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Toe Blake

Signed With Montreal

In 1934, Blake was signed by the Montreal Maroons, but only appeared in three games before being sent to the minor leagues, again with Hamilton. He was on the bench when the Maroons won the Stanley Cup in 1935. At the time, Blake was considered a fighter. Blake began the 1935-36 season in the minor leagues, playing for the Providence Reds in the Can-Am League, but was traded in February 1936 to the Montreal Canadiens with Bill Miller for goalie Lorne Chabot.

It was with the Canadiens that Blake developed his scoring ability, earning the nickname "Old Lamplighter." He still retained his toughness, however, and never backed down from a fight, no matter what the situation, even if losing. By 1937, Blake was playing in the All-Star Game. In 1939, he was the leading scorer in the National Hockey League. He also won the Hart Trophy that year as the league's most valuable player. Yet the Canadiens finished sixth in the league. It was not until the 1940s that the Canadiens began to win.

When Dick Irvin was hired as coach in 1941, Montreal began to rebuild and Irvin put Blake at the center of the process. But it took several seasons for Irvin to find the right linemates for him. Because Blake spoke both French and English, and was partially French Canadian, which earned the respect of other Quebecois players, he could play with both types of players. The most dominant line he played on was the "Punch Line" with Maurice Richard, a prolific scorer, on right wing and Elmer Lach at center. Blake made the line run, and the trio often led the team in scoring.

Chronology

1912 Born in Victoria Mines, Ontario, Canada
1934 Appears in three games with the Montreal Maroons
1936 Traded to the Montreal Canadiens as a player, for which he played until retirement
1943-44 Put with Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Elmer Lach to form the "Punch Line"
1944 Sets Stanley Cup record by scoring five assists in one game
1948 Forced to retire as a player on the Canadiens because of injury; becomes minor league coach in Houston, Texas
1948 Works as coach for the Buffalo (New York) Bisons in the American Hockey League
1949 Becomes coach of the Valleyfield (Quebec) Braves in the Quebec Senior League
1955 Becomes coach of the Montreal Canadiens on June 8
1968 Retires as coach of Montreal Canadiens
1995 Dies of Alzheimer's on May 17 in Montreal

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsHockeyToe Blake Biography - Signed With Montreal, Chronology, Won Stanley Cups, Retired As A Player, Began Coaching Career