CBC Digital Archives

The Rocket becomes NHL's all-time scoring leader

Three colours, 24 Stanley Cups, over 3,000 victories, millions of fans – and 100 years. In 2009 the Montreal Canadiens celebrate their centennial as one of hockey's most legendary teams. The Habs have made Montrealers proud, but they are beloved far beyond their hometown for their star players and impressive records. CBC Digital Archives pays tribute to the bleu, blanc et rouge with 14 remarkable moments in Habs history.

As Maurice "Rocket" Richard takes to the Forum ice on Nov. 8, 1952, he is confident that tonight he will replace Nelson Stewart in the NHL record books as the player with the most regular-season goals. When Stewart retired in 1940, he had reached 324 goals. Richard has already attained that number, but tonight, he bests it in a game against the Chicago Black Hawks. After Richard fires a hard wrist shot in on goaltender Al Rollins, the puck takes a strange bounce, changes direction slightly and handcuffs the flailing goalie. Richard breaks the record at last, as seen in this retrospective clip from CBC-TV.
• Nelson Stewart, the previous record-holder, was a remarkably gifted forward who dominated the NHL from 1925 to the late 1930s, setting the all-time goals mark in 1937 with the New York Americans. The majority of his playing days saw him in a Montreal Maroons sweater, but Stewart retired as a member of the Americans.
  • Richard equaled Stewart's digits in Toronto a week and a half earlier, when he put a pair of pucks past Maple Leafs goalie Harry Lumley. He played another three games without scoring a goal.

• During a pause in the game later on, Richard had his photo taken with the historic puck. He then scored another goal to lead the Habs to a 6-4 victory. The puck with which Richard broke Stewart's record would later be plated in gold and sent to Queen Elizabeth II, who was said to have maintained an interest in the Rocket's career since witnessing a Canadiens game the previous season.

Medium: Television
Program: Hockey Night in Canada
Broadcast Date: Nov. 8, 1952
Duration: 1:09

Last updated: June 8, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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