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|Born||)October 31, 1887
Cornwall, ON, CAN
|Died||November 21, 1970) (aged 83)
Montreal, QC, CAN
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||168 lb (76 kg; 12 st 0 lb)|
|Position||Forward, center, rover|
|Played for||Montreal Canadiens
Renfrew Hockey Club
New York Americans
|Hall of Fame, 1950|
Édouard Cyrille "Newsy" Lalonde (October 31, 1887 – November 21, 1970) was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward in the National Hockey League (NHL) and a professional lacrosse player, regarded as one of hockey's and lacrosse's greatest players of the first half of the 20th century and one of sport's most colourful characters. He played for the Montreal Canadiens -- considered to be the original "Flying Frenchman" -- in the National Hockey Association and the NHL. He also played for the WCHL's Saskatoon Sheiks. Before playing professional ice hockey, he worked in a newspaper plant, where he acquired the "Newsy" moniker.
Early hockey career
In 1904, Lalonde started his career with the Cornwall Victorias of the Federal Amateur Hockey League (FAHL). The next season, he played for the Woodstock club of the Ontario Hockey Association Senior A League. Lalonde made the trek to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1906 to play in the International Professional Hockey League, hockey's first known professional league. In his one season in the Sault, he was named to the IHL Second All-Star Team. In 1907, Lalonde signed with the Toronto Professionals of the Ontario Professional Hockey League, and with linemates Bruce Ridpath and Wally Mercer led the "Torontos" to the league championship, losing the Cup in a close match with the Montreal Wanderers in which Lalonde scored twice.
The year 1910 saw the foundation of the National Hockey Association (NHA), precursor to the NHL, and Lalonde joined the Montreal Canadiens for their first season. Lalonde scored the first-ever goal for the Montreal Canadiens. Halfway through the season, the Habs traded him to the Renfrew Creamery Kings, for whom Lalonde led the league in scoring. He rejoined the Canadiens for the 1911 season—professional hockey was only then developing any sense of teams retaining the rights to their players—during which he had several stick battles and provoked the ire of opposing fans.
With the formation of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in 1912, Lalonde jumped to the Vancouver Millionaires, and promptly led the league in scoring its inaugural year. Vancouver traded him back to Montreal the following season for Didier Pitre. In 1915, Lalonde held out in contract negotiations, only playing six games, but aside from that, he remained with the Canadiens for the next ten years, winning the NHL scoring title again in 1916 and captaining the Canadiens to his only Stanley Cup victory. Despite his holdout, he was named player-coach of the Canadiens in 1915.
Newsy Lalonde played (and scored) in the first-ever NHL game on December 19, 1917, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators, 7–4. He would score in each of the first six NHL games, earning a share of an NHL record with Cy Denneny and Joe Malone to establish an NHL record that would go unmatched for nearly 90 years.
During the 1919 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lalonde scored a spectacular seventeen goals in ten games. However, on the day of the fifth game of the finals against the Seattle Metropolitans, Lalonde, owner George Kennedy, Joe Hall, Billy Coutu, Jack McDonald and Louis Berlinguette were hospitalized with the flu. Five and a half hours before its start, the game was postponed. With his entire team either hospitalized or confined to bed, Kennedy announced he was forfeiting the game—and the Cup—to the Metropolitans. However, the Metropolitans felt it would be unsporting to accept the trophy under the circumstances, and the fifth game was never played. Joe Hall did not survive.
Thereafter Lalonde had two fine years, but after the Kennedy estate sold the Canadiens to Leo Dandurand, his clashes with the new ownership affected his play to the point where he left the team for four games, and he was relegated to reserve duty amidst the boos of the fans. Accordingly, Dandurand sold Lalonde to Saskatoon the following year in violation of the waiver regulations then in force. The deal was disputed, and eventually—and grudgingly—the Canadiens accepted the amateur Aurel Joliat in compensation. (When Lalonde and Joliat met later that season, Lalonde, unhappy that Joliat was fast becoming a fan favorite in Montreal, got his "revenge" by serving Joliat with a vicious crosscheck to the face.)
On a line with future Hall of Famer Bill Cook, Lalonde achieved his final scoring title as playing coach of the Sheiks, although the team had a poor overall record. The next two seasons the team was much improved, but Lalonde himself was finally feeling his age and was no longer an impact player. He scored the final goal of his career on March 2, 1925, against Vancouver. The following season he played three regular season games and two playoff games, the last for the Saskatoon franchise before the Western Hockey League folded.
The following season, 1927, Lalonde was named the head coach of the New York Americans. He played as a substitute for one final game in November 1926 before hanging up his skates for good. After his retirement, he also served as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators between 1929 and 1931, and of the Canadiens between 1932 and 1935.
Although Lalonde is best-remembered today as a hockey player, he was just as prominent in lacrosse, which in the early years of the 20th century was one of the most popular professional sports in Canada. Lalonde earned more in lacrosse than he did in hockey. He started play in 1905 as a goaltender, but moved to the attack position in 1910, becoming the sport's greatest star. He would break the scoring record for his Montreal team in 1910 with 31 goals. In 1912, he was signed to be player-manager of the Toronto Lacrosse Club, but almost immediately changed his mind and joined the exodus of players heading west for big contracts. He was signed by Con Jones to play for Vancouver for $5,500 for one season. In comparison, as a hockey player, his salary in 1910–11 for the Montreal Canadiens was $1,300, which was considered high for the time. As late as 1920 he could not get more than $2,000 a year playing hockey. Lalonde scored an incredible 66 goals for the Montreal Nationals in 1914.
After coming west in 1909 as a hired-hand with the Regina Capitals to compete against the New Westminster Salmonbellies in their challenge for the Minto Cup, Lalonde then decided to remain in British Columbia when Vancouver Lacrosse Club president Con Jones offered him a fortune of a contract rumoured in the range of $3,500 (or $72,000 in modern currency). To compete against that perennial powerhouse squad of legends and hated rivals, New Westminster Salmonbellies, Vancouver Lacrosse Club president Con Jones went out and bought the best player in Canada that money could buy: Lalonde.
Newsy would pay off Jones by helping lead Vancouver to three Minto Cup pro championships – in 1911, 1918, and 1920. He played what was back then called the “inside home” position – basically an attacking forward who played on the crease as the primary threat against the opposing goalkeeper – and his goal-scoring prowess was critically important to the success of his Vancouver team as Lalonde constantly went up against some of the finest New Westminster goalkeepers of the day, stalwarts such as Alex “Sandy” Gray and then later the legendary Alvan “Bun” Clarke.
During his nine seasons spent playing for the Vancouver Lacrosse Club and Vancouver Terminals, he finished 11th in overall career games played (2nd with the Vancouver club) and 3rd overall in career goal-scoring with 147 goals in 93 games. However, what is more impressive is in five of those 9 seasons, he led the league in goal-scoring (and in 1911, also in penalties).
In an era when lacrosse was notably rough and tumble and players wore little to no padding all the while swinging wooden sticks, Lalonde was one never to back down from the toughness aspect of the game. Along with all his goals, the intensely competitive Lalonde also amassed 45 penalties and 356 penalty minutes during his career on the West Coast.
In 1950, he was selected by Canadian sports journalists as the greatest player of the first-half of the 20th century. He received an impressive 13 votes compared to his next two challengers, Billy Fitzgerald (6 votes) and Herry Hoobin (5 votes). Most notably, three current lacrosse inductees in the BC Sports Hall of Fame from the same playing era – Alex Turnbull, Cliff Spring, and John Crookall – only managed to received 1 vote (for Turnbull) amongst them.
As a fitting, final tribute to his career, Newsy Lalonde was an obvious choice for the initial inductees to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965 in the ‘field player’ category.
A leading scorer for the Canadiens in six years, Lalonde served as captain from 1915 to 1921. He was a member of the first Montreal Canadiens team to win the Stanley Cup in 1916. He was scoring champion seven times in the National Hockey Association, Pacific Coast Hockey Association, National Hockey League and Western Hockey League, an unprecedented feat in the major professional ranks and unsurpassed until Wayne Gretzky's tenth scoring title in 1994. From 1910 to 1954, he held the record for the most goals scored by a major league hockey player, including his pre-NHL totals—455 goals, a record later broken by Maurice Richard. On a more personal level, he was said to have been one of the meanest players of his time; hated by opposition players and even by some of his teammates. As a coach, he once punched one of his players who tried to stand up to him, as a warning to the team, that he would not take any talk-back.
In 1950, Lalonde was named athlete of the half century in lacrosse. He was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1965, and the Sports Hall of Fame of Canada. He had lit the torch when the Sports Hall of Fame opened in Toronto in August 1955.
In 1998 he was ranked number 32 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, making him the highest-ranking player on the list who had played in a professional league before the founding of the NHL.
|1926–27||New York Americans||NHL||1||0||0||0||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|1909||Vancouver Lacrosse Club||BCLA||10||25||-||25||6||48|
|1911||Vancouver Lacrosse Club||BCLA||14||16||-||16||13||97|
|1912||Vancouver Lacrosse Club||BCLA||10||15||-||15||11||91|
|1913||Vancouver Lacrosse Club||BCLA||7||16||-||16||2||10|
|1923||did not play|