The NHL had played two previous All-Star games as benefits, for Ace Bailey in 1934 and for Howie Morenz's family in 1937. But the All-Star game as an annual event began in 1947, as a pre-season game pitting the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs, against a team of all-stars from the other five NHL teams. The All-Stars won, 4-3.
Seven games into the season, the Maple Leafs made the biggest trade in NHL history, sending five players to the Chicago Black Hawks for center Max Bentley and rookie winger Cy Thomas. Thomas played in only eight games for Toronto, but Bentley gave their offense a major boost and the Leafs ended up first place, five points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings.
After eliminating the Boston Bruins in a five-game semifinal, Toronto swept Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals.