1959–60 NHL season

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1959–60 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 7, 1959 – April 14, 1960
Number of games 70
Number of teams 6
Regular season
Season champion Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Gordie Howe (Red Wings)
Top scorer Bobby Hull (Black Hawks)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL seasons

The 1959–60 NHL season was the 43rd season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to none for their fifth straight Stanley Cup.

Regular season[edit]

The season was marked by important changes in the NHL. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante, like Clint Benedict before him, began to wear a mask in hockey games. Plante, who had asthma-related problems throughout his career, began wearing a mask in practice shortly after a sinus operation in 1957. His first appearance with a mask in a game was on November 1, 1959, against the New York Rangers. Although many in the NHL disapproved of Plante's decision, due to the traditions of the NHL at the time, many followed suit after Plante went undefeated in ten games with the mask on.

Phil Watson suffered an ulcer and was quietly dismissed as Ranger coach and replaced by Alf Pike. Gump Worsley was demoted to Springfield of the AHL and Worsley screamed he was finished with hockey. But he reported to Springfield anyway. Eddie Shore, known for his criticism of his players, gave Worsley a surprise vote of confidence. Gump played well for the Indians.

There was trouble brewing for Rangers right-winger sniper Andy Bathgate, who'd ripped open Plante's nose on the night of the goalie mask's official NHL debut, when, in an article in True Magazine, ghosted by Dave Anderson, he listed the names of players whom he considered guilty of the dangerous act of spearing. This was brought to the attention of NHL President Clarence Campbell, who then fined Bathgate $500 and Ranger general manager Muzz Patrick $100 on the grounds the article was prejudicial to and against the welfare of the league.

Gump Worsley, demoted to Springfield of the AHL, was brought back up as Marcel Paille was even worse in goal. Gump and the Rangers beat the Canadiens 8–3 in his first game back. Then a week later, Gump got bombed 11–2. Nothing had changed. Later against Chicago, Worsley suffered an injury that finished him for the season. Hawks' winger Bobby Hull skated over his catching glove and severed two tendons in his fingers. Al Rollins was called up to replace him. Later, Olympic hero Jack McCartan played a few games for the Rangers and played very well.

This regular season, like the two preceding it and the two following it, belonged to the Montreal Canadiens as they were in the midst of five straight first overall finishes and at the tail end of five straight Stanley Cup victories. The Detroit Red Wings, who were dead last and missed the playoffs the previous season, squeaked into the playoffs riding a Hart Memorial Trophy performance by their ageless star right-winger Gordie Howe.

The Boston Bruins, despite a flurry of offense, sparked by the UKE Line, Slick centre Don McKenney, who would lead the NHL in assists while winning the Lady Byng Trophy and versatile Doug Mohns, narrowly missed the playoffs. Bronco Horvath finished 2nd in the scoring race & was selected on the 2nd All Star Team. 1959–60 saw 2 veteran players, Fleming MacKell & Goaltender Harry Lumley, play their last campaigns before retirement.

This season marked the first season of the Original Six era during which every active player had played for Original Six teams only. Ken Mosdell, the last player to play for another team, retired the previous season.

Final standings[edit]

National Hockey League[1]
1 Montreal Canadiens 70 40 18 12 255 178 +77 92
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 70 35 26 9 199 195 +4 79
3 Chicago Black Hawks 70 28 29 13 191 180 +11 69
4 Detroit Red Wings 70 26 29 15 186 197 −11 67
5 Boston Bruins 70 28 34 8 220 241 −21 64
6 New York Rangers 70 17 38 15 187 247 −60 49

Stanley Cup playoffs[edit]

All dates in 1960

The momentum did not stop for the Habs as they played the minimum number of games to win the Stanley Cup. Montreal, in the process, became the last Cup winners in NHL history to go undefeated in the playoffs to date. After winning the Stanley Cup, Maurice Richard retired from the NHL as a champion.

Montreal won series 4–0

Toronto won series 4–2

Playoff bracket[edit]

Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
3 Chicago Black Hawks 0
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 0
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 4
4 Detroit Red Wings 2


see 1960 Stanley Cup Finals

Montreal won series 4–0


Gordie Howe won the Hart Trophy to become the first five-time winner of the Hart. In voting, he received 118 votes of a possible 180, twice as many as runner-up Bobby Hull.[2] Howe was the last winner of the original Hart Trophy. The trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the NHL began presenting a new trophy, which was dubbed the Hart Memorial Trophy in its place.[3] Hull won the Art Ross Trophy for the scoring championship, his first. Doug Harvey won the Norris Trophy for the fifth time, and the fifth time in the seven times it had been awarded. The Canadiens had the lowest goals against average, for the fifth consecutive time, and Jacques Plante was awarded his fifth Vezina Trophy. The Black Hawks' Glenn Hall was named to the First All-Star team as goaltender.

1959–60 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Bill Hay, Chicago Black Hawks
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Don McKenney, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teams[edit]

First team   Position   Second team
Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks G Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Allan Stanley, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings D Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Bronco Horvath, Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks LW Dean Prentice, New York Rangers

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Bobby Hull Chicago Black Hawks 70 39 42 81
Bronco Horvath Boston Bruins 68 39 41 80
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 60 34 40 74
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 26 48 74
Henri Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 30 43 73
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 28 45 73
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 59 30 41 71
Don McKenney Boston Bruins 70 20 49 69
Vic Stasiuk Boston Bruins 69 29 39 68
Dean Prentice New York Rangers 70 32 34 66


Leading goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; MIN = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; AVG = Goals against average

Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 69 4140 175 3 2.54
Glenn Hall Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 179 6 2.56
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 58 3480 155 5 2.67
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 66 3960 177 5 2.68
Don Simmons Boston Bruins 28 1680 91 2 3.25
Harry Lumley Boston Bruins 42 2520 146 2 3.48
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 39 2301 135 0 3.52


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1959–60 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1959–60 (listed with their last team):

See also[edit]


  • Coleman, Charles L. (1976), Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol III, Sherbrooke, QC: Progressive Publications 
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2. 
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
  • Dowbiggin, Bruce (2008), The Meaning Of Puck: How Hockey Explains Modern Canada, Toronto: Key Porter Books, ISBN 978-1-55470-041-7 
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9. 
  • Duplacey, James (2008), Hockey’s Book of Firsts, North Dighton, MA: JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9 
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
  • Hollander, Zander; Bock, Hal, eds. (1970). The Complete Encyclopedia of Ice Hockey. Prentice-Hall Inc. ISBN 0-13-159905-4. 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1969), 50 Years Of Hockey, Winnipeg, MAN: Greywood Publishing, ASIN B000GW45S0 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1. 
  1. ^ "1959–1960 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League. 
  2. ^ "Fifth Hart Trophy for Gordie Howe". Montreal Gazette. May 7, 1960. p. 37. 
  3. ^ Hollander & Bock 1970, p. 311.
  4. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 149.

External links[edit]