Ray Getliffe

This is Ray Getliffe, pride of Galt, Ontario. He was a NHL regular from 1936 through 1939 with Boston and from 1939 through 1945 with Montreal. He was originally scouted by the New York Rangers, but never played for the Blue Shirts.

Getliffe was lucky to play at all. In 1933 he was in critical condition in hospital with a serious case of pneumonia.

Ray Getliffe made a brief appearance with Boston in 1935-36 and then became a regular on a line with Bill Cowley and Charlie Sands, and was second to Cowley as leading scorer for the Bruins in 1936-37. He combined with Dit Clapper and Cooney Weiland when Boston finished first and won the Stanley Cup in 1938-39.

Getliffe was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 1939-40 where he played for six years, being on two first place teams and another Cup winner. In his first two years with the Habs he played with Sands and Toe Blake. Playing with Elmer Lach and Joe Benoit in 1942-43, he scored 5 goals in a game against Boston.

Ray suffered a bad face cut in 1943-44 and missed several games. However, back in action again, he made this his best scoring year working on a line with Phil Watson and Murph Chamberlain, scoring 28 goals in the 50 game schedule and the Canadiens coasted to first place and won the Stanley Cup.

He played one more year on another first place team before retiring. He was actually traded by Montreal to Detroit in September 1945, but he decided to retire rather than move southward. He put on the stripes for the next two seasons, refereeing NHL games.

Getliffe, a left-winger, played in 393 regular-season games during his career, scoring 136 goals and adding 137 assists to go along with 250 penalty minutes.

It should also be noted that it was Getliffe who is responsible for Maurice Richard's moniker "the Rocket." Getliffe was in awe of Richard in practice, and was prompted to say "That kid can take off like a rocket!" The other players picked up on his comment right away, and the nickname stuck. Prior to that, Maurice's early nickname was "The Comet."

Getliffe would go on to become a legendary senior golfer in Canada. Getliffe had a keen eye for talent on the links as well as at the rinks. In 1960 he was quoted as saying "I've just seen a kid who is going to become the greatest golfer in the world." Getliffe had just finished watching a young Jack Nicklaus.


Derek 10:55 PM  

A little run-down on Getliffe's days in Boston:
Getliffe came to the Bruins as a very promising young player that the Bruins worked hard to obtain. In Getliffe’s rookie year, 1936-37, he had the opportunity to be on a dynamic line with Charlie Sands and the great playmaking center Bill Cowley. This line was Boston’s most offensive line in that year.
Ray Getliffe was 196 pounds as a rookie and Hooley Smith said of him (The year Smith played with Bruins was Getliffe’s rookie year)

"Getliffe reminds me of Punch Broadbent, big, strong and a deadly shot. He has already proved he has the stamina to take it and dish it out to the big time and soon he will be, I believe, the idol of Boston fans.
"A lot of people thought the Bruins would not be very close to the leaders at all this season, but Portland and Getliffe are two reasons why we are close now and will be when the Stanley Cup is being handed out."

Getliffe was ranked 3rd among rookies in 1936-37. Syl Apps won the Calder and his team-mate Gordie Drillon was runner-up.
Out of a possible 84 points, Apps had 79, Drillon 25, Getliffe 17.

The Bruins lost a heartbreaker to the Maroons, 2 games to 1, in the 1936-37 playoffs.

It was a superb rookie season for Getliffe and big things were looked upon for him in 1937-38. Cowley-Sands-Getliffe stayed together in 1937-38 and not much changed between the 3 players as they scored 47 goals in year 1 and 45 goals in year 2. In Year 1 only Dit Clapper scored double digits in goals, aside from the explosive trio, but in Year 2 the Bruins introduced the Kraut line.

In the first game of the 1937-38 season Getliffe showed why people had promise in him:

“That Ray Getliffe is a deceiving sort of person. He is blond and cherubic-looking, but, his innocent appearance to the contrary, he is actually a demon on the ice paths. Saturday night at the Forum, the young left winger skated like a fiend and scored three goals.”

Bill Cowley, Charlie Sands and Ray Getliffe have led the best attack Boston has known since that
great Bruin brigade of 1930-31.

For the 2nd year in a row after great successful seasons the Bruins were eliminated in the first rounds. This time 3 straight by the rival Leafs.

Derek 10:56 PM  

The line was still together to start Getliffe’s 3rd season. Things fell apart when Art Ross surprised everyone when he announced that Ray Getliffe and Charlie Sands were being sent to the minors. In shipping the 27-year-old Sands and 24-year-old Getliffe to Hershey, Manager Ross said that their play of late has not been up to Bruin standards.
"Too many goals have been scored against the Bruins while they were on the ice," he declared.

"There have been too many goals scored against us while the Cowley-Sands-Getliffe line was in action, Ross explained."It has been our weakest unit all season, especially during the 15 games Cowley missed because of injuries. We may be leading the league but we can't be patient indefinitely. The Bruins must be kept as strong as possible."

"Their stay with Hershey is indefinite. I consider them both capable players and the date of their return to the Bruins depends on themselves.”

"We're so sure that we'll be back in two weeks that our families are going to remain in Boston," Sands explained.

Although they did return in two weeks - while they were down in the minors Roy Conacher and Mel Hill started playing with Bill Cowley and the line was more explosive than the Cowley-Sands-Getliffe line ever was. This line was so explosive that Roy Conacher won the scoring race, and their dominance extended into the playoffs. Cowley and Conacher being shadowed so closely Hill was left alone for his big OT goals that he is famous for.

The lowdown on Boston Bruins – just in case you hadn’t guessed – is that Manager Art Ross is scared to death lest they hit the skids in the playoffs again after outdistancing the NHL field in the schedule.
It was a sad, sad fate that befell the "Broons" last spring, when, after losing only 11 games all season, they dropped ingloriously from the money series with three straight losses to Toronto. Now the big Boston machine is being built up again as an almost sure thing and Ross can be excused for trying
to insure the club against slip-ups come playoff time.

So Sands and Getliffe were a big part of the Bruins in 1936-1937 and 1937-1938 but their replacements stole the show in the 1939 Stanley Cup year – For the 1939 playoffs Getliffe had two points in 11 games and Sands failed to register a single point. They were played sparingly on the 3rd line. In 1939-40 Getliffe and Sands were playing for the Montreal Canadiens.

Getliffe had good times with the Habs.

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