#7: Howie Morenz:
While there were many great hockey players in the early 20th century, it was Howie Morenz who truly transcended the sport.
Except for two seasons late in his career, Morenz played his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens. Even though he wasn’t a Quebec-born player, the fans at the old Montreal Forum loved him.
It didn’t hurt that he was such a consistent scorer throughout his career with the Habs. In his first season, he scored 13 goals in 23 games. He followed that up with 28 goals in 30 games.
He continued along that pace for most of his career. His best season was 1929-30, when he scored 40 goals in 44 games.
He won the Art Ross trophy as the league’s top point-getter on two occasions, and three Hart trophies as the league’s most valuable player.
Near the end of his career, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, and then the New York Rangers, before being traded back to the Habs.
He suffered a leg injury in that final season, on Jan. 28, 1937, when he was checked into the boards. On March 8 of that same year, he died as a result of complications from the injury. He was 34 years old.
His funeral was held at the Forum, and thousands of fans showed up to pay their respects.
When he passed away, he was the NHL leader in career points. His number was retired in 1937. It was the first time the Canadiens did that for a player.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
For more on Howie Morenz: