Sure, it’s Valentine’s Day. But today mark’s the anniversary of the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, and essentially, the first All Star Game. On February 14, 1934 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in front of 14,074 spectators watched The Toronto Maple Leafs defeat a team comprised of the top players from the rest of the league. The final score was 7-3, for The Leafs.
This game was not for league revenue, rather charity. Bailey’s career ended due a violent hit by Eddie Shore earlier in the 1933–34 season. Bailey suffered a near fatal skull fracture, but recovered enough to participate in the benefit game by shaking the hands and presenting gifts to all of the participating players. When nearing Shore, the crowd is said to have silenced. Bailey would extend his hand to Shore, and the crowd is said to have burst into a roar of approval.
During the ceremonies, The Maple Leafs stated that no player on the team would wear Bailey’s number 6 again. This marks the first time in NHL history that a team retired a player’s sweater number.
The game generated $20,909 in money for Bailey, and he would subsequently receive an additional $6,000 from the Boston Bruins.
For more information, Wikipedia has an excellent amount of information. Click here.
Here is a short little documentary, as well.