A funeral was held on March 11, at the Montreal Forum, the arena where the Canadiens played. Fans were allowed to file past the casket, laid at center ice, and 50,000 people paid their respects. A rotating guard of honour of four Canadiens stood around the casket which was covered in flowers including a large wreath from Aurèle Joliat that was shaped like the number 7, Morenz’s number, and a note from Morenz’s three children. The entire service was broadcast on the radio, and after its conclusion, he was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.
The Canadiens were scheduled to play the Montreal Maroons the evening of March 9, a game the NHL offered to cancel in honour of Morenz’s death. However, Mary insisted the game be played, saying that Morenz would have wanted the game to continue. The players on the Canadiens and Maroons wore black armbands for the game, and prior to the start, two minutes of silence was observed in his honour. A similar event happened in New York, where the New York Rangers and New York Americans had a moment of silence before the start of their game.
Last Game for Morenz vs Blackhawks
The Canadiens returned to the Forum to take on the Black Hawks on Jan. 28, 1937. Early in the game, Morenz skated hard into the Chicago zone, the Blackhawks’ Earl Siebert in pursuit. Morenz lost his footing and caught his skate blade in the boards, and Siebert had no time to react. He slammed into Morenz, an unintentional but brutal collision that shattered Morenz’s leg in four places. The suddenly hushed crowd watched as Morenz was carried off and rushed to Montreal’s Hopital Saint-Luc. Doctors stabilized the leg with pins and put Morenz in traction, and though his leg began to heal, Morenz knew his career was over.
He made his NHL debut on December 26, 1923, in Ottawa against the Ottawa Senators, scoring a goal.
On July 7, 1923, Morenz signed a contract with the Canadiens for three years with a salary of $3,500 per year and a $1,000 signing bonus, a considerable amount for a first-year professional.
Howie Morenz was born on this day 117 years ago