Hall, JoeDate of Death: 1919-04-05
Date of Birth: 1881-05-03
* Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
Born in Staffordshire, England in 1882, Joe Hall moved to Canada with his parents in 1884, taking up residence briefly in Winnipeg before moving to Brandon, MB.
At the beginning of his career, Joe Hall was a forward, however he found his rugged style of play more suited to defence. Playing his early hockey for the Brandon Regals and the Winnipeg Rowing Club in the Manitoba Hockey League (M.H.L.), Joe exhibited a scoring touch, counting 25 goals in 20 games from 1902-1905.
Hall had his first dalliance with the Stanley Cup when the Winnipeg Rowing Club participated in a Stanley Cup challenge loss to the Ottawa Silver Seven in 1903. Turning pro in 1905-06, Hall joined the Portage Lake - Houghton club of the International Hockey League. Named to the IHL's First All-Star Team after scoring 33 goals in 20 games, Joe also lead the notoriously rough IHL with 98 penalty minutes, earning the nickname "Bad Joe" Hall for his aggressive style of play.
Returning to Brandon for the 1906-1907 season, the Kenora Thistles 'borrowed' Hall for a Stanley Cup challenge. Despite not seeing the ice, Bad Joe's presence was likely noticed by the opposition as the Thistles claimed hockey's top prize. He would return to finish the season with Brandon scoring 14 goals in nine games.
Hockey in this era was a violent sport and Joe Hall would simply never back down. His reputation would court trouble with players wanting to establish a name by taking him on. After a number of violent incidents, Joe was suspended by the Manitoba Hockey League for rough play. Hall felt he was being given unfair attention due to his reputation. Indeed, all those who knew him would say that he was one of the games nicest people and the 'Bad Joe' moniker unfair.
Hall headed east eventually joining the Montreal Shamrocks for the 1907 season. After a brief return west, Hall helped the Winnipeg Maple Leafs into a play-off to earn another crack at the Stanley Cup, losing to the Winnipeg Shamrocks. Hall would join the National Hockey Association Quebec Bulldogs the following year where he would remain for seven seasons and two Stanley Cup victories.
Joe Hall's rough play was always creating headlines and he had many run-ins on the ice, most notably with the Montreal Canadiens' Newsy Lalonde. When the NHL opened for business in 1917, the Quebec Bulldogs franchise was dissolved and the Montreal Canadiens did not hesitate to grab Joe Hall in the dispersal draft. Lalonde and Hall were now teammates, and would soon become good friends.
Hall registered 15 points and earned 100 penalty minutes in his first season with the Canadiens, however the Habs would miss the 1917-18 playoffs. The following year Lalonde and new teammate Odie Cleghorn went on scoring rampages while Hall racked up a career high, league-leading 130 PIMs. The Canadiens would claim the NHL title and head west in the spring of 1919 to challenge the Pacific Coast Hockey League's Seattle Metropolitans for the Stanley Cup.
Some of the finest hockey ever would be played under the shadow of the global Spanish influenza virus pandemic of 1918 that claimed the lives of between 5 million to 10 million people across the world. The series proved an exhausting affair with game four a 100 minute overtime battle that had the small rosters of both teams collapsing on their benches. Prior to game five which Montreal won, many players were complaining of feeling unwell, Joe in particular was unable to finish the game and was hospitalized.
After five games, the final was knotted at two wins and a tie apiece but with several Canadiens seriously ill, the series was cancelled on April 1, 1919. Joe Hall's condition worsened and his wife was sent for. While enroute by train from Brandon, she was given the devastating news. Joe Hall was dead at the age of 36.
The hockey community rallied together to play a number of exhibition games the following year and build a trust fund for Joe's family.
Joe Hall was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.