NHL turns 90, Habs won on Opening Night

Joe Malone
Five goals on Opening Night
– Photo courtesy www.legendsofhockey.net

Join the National Hockey League on Wednesday in blowing out 90 candles.

Nine decades ago, on Dec. 19, 1917, the newly formed NHL began play with two victories by Montreal clubs which shared the Westmount Arena:

The Canadiens defeated Ottawa 7-4 on the strength of Joe Malone’s five goals, and the Montreal Wanderers downed the Toronto Arenas 10-9. The Wanderers lost their next five games and folded when the arena burned to the ground on Jan. 2, 1918.

The two winning teams had four nights earlier met in the league’s first exhibition game, a benefit for the survivors of the Halifax Explosion, a blast in Halifax harbour of a French cargo ship loaded with wartime ammunition. The tragedy killed an estimated 2,000 people and injured 9,000 more.

The Canadiens moved into 3,250-seat Jubilee Arena after the building fire, and have gone on to win 3,009 games in their 90-year NHL existence.

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