Since it formed in 1917, the National Hockey League® had seen many teams come and go. In 1942, the disbanding of the Brooklyn (formerly New York) Americans brought the number of teams to six. The Boston Bruins®, Chicago Black Hawks®, Detroit Red Wings®, Montreal Canadiens®, New York Rangers® and Toronto Maple Leafs® would become known as the Original Six™ teams, and remained stable opponents for a quarter century until the NHL® doubled in size in 1967.
In this quarter century, lasting legends were born. Toronto and Montréal built hockey dynasties: the Leafs won the Stanley Cup® nine times, the last time in 1967; the Canadiens won 10, including five consecutive titles between 1956 and 1960.
These were the golden years of the players on bubble-gum scented cards in every schoolboy’s pocket – Maurice “the Rocket” Richard, Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Orr, Jacques Plante, and so many others. As television sets replaced radios, Foster Hewitt brought games to life on Hockey Night in Canada in English-speaking homes with the expression “He shoots ... he scores!” In French Canada, “Et c’est le but!” became a familiar expression thanks to René Lecavalier, the host of La Soirée du hockey.
When fans of the Original Six era called for “-DEE-fence, DEE-fence,” their wish was answered by six Canadian superstars who are featured in our 2014 issue of Original Six defencemen: Tim Horton, Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr, Harry Howell, Pierre Pilote and Red Kelly. Their story – and that of the six teams in what some call the greatest hockey era ever – is told through these stamps.
With this special issue, imagine yourself in the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens or the storied Montreal Forum. Picture your seat in Chicago’s “Madhouse on Madison,” Detroit’s “Old Red Barn,” or New York’s Madison Square Garden. Dream of watching Bobby Orr score a championship-winning goal at the Boston “Gahden.” These six blue-line heroes take to the ice again as we present another chapter of the history of the NHL.
Doug Harvey, born in Montréal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood, joined the Montreal Canadiens full-time for the 1948-49 season. He quickly became known for controlling the pace of the game by carrying the puck until he was ready to make a play. The team won the Stanley Cup in 1953, an early sign of the record-setting five consecutive championships the Canadiens would earn between 1956 and 1960.
Harvey’s defensive skill earned him 10 appearances on the First All-Star Team and anchored the legendary Montreal lineup that included Maurice Richard, Jacques Plante, Jean Béliveau and Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion. During this record-setting period for the Canadiens, Harvey was awarded the Norris Trophy in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1960.
Following the 1960 win, team captain Maurice Richard retired and Harvey took over. He held the title for just one year – a season that earned him a sixth Norris Trophy – before being traded to the New York Rangers in 1961. There he won his final Norris Trophy. Before retiring in 1969, Harvey played for various teams including the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues®.