79 years ago today…

Howard William Morenz (September 21, 1902 – March 8, 1937) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player. He played centre for three National Hockey League (NHL) teams: the Montreal Canadiens (in two stints), the Chicago Black Hawks, and the New York Rangers. Before joining the NHL, Morenz excelled in the junior Ontario Hockey Association, where his team played for the Memorial Cup, the championship for junior ice hockey in Canada. In the NHL, he was one of the most dominant players in the league and set several league scoring records. A strong skater, Morenz was referred to as the “Stratford Streak” and “Mitchell Meteor” in reference to his speed on the ice.

Considered one of the first stars of the NHL, Morenz played 14 seasons in the league. He was a member of a Stanley Cup–winning team three times, all with the Canadiens. During his NHL career he placed in the top 10 leading scorers ten times. For seven straight seasons, Morenz led the Canadiens in both goals scored and points. Three times in his career he was named the most valuable player of the league, and he led the league once in goals scored and twice in points scored. He was named to the NHL All-Star Team three times.

Morenz died from complications of a broken leg, an injury he suffered in a game. After his death, the Canadiens retired his jersey number, the first time the team had done so for any player. When the Hockey Hall of Fame opened in 1945, Morenz was one of the original nine inductees. In 1950, the Canadian Press named him the best ice hockey player of the first half of the 20th century.

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