Lalonde Family History: Hockey Superstar
by Eric Lalonde (Ericllnd@aol.com)
The Lalonde family can truly boast of producing one of the greatest players ever to play the game. Edouard Charles (Newsy) Lalonde was the dominant player during the first 25 years of hockey according to no less an authority than the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Newsy was born in Cornwall, Ont. October 31, 1887 and as a youth worked in the newsprint plant. That's where he acquired the nickname Newsy. He began his professional career with the Cornwall Rovers in 1905 when he was only 16. In 1906 he became a member of the senior Woodstock club and in 1908 moved to the Toronto Arenas of Canada's first all-professional league the Ontario Professional Hockey League. That year he won the scoring championship with 29 goals in 9 games and played against the Montreal Wanderers for the Stanley Cup. Toronto lost 6-4.
Lalonde Plays In First Ever Canadiens Game
After two seasons with Toronto he moved to the Montreal Canadiens. The Montreal Canadiens played their first game ever on Wednesday January 5th,1910 at the Jubilee Rink a 3,500 seat natural ice arena that was located in Montreal's East End at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Moreau St. Newsy Lalonde was in the lineup for the Canadiens for that game and scored two goals before being hit in the ankle with a puck and leaving the game. Montreal won the game 7-6 in overtime over the Cobalt Silver Kings. As the Canadiens owner J. Ambrose O'Brien owned four of the five teams in the National Hockey Association he decided to lend Newsy Lalonde to the Renfrew team for the balance of the season where he scored 38 goals bringing his total for the year to 40. In 1911 Lalonde returned to the Canadiens but his goal production dropped to 19 in 16 games.
Traded To Vancouver
At the end of the 1911 season Newsy was traded to Frank Patrick's Vancouver Millionaires for Ernest Dubeau. He flourished in Vancouver scoring 27 goals in 15 games and winning the league scoring championship. In fact his goal per game average that year is the higher than that of any other Vancouver major league hockey player.
The next year he was traded back to Montreal for Didier Pitre. That year he got 25 goals but finished fifth in scoring behind Joe Malone of Quebec who scored 43 goals in 20 games.
In 1915 Newsy Lalonde was a holdout and only played 6 games before retiring for the season.
Wins Scoring Championship, Canadiens Win Stanley Cup
By the beginning of the next season he had come to terms with the team and enjoyed an excellent year. He won the scoring championship with 31 goals and scored three goals in the playoffs as the Canadiens beat out the Portland Rosebuds 3 games to 2 to win their first of 24 Stanley Cups.
The series did not start out too well for Lalonde as he was under the weather with the flu. He played the first game which the Canadiens lost 2-0 and missed the second. He came back in game three and scored a goal to help the Canadiens to a 6-3 win. In the fourth game Newsy scored with a minute left to play but it was not enough as Portland won 6-5 to tie the series at 2-2. Lalonde didn't score in the final game won by the Canadiens 2-1 on a late third period goal by "Goldie" Prodgers a defenseman who only played one season for the Canadiens. So the proud Lalonde name is engraved on the Stanley Cup as a member of the first Montreal Canadiens champion and Newsy pocketed the magnificent sum of $238 paid to each member of the championship team.
Canadiens Lose Stanley Cup to Seattle, Lalonde in Brawl
The following season Lalonde got 27 goals and played in the Stanley Cup final. That year the Canadiens traveled out west to meet the Seattle Metropolitans. In the second game of that series he didn't display his best sportsmanship. He drew five penalties including a game misconduct and a $25 fine for butt-ending referee Jock Irvine during a brawl. Overall it wasn't a good series for either Lalonde or the Canadiens. He only scored 2 goals and Seattle won the series 3 games to 1 to become the first American team to win the Cup. This also was the last time the Montreal Canadiens played in the National Hockey Association.
Plays in First Ever NHL Game
The National Hockey League was born on November 26th 1917 with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Arenas as charter members. Newsy Lalonde participated in the first NHL game ever December 19th, 1917 when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4. While Lalonde scored 23 goals that season the Canadiens finished in the cellar.
Joe Hall Dies in Flu Epidemic, Stanley Cup Cancelled
In 1919 the Canadiens made it to the Stanley Cup final by defeating Ottawa 3 games to 2. Their western opponents were once again the Seattle Metropolitans. After five games in the series both teams had two wins and one game ended in a tie. Newsy Lalonde had scored 17 goals in the ten playoff games.
The final game scheduled for April 1st, 1919 was never played. Joe Hall, Manager Kennedy, Billy Coutu, Jack McDonald and Newsy Lalonde were all hospitalized with influenza. Joe Hall died in the Seattle Receiving Hospital April 5, 1919. The Stanley Cup final series was canceled.
Canadiens Sold, Newsy Holds Out
In 1921 the Canadiens finished out of the playoffs and Newsy Lalonde finished third in scoring. Early in the 1922 season the Canadiens were sold to Joseph Cattarinich, Louis A. Letourneau and Leo Dandurand. Newsy Lalonde walked out in a dispute with Leo Dandurand and held out for four games. He then played 20 games playing well below his normal level and only scored 9 goals. His performance prompted Leo Dandurand to trade him to the Saskatoon Sheiks of the PCHL for Aurel Joliat who was to become another Canadiens superstar on a line with Howie Morenz.
Traded to Saskatoon
Newsy was now coming to the end of his career. In 1923 he regained his form when he got 29 goals in 26 games then he tailed off to 10 and 4 the next two years. In 1926 he moved to the New York Americans but only played one game for them before retiring.
Named Coach of the Montreal Canadiens
By 1932 he had settled his differences with Leo Dandurand and was named coach of the Canadiens. His first year as coach the Canadiens barely made the playoffs and lost in the semi-finals to the Rangers. The next season the Canadiens lost again in the first round of the playoffs, this time to the Blackhawks. In 1935, as happens to all losing coaches, Newsy was let go.
During his career with the Canadiens he was the leading scorer on six occasions. He captained the team from 1915-1921 and was a member of the first Montreal Canadiens team to win the Stanley Cup in 1916. He was scoring champion five times while playing in the National Hockey Association, Pacific Coast Hockey Association and National Hockey League.
He also held the record for the most goals scored by a professional hockey player from 1910 to 1954. It was his record of 441 goals that Maurice Richard passed. His total of 441 is much more than the 324 of Nels Stewart recognized as the modern record of the National Hockey League.
Statistics in the old days were not kept as well as they are today. With the few exceptions of great players like Lalonde who had the foresight to keep a scrapbook, it is impossible to get accurate statistics even after exhaustive research.
I have managed to assemble a partial list of Newsy Lalonde's career statistics.
While doing all this in the winter he was also a great lacrosse player in the summer when lacrosse was the national sport of Canada. During these early days he could get more money playing lacrosse than he could playing hockey. Around 1910 he made up to $5,000 per season playing lacrosse while as late as 1920 he couldn't get more than $2,000 a year playing hockey. His salary in 1910-11 for the Montreal Canadiens was $1,300 which was one of the highest at the time.
In 1950 he was named athlete of the half century in lacrosse. He was also elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Sports Hall of Fame of Canada. He had the honour to light the torch at the opening of the Sports Hall of Fame at Toronto in August 1955.
Edouard (Newsy) Lalonde died at the age of 83 on November 21, 1970.
© 2002 Chris Lalonde & Eric Lalonde Updated: July 20, 2004