Newsy Lalonde

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Newsy Lalonde
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1950
Newsy Lalonde.jpg
Born (1887-10-31)October 31, 1887
Cornwall, ON, CAN
Died November 21, 1970(1970-11-21) (aged 83)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 168 lb (76 kg; 12 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Right
Played for Montreal Canadiens
Renfrew Creamery Kings
Vancouver Millionaires
Saskatoon Sheiks
New York Americans
Playing career 1904–1927

Édouard Cyrille "Newsy" Lalonde (October 31, 1887 – November 21, 1970) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward in the National Hockey League (NHL) and a professional lacrosse player, regarded as one of hockey's and lacrosse's greatest players of the first half of the 20th century and one of sport's most colourful characters. He played for the Montreal Canadiens - considered to be the original "Flying Frenchman" - in the National Hockey Association and the NHL. He also played for the WCHL's Saskatoon Sheiks. Before playing professional ice hockey, he worked in a newspaper plant, where he acquired the "Newsy" moniker.[1]

Early hockey career[edit]

In 1904, Lalonde started his career with the Cornwall Victorias of the Federal Amateur Hockey League (FAHL). The next season, he played for the Woodstock club of the Ontario Hockey Association Senior A League. Lalonde made the trek to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1906 to play in the International Professional Hockey League, hockey's first known professional league. In his one season in the Sault, he was named to the IHL Second All-Star Team. In 1907, Lalonde signed with the Toronto Professionals of the Ontario Professional Hockey League, and with linemates Bruce Ridpath and Wally Mercer led the "Torontos" to the league championship, losing the Cup in a close match with the Montreal Wanderers in which Lalonde scored twice.

The year 1910 saw the foundation of the National Hockey Association (NHA), precursor to the NHL, and Lalonde joined the Montreal Canadiens for their first season. Lalonde scored the first-ever goal for the Montreal Canadiens.[2] Halfway through the season, the Habs traded him to the Renfrew Creamery Kings, for whom Lalonde led the league in scoring. He rejoined the Canadiens for the 1911 season—professional hockey was only then developing any sense of teams retaining the rights to their players—during which he had several stick battles and provoked the ire of opposing fans.

With the formation of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in 1912, Lalonde jumped to the Vancouver Millionaires, and promptly led the league in scoring its inaugural year. Vancouver traded him back to Montreal the following season for Didier Pitre. In 1915, Lalonde held out in contract negotiations, only playing six games, but aside from that, he remained with the Canadiens for the next ten years, winning the NHL scoring title again in 1916 and captaining the Canadiens to his only Stanley Cup victory. Despite his holdout, he was named player-coach of the Canadiens in 1915.

NHL/WCHL career[edit]

Lalonde (left) with Renfrew Creamery Kings teammates Frank Patrick and Cyclone Taylor

Newsy Lalonde played (and scored) in the first-ever NHL game on December 19, 1917, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators, 7–4. He would score in each of the first six NHL games, earning a share of an NHL record with Cy Denneny and Joe Malone to establish an NHL record that would go unmatched for nearly 90 years.

During the 1919 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lalonde scored a spectacular seventeen goals in ten games. However, on the day of the fifth game of the finals against the Seattle Metropolitans, Lalonde, owner George Kennedy, Joe Hall, Billy Coutu, Jack McDonald and Louis Berlinguette were hospitalized with the flu. Five and a half hours before its start, the game was postponed. With his entire team either hospitalized or confined to bed, Kennedy announced he was forfeiting the game—and the Cup—to the Metropolitans. However, the Metropolitans felt it would be unsporting to accept the trophy under the circumstances, and the fifth game was never played. Joe Hall did not survive.

Thereafter Lalonde had two fine years, but after the Kennedy estate sold the Canadiens to Leo Dandurand, his clashes with the new ownership affected his play to the point where he left the team for four games, and he was relegated to reserve duty amidst the boos of the fans. Accordingly, Dandurand sold Lalonde to Saskatoon the following year in violation of the waiver regulations then in force. The deal was disputed, and eventually—and grudgingly—the Canadiens accepted the amateur Aurel Joliat in compensation. (When Lalonde and Joliat met later that season, Lalonde, unhappy that Joliat was fast becoming a fan favorite in Montreal, got his "revenge" by serving Joliat with a vicious crosscheck to the face.)

On a line with future Hall of Famer Bill Cook, Lalonde achieved his final scoring title as playing coach of the Sheiks, although the team had a poor overall record. The next two seasons the team was much improved, but Lalonde himself was finally feeling his age and was no longer an impact player. He scored the final goal of his career on March 2, 1925, against Vancouver. The following season he played three regular season games and two playoff games, the last for the Saskatoon franchise before the Western Hockey League folded.

The following season, 1927, Lalonde was named the head coach of the New York Americans. He played as a substitute for one final game in November 1926 before hanging up his skates for good. After his retirement, he also served as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators between 1929 and 1931, and of the Canadiens between 1932 and 1935.

Lacrosse career[edit]

Although Lalonde is best-remembered today as a hockey player, he was just as prominent in lacrosse, which in the early years of the 20th century was one of the most popular professional sports in Canada. Lalonde earned more in lacrosse than he did in hockey. He started play in 1905 as a goaltender, but moved to the attack position in 1910, becoming the sport's greatest star. He would break the scoring record for his Montreal team in 1910 with 31 goals. In 1912, he was signed to be player-manager of the Toronto Lacrosse Club, but almost immediately changed his mind and joined the exodus of players heading west for big contracts. He was signed by Con Jones to play for Vancouver for $5,500 for one season. In comparison, as a hockey player, his salary in 1910–11 for the Montreal Canadiens was $1,300, which was considered high for the time. As late as 1920 he could not get more than $2,000 a year playing hockey. Lalonde scored an incredible 66 goals for the Montreal Nationals in 1914.

After coming west in 1909 as a hired-hand with the Regina Capitals to compete against the New Westminster Salmonbellies in their challenge for the Minto Cup, playing as a defenseman, Lalonde then decided to remain in British Columbia when Vancouver Lacrosse Club president Con Jones offered him a fortune of a contract rumoured in the range of $3,500 (or $72,000 in modern currency); this was more than double what he was earning with the Montréal Nationals the previous season. To compete against that perennial powerhouse squad of legends and hated rivals, New Westminster Salmonbellies, Con Jones went out and bought the best player in Canada that money could buy: Newsy Lalonde.

Lalonde would pay off Jones by helping lead Vancouver to three Minto Cup pro championships – in 1911, 1918, and 1920. He played what was back then called the inside home position – basically an attacking forward who played on the crease as the primary threat against the opposing goalkeeper – and his goal-scoring prowess was critically important to the success of his Vancouver team as Lalonde constantly went up against some of the finest New Westminster goalkeepers of the day, stalwarts such as Alex "Sandy" Gray and then later the legendary Alban "Bun" Clark.

During his nine seasons spent playing for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club and Vancouver Terminals, Lalonde finished 11th in overall career games played (2nd with the Vancouver club) and 3rd overall in career goal-scoring with 147 goals in 93 games.

However, what is more impressive is in five of those nine seasons with Vancouver, he led the league in goal-scoring (and in 1911, also in penalties). During a ten-season period from 1910 through 1918, and regardless whether he was playing out west in the professional British Columbia Lacrosse Association with Vancouver or back east in the National Lacrosse Union or Dominion Lacrosse Union with the Montréal Nationals, Lalonde would lead the respective league for goals in all seasons but one.

In an era when lacrosse was notably rough and tumble and players wore no padding, all the while swinging wooden sticks, Lalonde was one never to back down from the toughness aspect of the game. His favourite tactic was to crowd his check and bull his way through opposition. Along with all his goals, the intensely competitive Lalonde also amassed 45 penalties and 356 penalty minutes during his career on the West Coast.

In 1950, he was selected by a panel of Canadian sports journalists as the greatest lacrosse player of the first half of the 20th century. He received an impressive 13 votes compared to his next two challengers, Billy Fitzgerald (6 votes) and Herry Hoobin (5 votes). Most notably, three current lacrosse inductees in the BC Sports Hall of Fame from the same playing era – Alex Turnbull, Cliff Spring, and John Crookall – only managed to received 1 vote (for Turnbull) amongst them.

As a fitting, final tribute to his career, Lalonde was an obvious choice for the initial inductees to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965 in the "field player" category.

Legacy[edit]

A leading scorer for the Canadiens in six years, Lalonde served as captain from 1915 to 1921. He was a member of the first Montreal Canadiens team to win the Stanley Cup in 1916. He was scoring champion seven times in the National Hockey Association, Pacific Coast Hockey Association, National Hockey League and Western Hockey League, an unprecedented feat in the major professional ranks and unsurpassed until Wayne Gretzky's tenth scoring title in 1994. From 1910 to 1954, he held the record for the most goals scored by a major league hockey player, including his pre-NHL totals—455 goals, a record later broken by Maurice Richard. On a more personal level, he was said to have been one of the meanest players of his time; hated by opposition players and even by some of his teammates. As a coach, he once punched one of his players who tried to stand up to him, as a warning to the team that he would not take any talk-back.

In 1950, Lalonde was named athlete of the half century in lacrosse. He was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965, and the Sports Hall of Fame of Canada. He had lit the torch when the Sports Hall of Fame opened in Toronto in August 1955.

In 1998 he was ranked number 32 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, making him the highest-ranking player on the list who had played in a professional league before the founding of the NHL.

Career statistics[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1905–06 Woodstock Seniors OHA-Sr. 7 8 0 8
1906–07 Canadian Soo IHL 18 29 4 33 27
1907–08 Portage La Prairie Cities MPHL 1 0 0 0 0
1907–08 Toronto Professionals OPHL 9 32 0 32 37
1907–08 Haileybury Comets TPHL 1 3 0 3 0
1908–09 Toronto Professionals OPHL 11 29 0 29 79
1909–10 Montreal Canadiens NHA 6 16 0 16 40
1909–10 Renfrew Millionaires NHA 5 22 0 22 16
1910–11 Montreal Canadiens NHA 16 19 0 19 63
1911–12 Vancouver Millionaires PCHA 15 27 0 27 51
1912–13 Montreal Canadiens NHA 18 25 0 25 61
1913–14 Montreal Canadiens NHA 14 22 5 27 23 1 0 0 0 2
1914–15 Montreal Canadiens NHA 7 4 3 7 17
1915–16 Montreal Canadiens NHA 24 28 6 34 78
1916–17 Montreal Canadiens NHA 18 28 7 35 61 1 1 0 1 23
1917–18 Montreal Canadiens NHL 14 23 0 23 16 2 4 2 6 17
1918–19 Montreal Canadiens NHL 17 22 10 32 40 5 11 2 13 15
1919–20 Montreal Canadiens NHL 23 37 9 46 34
1920–21 Montreal Canadiens NHL 24 33 10 43 36
1921–22 Montreal Canadiens NHL 20 9 5 14 20
1922–23 Saskatoon Crescents WCHL 29 30 4 34 44
1923–24 Saskatoon Crescents WCHL 21 10 10 20 24
1924–25 Saskatoon Sheiks WCHL 22 8 6 14 42 2 0 0 0 4
1925–26 Saskatoon Sheiks WHL 3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2
1926–27 New York Americans NHL 1 0 0 0 2
1927–28 Quebec Beavers CAHL 1 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 99 124 27 151 138 7 15 4 19 32
NHA totals 104 150 26 176 355 2 1 0 1 25

Lacrosse[edit]

Lalonde, third from left in the front row, with the Vancouver Lacrosse Club in 1912
SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GAMES GOALS ASSISTS POINTS PENALTIES PIM MINS W L GA GAA WIN%
1905 Cornwall Colts NLU 8 0 0 0 - - 580 1 7 41 5.66 .125
1906 Cornwall Colts NLU 14 0 0 0 - - 1200 8 6 80 5.33 .571
1907 Cornwall Colts NLU 11 0 0 0 - - 940 8 3 63 5.36 .727
1908 Cornwall Colts NLU 11 0 0 0 - - 875 7 4 48 4.39 .636
1909 Regina Capitals - 2 0 0 0 0 0
1909 Vancouver Lacrosse Club BCLA 10 25 - 25 6 48
1910 Montréal Nationals NLU 12 31 6 37 - -
1911 Vancouver Lacrosse Club BCLA 14 16 - 16 13 97
1912 Vancouver Lacrosse Club BCLA 10 15 - 15 11 91
1913 Vancouver Lacrosse Club BCLA 7 16 - 16 2 10
1914 Montréal Nationals DLU 18 66 14 80 - -
1915 Montréal Nationals NLU 12 36 9 45 - -
1916 Montréal Nationals NLU 18 57 4 61 - -
1917 Montréal Nationals NLU 4 22 9 31 - -
1918 Vancouver Greenshirts MLA 7 23 - 23 1 5
1918 Ottawa Capitals NLU 1 3 0 3 1 -
1918 Leaside Braves CLA 1 1 0 1 - -
1919 did not play
1920 Vancouver Terminals BCLA 12 14 - 14 5 48
1921 Vancouver Terminals BCLA 17 18 - 18 5 53
1922 Vancouver Terminals BCLA 13 19 - 19 2 4
1923 did not play
1924 Vancouver Terminals BCLA 3 1 1 2 0 0
CAREER TOTALS 205 363 43 406 46 356 3595 24 20 232 5.27 .545

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Division rank Result
Montreal Canadiens 1917-18 22 13 9 0 26 1st in NHL Lost in Cup Finals
Montreal Canadiens 1918-19 18 10 8 0 20 2nd in NHL Won NHL Finals
Cup Finals cancelled due to flu pandemic
Montreal Canadiens 1919-20 24 13 11 0 26 2nd in NHL Missed playoffs
Montreal Canadiens 1920-21 24 13 11 0 26 3rd in NHL Missed playoffs
Montreal Canadiens 1921-22 7 2 5 0 (25) 3rd in NHL (fired)
New York Americans 1926-27 44 17 25 2 36 4th in Canadian Missed playoffs
Ottawa Senators 1929-30 44 21 15 8 50 3rd in Canadian Lost in Quarterfinals
Ottawa Senators 1930-31 44 10 20 4 24 5th in Canadian Missed playoffs
Montreal Canadiens 1932-33 48 18 25 5 41 3rd in Canadian Lost in Quarterfinals
Montreal Canadiens 1933-34 48 22 20 6 48 2nd in Canadian Lost in Quarterfinals
Montreal Canadiens 1934-35 16 5 8 3 (44) 3rd in Canadian (fired)
NHL Total 339 144 167 28

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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