Joe Hall moved to Canada at the age of two and his family settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba before moving to Brandon, Manitoba at the turn of the last century. Hall joined the Brandon Regals of the Manitoba Senior League in 1902 and played as an amateur with the Winnipeg rowing Club before turning professional in 1905-06 with the Houghton-Portage Lakes of the International Hockey League. He was an IHL first team All-star that year, scoring 33 goals in 20 games and leading the league with 98 penalty minutes. At this stage of his career he played as a forward but would leave his mark on the hockey world as a warlike defenseman who himself met a tragic end.
Hall was a rough and tumble defenseman in professional hockey's early days but at times he regretted his violent outbursts, saying once that he was "giving a dog a bad name." He played with the Stanley Cup champion Quebec Bulldogs during the 1911-12 and 1912-13 seasons and had developed a nasty feud with the Montreal Canadiens star forward Newsy Lalonde since the early days of the National Hockey Association.
When the National hockey League formed from the ashes of the NHA in 1917 the Quebec team took a sabbatical for financial reasons and their players were offered up to the four remaining NHL clubs through a dispersal draft. Hall's services were picked up by the Canadiens and the old adversaries, now teammates, roomed together and became the best of friends.
In the spring of 1919 the NHL champion Canadiens headed to Seattle, Washington, to take on the Pacific Coast Hockey Association champion Metropolitans in a best-of-five Stanley Cup final. The series stood at two wins each and a tie when health officials cancelled the deciding game because of the influenza epidemic that had spread to many parts of North America.
Hall and almost all of his teammates had become ill during the series and a number required hospitalization. Everyone recovered except for Hall who contracted pneumonia as a result of the flu and died in hospital on April 5, 1919.
Joe Hall was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.