One of the most gifted and prolific goal scorers ever to play the game, Joe Malone became an enduring legend for decades after his retirement. While known for his unique upright skating style and revered for his excellent conduct on the ice, what set "Phantom" Joe Malone apart from the rest was an ability to find openings and weave his way through the defensive alignments of the opposition. Deceptively quick, Malone was the fastest player in the pros and possessed a lethal instinct around the net.
A native of Sillery, a suburb of Quebec City, Malone grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. He was a well-rounded athlete, playing hockey, lacrosse and baseball as a boy. At 17, he played with the Quebec City Crescents in his first organized hockey game. In 1909 Malone graduated to the Quebec Bulldogs of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association, where he offered a preview of his future brilliance by accounting for eight goals in 12 games. The following year Malone played two games in Quebec, but the team ceased operations when it refused to join the newly formed National Hockey Association. He finished up the 1909-10 season with Waterloo of the Ontario Professional Hockey League.
Quebec reacquired Malone when they joined the NHA in 1911 and immediately installed him as captain. The Phantom enjoyed an outstanding seven-year career with the Bulldogs, during which the club won the Stanley Cup twice and Malone led the league in scoring for three years. The team emerged as Stanley Cup winners after taking the regular-season title in 1912. In March of that year, the Bulldogs crushed the challengers from Moncton, New Brunswick, with Malone and linemate Jack McDonald accumulating 14 of the team's 17 goals.
The 1912-13 season witnessed a powerful offensive display by Malone as he won the scoring race with 43 goals in 20 games. He centered a dominant forward line with Tommy Smith and Jack Marks. His Quebec team romped to a first-place finish in the regular season and went on to humiliate Sydney, Nova Scotia, in the Stanley Cup finals, with Malone scoring a stunning nine goals in the first match on March 8, 1913. And he continued to score at an unprecedented pace over the next four seasons, earning another scoring title in 1917.
The Bulldogs didn't join the NHL when it was formed in December 1917 and Malone soon found himself playing left wing in a Montreal Canadiens uniform. He scored a personal-best 44 goals in 20 games as part of an outstanding line with Newsy Lalonde and Didier Pitre.
Malone remained with the Canadiens for one more season before returning to Quebec for the 1919-20 schedule. It was during his last game for his hometown club against Toronto that Malone scored seven goals to establish an NHL record never matched, even by the likes of Richard, Hull, Esposito, Gretzky or Lemieux.
Malone spent the 1920-21 and 1921-22 seasons with the Hamilton Tigers, where he assumed the dual responsibilities of player and coach. He demonstrated that his offensive skill was still intact by recording 51 goals in 44 games over the two seasons. After refusing to attend the Tigers' training camp in 1922, Malone was sent back to Montreal and spent his last two years as a substitute with the Montreal Canadiens. The team won the Stanley Cup during his final NHL season in 1923-24.
One of hockey's most naturally gifted scorers, Malone totaled 343 goals in 273 regular-season contests between 1909 and 1924. He scored five or more goals in a single game 10 times in his career. Malone is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.