 games in his second NHL season and has a career-best 40 in 44 games in 1929-30. He becomes known as "The Babe Ruth of Hockey."

With forward passing not allowed for most of his career, end-to-end rushes are the norm. With his blazing speed and ability to control the puck, Morenz brings fans out of their seats like no one before him.

After Morenz's production tails off in the 1933-34 season, the Canadiens trade him to the Chicago Blackhawks; in turn, the Blackhawks send him to the New York Rangers midway through the 1935-36 season. He returns to the Canadiens in 1936-37 for what he says will be his final season and shows flashes of brilliance at age 34. But on Jan. 28, 1937, he breaks four bones in his left leg and ankle when Chicago defenseman Earl Seibert falls over him while his skate is lodged in the boards. He dies of a blood clot on March 8, 1937.

Video: Howie Morenz's broken leg ends career, life

Morenz lays in state at the Forum, with thousands of his fans filing past him to pay their respects. He is among the initial group of 12 honorees when the Hockey Hall of Fame is founded, and a national press poll votes him as the outstanding hockey player for the first half of the 20th century.



1967: Goaltender Jacques Plante, who's been retired since the end of the 1964-65 season, plays for the California Seals in a preseason exhibition game at Port Huron, Mich. The game ends in a 3-3 tie. Plante never plays a regular-season game for the Seals, but he returns to the NHL with the St. Louis Blues for the 1968-69 season. Plante and Glenn Hall combine to win the Vezina Trophy, then given to the goaltenders on the team that allows the fewest goals, and get the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. Plante plays one more season with St. Louis and three with the Toronto Maple Leafs before finishing his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in 1972-73.


1992: Marcel Dionne, Lanny McDonald, Bob Gainey, Woody Dumart and Keith Allen are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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