What we’ve seen over the past few weeks is the very best of the worlds hockey players representing their countries and competing against each other in the Olympics. Now that opportunity only comes once every four years but on a yearly basis since 1947 we’ve seen the best of the National Hockey League showcased in an All-Star Game.
In the early years of the All-Star Game the defending Stanley Cup champions would play a selection of players from around the league. That format has changed over the years, to East vs. West, North America vs. the World, back to East vs. West, and most recently a fantasy draft with the Captains making selections from a group of players voted on by fans and chosen by the NHL.
However, the original All-Star Game took place in the form of the Ace Bailey Benefit Game at Maple Leaf Gardens on February 14, 1934. Ace Bailey had been injured earlier on in the season so badly that he would never play another game. This game was for him. Prior to the game they retired his number 6, marking the first time a professional sports team would retire a number. And Eddie Shore, the man that delivered the hit to Bailey, would present Bailey with his All-Star sweater putting the hit behind them and representing forgiveness. The Toronto Maple Leafs faced a selection of players from around the league and while they had hoped that it would be a yearly event from then on, it would only become that 13 years later.
This is a photo of the Leafs team that defeated the best from the rest of the NHL by a score of 7-3.