Hockey Central
All-Star History I
Benefit Games Led to All-Star Tradition

Although the 1997 All-Star game is considered the 47th, there were in fact three All-Star matches played prior to 1947.


On February 14, 1934 a standing-room only crowd jammed Maple Leaf Gardens to watch the defending Stanley Cup champion Toronto squad defeat the NHL All-Stars, 7-3.

The contest was played as a tribute to Garnet "Ace" Bailey, the former Maple Leaf, whose career ended prematurely due to a fractured skull. Bailey had been checked by Boston Bruins defenseman Eddie Shore during a game and landed on his head.

The game provided one of hockey's most memorable moments as Shore, a member of the NHL All-Star team, shook hands with Bailey during the pregame ceremony at center ice.


The second benefit All-Star game was played November 3, 1937 in Montreal and pitted the two Montreal teams at the time-the Canadiens and Maroons-against the NHL All-Stars. The contest was played in honor of Howie Morenz, the former Canadiens great who suffered a broken leg during a game against Chicago on January 28, 1937, and died March 8, 1937 of a fatal heart attack.

The "Stratford Streak," as Morenz was known, had been one of the most popular figures in pro sports at the time. Prior to the game, an auction was held to raise money for the Morenz family. Among the items on the block was Morenz' uniform, which former Canadiens owner Joe Cattarinich purchased for $500 and then promptly presented it to Howie Jr. Including gate receipts and other donations, more than $20,000 was raised.

Some names of note who participated in that game were "King" Clancy, coach of the Maroons, who made his last appearance as a player in that game, Toe Blake and Babe Siebert, who skated for the Montreal squad. Pacing the All-Star team to a 6-5 victory was Charlie Conacher, Cecil Dillon and Johnny Gottselig each with a goal and an assist. Johnny Gagnon, Morenz' former linemate, led the way with two goals and an assist.


The Babe Siebert Memorial Game was played on October 29, 1939, as a tribute to the former NHL star who had drowned during the off season. Albert Charles Siebert, affectionately known, as "Babe," had been appointed head coach of the Montreal Canadiens for the 1939-40 season and was a very popular figure in the hockey world.

Following the tragic drowning, the NHL Board of Governor's organized a third All-Star game, immediately preceding the start of the regular season, with all proceeds going to the Hall-of-Famer's family.

For the first time ever the All-Star team, voted upon by the Canadian Press in 1938-39, served as the criteria for selection of players to the All-Star squad. Among those chosen were Eddie Shore and "Busher" Jackson, the only two players to appear in each of the three All-Star games played thus far. King Clancy, who had appeared in the previous two contests as a player, returned in a new capacity, this time as a referee.

The All-Stars downed the Canadiens, 5-2, in a game which saw more than $15,000 raised for Siebert's widow and children. Syl Apps and Johnny Gottselig spearheaded the All-Stars' attack on the Canadiens. Apps notched a goal and three assists, while Gottselig posted a goal and two assists.