This is the only recognized rookie card of one of hockey's most prolific scorers. Maurice “The Rocket” Richard of the Montreal Canadiens, with
surprising strength and tremendous quickness, was able to get the puck past many goalies during his career. In fact, Richard would finish his career
with 544 regular season goals (becoming the first player to reach 500), which included a season of 50 goals in 50 games (1944-45). That feat would
not be repeated again until 1981! Richard also scored 82 postseason goals along the way. At the time of his retirement, Richard had set 17 NHL records, including the aforementioned 50/50 accomplishment. In addition to Richard's offensive excellence, he also was part of eight Stanley Cup championship teams and earned one Hart Trophy (1947) in his career. This 14-time NHL All-Star and former team captain was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. This card measures approximately 1 ¾" by 2 ½" and suffers from a host of condition obstacles, including poor centering, subpar paper stock and ink bleeding, much like 1930s Goudey baseball issues.
Joseph Henri Maurice “The Rocket” Richard (August 4, 1921 - May 27, 2000) raised the bar in the NHL when he joined the struggling Montreal Canadiens in 1942 with his intimidating playing style highlighted by his scoring touch, blazing speed, artful stickhandling ability and unmatched passion for winning. The Richard brothers, Maurice and fellow Hall of Famer Henri, grew up in the tough area of Bordeaux in Montreal where hockey became an outlet. Maurice suffered through numerous injuries early on, but his scoring prowess was evident in midgets when he scored 133 goals in 46 games. Montreal reluctantly signed the oft-injured left wing, quickly converting him to a right wing, and teaming him with fellow Hall of Famers Elmer Lach and Toe Blake on what was affectionately known as “The Punch Line.” The Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in Maurice’s first full season, ending a 12-year drought. In his second full season in Montreal (1944-45), Richard scored a record 50 goals in 50 games, an astounding feat for the era. He led the NHL that season in goals and would do so again on four other occasions. First dubbed The Comet, teammate Ray Getliffe was so impressed by Maurice’s blazing speed during practice, he compared him to a rocket, and the nickname stuck for the remainder of Richard’s life. From 1951-1960, the Montreal Canadiens appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals every year winning six times, including five consecutive years (1956-1960).
The Rocket’s temper was legendary and opponents took every advantage of this, goading the sniper into bad penalties trying to have him removed from games to turn momentum in their favor. In 1954, Richard’s actions in a game against the rival Boston Bruins, where he retaliated against Bruins’ Hal Laycoe’s high stick, exploded into an unthinkable situation. As Richard approached Laycoe, a linesman stepped in and Richard knocked him unconscious with two punches. The NHL’s president, Clarence Campbell, stepped in and suspended Maurice for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, the longest suspension in league history. Richard had been leading the league in scoring at the time with the Habs vying for first place. The suspension erupted into a riot at the Montreal Forum as Clarence Campbell appeared at the Canadiens next home game against Detroit to decide first place. The Habs forfeited the game and the riot is known as the “Richard Riot.” The Rocket played 18 seasons with Les Habitants (1942-1960), was named to eight NHL All-Star First Teams and played in 13 consecutive NHL All-Star Games (1947-1959). In 1946-47, Maurice “the Rocket” Richard won his only Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. Richard finished his career as the game’s all-time goal scoring leader with 544 adding 421 assists for 965 points in 978 games. In the playoffs, Maurice scored 82 goals and 44 assists in 144 games taking home eight Stanley Cup Championships (1944, 1946, 1953, 1956-1960). Maurice Richard was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, after the mandatory three-year waiting period was waved. The Montreal Canadiens donated The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy to the NHL, which is annually given to the league’s goal scoring leader. In 1998, The Hockey News named Richard the fifth best player in their 100 Greatest Players list.