Newsy Lalonde - Les Canadiens / Le Club de Hockey Le Canadien / Montreal Canadiens 1909.
Édouard Cyrille "Newsy" Lalonde - Born October 31, 1887 in Cornwall, Ontario – Died November 21, 1970 in Montreal, Quebec, was a Canadian professional Ice Hockey forward, and a professional Lacrosse player.
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.
Lalonde joined the Les Canadiens / Montreal Canadiens for their first season in 1909-10. Lalonde scored the first-ever goal for the Les Canadiens on January 5, 1910, and scored two goals in that historic game before being hit in the ankle with a puck and leaving the game.
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 Hockey Club / Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and promptly led the league in scoring its inaugural year, scoring 27 goals in 15 games and winning the PCHA league scoring championship.
Vancouver traded him back to Montreal the following season for Didier Pitre, and scored 25 goals in 18 games, finishing fifth in scoring behind Joe Malone of Quebec who scored 43 goals in 20 games.
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. Lalonde 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 Stanley Cup.
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 Stanley 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 (and scored) December 19th, 1917 when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4. Playing on a line with Joe Malone and Didier Pitre. Lalonde 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.
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, and the cup never awarded.
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. (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 Saskatoon 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.
During his career with the Canadiens, Lalonde 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.
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.
In 1950, Lalonde was named athlete of the half century in lacrosse, 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 the spring of 1955, Lalonde was made honourary chief of the Mohawk-Iroquois Tribe. The Caughnawaga Indians endowed him with the title of “Chief Great Runner” A ceremonial robe was placed upon his shoulders, and he knelt, Indian rattle in his hand, while the officiating tribe members sang their official chants to the beat of tom toms. At the close he was fitted with a colourful Indian headdress, and presented with the traditional pipe of peace.
Newsy Lalonde was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.
The 1909–1910 Montreal Canadiens season was the team's inaugural season and also the first season of the National Hockey Association (NHA). The 1910 Montreal Canadiens operated as 'Les Canadiens' and were owned by Ambrose O'Brien of Renfrew, Ontario as one of four franchises he owned in the NHA. After the season, the franchise was suspended and a NHA franchise was sold to George Kennedy (Georges Kendall). All of the players of 'Les Canadiens' went to Kennedy's organization.
After the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) turned down Ambrose O'Brien's Renfrew Creamery Kings application for membership on November 25, 1909, O'Brien, along with Jimmy Gardner of the (also rejected) Montreal Wanderers organized the new National Hockey Association. The Wanderers desired a competitor team based in Montreal and Gardner suggested a team of francophone players to O'Brien to play on the rivalry between francophones and anglophones in Montreal. Gardner suggested that it be named 'Les Canadiens.
The new team was founded at the new NHA's meeting on December 4, 1909. O'Brien put up $5000 security for the new franchise on the "condition that it would be transferred to Montreal French sportsmen as soon as practicable." Jack Laviolette was hired to organize the new team, its official name Le Club de Hockey Le Canadien.
Laviolette was given free rein by the NHA owners to sign all francophone players. The others would not sign any until the Canadien team was set. His first signing was his old friend Didier "Cannonball" Pitre. Pitre was working in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario when he received a telegram from Laviolette outlining the team and to come to Montreal. At the train in North Bay, Ontario Pitre was met by an official of the CHA's Montreal Le National, who signed him on the spot for $1100, however Pitre had thought he was signing a contract with Laviolette. When Pitre arrived in Ottawa, Laviolette was there to meet him. Laviolette explained that it was the other French-Canadien team that Laviolette was managing. Pitre signed with Laviolette for a guaranteed $1700. Before the first game, legal action was initiated by the Nationals and an injunction was only lifted on the day of the first Canadien game. Laviolette's other signings went much easier. Newsy Lalonde signed on December 14 and he reported the next day to complete the roster.
When the CHA folded in January 1910, the franchise was offered by O'Brien to Le National but they declined to purchase the franchise. The Nationals turned down the offer, not willing to take on the contract to play in the Jubilee Rink, the cost of the player contracts of $6200 and debts of $1400. Le National, an established organization of some 14 years, instead folded their team.
The team had a record of 2–10–0 to finish last in the league. The team's first game was a win against Cobalt at home 7–6 in overtime, on January 5, 1910. The result was nullified when the NHA absorbed the CHA teams and created a new schedule. Cobalt later defeated Les Canadiens at Montreal 6–4. The team's first official win took place on February 7, 1910 against the Haileybury Hockey Club. The team did not win a game away from its home rink.
The Canadiens would finish out the schedule in last place with a record of 2-10, scoring 59 goals and allowing an even 100. The following season, only Lalonde, Pitre, Laviolette, Bernier and Poulin would return.