Coutu’s 1927 lifetime ban still a controversy

Wilfrid (Billy) Coutu
Ex-Habs captain banned in 1927

The 30-game suspension handed New York Islanders’ Chris Simon last week is being described as the most severe punishment ever meted out by the National Hockey League against one of its players.

That’s subject to debate, The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs writes today.

On April 13, 1927, Boston Bruins defenceman Billy Coutu attacked referee Jerry Laflamme in an Ottawa rink corridor following Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, the Senators having just won the league title, and was suspended for life by NHL president Frank Calder.

While the rugged native of North Bay, Ont., was reinstated five years later at the request of the Canadiens, for whom Coutu had played eight seasons, he never again saw NHL action.

Special thanks to Habs Inside/Out reader Sue Mead for planting the timely seed of this story. And look below for a full, classic photo of Coutu.


Billy Coutu, photographed outside Mount Royal Arena in the mid-1920s, was a rugged defenceman who unfairly was banned for life by the NHL’s first president, Frank Calder.
Rice Studios Photo, via Gazette files


  1. RH says:

    I think Simon should be expelled from the game period.

    In light of the recent boreball,(the game just hasn’t been the same since the Expos left), scandals, I think their should be a full scale investigation on the use of HGH and other types of steroids, in the NHL. With Sean Hill testing positive last year and the NY Islanders team doctor being associated with the steroid scandal that has plagued baseball, I have to wonder how fast that scourge, known as steroids, has spread through out the NHL, and is being covered up by certain people in the higher ups?

  2. Robert L says:

    To Dave, Kevin, and Boone, and all the readers of HIO:

    I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and properous New Year to you and your families.

    I have posted a Habs Xmas Wish List at my site that spreads Holiday cheer to our team (our currently struggling, but loved nonetheless Habs) as well as faithful Eyes On The Prize readers.

    I hope many of you have placed hockey related gifts under the tree for your younger loved ones!

  3. smiler2729 says:

    Joyeux Noel! Let’s hope this latest December 23rd road loss doesn’t sink us like previous seasons. All’s I really want for my hockey Christmas is for the Habs to play entertaining hockey – no trades, no firings, just watch these guys grow into one of the greatest shows on ice!

    And Santa, please bring Michael Ryder his goal scoring touch back.

  4. coutNY says:

    Coutu is a a name that appears in my family tree… it changed slightly when my ancesters migrated over the boarder in the late 1800’s but I wonder if there is any relation? Probably not, but it could explain my draw to the Habs… Maybe this is where the old man’s temper was derived?

    Thanks for the history lesson Mr. Stubbs!

    Happy Holidays all…

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.