Ninety candles for Canadiens legend Lach

Canadiens Hall of Famer Elmer Lach, centreman for Hector (Toe) Blake and Maurice (Rocket) Richard on the legendary Punch Line of the 1940s, turned 90 on Tuesday. Elmer’s still going strong in the suburbs of Montreal, truly an original from the glory days of the Canadiens. Check out the classic photo of Elmer below.
Canadiens centreman Elmer Lach (right) is photographed on January 10, 1941, with teammates Jack Adams (left) and Tony Demers, mugging at the Mount Royal Hotel’s Alexandor Furs store with a couple of stuffed bear cubs climbing a tree trunk. The Boston Bruins were in town the following night, hence the teammates’ joking, and the visitors had the last laugh, beating the Canadiens 2-1 at the Forum. (Seems like it was the last time the Bruins beat the Habs.)
Montreal Standard


  1. RetroMikey says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Elmer Lach! We, the fans, will never ever forget you and others who were the cornerstone of our franchise and our our role models for future Habs players as well as the fans of today and tomorros! God bless you and your family! You are always cherished in our hearts!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  2. Peter Young says:

    I don’t think we are diluting in any way the standards for jersey number retirement in urging the same for Lach’s No. 16. Granted, it is not enough to be a star or even a super star to warrant that honour; hall of fame selection is not enough. The player has to have earned the status of a real legend–not the loose version of the term that’s tossed around elsewhere on the web–and he has to have done so while earning great honour for himself and for the club. He has to be a legend among legends, if you will, a star among stars.

    Of players whose careers came primarily before 1950, only Howie Morenz has had his number retired. (Maurice Richard’s career began in 1942 but did not end until 1960.) As the club approaches its century mark in 2009, there are a few gaps that should be filled.

    I think that the legends who warrant consideration from before the mid-century mark–from the Canadiens’ first 40 years of existence–are Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre, Georges Vezina, Aurele Joliat, Toe Blake and Bill Durnan as well as Elmer Lach.

    The Canadiens careers of three of these players–Lalonde, Pitre and Vezina–came in substantial part before the advent of the NHL in 1917, but that should make no difference. It’s a Montreal Canadiens commemoration, not an NHL thing.

    There are a few other players post-1950 who also deserve the honour, but I leave that to others.

  3. ebeaune says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Lach, I had the privilege of sitting down for a couple meals with this great man in 2003 at the Hab’s Fantasy Camp. He is a true gentleman and a world class individual. Keep swinging those golf clubs Elmer. All the best.

  4. Bean says:

    Happy Birthday Mr. Lach!! It would have been an honour to have seen you play live, as it stands the archive footage of you and the Punch Line is already a treat.

  5. The Teacher says:

    Lach’s number should definitely be retired. It is a mystery why it has not already been done. How can two thirds of the infamous Punch Line not have their numbers retired?

  6. Robert L says:

    Happy Birthday Elmer!

    As Peter Young states – that #16 ought to be hanging alongside the one with H. Richard on it.

    When I think of the Habs greats and oldtimers, a little story from Henri Richard always brings a smile to my face.

    In the mid eighties, when there were a bevy of 50 goal scorers in the NHL, Pocket was asked how many goals the Rocket would score in today’s NHL.

    Henri paused for a moment and said “Maybe 10 or 15!”

    The reporter was slightly stunned at the response, and said “Henri, we’re talking about the Rocket, one of the greatest goal scorers the game has seen. Why do you think he’d only score 15 goals?”

    “That’s not bad, I think, I mean he’s almost 65 years old!”

    For all the fans that are interested in Canadiens memorabilia, I was just informed of a bargain of an offer.

    Dr. Erle Schneidman, an author and collector of Montreal Canadiens memorabilia is offering his 130 page book “The Memorabilia Of The Montreal Canadiens” at a bargain price. The book was initially published in 2000, and Erle recently discovered a case of 50 books that he has offered fans for a low $5 plus shipping.

    I can’t post the entire review of the book here, but if anyone wants more info, they need just follow this link.

    Act quickly because I doubt Erle will have any left by tomorrow night.

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