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