The positions in
hockey at that time were somewhat
different than today. Today a team lines up as:
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
But back then the
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
The Point and Cover Point were defensemen. The Rover was a combination defenseman/forward, similar to a midfielder in soccer. Until 1912 substitution was not allowed. The starters went all the way. Even after substitution was legalized the best players played most of the game, being replaced only for brief rests.
Frank and Lester Patrick moved out west when their father relocated his lumber business to British Columbia. There they founded the Pacific Coast Hockey Association in 1911-12. A number of NHA stars jumped to the new league, establishing it immediately as a Major League. Some very talented players, like Cyclone Taylor, played in the PCHA. The inaugural PCHA teams were the Vancouver Millionaires with Frank Patrick, the Victoria Aristocrats with Lester Patrick and the New Westminster Royals. That season the NHA eliminated the Rover position (a cost move, perhaps?) but the PCHA retained the Rover. When PCHA and NHL teams met for the Stanley Cup the Rover was used for PCHA home games but not for NHA (later NHL) home games, just as is done with the DH in baseball today.
The National Hockey League was formed in November of 1917. The teams in the National Hockey Association, the forerunner of the NHL, met to discuss what to do with Toronto owner Eddie Livingston. Livingston apparently was unpopular with the other owners and a disruptive force in the league. So the other owners simply started a new league without him, a move reminiscent of the founding of the National League in baseball when the stronger teams in the National Association left to form their own league. The original NHL franchises were the Montreal Canadiens, the Montreal Wanderers, the Toronto Arenas, the Ottawa Senators and the Quebec Bulldogs, although the Bulldogs did not field a team until the 1919-20 season. Of the 49 players who played in 1917-18 season, 19 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In 1921-22 a third league was formed in the West, the Western Canada Hockey League, with teams in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon. In 1922-23 and 1923-24 the WCHL and the PCHA played an interlocking schedule with each team playing two games againt each team in the other league. Before the 1924-25 season the Seattle team in the PCHA folded. It's hard to have a league with only two teams, so the remaining teams merged with the WCHL to form a six team league. The league was renamed the Wesern Hockey League for the 1925-26 season, but that was to be the last year for the league.
In 1926-27 the NHL expanded into two divisions of five teams each, with many of the WHL players moving to the NHL. Players such as Frank Foyston, Dick Irvin and Eddie Shore would excel in the NHL as they had in the PCHA and WHL. For all practical purposes the NHL was now the only major professional hockey league.
The NHL season
disks featured here take the
NHL from that first year of 1917-18 up to the realignment into two
in 1926-27; all seasons of the PCHA and all seasons of the
NHA disks are still under construction.
The Cobalt and Haileybury teams withdrew from the league, the Montreal Canadiens were replaced by a different franchise with the identical name, and the Quebec Bulldogs, a former ECHA team joined the league. The Ottawa Senators, behind the scoring of Marty Walsh, Dubbie Kerr, Bruce Ridpath and Jack Darraugh claimed the league championship with a 13-3 record.. Walsh and Kerr were 1-2 in the scoring race, Walsh with 37 goals and Kerr with 32. Don Smith of Refrew was third with 26. Percy LeSeuer was the best of the goalies.
The Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Galt Professionals of the OPHL and Port Arthur.
This season the
game was changed from having
two 30 minutes halves to having three 20 minute periods.
Renfrew lef the NHA reducing the number of teams to four. The Quebec Bulldogs, cellar dwellers the year before, won the league championship led by "Phantom" Joe Malone and Jack Marshall. Skene Ronan led the league with 35 goals, followed by Didier Pitre and Ernie Russell with 27 each. Goalie Paddy Moran was a major factor in Quebec winning the title. In the PCHA the New Westminster Royals won the league championship in the PCHA's first season. Newsy Lalonde (27 goals), Harry Hyland (26 goals) and Tommy Dunderdale (24 goals) hotly contested the scoring race. Ernie Johnson began his peak years as the best defender in the PCHA.
The Bulldogs defeated the Moncton Maritimers for the Stanley Cup.
The NHA did away
with the Rover position this
year and also limited team rosters to nine players. Player
during a game were allowed for the first time.
The Toronto Blueshirsts and Toronto Tecumsehs joined the NHA making it a six team league again. The Quebec Bulldogs again win the league championship with a 16-4 record. Quebecers Joe Malone, 43 goals in 20 games, and Tommy Smith, 39 goals in 12 games, lead the scorers. Paddy Moran is easily the best goalie in the league this year, as Quebec excels at both offense and defense.
The Victoria Aristocrats win the PCHA championship behind Tommy Dunderdale's league leading 24 goals. Several players tie for second with 14 goals. Bert Lindsay is again the top goalie.
Bulldogs defeated the Sydney Millionaires
for the Stanley Cup. Joe Malone continued his scoring ways,
nine goals in the opening game.
The Toronto Tecumsehs are renamed the Ontarios, but it's the other Toronto franchise, the Blueshirts, who win the league championship. Tommy Smith of Quebec leads all scorers with 39 goals, followed by Wanderers Gord Roberts and Harry Hyland with 31 and 30 goals respectively. Newsy Lalonde, with 22 goals in 14 games may be the finest all around player in the league. Goalie Harry "Hap" Holmes of the Blueshirts provides the defense necessary for the Blueshirt's win.
The Victoria Aristocrats again win the PCHA championship as Tommy Dunderdale ties for the lead in goals scored with Cyclone Taylor at 24. In the PCHA the blue lines are added to the ice and forward passing is allowed between the blue lines.
defeat the Aristocrats for the
Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup playoffs in the future will be
the NHA/NHL winner and PCHA winner.
The Toronto Ontarios, nee Tecumsehs, were agained renamed, this time to the Shamrocks. But it didn't help, as they still finished below .500. The Ottawa Senators repeated as NHA champion, despite the jumping of Frank Nighbor and Hap Holmes to the PCHA. Punch Broadbent and Clint Benedict were added to the team to offset the losses. Clint Benedict began a career as one of the finest goalies of all time. Didier Pitre of the Canadiens and Gord Roberts of the Wanderers led the league in scoring with 30 and 29 goals respectively.
The Royals relocated to Portland as the Rosebuds. the Vancouver Millionaires dominated the league, playing both outstanding offense and defense. Mickey MacKay's 33 goals led the league followed by Frank Nighbor and Cyclone Taylor, both at 23. All three played for the Millionaires, as did Hugh Lehman, the top goalie in the league.
The owner of the Toronto Shamrocks bought the Toronto Blueshirts, merged the two teams and named the combined team the Blueshirts. The Montreal Canadiens won the NHA championship, led by the line of Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre and Jack Laviollette, the original Flying Frenchmen. Lalonde led all goal scorers with 28 goals. Joe Malone of Quebec was second with 25 and Cy Denneny of the Blueshirts was third with 24.
Out West the Seattle Metropolitans joined the PCHA, bringing the membership to four. Seattle was partly staffed by raiding the Blueshirts for most of their top players. The Portland Rosebuds led the league behind the scoring of Charley Tobin and the goaltending of Tommy Murray. Tobin and Bernie Morris of Seattle tied for the goal scoring lead at 23. Cyclone Taylor had 22 goals for Vancouver and led the league in total points with 35.
defeated Seattle for
the Stanley cup led by the scoring of Pitre and the goaltending of
In the PCHA, the Victoria Aristocrats moved to Spokane and were known as the Canaries, for the bright yellow color of their uniforms. The Seattle Metropolitans won the league championship behind the scoring of Bernie Morris (37 goals) and Frank Foyston (36 goals). They were second and third respectively. Gord Roberts led the league with 43 goals. Dick Irvin was fourth with 35 goals. Hap Holmes and Hugh Lehman were the top goalies.
Metropolitans defeated the
Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. This marked the first time
the Cup had been won by an American team.
The Montreal Wanderers won the first NHL game, beating Toronto 10-9, then lost three in a row. Things went from bad to worse as the Westmount Arena, home to both the Wanderers and the Canadiens, burned to the ground. The Canadiens moved to Jubilee Arena and the Wanderers dropped out of the league. Since the Wanderers had played Ottawa twice and Toronto and Canadiens once, Toronto and Canadiens were awarded a forfeit victory, making the Wanderers record 1-5. The league played a split season, with Canadiens winning the first half and Toronto winning the second half. Ottawa star Frank Nighbor, however, missed half the season and things might have been different had he played in all of his team's games. Toronto won the two game, total goals playoff 10-7.
Up until this year goalies had to stay on their feet during play. Some perfected the art of "accidentally" falling down while making saves. The rule was changed to allow the goalies to play any way they wanted to. Georges Vezina was the leading goalie with a Goals Against Average of 3.93. On the offensive end, forward passing was not permitted and assists were not tracked. Joe Malone of the Canadiens won the scoring title with 44 goals in 20 games. Cy Denneny of Ottawa had 36 and Reg Noble of Toronto had 30.
In the PCHA Spokane folded, leaving just three teams in the league. The Seattle Mets repeated as league champion. Cyclone Taylor's 32 goals and 43 points easily led the league, as no one else scored more than 20 goals. In a two game playoff to determine the Stanley Cup entrant Vancouver defeated Seattle.
In the Stanley Cup
finals the Toronto Arenas
defeated the Vancouver Millionaires three games to two to become the
NHL winner of the Cup.
The Canadiens won the first half of the split schedule and Ottawa won the second half. Canadiens beat Ottawa four games to one to win the playoffs, which were a "best of seven" affair for the first time. Clint Benedict of Ottawa was the leading goalie with a 2.86 GAA. Canadien teammates Newsy Lalonde and Odie Cleghorn finished 1st and 2nd in scoring with 23 goals and 33 points, and 21 goals and 27 points respectively.
In the PCHA Portland moved to Victoria giving that city a team once again. Vancouver won the regular season championship but Seattle won the playoff series and moved on to the Stanley Cup final. Cyclone Taylor again led the league in scoring with 36 points, edging out Bernie Morris of Seattle for the goal scoring title by one goal, 23 to 22.
The Canadiens met
Seattle for the Stanley Cup,
but with the series tied at 2-2-1, the Canadiens were unable to field a
team due to the Great Influenza Epidemic. The series had no winner and
Bad Joe Hall, the star Canadien defensemen, died in a Seattle hospital
just days after the end of the series.
The Toronto team changed its name from the Arenas to the St. Patricks, but the luck of the Irish did not rub off on the team. Ottawa finished first in both halves of the split season so there was no need for a playoff series.
Clint Benedict of Ottawa was again the leading goalie with a 2.66 GAA. Newsy Lalonde was the scoring runner-up to Malone with 37 goals and 46 points.
Seattle won both the PCHA championship and the PCHA playoffs, on the strength of Frank Foyston's league leading 26 goals (tied with Tommy Dunderdale) and the stellar goaltending of Hap Holmes. Dunderdale had more assists and led the scoring race with 33 points.
the Metropolitans three games
to two to win the Stanley Cup. Two of the games were played
ice in Toronto because unusually hot weather made the Ottawa rink
Ottawa finished first in the first half and Toronto finished first in the second half. Ottawa defeated Toronto 5-0 and 2-0 in the playoffs.
Dye's 35 goals and 40 points trailed only Newsy Lalonde's 43 points (32 goals). Lalonde was the scoring leader for the second straight year. And Clint Benedict was the top goalie for the third year in a row with a GAA of 3.09.
This year in the PCHA the Vancouver Millionaires won both the regular season and playoffs. Victoria's Frank Fredrickson and Vancouver's Fred Harris led the scoring race with 32 points each. Frank Foyston led in goals scored with 26, followed by Jimmy Riley with 23.
Vancouver, again three games
to two to win the Stanley Cup.
Ottawa finished first in the NHL and Toronto second, but Toronto beat Ottawa in the playoffs. Punch Broadbent lead all scorers with 46 points (32 goals), followed by Cy Denneny with 39 points and 27 goals, and Babe Dye with 38 points and 31 goals. Clint Benedict continued his string of league leading perfomances in goal with a 3.34 GAA.
This year also saw the first major multiple player trade in the league. The league, through some questionable reasoning, determined that Sprague Cleghorn had become league property when the Montreal Wanderers had folded during the 1917-18 season. The league awarded Cleghorn to the Hamilton club to help bolster that franchise. Hamilton then traded Cleghorn and Billy Coutu to the Canadiens for Amos Arbour, Harry Mummery and Cully Wilson. Spraghorn, in one game, singlehandedly decimated the Ottawa club. He injured Cy Denneny, Eddie Gerard and Frank Nighbor, all of whom missed the next two games. The police attempted to arrest Cleghorn for assault after the game, but charges were apparently not pressed. Cleghorn's trade to Montreal was interesting in that Cully Wilson went from Montreal to Hamilton as part of the deal. Wilson had been banned from the PCHA for his violent stick assault on Mickey MacKay.
In the PCHA the Seattle Metropolitans won the regular season, again led by Frank Foyston and Jimmy Riley. But the Vancouver Maroons won the playoffs as Hugh Lehman won two 1-0 shutouts. Jack Adams led the league in scoring and in points with 26 goals and 30 points.
The WCHL began play this year. The Edmonton Eskimos edged the Calgary Tigers and the Regina Capitals for the league championship. Duke Keats of Edmonton compiled an amazing 55 points on 31 goals and 24 assists. Teammates Ty Arbour and Bullet Joe Simpson were tied for second in points with 33. Arbour was also second in goals with 27.
defeated Vancouver three games
to two to win the Stanley Cup.
Ottawa won the regular season, edging out the Canadiens. Ottawa beat the Canadiens in the first game of the playoffs, but Sprague Cleghorn (remember him?) and Billy Coutu injured several of the Ottawa players. Their play was so eggregiously violent that their own team suspended them for the remainder of the playoffs. Ottawa lost the second game but won the playoffs on the basis of total goals.
Clint Benedict posted his fifth consecutive season as the top goaltender in the NHL with a GAA of 2.18. Babe Dye won the scoring race with 37 points (26 goals). Cy Denney finished second with 31 points and 21 goals. Jack Adams was third with 28 points and 19 goals.
In Toronto, Foster Hewitt broadcast hockey's first radio game.
The PCHA eliminated the position of Rover. Six man hockey was now the rule across Canada. Vancouver won the regular season and defeated Victoria in the playoffs. Victoria's Frank Fredrickson duplicated Duke Keat's feat of the previous year by scoring 55 points, 39 of them goals. Vancouver was led by Mickey MacKay (28 goals, 40 points), Lloyd Cook (19 goals, 30 points) and the goal tending of hugh Lehman.
The PCHA and WCHL played an interlocking schedule this year. Edmonton again won the WCHL title. Newsy Lalonde, now playing for the Saskatoon Crescents (also called the Sheiks) led the league with 30 goals, while Art Gagne led point scoring with 43. Duke Keats was second in points with 37. George Hay of Regina was second in goals (28) and third in points (36).
Despite all the
injuries, a depleted Ottawa
team defeated Vancouver in four games and Edmonton in two games to win
the Stanley Cup. Frank Patrick called this Ottawa team the
had ever seen because of the way they pulled together after the
The NHL began to award a tropy for the Most Valuable Player. The tropy was donated by Dr. David S. Hart and was called the Hart Trophy. The first Hart was won by Frank Nighbor of Ottawa who edged Sprague Cleghorn (him again!) by one vote.
Georges Vezina snapped Clint Benedict's run as the top goalie with a 1.97 GAA, barely besting Benedict's 1.99. Cy Denneny was the top scorer with 23 points and 22 goals, followed by Ottawa defenseman Buck Boucher with 19 points and 14 goals and Aurel Joliat with 20 points and 15 goals.
In the PCHA's last season the league played an interlocking schedule with the WCHL. Seattle won the regular season title despite an 0-8 start, but Vancouver won the playoffs. The top scorers were Art Duncan (21 goals, 31 points), Mickey MacKay (21 goals, 25 points) and Frank Fredrickson (19 goals, 27 points).
In the WCHL Calgary won both the regular season title and the playoffs behind Harry Oliver's 22 goals and 34 points and the defensive play of Herb Gardiner and Red Dutton. Bill Cook of Saskatoon led the league in both goals (26) and points (40). Regina's Red McCusker was the top goalie.
In the Stanley Cup
finals the Canadiens beat
both Vancouver and Calgary to win the Stanley Cup.
Billy Burch of Hamilton won the Hart Trophy. Last year's Hart winner, Frank Nighbor of Ottawa, won the first Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship coupled with superior play. The Lady Byng was donated to the league by the wife of Canada's Gouverner General.
Georges Vezina was again the top goalie with a 1.81 GAA. Babe Dye, Cy Denneny and Aurel Joliat finished well ahead of the pack in scoring, with Toronto's Dye setting the pace with 44 points and 38 goals. Denneny had 42 points and 27 goals and Joliat had 40 points and 29 goals.
When the Seattle PCHA franchise folded the two remaining PCHA teams, Vancouver and Victoria, joined the WCHL, making that league a six team league. Calgary finished in first with a 17-11 record, but Saskatoon at 16-11-1 and Victoria at 16-12 were right behind. In the expanded playoffs Victoria beat both Calgary and Saskatoon. Vancouver's Mickey MacKay's 27 goals led the league and his 33 points tied for first with Calgary's Harry Oliver. Edmonton's Duke Keats was second in goals with 23 and points with 32 (Bill Cook also had 32 points). Victoria's Hap Holmes was the best goalie and a major reason for Victoria's success despite an overall lack of offense.
The Canadiens lost
to Victoria in the Stanley
Ottawa finished first in the regular season, but the rest of the league seemed turned upside down. The Montreal Maroons finished second with the expansion Pittsburgh Pirates third. The Canadiens and Toronto finished at the bottom of the pack. The Maroons defeated Pittsburgh and then Ottawa to claim the league championship with Clint Benedict starring in goal.
Newcomers were making their mark in the league. Ottawa second year player Alex Connell led all goalies with a GAA of 1.12 and an astounding 15 shutouts in 36 games. Maroons rookie Nels Stewart was the scoring leader with 42 points and 34 goals. Ottawa's Cy Denneny was in his accustomed number two spot with 36 points and 24 goals, followed by a pair of Boston sharpshooters, Carson Cooper and Jimmie Herberts, who each had 31 points. Cooper had 28 goals, while Herberts had 26.
Most teams still relied on one line for most of the play, but Pittsburgh became the first team to consistently use three lines. This kept fresh legs on the ice and made up for the gap in talent between Pittsburgh and some of the other teams. This strategy would eventually catch on throughout the league.
On a sad note, Canadiens goalie Georges Vezina collapsed on the ice after the first period of the opening game. He was taken to the hospital with a high fever and diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis. He would never play again and passed away several months later.
The Regina franchise of the WCHL was moved to Portland and the league was renamed the Western Hockey League. This was to be the league's last year. Edmonton won the regular season title, but third place Victoria again won the playoffs from the third seed for the second time in two years. Edmonton's Art Gagne led the league with 35 goals, followed by Saskatoon's Bill Cook and Portland's Dick Irvin at 31. Gagne edged Cook in point scoring, 45 to 44. George Hainsworth had an excellent year in goal, but Hap Holmes was sensational, providing the defense that propelled a fairly punchless offense into the Cup Finals.
Maroons defeated the Victoria
Cougars for the Stanley Cup with Benedict again starring in goal,
out Victoria in three games of the four games. The Maroons'
Stewart scored six goals in the four games. This was the last year that
a non-NHL team competed for the Stanley Cup.
Ottawa won the Canadian division (no surprise there), but the expansion Rangers won the American division. Six teams made the playoffs with Ottawa defeating Boston in the finals to win another Stanley Cup.
Many players who had played in the West joined the NHL. The Cook brothers, Bill and Bun made their NHL debut with the Rangers where they were centered by Frank Boucher. The great Eddie Shore entered the NHL with Boston. Frank Foyston arrived in Detroit and Mickey MacKay and Dick Irvin played with Chicago. Herb Gardiner and George Hainsworth moved to the Canadiens.
The Canadiens Herb
Gardiner won the Hart Trophy
and the Americans Billy Burch won the Lady Byng. The Canadiens donated
a trophy named in honor of Georges Vezina to be awarded to the league's
top goalie. The Canadiens own George Hainsworth won the award with a
GAA and 14 shutuots. The Rangers Bill Cook led all scorers with 37
and 33 goals, followed by Dick Irvin of Chicago with 36 points and 18
and Howie Morenz with 32 points and 25 goals.
My picks for
All-Star Teams from the various
leagues in that time period are:
|Position||First Team||Second Team|
|Center||Newsy Lalonde||Frank Nighbor|
|Right Wing||Harry Hyland||Didier Pitre|
|Left Wing||Tommy Smith||Don Smith|
|Rover||Ernie Russell||Skene Ronan|
|Cover Point||Sprague Cleghorn||Art Ross|
|Point||Bad Joe Hall||Howard McNamara|
|Goalie||Clint Benedict||Georges Vezina|
Alternates: Scotty Davidson, Odie Cleghorn
|Position||First Team||Second Team|
|Center||Mickey MacKay||Frank Foyston|
|Right Wing||Barney Stanley||Eddie Oatman|
|Left Wing||Dubbie Kerr||Jimmy Gardiner|
|Rover||Cyclone Taylor||Tommy Dunderdale|
|Cover Point||Lester Patrick||Charley Tobin|
|Point||Ernie Johnson||Frank Patrick|
|Goalie||Hap Holmes||Hugh Lehman|
Alternates: Clem Loughlin, Bernie Morris, Rusty Crawford
|Position||First Team||Second Team|
|Center||Frank Nighbor||Newsy Lalonde|
|Right Wing||Babe Dye||Punch Broadbent|
|Left Wing||Joe Malone||Cy Denneny|
|Cover Point||Sprague Cleghorn||Harry Cameron|
|Point||Buck Boucher||Bert Corbeau|
|Goalie||Clint Benedict||Georges Vezina|
Alternates: Eddie Gerard, Reg Noble, Aurel Joliat
|Position||First Team||Second Team|
|Center||Duke Keats||Frank Fredrickson|
|Right Wing||Art Gagne||Bill Cook|
|Left Wing||George Hay||Jack Walker|
|Cover Point||Bullet Joe Simpson||Red Dutton|
|Point||Herb Gardiner||Slim Halderson|
|Goalie||George Hainsworth||Charley Reid|
Harry Oliver, Ty Arbour