The Eastern Hockey League existed from 1933-34 to 1972-73. Although classified as an amateur league, players were paid as professionals. The amateur status meant that the league was governed by the AHA and was not under the control of the National Hockey League.
The EHL shone much brighter offensively than the National Hockey League. Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard was the first to scored 50 goals in the NHL. Richard accomplished this in 1944-45 and it is still considered an amazing feat since each team in the league only played a 50 game schedule at the time. Yet, the EHL beat the NHL to the punch for the first 50, 60 and 70 goal scorers.
Herb Foster became the first EHL player to score 50 goals in a season when he recorded 52 markers in 52 games with the Atlantic City Sea Gulls in 1938-39. His 52 goals and 75 points led the EHL that season. Foster played pro hockey from 1931-32 to 1949-50. He was with the Sea Gulls for the first eight years and returned for one last season in 1949-50.
Foster led the EHL in goals for the three seasons prior to his historic performance in 1938-39. He also led the league in points in 1936-37 and 1937-38. Herb appeared in five National Hockey League games during his career, four in 1940-41 and one in 1947-48, all with the New York Rangers. He coached the Sea Gulls for three seasons, 1949-50 to 1951-52, the first as player / head coach, before completely retiring from the game.
Only two years later in 1940-41, Norm Burns upped the EHL ante with 67 goals in 64 games for the Washington Eagles. He became the first of 23 EHL 60 goal scorers. Burns led the EHL in goals and in points with 93. Norm played pro hockey from 1939-40 to 1948-49. He appeared in eleven games for the New York Rangers in 1941-42, contributing four assists.
In 1945-46, Norm acted as head coach of the USHL’s St. Paul Saints while still playing. The team finished fourth in the seven team league and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Kansas City Pla-Mors, four games to two.
In 1962-63, Chuck Stuart of the Philadelphia Ramblers made a mockery of Norm’s mark. In 66 regular season games, Stuart scored an amazing 78 goals. The mark remains eternally as a single season record for the defunct league. He led the league in goals and his 153 points also topped the EHL. On a less than stellar Ramblers team that finished seventh out of nine teams and scored 287 goals, Chuck Stuart scored 27.2% of the team’s goals and he had a point on an astounding 53.3%.
Chuck was a career EHLer, playing his entire pro hockey career in the league from 1956-57 to 1968-69. In just 734 career regular season games, he scored 513 goals and assisted on 608 for 1,121 points. He had five straight 100+ points seasons from 1961-62 to 1965-66 and scored more than 50 goals in four seasons, including 58 over 62 games in his rookie year.