billsportsmaps.com

December 27, 2009

National Hockey League. “Original Six” era, with map of 1966-67 season.

Filed under: Hockey,Hockey-NHL and expansion — admin @ 12:57 pm

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On the map itself are the 1966-67 home (dark),  and road (white) jerseys of the 6 NHL teams.  [Dark jerseys were worn by home teams in NHL games up until 1969-70,  then white jerseys (or yellow jerseys) for home teams was in effect from 1970-71 to 2002-03.  In case you're wondering,  the New York Rangers did not feature a white uniform until 1951-52.]  

Near the top center are the 1967 Stanley Cup Playoffs jerseys of the eventual champions,  the Toronto Maple Leafs.  These jerseys were different from their 1966-67 regular season jerseys.  The modernized leaf logo the Toronto hockey club first sported in the 1967 postseason mirrored the recently-instituted flag of Canada (the red maple leaf on white flanked by two red rectangles, established in 1965 {see this},  which replaced this flag of Canada, 1921-1964,  {see this}).  The modern Toronto Maple Leaf crest was revamped to a more streamlined look in 1970 {see this,  from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page}.   

At the right of the map is a sidebar that shows NHL team jerseys from 3 other seasons in the 25-season era that this map depicts…1942-43,  1950-51,  and 1958-59.  Along with this are listed,  from top to bottom,  the Stanley Cup title winners from all the seasons of the Original Six era,  plus the coach of each championship team.  A list of the teams,  and their total Stanley Cup titles during this era is to the bottom left of the sidebar. 

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Below, arguably the greatest player of the Original Six era, Maurice “Rocket” Richard…
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The National Hockey League’s 25-season span from the 1942-43 season to the 1966-67 season featured just 6 teams,  and is popularly known as the “Original Six” era.  That name is very misleading,  though,  since only two of the six hockey clubs were actually original NHL teams…the Montreal Canadiens,  and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The name Original Six dates to the NHL’s second expansion era,  which began in 1967-68,  when 6 new teams joined the “original ” six.

The most successful team of the “Original Six” era were the Montreal Canadiens,  who won 10 of their 24 Stanley Cup titles during this 25-year period.  Closely following them were the Toronto Maple Leafs,  who won 9 Stanley Cup titles during this era (the Leafs have 13 Stanley Cup titles overall).  The Detroit Red Wings were the only one of the four American teams in the league back then to challenge the domination of the two Canadian hockey clubs.  The Red Wings won 5 Stanley Cup titles between 1942-43 and 1966-67,  and have won 11 Stanley Cup titles overall. 

The Bruins,  the Black Hawks,  and the Rangers languished for a couple reasons.  First was that the NHL tolerated monopolistic practices.  Red Wings’ owner James Norris held sway over the other three US-based teams in various forms.  While owning the Red Wings,  he also led a group which owned the Black Hawks for a time (1944-1952),  putting virtually no investment into the Chicago hockey club.  Chicago made the playoffs only once between 1949 and 1957.  Norris was also the largest stockholder of the New York Rangers’ arena,  Madison Square Garden,  and maintained such support from the board that he effectively controlled the Rangers.  And Norris had influence over the Bruins,  as the result of mortgages extended to the Boston team to help keep it afloat during the Great Depression (Boston had only 4 winning seasons from 1947 to 1967). This led critics to joke that NHL stood for the Norris House League.  Norris died in 1952,  but the second-tier status of the Black Hawks,  Bruins,  and Rangers lived on.  Throughout the entire 25-season Original Six era,  the only time a team other than Montreal,  Toronto,  or Detroit won the championship was in 1960-61,  when the Chicago Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup title. 

Another way that Boston,  Chicago,  and New York were prevented from being competitive during this era was the 50-mile rule for exclusive rights to the signing of young players.  Much of the talent coming out of the hockey hotbeds of Canada,  around Toronto and southern Quebec,  were thus out of the reach of all the four American teams except for Detroit,  which of course borders Canada,   thus putting the southwestern Ontario region centered around Windsor within the Red Wings’ 50 mile radius.

On the positve side,  the level of play in the NHL was improving.   Rule changes,  such as the insertion of the center red line in 1943-44,  led to a more exciting,  passing-oriented (as opposed to stick handling-oriented) game.  Air travel was used for teams for the first time in the late 1950s,  and by 1960 the wearying train rides that players had to endure on road trips were a thing of the past.  And there were legendary players like Montreal’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard {see illustration four paragraphs above},  Detroit’s Gordie Howe,  and later in the era Chicago’s Bobby Hull,  who captivated the public. 

Televised hockey games in Canada began in November of 1952.  Just as in other sports (such as Major League Baseball, and English football),  some top brass feared televising games would hurt attendances.  But the CBC’s Saturday night “Hockey Night in Canada” quickly became the highest-rated show in the country,  and interest in the sport increased.  Four years later,  in 1956-57,  in the United States,  CBS was amazed at the popularity of their initial broadcasts of NHL games,  and the network began a 21 game package the following season.  Television brought new fans to the arenas.  The league played to 93% capacity in the 1960s.

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But during this era,  labor conditions were poor,  and the players were largely not benefitting from the popularity of the game.  If players ran afoul of management,  they were sent to the minors,  where their salaries were cut,  and the players themselves had to pay for their relocation fees.  Injured players also had to pay their own medical bills,  not getting compensation for two months.  Players were not paid for off-season promotions,  or for a share of profits from promotions such as trading cards (like Major League Baseball did for ballplayers).  Players could not even supplement income as they had done in earlier years by playing off-season sports like lacrosse.  But perhaps the most damning evidence of the perfidy of the NHL top brass is the pension plan cover-up.  The pension plan,  supposedly for the benefit of the players after retirement,  was kept secret and hidden by the owners.  The pension plan did not come to light until 1989,  when it was revealed that there was a $25 million surplus that had never gone to former NHL players.  

Another negative aspect of the 25-year period of 6 NHL teams is that the league was almost entirely composed of Canadian players.  Very few American NHL players emerged during the 1950s and the 1960s. And in this quarter century there was just one example of a European NHL player,  Ulf Sterner,  who played briefly for the New York Rangers in 1965.  This xenophobic attitude in the front offices towards non-Canadians did not end with expansion,  though.  It only ended when the World Hockey Association challenged the NHL in the 1970s,  and WHA teams had success with European players.  Also,  the Canada Cup series,  and its predecessor,  the Summit series of 1972 and 1974,  showed that Soviet (and by extension,  European) players could compete with the best from the NHL.

The “Original” Six era ended when the NHL doubled in size from 6 to 12 teams, for the 1967-68 season.  That expansion was only the beginning. Within a decade, exacerbated by the NHL’s response to the rival-league-WHA, there was the opposite problem: of over-expansion.  Two more teams were added for 1970-71.  Then,  when the rival WHA began its formation circa 1971,  four more NHL expansion teams were created within a three-year span (two more teams in 1972-73,  and two more teams in 1974-75).  Some of the teams (like the New York Islanders) were hastily formed to block a WHA team from forming there.  So by 1974-75, there were 32 professional top flight hockey teams,  with 18 teams in the NHL, and 14 teams in the WHA.  A decade before,  there had only been 6 major league hockey clubs !

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1966-67 NHL season…

This was Canada’s Centennial year (so it was appropriate that the two Canadian NHL hockey clubs would meet in the finals).

Bobby Orr made his debut in the NHL,  as a Boston Bruins defenseman.  Orr would go on to revolutionize the defenseman position,  and in fact the modern game of hockey itself,  by giving the defenseman postion an attacking option.  Injuries would cut Bobby Orr’s career short.  He is the second-to-last NHL player to receive the honor of having the 3-year waiting period for entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame waived…he entered in 1979,  one year after retiring (Wayne Gretzky is the last NHL player to go straight into the HOF after retirement).

In 1966-67, the Chicago Black Hawks won the [largely meaningless] regular season title easily,  17 points ahead of Montreal.  It was the first time Chicago had won the regular season.  The Black Hawks were a record-seting scoring juggernaut,  with 5 players in the top 10 scoring leaders,  including points leader Stan Mikita (Hall of Fame, 1983) and goal scoring leader Bobby Hull (Hall of Fame, 1983),  who netted 50 times.  For 1966-67,  Stan Mikita tied Bobby Hull’s all-time scoring record (now held by Wayne Gretzky).  Mikita also won three major honors that season…the Art Ross Trophy (top points scorer),  the Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player),  and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (best sportsmanship).  The latter award going to Stan Mikita was noteworthy for two reasons.  First,  only 5 NHL players have ever won the Hart (the MVP) AND the Lady Byng (ie, a player with very few penalty minutes who was a class act) in the same season,  the two most recent instances being Wayne Gretzky in 1979-80,  and Joe Sakic in 2000-01 (Mikita repeated this dual trophy haul the following season).  Second,  Stan Mikita spent the early part of his career among the leaders each season in penalty minutes,  amassing totals above a hundred minutes a season several times.  But by 1966-67,  intense self-discipline had pared Mikita’s total penalty minutes that season to just 12 (two season before,  he had 167 penalty minutes).  He changed his tough guy act after his wife told him that his daughter,  when watching her father play on television,  had asked ”why does daddy spent so much time sitting down [in the penalty box].” 

Stan Mikita also pioneered,  circa 1962,  the use of a curved blade on the hockey stick,  to devastating,  pin-point accurate results [note,  others claim this invention,  including Rangers' star Andy Bathgate.]  But the self-effacing Mikita was overshadowed by the larger-than-life Bobby Hull,  much like,  in baseball back then,  Roger Maris was overshadowed by New York Yankee teammate Mickey Mantle {see this (“Is Stan Mikita better than Bobby Hull ?”,  from Greatest Hockey Legends.com, May, 2009)}.

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In the first round of the playoffs,  the star-laden Black Hawks were shocked by the third place Toronto Maple Leafs,  losing in 6 games.  Toronto won through the outstanding goaltending of Terry Sawchuck and Johnny Bower.

The Maple Leafs were coached by the mercurial taskmaster George “Punch” Imlach (Hall of Fame, 1984).  He had been forced to take a leave of absence in February,  for exhaustion,  and the team actually improved their standing in his absence.  The squad was captained by the longest-tenured captain in Leafs’ history,  George “Chief” Armstrong (Hall of Fame, 1975),  who eventually played 21 seasons for Toronto,  11 of them with the “C” on his jersey.  Toronto featured a tandem of two aging but still effective goaltenders in Terry “Uke” Sawchuck (Hall of Fame, 1971),  and  Johnny “The China Wall” Bower (Hall of Fame,  1976).  In that spring of 1967,  Sawchuk was 37,  and Bower was 42.  There were several other long-in-the-tooth players on Toronto.  Allen “Snowshoes” Stanley was 42.  Leonard “Red” Kelley (Hall of Fame, 1969),  a defenseman with good passing ability,  was 40.  Crucial to the Leafs defense was the reliable,  37-year old Tim Horton (Hall of Fame, 1977) (yes, that Tim Horton {Tim Hortons, here}).   

The Maple Leafs offense was led by two younger veterans,  the swift-skating and hard checking center Dave Keon (Hall of Fame, 1986),  and left winger Frank “Big M” Mahovlich.  Keon was a center who provided a defensive element through his checking ability.  But Keon was a gentleman who almost never landed in the penalty box (most seasons he did not even amass a dozen minutes,  and in 1,296 games he had 117 penalty minutes).  Mahovlich,  the son of Croatian immigrants,  was a flighty genius on the ice who,  when “on”,  could totally dominate a game,  but in actuality,  it was an off-year (more like a two-year bad spell) for the acute depressive Mahovlich,  and he only scored 19 goals that season (he did not get along at all with coach Imlach,  and Mahovlich only resurrected his career when he was traded to the Red Wings the next season,  going on to score 49 goals for Detroit in 1968-69). 

1966-67 Stanley Cup finals, Montreal vs. Toronto…

Toronto would face Montreal in the finals,  after the Habs swept New York in the first round.  Coach of the Canadiens was Hector “Toe” Blake (Hall of Fame, 1966),  who had played 13 seasons for Montreal,  and ended up winning 3 Cups on the ice and 8 Cups as coach.  Blake was an anglophone Quebec native who was bilingual.  Blake’s ability to calm his former first-line partner “Rocket’ Richard had been a chief reason for his hiring in 1955.

Montreal were Cup holders (having beat the Red Wings in 6 games in the 1965-66 Stanley Cup finals),  but had a poor regular season in 1966-67,  finishing 17 points behind Chicago.  Toe Blake felt that the offense had sputtered because so many of the Montreal players had been experimenting unsuccessfully with radically curved sticks which were all the rage.

The Canadiens were led by captain Jean Béliveau (Hall of Fame, 1972),  and featured right winger Bobby Rousseau,  who finished 6th on the scoring leaders list that season,  and Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard (Hall of Fame, 1979) (younger brother,  by 15 years,  of ”The Rocket”),  who finished 10th in scoring that season.  Among their goaltenders were a young “Rogie” Vachon,  a 2-time Vezina Trophy winner (awarded to the goaltender[s] of the team with the least goals allowed);  and the wily,  eccentric,  beer-bellied 36-year old Lorne “Gump” Worsely (Hall of Fame, 1980),  who went on to be one of the last NHL goalies to play without a mask.

[The Maple Leafs had lost to Montreal in the first round of the playoffs in the two previous seasons,  as Montreal went on in both 1964-65 and 1965-66 to win Stanley Cup titles.]

In the first game,  at the Montreal Forum,  les Canadiens cruised to a 6-2 victory that featured a hat-trick by Henri Richard.   Imlach put Bower in goal for game 2,  and Bower produced a 3-0 shutout.

In game 3 at Maple Leaf Gardens,  after 60 minutes of regulation the score was knotted 2-2,  with Vachon stopping 62 shots and Bower repelling 54.  The game went to a second overtime before Bob Pulford (Hall of Fame, 1991) won it for Toronto.  But Bower was injured warming up for game 4,  so it was back to Sawchuck for the Leafs.  Again,  he let in half a dozen,  and again Montreal won 6-2.

But Sawchuk came through when the series returned to Montreal for game 5,  helping Toronto to a 4-1 victory.   And in game 6,  in Toronto,  Sawchuck stopped 41 shots,  and Leafs right-winger Jim Pappin scored his seventh playoff goal en route to a Cup-clinching 3-1 victory.

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The Stanley Cup was now now in the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Dave Keon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy,  for player judged most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs of 1966-67 are the oldest team to ever win a Stanley Cup title,  with an average age of 31.

In the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Canadian nation,  the hockey club which shared the national symbol of the maple leaf was champion.  The Toronto Maple Leafs have never won another Stanley Cup title. 

Here is a Youtube video posted in 2008,  which is about 9 minutes long…it shows the final 55 seconds of the 6th game of the 1966-67 Stanley Cup finals,  then the traditional handshaking between teams after,  and then NHL commisioner Clarence Campbell presenting the Stanley Cup to Maple Leafs’ captain George Armstrong.  It’s not very action-packed,  but it does give you a good idea of what hockey on television looked like circa 1967.  Plus,  at 2:35 in the video,  you can see Terry Sawchuk’s rather frightening,  primitive goalie mask (also shown in the photo section above)   {click here}. 

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From TheLeafsNation.com, ‘THE FATE OF THE ORIGINAL SIX ARENAS‘.

Thanks to Jersey Database.com,  for jerseys {click here}.  All the jerseys on the map and the sidebar to the right of the map are from this site.   Thanks to LogoServer {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at NHL page}.   Thanks to http://www.legendsofhockey.net .   Thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site {click here}.

Thanks to “The Official National Hockey League 75th Anniversary Commemorative Book”,  edited by Dan Diamond,  published by McLelland and Stewart, Inc., Toronto, 1991; 1994 edition {at Amazon.com, here}.

December 23, 2009

Football Clubs of Greater London, 2009-10 season. All clubs from the 5 highest levels (5 Premier League clubs, 8 Football League clubs, and 2 Conference National clubs – 15 clubs).

Please Note: I have made a more recent map of London football clubs, at the following link (December 2015), Football Clubs of London (all Greater London-based association football clubs in the top 5 divisions of football in England – 16 clubs): location-map with current domestic leagues home average attendances.
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Once you click to get on to the main map page,  the map of Greater London is viewable in full screen when you click near the center of the map…right on the rectangular Millwall crest.  Besides showing the ceremonial counties which ring Greater London,  I added surrounding towns.  I did this with Google Earth,  and then I checked town populations;  sorry if I missed any significant towns.  I added a few details in central London…Hyde Park,  Regents Park,  Parliament,  and the boundaries of The City of London. 

The crests of all the clubs on the map itself are all the same size,  while the crests next to each club’s profile are sized to reflect domestic league average attendance from 7 December, 2009.  The 15 clubs’ average attendances are listed at the far left.

The following link has the list of all London football clubs in the top 8 Levels,  including the 15 clubs on the map,  plus the 3 London-based clubs in the Conference-South (6th Level),  and the 23 London-based clubs in the Isthmian Leagues (7th and 8th Levels) [aka Ryman Leagues]…{click here (Football Clubs in London page at Wikipedia)}. 

Here is a nice site called Football In London. It’s by a German fan, but it’s in English. It has lots of info on all the Premier League clubs and Football League clubs from London [for 2010-11, it is again 13 clubs from London that are in the top 4 Levels], including plenty of photos of each club’s ground… fussballinlondon.de

Thanks to ITV for gate figures and percent capacity figures {click here}.    Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at Hayes & Yeading page)}. 

December 19, 2009

Rugby Union: 2009-10 Heineken Cup, Pool Stage (24 teams).

Filed under: Rugby — admin @ 3:28 pm

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Official site of the Heineken Cup {click here).  Pools table {click here].

Round 4 of 6 is being played this weekend for the 15th edition of the Heineken Cup,  which is the top European competition for Rugby Union.  Holders are Leinster Rugby {site, here},  the Magners League club who hail from Dubiln, Ireland.

The 6 pool group winners,  plus the two highest-placed 2nd place teams advance to the next round of the 2009-10 Heineken Cup.  The final is scheduled for 22 May, 2010,  at Stade de France in Paris.

Pool group leaders currently comprise a Welsh club,  Swansea’s Ospreys;  an Irish club,  Munster Rugby;  a Reading, England-based club,  London Irish;  and three French sides…Stade Francais (of Paris),  the French Basque Country-based Biarritz Olympique,  and all-time Heineken Cup title leaders Stade Toulousain (aka Toulouse).

There is just one side still with a 100% record in the competition,  that is Biarritz Olympique… ’Dmitri Yachvili’s 23-point haul for Biarritz slays Dragons’,  by Matt Lloyd from The Guardian.co.uk, 19th December {click here}.”

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (2009-10 Heineken Cup page)}.  Thanks to http://www.therugbyblog.co.uk/ .   Thanks to http://geology.com ,  for the base map of Europe.   Thanks to Map of UK.com, for the base map of Great Britain and Ireland {click here}.

December 15, 2009

Primera División Argentina, 2009 Apertura: attendance map.

Filed under: Argentina,Attendance Maps & Charts — admin @ 4:31 pm

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Club Atlético Banfield are champions for the first time in their 113 year history.  On Sunday,  Banfield failed to get a result versus Boca Juniors at the Bombonera,  losing 2-0,  but second-place Newell’s Old Boys also lost,  to San Lorenzo 2-0.

From Sam Kelly at his Hasta El Gol Siempre site,  here is a review of the 2009 Apertura,  which includes a video highlight a nice Santiago “Tanque” Silva goal.  Silva,  of Banfield,  was leading scorer in the tournament,  with 14 goals  {click here  (‘Torneo Apertura 2009 in review’)}.

As champions,  Banfield will be making their third appearance in the Copa Libertadores in February.  Holders Estudiantes de La Plata will also be part of the 2010 Copa Libertadores,  along with Primera División 2009 Clausura champions Vélez Sársfield,  and the three clubs with the best average from the 2009 Clausura and 2009 Apertura…Lanús,  Colón,  and Newells’ Old Boys.

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On the map page,  at the top, right,  is a map of northern Buenos Aires Province.  This map segment shows the 15 clubs in the 2009-10 Primera División that are from Buenos Aires Province…13 clubs from Greater Buenos Aires,  and 2 clubs from the capital of Buenos Aires Province,  La Plata.  The small club crests in this map segment are for location,  while surrounding the Buenos Aires/La Plata map are club crests sized to reflect each club’s 2009 Apertura home average attendance (9 or 10 games).  The other 5 clubs in the 2009-10 Primera División Argentina are shown at the left of the main map,  with crests also sized to reflect their 2009 Apertura home average attendance …3 clubs from Santa Fe Province,  which features Argentina’s second city,  Rosario;  and two other clubs,  one from Tucumán Province (Atlético Tucumán),  and one club from Mendoza Province (Godoy Cruz). 

Average attendances are listed at the bottom,  right.  Note that these attendance figures come from numbers that are obvious estimates.  This is apparent with all the rounded and/or repetitive number sequences.  I am not complaining,  though.  I had had a real problem finding Argentine attendance figures,  and the Football-Lineups site I am using for gate figures is the only place I can find such figures,  so estimates are better than nothing at all.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en. and es. wikiedia.org {click here (set at Club Atlético Banfield page)}.   Thanks to Football-Lineups.com, for attendance figures {click here}.   Thanks to worldfootball.net {leading scorers, here}.   Thanks to www.demis.nl ,  for the base map of Argentina.   Thanks to CA Banfield official site {translated, here}.   Thanks to Footiemap site {click here}.

December 9, 2009

UEFA Champions League 2009-10, 1st Knockout Round (16 teams).

Filed under: Football Stadia,UEFA Champions League — admin @ 6:57 pm

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From UEFA site: ‘Draw picks Chelsea return for Mourinho’,  {click here}.
Here are the 9 clubs that are returning to the 2009-10 edition of the UEFA Champions League Knockout Stage…

Arsenal,  Barcelona,  Bayern Munich,  Chelsea,  Internazionale,  Lyon,  Manchester United,  Porto,  and Real Madrid.    

Thanks to the UEFA site {click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at Champions League page)}.   Thanks to http://www.onionbag.com/ ,  for jerseys.   Thanks to Eurosport {click here},  for jerseys.   Thanks to FC Girondins de Bordeaux site,  for jerseys {click here}.   Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com for jerseys.  

December 4, 2009

National Hockey League. 1927-28 season map, and an overview of the NHL’s first expansion era, with 7 expansion teams added between 1924 and 1926…and 5 teams defunct by 1942.

Filed under: Hockey,Hockey-NHL and expansion — admin @ 1:19 pm

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This map shows the teams in the 1927-1928 National Hockey League season. It was the NHL’s eleventh season. Reigning champions (ie, Stanley Cup Holders) were the Ottawa Senators. 

In 1927-28, there were 10 teams in the NHL. The league was divided into Canadian and American Divisions during this era. This divisional split was not along strictly national lines, as the New York Americans were in the Canadian Division.  The names of the divisions became even more misleading later, in 1934-35, when Ottawa moved to St. Louis but still played in the Canadian Division. The two division set-up ended after the 1937-38 season, when the Montreal Maroons folded. [The NHL then reverted to a one-division league for 29 seasons until the1967-68 season, when it doubled in size from 6 to 12 teams.] 

By 1938 when the Maroons ceased operations, the Great Depression had also claimed two other NHL franchises, the Pittsburgh Pirates/Philadelphia Quakers in 1931, and the Ottawa Senators/St. Louis Eagles in 1935. Both these hockey clubs made a last-ditch effort to save the team by moving to a different city for what turned out to be their final season. 

Ottawa was by far the smallest market in the league, and problems were already evident in the 1927-28 season that is being shown here. The league had probably expanded too soon, going from 4 to 10 teams in a space of just four seasons. In the 1922-23 season, there were only 4 teams in the NHL…the Ottawa Senators, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto St. Patricks, and the Hamilton Tigers. Four years later (1926-27), the NHL’s size had more than doubled, to 10 teams.

In 1924-25, two teams joined the NHL, making the NHL a 6-team league… 
The Boston Bruins were the first American team to join the NHL. They entered the league for the 1924-25 season,  along with the Montreal Maroons,  as the NHL’s first two expansion teams. The Bruins were owned by Boston grocery tycoon Charles Adams.  His chain of stores had brown and gold colored signage,  and this color scheme was applied to the new hockey team. [The Bruins switched from brown and gold to black and gold starting in 1934-35.]  The Boston Bruins of the late 1920s were centered around star Defenseman Ernie Shore (elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947), the top player at his position in the league then. The Bruins entered the 1927-28 season as the previous season’s Stanley Cup finals losers, when they fell to the Ottawa Senators in the best-of-5 game series 2-0-2 (2 Ottawa wins, 2 tie games with no OT). The Boston Bruins would win their first Stanley Cup title in 1928-29, their second Cup title a decade later in 1938-39, their third title in 1940-41,  and their fourth in 1969-70. The Bruins have not won a Stanley Cup title since their fifth championship, in 1971-72 [note: Boston won a 6th Stanley Cup title in 2010-11].

The Montreal Maroons effectively filled the gap left by the Montreal Wanderers, who won 5 Stanley Cups between 1906 and 1910, and were a founding member of the NHL. The Wanderers went under after their arena burned down, in January 1918. The Wanderers  had been the hockey team of the English-speaking population of Montreal; while the Montreal Canadiens (as per the French spelling of their nickname) had a fan base that was primarily francophone. So the Maroons became the new team of the anglophone neighborhoods in Montreal. The franchise existed for 14 seasons (1924 to 1938) and won two Stanley Cup titles, their first in their second season, 1925-26, their second Cup in 1935. The Maroons drew sparse crowds,  however,  and by the height of the Depression circa 1938, they were looking for a new home. The franchise almost moved to Philadelphia, but there was no suitable arena in place there, and the Maroons never played again after the 1937-38 season ended.

In 1925-26, two more teams joined the NHL as expansion franchises, and one franchise was dropped, making the NHL a 7-team league…
The Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets were a successful two-time winner of the US Amateur Hockey Association. In 1925, the hockey club was sold and changed its name to the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the nickname allowed by the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club. That same year, the hockey club was granted a franchise in the NHL. The team was originally built around a football scholarship athlete at Duquesne University named Lionel Conacher, who was from Toronto. Connacher recruited top amateurs from Toronto and Ottawa to come play for Pittsburgh. In 1925-26, the Pittsburgh Pirates player/coach Odie Cleghorn, a notorious bruiser of a player, was the first to use the innovation of set lines and line rotation. The franchise existed for five seasons in Pittsburgh, and played its final season (1930-31) at the other end of the state of Pennsylvania,  as the Philadelphia Quakers. The Pirates made the playoffs twice, their last time in 1927-28, losing to Montreal in round one. In 1931, the team became the first of 4 NHL teams to go out of business in the Depression era.

The New York Americans were the first NHL team to play in New York, preceding the New York Rangers by one year. Bootlegger “Big Bill” Dwyer was the first owner of the team. The franchise was in the right place at the right time in gaining the collective rights to the Hamilton Tigers roster, following league suspension of the Hamilton franchise in early 1925 in the wake of a player strike for unpaid playoff wages. [The Hamilton Tigers existed for six seasons in the NHL from 1920 to 1925; their roots being in Quebec City, Quebec, where from 1878 to 1920 they were the two-time (1912, 1913) Stanley Cup winning hockey club called the Quebec Bulldogs. The Quebec Bulldogs were invited to be a founding member of the NHL in 1917, but were forced to suspend operations for two years for lack of funds. Quebec joined the NHL for the 1919-20 season, changing its name to the Quebec Athletic Club. Quebec played one season in the NHL, finishing in last place. The league took back the insolvent franchise, and to head off the potential start-up of a rival league in Hamilton, Ontario, the NHL placed the club there, as the Hamilton Tigers.]

Below is a striking game program cover for the New York Americans first season, featuring an illustration of the third Madison Square Garden, which was on 50th St. and Eighth Avenue in the Broadway district of Manhattan, New York City, NY. This incarnation of Madision Square Garden existed from 1925 to 1968, and was supplanted by the fourth and current incarnation of “the Garden” (where the New York Rangers still play), which is about a mile and a half south, at 32nd St. and Broadway. Note: click on image below to get a centered view.

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The illegality of their owner Bill Dwyer’s bootlegging fortune notwithstanding, the New York Americans were a team that was dealt a harsh hand. That is because of a broken promise by future New York Rangers owner and Madison Square Garden (III) owner Tex Rickard, who had promised Dwyer that he could rent the Garden for New York Americans games and that Rickard himself would not go after a pro hockey team of his own. Which he did one year later, hence the era of dual pro hockey clubs in Manhattan,  which lasted from 1926-27, when “Tex’s Rangers” joined the NHL, to 1942, when the then-named Brooklyn Americans (who still played in Manhattan) went bust. Furthermore, the New York Americans were hamstrung by the league placing them in the Canadian Division, thus diluting their natural rivalry with the New York Rangers. 

The New York Americans (counting their one [final] season as the Brooklyn Americans) never won a Stanley Cup title in the franchise’s 17 seasons in the NHL. 

In 1926-27, another round of expansion took place, this time with 3 teams being added, to make the NHL a 10-team league.
Two of the teams that entered the league in 1926-27 were comprised almost exclusively of players who came over from two teams in the rival Western Hockey League (I), which folded in early 1926. Basically, all the players on the roster of the Victoria Cougars (from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) became members of the new Detroit Cougars NHL franchise. And the entire roster of the WHL team the Portland Rosebuds (from Oregon, USA) was transferred to the new Chicago Black Hawks NHL franchise. This negotiating feat was engineered by the Patrick brothers, Frank and Lester, who were the founders and driving force of, and players in, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (1912-1924), and who in 1926 owned the franchise rights to two teams in the Western Hockey League (I) (1925-26), which was the re-named Western Canada Hockey League (1921-25) following the Regina Caps to Portland Rosebuds franchise move.

From 1912 to 1926, the PCHA and the WCHL produced three Stanley Cup champions…the Vancouver Millionaires (PCHA: 1915 Stanley Cup title), the Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA, 1917 Stanley Cup title), and the Victoria Cougars (WCHL, 1924-1925 Stanley Cup title).  {See this post I made in December, 2008, which covers the PCHA /WCHL/WHL (I), and includes team uniforms and logos, and photos of the Patrick brothers}. The NHL does not recognize the links between the Victoria Cougars team and the Detroit franchise, or the Portland Rosebuds team and the Chicago franchise, but the people who were running the team in Michigan sure did, seeing as how the “new” Detroit Cougars kept the nickname of the Victoria Cougars. The Detroit Cougars were forced to play their first season’s home games across the Detroit River, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. For the 1927-28 season, the Detroit Cougars moved into the new Detroit Olympia, where the franchise would play in until 1979. The Detroit Cougars changed their name to the Detroit Falcons for the 1930-31 season, and kept this name for two seasons. The Detroit Falcons were bought by grain merchant James Norris, and one of his first acts was to change the nickname and iconography of the team. Norris had spent some of his earlier years as a player on the Montreal Hockey Club, a storied amateur hockey club who were the first hockey club to be awarded the Stanley Cup (in March, 1893, no challengers), and first club to defeat a challenger for the Stanley Cup (March, 1894, 3-1 over Ottawa HC). The Montreal Hockey Club’s roots were as a cycling club, and they were often referred to as the Winged Wheelers, for their crest {see this: Stanley Cup/Challenge Cup era, from en.wikipedia.org. The winged wheel crest is visible in the accompanying photo of the 1893 Montreal Hockey Club squad.}. Detroit’s new nickname, the Red Wings, and the team’s winged wheel logo were tributes to the pioneering Winged Wheelers of Montreal. Of course, with a reference to Detroit’s then-growing automobile industry, the winged wheel was changed from a bicycle wheel to a wheel of a car. The Detroit Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup title in the franchise’s ninth season, in 1935-36, and have won 11 Stanley Cup titles overall (their last in 2007-08), making them the most successful American hockey team, and third-most successful NHL team.

The other franchise which drew most of their original roster from a WCHL team, the Chicgao Black Hawks, have not had such an illustrious history, but have become a dominant force in the 21st century NHL. Their first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, had been a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion during the Great War (now called World War I). This battalion was nicknamed the Blackhawk division, after the legendary leader of the Sauk Native American tribe, Chief Black Hawk. The Chicago Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup title in the 1933-34 season, and their second Cup title four years later, in 1937-38. But the team has only won one Stanley Cup title since then, in 1960-61. [Note: the Chicago Blackhawks have won their 4th, 5th, and 6th Stanley Cup titles since this post was made, in 2009-10, in 2012-13, and in 2015-16.]. The organization deserves credit, though, for promoting the cause of American-born players, and the Black Hawks fielded the first ever all-American lineup in the waning days of the 1936-37 season.  This was after the team was out of contention for the playoffs, so publicity stunt is one phrase that could be applied here. Nevertheless, one of these American players, Goaltender Mike Karakis, was instrumental in the Chicago Black Hawks second Stanley Cup title, won the following season. [Note: the franchise was called the Chicago Black Hawks until 1985. The nickname was streamlined to one word - Blackhawks - in 1986.].

The New York Rangers were the result of boxing promoter/sporting impresario Ted Rickard’s desire to get a hockey franchise of his own once he saw the popularity of the New York Americans,  who played at the Madison Square Gardens that Rickard built and ran. There was no official nickname initially for the franchise, when New York City newspapers started referring to the new team as “Tex’s Rangers”,  a play on the name of the legendary vigilante/police horsemen from nineteenth century Texas (and not a reference not to the Glasgow Rangers Football Club, even despite similar color schemes of royal blue and red). In just their second season, with PCHA co-founder Lester Patrick as coach, the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup 3 games to 2 over the Montreal Maroons (which will be touched on later). The New York Rangers went on to win their second Stanley Cup title in 1932-33, and their third Cup title in 1939-40. But it took 54 years for the Rangers to win another Stanley Cup title, their fourth, when they were champions in 1994.

Problems in Ottawa…
By the 1927-28 season, it became apparent that the Ottawa Senators had a big problem on their hands, namely a xenophobic fan base that refused to turn up for home games versus American-based NHL teams. The expansion teams were also forcing an escalation in salaries. Ottawa requested a larger gate share from road games. They were also forced to sell players to make ends meet. Ottawa were reigning champions but would never hoist the Stanley Cup again, and their decline was already under way. Ottawa only had around 110,000 residents during this era (1931 census), and their small-market status would eventually doom them. In the 1927-28 season, the club tried playing a couple home games in Detroit, and the fact that they actually made a profit induced them to repeat the 2-home-games-in-Detroit the next year,and by 1929-30 Ottawa was playing 2 home games in Detroit, one home game in Boston, and 2 home games in Atlantic City, New Jersey versus each of the New York teams. The onset of the Depression,  circa 1930, made matters worse, and Ottawa was granted a 1-season hiatus for 1931-32. No change in fortune greeted their return to the league for 1932-33, and after two straight last place finishes, the Ottawa Senators moved to St. Louis, Missouri, as the St. Louis Eagles, after the logo of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Geography probably had a big hand in ruining the St. Louis Eagles’ chances at viability. The team drew well in St. Louis, but the long train rides to cities like Boston, Toronto, and Montreal had a negative effect on the squad. And their natural rivalry with the relatively nearby Chicago Black Hawks was dampened by the Eagles’ place in the Canadian Division. The St. Louis Eagles finished dead last and folded in early 1935 after their lone season in the NHL.

1927-28 NHL season…
There were some changes to the rules that were enacted for the 1927-28 NHL season. A new rule allowed “only the captain of a team to address the referee or judge of play during the progress of a match”. The salary caps of $35,000 total per team that were put in place for 1925-26 were lifted. To keep travel costs down, each team was allowed only a 12-man roster (which is staggering, considering the amount of injuries that hockey games produce). 

The general style of play of the NHL in the late mid to late 1920s can be described as very defense-oriented. The rules that allowed for more offensive freedom and more scoring (such as forward passing in the offensive zone) would not come about for two more seasons, and it is no coincidence that some goaltending records were set in 1927-28 still stand today.

In 1927-28, Montreal Canadiens Centre Howie Morenz (who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945) was the NHL’s top drawing card, and he led the league in goals and assists. Ottawa Goaltender Alex Connell (Hall of Fame, 1958) set an all-time record with six consecutive shutouts (460 minutes and 59 seconds without being scored upon).  The recently re-christened Toronto Maple Leafs faced injury problems and missed out on the playoffs.   

The Boston Bruins won the American Division over the Rangers by 4 points, earning a bye into round 2 of the playoffs. The Bruins were led by the top Defenseman of the era,  Eddie Shore (Hall of Fame, 1947), and Goaltender Hal Winkler, who tied with Ottawa’s Connell with 15 shutouts. 

The Montreal Canadiens also earned a bye into round 2 of the playoffs by winning the Canadian Division, 5 points ahead of the Montreal Maroons, but the Canadiens had faltered after hard-checking goal-scorer Pit Lepine was injured late in the regular season, and then lost in round 2 of the playoffs to the Montreal Maroons. The other division winner, Boston, also fell in round two, to the New York Rangers. 

1927-28 Stanley Cup finals: Montreal Maroons vs. New York Rangers…
[Note:  The Stanley Cup finals were a best-of-five games series then. The Stanley Cup finals became a best-of-7 games series starting in 1938-39.]
The Rangers were led by captain and Right Winger Bill Cook (Hall of Fame, inducted 1952), who had 18 regular season goals, and Center Frank Boucher (Hall of Fame, 1958), who netted 23 times in the 1927-28 regular season (fourth highest). With Bill Cook’s brother Left Winger Frederick “Bun” Cook (Hall of Fame, 1995), the three formed the Rangers’ ”Bread Line”.

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The Montreal Maroons were powered by Forward Nels “Old Poison” Stewart (Hall of Fame, 1962), and Defenseman/Forward Babe Siebert (Hall of Fame, 1964).

The annual visit of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus to Madison Square Garden forced all games to be played at the Montreal Forum. The circus was the Garden’s big money maker back then, so the Rangers were forced to play the entire series on enemy ice.

The Montreal Maroons won the first game 2-0. In the second game, with the game at 0-0, Rangers Goalie Lorne Chabot had to leave the ice due to an eye injury, when Nels Stewart fired a shot that struck Chabot above the left eye. The Rangers had no replacement in goal, and though the Ottawa Senators goalie Alex Connell was in the crowd there that night, the Maroons would not allow him to come into the game as the Rangers’ replacement. So one of the most famous incidents in hockey history then occurred, when 44-year old Rangers coach Lester Patrick, a Defenseman in his day, donned the pads and stepped in as the replacement goaltender. Saying “Boys, don’t let the old man down,” Patrick inspired the Rangers to a 2-1 overtime win to even the series. Patrick did let in one goal in the third period that evened the score at 1-1, but not before he made two spectacular saves. In the overtime period, “Gentleman” Frank Boucher stole the puck and scored the winning goal.   {See this, on the event, from Lester Patrick’s Wikipedia entry. Note, the photo there is a doctored image,  and there is no known photo of Les Patrick’s historic goaltending stint.} To this day, Lester Patrick is the oldest player to play in a Stanley Cup finals.

For the subsequent games, the Rangers hired New York Americans goaltender Joe Miller, who posted a 1-0 shutout in the fourth game, after the Maroons had won the third game 2-0. The Rangers won the fifth game 2-1, on a Frank Boucher goal that was set up by a pass from Defenseman “Ching” Johnson (Hall of Fame, 1958). The New York Rangers even were able to celebrate with some of their fans, as a contingent of Rangers supporters had made the trek up to Montreal.

In winning the 1927-28 Stanley Cup,  the New York Rangers became the second American team to win a Stanley Cup title, and the first NHL team from the USA to win the Stanley Cup title [the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA were the first American team to win a Stanley Cup title, in 1917, when they defeated the Montreal Canadiens of the NHA, 3 games to 1].  

Below is a photo of the 1927-28 Stanley Cup champions, the New York Rangers, with Lester Patrick top row, center {to see all the names of the players, click here (New York Rangers official site)}.

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Lester Patrick coached the New York Rangers for 12 more seasons, leading the Rangers to another Stanley Cup title in 1932-33, before moving to the front office in 1939, where he was the team’s general manager until 1946. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.

Thanks to Jersey Database.com , for jerseys {click here (set at Hockey)}. The Jersey Database site has been re-designed and it is great fun to scroll through the old jerseys of each NHL team.

Thanks to the venerable http://www.nhluniforms.com , which has also benefited from a nice re-design. The jerseys of the defunct NHL teams on the map are from this site.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at list of defunct NHL teams)}.  Thanks to the New York Rangers site {click here (set at Tradition/The Birth of the Rangers)}.  Thanks to Chicago Blackhawks site {click here (set at History/The McLaughlin years)}.  Thanks to http://www.hockeydb.com , for statistics.  Thanks to Pittsburgh Hockey.net {click here (set at Pittsburgh Pirates (NHL) Jersey History)}.

Thanks to “The Official National Hockey League 75th Anniversary Commemorative Book”, edited by Dan Diamond, published by McClelland and Stewart, Inc., Toronto, 1991; 1994 edition. {at Amazon.com, here}.

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