All-Star Game’s rich/sorry history in Montreal

Canadiens’ Henri Richard (right) in the 1956 All-Star Game at the Forum, his first of 10, against Detroit goalie Terry Sawchuk and Rangers defenceman Bill Gadsby.
David Bier Studios, Montreal Gazette files

The NHL All-Star Game returns to Montreal next season, officially the 12th time the contest will have been played in the city. That number swells to 16 including four benefit games held between 1908-39, even if the first preceded the birth of the NHL.

The most famous surely is the 1937 game to benefit the family of the late Howie Morenz, who died of a coronary embolism a little more than a month after having broken his leg on Forum ice.

Through the years there have been some excellent games, though the last two, when the match was much more about show-biz than hockey, were one-sided follies that hardly resembled the sport they were meant to showcase.

Veteran hockey writer Red Fisher says let’s make the game meaningful once more, by pitting the Stanley Cup champion against a squad of stars culled from the league’s other teams. And Dave Stubbs reviews some of the highlights – and lowlights – of All-Star Games played in Montreal.


  1. Peter Young says:

    I should have noted Reardon retired after a season in which he was named to the first all-star team.

    Three Canadiens who should have been in the Hall of Fame long ago: Claude Provost, Ralph Backstrom and Jean-Claude Tremblay.

  2. Peter Young says:

    Thanks, Dave, for a great round-up of the all-star games played in Montreal.

    The story says of the first all-star game on October 13, 1947: “Four Canadiens were named to the first all-star team as starters: goaler Bill Durnan, defenceman Émile (Butch) Bouchard, and forwards Maurice Richard and Ken Reardon.”

    Ken Reardon was a defenceman, not a forward, throughout his brief career. He played only seven seasons in all, but was selected to the Hall of Fame. He played two seasons in the early Forties, went off to war for the next three, then came back for five more seasons. He was named to the first or second all-star teams as a defenceman all five of those seasons (twice to the first team and three times to the second team). He retired before he reached the age of 30. Later he held important front office positions with the Canadiens. He was one of our all-time greats–very tough, fearless and one of the reasons Bill Durnan took home all those Vezina trophies.

  3. mar-lin says:

    ok guys things are starting to heat up on the trade front. RUMORS i’ve been reading are jokinen,dumont,boyle and possibly campbell. Now i realize that most of this is just hearsay but this is like buying a 6/49 ticket. Dreaming of the potential blockbuster trades the habs could make is so much fun IMO. Anyone of these players could really change how far we’ll go in the playoffs. I’m addicted to the rumor sites like a kid to chocolate! Anyway I just thought it was worth mentioning.



  4. The Teacher says:

    Ahhh, Howie Morenz.

    I spent most of my youth in the Hockey Arena named after him. First playing and coaching for the Parc Extension Youth Organization, and then working at the Arena. For me it was my second home, and he was the first player I ever knew of who played for the Montreal Canadiens.

    Red’s got it right.

  5. Chorske says:

    I’m not sure that every game needs to ‘matter’. As far as I’m concerned, the only games that ‘matter’ are the ones that can give you points in the standings, end of story. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up knowing nothing else, but I am perfectly happy with the current notion of a friendly game among the best players, with the sole purpose of highlighting the work of some of the best players in the league.

    * this in comment to Red Fisher’s article

  6. Moey says:

    I agree 100%, I don’t know why people are making such a big deal about the all star game, it’s only one friggin game, just don’t watch it.

    The players seem to enjoy it, it’s a nice break and some well deserved recognition of their skills.

  7. Richard B says:

    I think Home Ice advantage in the Cup final should go to the conference that wins the all Star game.
    That would bring some effort to the rink.
    With that said, last nights game was not bad anyway, third period was really good.
    I really liked the effort from Alfredson and also Ovechkin.

  8. Ian G Cobb says:

    LOOK MOM, NO HELMETS, cause the opposition still has respect for my head.!

    Any head shot should be 15 games min.

    On THE topic of allstar game, somehow we have to come up with a format of real competition. This is very much a waist of time.

  9. Wayne says:

    “””” Any head shot should be 15 games min “”””

    I agree 100%. If the league can get a handle on eliminating all but the rare crosscheck from behind into the boards,.. they should campaign this “head shot” problem into the players heads and ban outright, twerps like Downie from the league.

  10. The Teacher says:

    Ian, only because you welcome the constructive criticism. In your last sentence, “waist” is the part of your body.

    When you “waste” something, you misuse it needlessly.

    It was a rough day at school today……In fact, the students wasted their time.

  11. RS says:

    It’s a pointless and boring game, so I don’t bother to watch it. It doesn’t really demonstrate the players’ talents or a high level of play. However, if I was a member of the NHLPA, I would be totally against trying to turn the all-star game into a “meaningful” game. The all-star break is a welcome holiday for most players and a relatively painless game/media circus for the all-stars.

    The only viable option that I can see is to create an annual outdoor “classic” regular season NHL game (rotating through the NHL teams), complete with four days off, that replaces the all-star game and break. The all-star exhibition concept should be scrapped all together, including the skills competition. If people really wanted a skills competition/circus it could be incorporated into the outdoor game festivities (not that you would want skating competitions on the outdoor ice).

  12. TommyB says:

    The AllStar Game is pointless and boring…I don’t care much for it, and the skills competition has turned into a circus sideshow. That, however, is progress from a marketing standpoint I guess.

    I don’t think you can find a “meaningfull” formula for the game. After all, not many players are going to go “all-out”, and why should they? Why risk injury with the stretch drive for the playoffs beginning immediately following the AllStar Game? So…the players who do participate just go out and have some fun, and mingle with buddies they may have played with before, or make some new friendships. “Meaningful” hockey in an AllStar Game is not going to happen.

    This type of game may be pointless and boring to me, and many others, but I am sure there are fans who really enjoy the display of skill demonstrated in this exhibition. It’s not something that needs to be fixed. If you like it enjoy it…if you don’t, find something else to do.

  13. Chuck says:

    Is Dave Stubbs blaming the great Rocket Richard for the Habs’ current Stanley Cup drought? :)


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  14. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    Probably the wrong crowd to ask…

    I for one would love to see all the stars in one building – who cares if it’s an ego-stroking corporate schmooze up… it looks like everyone is having a blast and it does put a human face on a rather robotic NHL.

    So where and when will tickets to next years event be sold?

  15. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    STUPID “some-star break”.

    the thrill was seeing the HABS LOGO on Markov’s sleeve….


    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”

  16. Ian G Cobb says:

    At a boy, i got it and i need the help. Thanks

  17. Yeats says:

    I generally pass on it as well. I’m sure there are fans that get a kick out of it and as far as I’m concerned God bless them all. There was more than enough quality hockey to watch down here in the Lower 48, if you were interested. For Habs fans, you had back-to-back games between David Fisher’s Minnesota Gophers and Ryan McDonough’s Wisconsin Badgers. First game 3-1 Wisconsin; second 2-2 tie. You also had two games between Max Pac’s Wolverines and MSU. First game, MSU 1-0; second 2-2 tie. (Max Pac got the first goal in the 2-2 tie.) For locals near me, you had Army down Airforce in both games. All Star Weekend serves its purposes, they are just not mine.

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