Newsy Lalonde

In the long and storied history of the Montreal Canadiens there has always been one dominant player who led the team for an era. Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy have passed the torch from one successful era to another.

Although many will recognize Morenz as the first great Hab, the very first Montreal Canadiens legend was arguably Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde.

The NHL has dominated history so much since it formed in 1917 so that many fans today are often surprised to learn that the Montreal Canadiens actually pre-date the NHL itself. Many of Lalonde's greatest years came prior to the NHL's christening.
With much of his pre-NHL statistics and career ignored, the Canadian sporting landscape has long forgotten one of Canada's greatest athletes.

Lalonde, who earned his nickname because he worked in a newsprint plant in his youth, was a true superstar in both hockey and lacrosse. In fact, he was probably better at lacrosse. He was so good that in 1950 he was named Canada's outstanding lacrosse player of the half century. His hockey contributions were highly recognized as well. In that same year he was elected to Hockey's Hall of Fame.

Lalonde was born in Cornwall, Ont. October 31, 1887. His professional career, or should we say journey, began with the Cornwall Rovers in 1905 at the age of only 16. In 1906 he became a member of the senior Woodstock club and in 1908 moved to the Toronto Arenas of the Ontario Professional Hockey League. That year he won the scoring championship with an amazing 29 goals in just 9 games and played against the Montreal Wanderers for the Stanley Cup. Toronto narrowly lost 6-4 in the championship game.

After two seasons with Toronto, Lalonde joined a brand new team - the Montreal Canadiens of the new league the National Hockey Association, forerunner to the NHL. In fact Lalonde played the Habs' first game ever on Wednesday January 5th, 1910. The game was at the Jubilee Rink, a 3,500 seat natural ice arena that was located in Montreal's East End at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Moreau Street. Lalonde scored two goals in that historic game before being hit in the ankle with a puck and leaving the game. Montreal won the game 7-6 in overtime over the Cobalt Silver Kings.

In the first six games with the Habs, Lalonde scored an amazing 16 goals. However the Canadiens owner J. Ambrose O'Brien, who owned four of the five teams in the National Hockey Association at that time, decided to lend Newsy Lalonde to his Renfrew team for the balance of the season. The 5'9", 170lb Lalonde continued his scoring exploits with the Creamery Kings, scoring an even more impressive 22 goals in 5 games. On March 11, 1910, he scored nine goals in one game, an NHA record that was never beaten and only equaled by Tommy Smith. Not surprisingly, Lalonde's combined 11 game total of 38 goals captured him the very first NHA scoring title.

The following season Lalonde returned to the Canadiens but his goal production dropped to 19 in 16 games. Unhappy with the contract offers from the Canadiens, Lalonde opted to sign with Frank Patrick's Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. He flourished in Vancouver scoring 27 goals in 15 games and winning the PCHA league scoring championship.

Wanting to regain the scoring sensation, Montreal purchased Lalonde's rights back from the PCHA for $750, not an insignificant amount in 1912. Lalonde returned and scored 25 goals in 18 games, finishing fifth in scoring behind Joe Malone of Quebec who scored 43 goals in 20 games.

Lalonde, now the team captain, was an instrumental figure in Les Canadiens first Stanley Cup championship. Scoring a league high 28 goals in 24 games, Lalonde, battling a severe case of the flu during the championship series, scored three critical goals in the playoffs as the Canadiens beat out the Portland Rosebuds 3 games to 2 to win their first of 24 Stanley Cups.

The following season was Lalonde got 28 goals in just 18 games as he led Montreal back to the Stanley Cup finals, this time facing the Seattle Metropolitans. It was a tough series for Lalonde, who was noted for his physical play as much as his goal scoring ability. In the second game against Seattle he drew five penalties including a game misconduct and a $25 fine for butt-ending referee Jock Irvine during a brawl. Even worse, Seattle won the series 3 games to 1 to become the first American team to win the Cup. This also proved to be the last hurrah for the National Hockey Association.

Effectively a replacement for the NHA, The National Hockey League was born on November 26th 1917 with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Arenas as charter members. Newsy Lalonde participated in the first NHL game ever December 19th, 1917 when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4. Playing on a line with Joe Malone and Didier Pitre, Lalonde scored 23 goals in just 14 of 20 games that season, good enough for 5th overall in the scoring race.

in 1918-19, thanks in large part to the absence of Joe Malone, Lalonde captured his first NHL scoring championship with 22 goals and 32 points in just 17 games. He added 11 goals in 5 playoff games to return the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup finals, once again facing off with the Seattle Metropolitans. After five games in the series both teams had two wins and one game ended in a tie. The series was never completed. Bad Joe Hall, Billy Coutu, Jack McDonald and Newsy Lalonde were all hospitalized with influenza. Hall died in the Seattle Receiving Hospital April 5, 1919. The Stanley Cup final series was canceled.

Lalonde would continue to lead the Habs, scoring a 37 goals in 23 games in 1919-20, just 2 goals off of the scoring championship earned by Quebec's Malone, and another 33 goals and 43 points in 1920-21, to capture his second NHL scoring championship. But Montreal mightily struggled and missed the playoffs.

Early in the 1922 season the Canadiens were sold to Joseph Cattarinich, Louis A. Letourneau and Leo Dandurand. Newsy Lalonde walked out in a dispute with Leo Dandurand and held out for four games. He then played 20 games playing well below his normal level and only scored 9 goals. His performance prompted Leo Dandurand to trade him to the Saskatoon Sheiks of the PCHL for Aurel Joliat who was to become another Canadiens superstar on a line with Howie Morenz.

Newsy was now coming to the end of his career. In 1923 he regained his form when he got 29 goals in 26 games then he tailed off to 10 and 4 the next two years. In 1926 he moved to the New York Americans but only played one game for them before retiring.

By 1932 he had settled his differences with Leo Dandurand and was named coach of the Canadiens. His first year as coach the Canadiens barely made the playoffs and lost in the semi-finals to the Rangers. The next season the Canadiens lost again in the first round of the playoffs, this time to the Blackhawks. In 1935, as happens to all losing coaches, Newsy was let go.

During his career with the Canadiens he was the leading scorer on six occasions. He captained the team from 1915-1921 and was a member of the first Montreal Canadiens team to win the Stanley Cup in 1916. He was scoring champion five times in the National Hockey Association, Pacific Coast Hockey Association and National Hockey League, an unprecedented feat in the major professional ranks and unsurpassed until Gordie Howe's sixth scoring title in 1963.

He also held the record for the most goals scored by a professional hockey player from 1910 until 1954. It was his record of 453 goals that Maurice Richard passed. His total of 441, 124 of which came in 99 NHL games, was much more than the 324 of Nels Stewart officially recognized as the modern record of the National Hockey League.

Edouard Charles Lalonde died at the age of 83 on November 21, 1970.


Anonymous,  11:21 AM  

Newsly Lalonde was my great Uncle and unfortunately died when I was 2years old so I never got the chance to know him but, I read articles like this one and it fills me with pride to know that he was one of hockey's greats. I think because of him is the reason I LOVE hockey so much.

Thank you for writing this article. I enjoyed it very much.

Denise Lalonde

Anonymous,  9:53 AM  

I met my uncle (my father's brother) at our home on Oneida Lake, NY twice. He told me his greatest satisfaction from his career was the admiration and respect he received from all those who admired him.

elaine lalonde elsey

Unknown 8:01 PM  

My grandfather, Frank Montour, was Mohawk, born in 1905 and lived in Kahnawake Quebec. He was a wonderful hockey player and a big fan of Newsy Lalonde. Shortly after Newsy scored 6 goals in one game my grandfather scored 6 goals in a home game and was given Newsy as his nickname. I recently had to decide what to put on my Sharks jersey and decided to go with "Newsy" in honor of my grandfather and of the Montreal hero, Newsy Lalonde. I also have the #4 on my jersey and chose to have a "C" on the front, not as "captain", but as Canadian. I feel I am carrying on my grandfathers passion for hockey and honoring one of the original greats of the game.
Phyllis Roberts, Go Sharks!!!

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP