Legendary goalie Hall’s many links to Montreal

Young Detroit Red Wings goaler Glenn Hall stops Canadiens centreman Jean Béliveau from in close during an early 1950s game at the Forum.
David Bier, Gazette files

There is a Canadiens thread that stitches Glenn Hall’s glorious goalkeeping career from beginning to end. It starts with the Detroit Red Wings, when Hall, then barely 21, made his NHL debut at the Forum against the Habs on Dec. 27, 1952 – in borrowed equipment.

It was déjà vu for Hall when he heard of Canadiens farmhand Corey Locke’s recent equipment misadventures, Locke’s gear not making the Dec. 30 flight from Toronto to New York for what was supposed to be his first NHL game.

Hall was at home in Humboldt, Sask., on a break from the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Flyers over Christmas 1952, when the telegram arrived from Bud Poile, playing-coach with his Western Hockey League Edmonton Flyers: “You are to catch Flight No. 10 out of Saskatoon 3:45 a.m. 26th of December for Montreal," the wire read. "Sawchuk is hurt and Detroit are bringing you up. I will have your equipment on the plane. …”

Hall arrived at the Forum a few hours before the 8:15 p.m. faceoff and searched in vain for his duffel bag. He wound up wearing the shabby old gear of Lefty Wilson, a Red Wings trainer and practice goalie, and still made 32 saves in a 2-2 tie against a Canadiens team stocked with five future Hall of Famers.

Read more in this feature published in Monday’s Gazette. And see below for a few classic old photos of one of goaltending’s greatest performers.

Glenn Hall in 1960s action for the Chicago Blackhawks in photos from the Montreal Gazette’s files.

From top:

Hardrock forward John Ferguson crashes Hall’s crease.
Hall hugs the post as Jean Béliveau circles in the background.

New York Rangers’ Arnie Brown goes unnoticed, sliding into Hall’s net.

Bobby Hull chases the puck in front of Hall during a game at the Forum.



  1. nightmare_49 says:

    Great article : I can’t imagine how many of us when we played street hockey and had to play nets that we copied Glenn Hall’s butterfly style. I may have posted this before , i can’t remember if i did so call it a senior moment. Normally if Chicago played the Habs on a Saturday night the Hawks arrived on Friday night. If you went to the Manfield Tavern before noon on Saturday you’ll see a man all by himself in the corner of the tavern having a quart reading the newspaper held over his head very descreetly and after two quarts would leave very quietly , it was Glenn Hall. The next morning you would read about the Habs edging Chicago and one of the stars was Glenn Hall. Nobody would bother him or ask to talk to him as they knew if they did that he would probably change locations but when he left you gave him a little wave and he would respond with a little wave and a small satisfied smile.

  2. TommyB says:

    That’s a great little story, nightmare. Imagine that kind of privacy for a player today when visiting hockey-mad Montreal.

  3. vic says:

    Glen Hall the greatest of them all we used to say..

    Great memory

    Thank You

  4. nightmare_49 says:

    Tommy B. reply but in the wrong place. – Actually Montreal has always been hockey mad , even then , but there was a code of respect which has been lost due to the presse and their investigative reporting and i have to say it’s not the GAZ , i know you know what i’m talking about talking about , great to hear from you Tommy B.

  5. Chuck says:

    8:15pm start time? Were the Habs holding a jersey retirement ceremony that night? 😉

    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  6. Peter Young says:

    No, games started at a civilized hour in those days, sometimes 8:30 p.m. but always 8 p.m. or later, at least in the Canadian cities, Toronto and Montreal. It gave people time to have a decent dinner before arriving for the game. In those days dinner was a thing you took considerable time over, whether with the family at home or in a restaurant. It was a different era in many, many ways, and not every change has been an improvement.

    Also–and this is based on something I believe I remember reading a long time ago–many of the newspapers in those days came out in the afternoon/evening, and there wasn’t quite as much deadline pressure on the reporters to get their copy in after the game. On late night television news, they just reported the game details–score and goalscorers–with no clips. So not much pressure there, either. Perhaps Red Fisher could tell us why the game times changed and correct any errors in my account.

  7. Peter Young says:

    In addition to the 8:15 p.m. starting time mentioned in Dave Stubbs’ story, see the same starting time penned in by referee Red Storey on his official scorecard for Willy O’Ree’s debut game, reproduced in the thread above this one. The two games were seasons apart so that must have been the standard starting time in Montreal.

  8. Peter Young says:

    Just for the record, apologies to Willie O’Ree for my discourtesy in misspelling his first name in the post above. I had a client named Willy and made the mistake without thinking.

  9. Peter Young says:

    Thanks for another great story, Dave. I never knew before that Hall made his debut against the Canadiens.

    One other thing he did with a Canadiens link was edge Henri Richard for the Calder trophy as rookie of the year in 1955-56.

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