Tuesday

Jack Laviolette

Meet Jean-Baptiste "Jack" Laviolette, the mastermind behind the forming of the Montreal Canadiens.

Laviolette was born on July 27, 1879 in Belleville, Ontario and became one of the first francophone stars in all of hockey. He was also a star in lacrosse, in which his contributions landed him in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

In hockey he was best remembered as a scoring defenseman though he would later star up front on a line with Didier Pitre and Newsy Lalonde. A member of the 1916 Stanley Cup champions in Montreal, he was a great skater, dubbed The Speed Merchant. But his career came to an abrupt end after losing his foot in an automobile accident in 1919.

Despite losing his foot, he continued to contribute on the ice, serving as a referee.

For all his contributions on the ice, Jack Laviolette's lasting legacy in hockey history has less to do with his scoring prowess and more to do with his role as the true founding organizer of the Canadiens hockey club. He was their first player, coach and general manager in their inaugural 1910 season.

With the formation of the National Hockey Association (NHA) in December 1909, team/league owner Ambrose O'Brien asked Mr. Laviolette to put together a team made up of French Canadian players to play as the "Les Canadiens" franchise in Montreal. Laviolette completed the task in time for the NHA's inaugural season. Among those that would sign on to that first team would be future Hall of Famers Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre and the "Chicoutimi Cucumber," Georges Vezina. The team he built would go on to be the most successful franchise in professional hockey.

Jack Laviolette was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

3 comments:

Anonymous,  9:20 PM  

For your information... I got the original of the picture that you have on this page of M Laviolette.

Jean-Pierre Gendreau
jeanpierre@jppta.com

fran allen 8:28 PM  

Is Peter Laviolette any relation to Jack?

Joe Pelletier 8:51 PM  

No, Peter is of no immediate relation.

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