April 19, 2004

Hockey History

In 1926, a syndicate of buyers purchased the Victoria Tigers, moved them to Detroit, and renamed them the Cougars. In 1930 the name changed again to the Falcons, and in 1932 they became the Red Wings.

Madison Square Garden was built primarily for boxing by Tex Rickard, but he got a lot of financing from the Barnum and Bailey Circus. In exchange, he made a deal that allowed the circus to come in every year at a certain time, in perpetuity. That time coincided with the NHL playoffs, and later, when the New York Rangers club formed, they played some playoff series with no home games because of scheduling conflicts.

In 1928, the New York Rangers met the Montreal Maroons in the Stanley Cup finals. During the second period of game 2, a shot hit the Rangers goalie in the eye and he was taken to the hospital (they didn't wear masks in those days). There was no backup goalie available, so the Rangers coach/general manager donned the pads and took the net. He wasn't entirely unfamiliar with it since he sometimes played goal during team practice, and the Rangers won the game in overtime. For the rest of the series the Rangers used a goalie who'd spent most of the season in the minors, and they went on to win the hard-fought best-of-five series. Long time hockey fans may recognize the coach's name: Les Patrick.

Patrick was hired to coach the fledgling Rangers, but he inherited a team built by Conn Smythe, who was fired before they played a single game. Bitter over his treatment, Conn Smythe vowed to build a team that would beat the Rangers. In 1927 he purchased the Toronto St. Pats, changed their name to the Maple Leafs and their colors from green and white to blue and white. In 1932 the Leafs won the Stanley Cup.

When Chicago was awarded a franchise, the Black Hawks signed most of the players from the powerhouse Portland franchise of the newly-defunct Western Canadian Hockey League. In 1934 the Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup behind the stellar play of goalie Chuck Gardiner. Gardiner had been ill all season and died eight weeks after winning the Cup.

More later as the playoffs progress.

Posted by Ted at April 19, 2004 05:14 AM
Category: History
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