One of the first big goaltending stars in National Hockey League history made his way to Montreal on this date. Also, a new Hockey Hall of Fame class was announced but one inductee skipped the ceremony out of his displeasure.
Hainsworth Moves to the NHL
On Aug. 23, 1926, the Montreal Canadiens purchased the contract of future Hall of Fame goaltender George Hainsworth. He had been playing for the Saskatoon Crescents in the Western Canadian Hockey League (WCHL), where he played for former Canadiens star Newsy Lalonde. When the WCHL folded, the Canadiens paid $5,000 for his rights.
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Hainsworth had a tough job as he replaced the legendary Georges Vezina, who had died of tuberculosis the previous March and played in every Canadiens game from 1910 to the opening contest of the 1925-26 season. He went on to win the first-ever Vezina Trophy for being honored as the top goaltender of the 1926-27 season. He won the award again in each of the next two seasons.
During the 1928-29 season, Hainsworth posted 22 shutouts and a 0.92 goals-against average (GAA) while playing in all 44 games. He led the Canadiens to back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 1930 and 1931. In 1932, he became just the second of eight goaltenders to ever serve as team captain.
Just prior to the 1933-34 season, Hainsworth was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for goaltender Lorne Chabot. He was the main goaltender in Toronto until the emergence of Turk Broda in 1936. After his release from the Maple Leafs, he returned to Montreal to play the final four games of his career with the Canadiens.
A New Hall of Fame Class
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced their newest class of inductees on Aug. 23, 1973. The headliner of the group was defenseman Doug Harvey, who played 14 of his 19 NHL seasons with the Canadiens.
It was in Montreal that he played 890 games and was part of six Stanley Cup championships, including five in a row between 1956 and 1960. He won seven Norris Trophies during his career, given to the best defenseman in the league, which was a record until Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins came along in the 1970s.
The other players of the 1973 Hall of Fame class were Chuck Rayner, Tommy Smith, referee Frank Udvari and former Canadiens owner Hartland Molson. Harvey skipped the induction ceremony because he was upset that he wasn’t part of the previous year’s class which included Gordie Howe and his teammates Jean Beliveau and Bernie Geoffrion.
Odds & Ends
On Aug. 23, 1929, defenseman Archie Wilcox was traded to the Montreal Maroons by the Providence Reds of the Canadian-American Hockey League. He went on to play in 187 games for the Maroons over the next five seasons. He was claimed off of waivers by the Bruins during the 1933-34 season.
The Minnesota North Stars traded veteran goaltender Cesare Maniago to the Vancouver Canucks, on Aug. 23, 1975, in exchange for fellow netminder Gary Smith. Maniago had been with the North Stars since they selected him from the New York Rangers during the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft.
He appeared in 93 games for the Canucks over the next two seasons, his final two in the NHL. Smith, who won the Vezina Trophy in 1972, played in 39 games for the North Stars in two separate stints with the team.
The Washington Capitals signed free-agent center Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year contract, on Aug. 23, 2013, after he spent the previous five seasons with the Maple Leafs. He played in 58 games for the Capitals during the 2013-14 season and scored 13 goals and 35 points. He signed with the New York Islanders the following offseason.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff signed with the Los Angeles Kings on Aug. 23, 2015. The veteran of over 700 NHL games had spent the previous season with the Penguins. He played in 40 games for the Kings before he was traded to the Blackhawks for Rob Scuderi on Feb. 26, 2016. He dressed in eight regular-season games for the Blackhawks and retired following the season.
Happy Birthday to You
Aug. 23 has produced 12 NHL players over the decades. The first was defenseman Percy Traub, who was born on this date in 1896. He played in 130 games, over the course of three seasons, with the Blackhawks and Detroit Cougars. The most recent was Carl Hagelin, who turns 32 today. He scored eight goals and 25 points for the Capitals this past season.
Ray Ferraro had the most successful career of the bunch. Born on Aug. 23, 1965, Ferraro played in 1,258 career NHL games for the Hartford Whalers, Islanders, Kings, Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and St. Louis Blues. His best season came with the Whalers in 1988-89 when he scored a career-high 41 goals. He finished his career in 2002 with 408 goals and 898 points.
Other notable players born on this date include Dave Gardner (68), Jack Carlson (66), Glenn Healy (58), Randy Moller (57) and Jarko Ruutu (45).