|1917–18 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||December 19, 1917 – March 6, 1918|
|Number of games||22|
|Number of teams||4 (3)|
|Season champions||Montreal Canadiens|
|Top scorer||Joe Malone (Canadiens)|
The 1917–18 NHL season was the first season of the National Hockey League (NHL). The league was formed after the suspension of the National Hockey Association (NHA). Play was held in two halves, December 19 to February 4, and February 6 to March 6. The Canadiens won the first half, and Toronto the second half. The Montreal Wanderers withdrew early in January 1918 after their rink, the Westmount Arena, burned down. Toronto won the NHL playoff and then won the Stanley Cup by defeating the PCHA's Vancouver Millionaires three games to two in a best-of-five series.
In an organized sports league, a typical season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session: for example, in Major League Baseball the season lasts approximately from April to October. In other team sports, like association football or basketball, it is generally from August or September to May although in some countries - such as Northern Europe or East Asia - the season starts in the spring and finishes in autumn, mainly due to weather conditions encountered during the winter.
The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.
The National Hockey Association (NHA), officially the National Hockey Association of Canada Limited, was a professional ice hockey organization with teams in Ontario and Quebec, Canada. It is the direct predecessor to today's National Hockey League (NHL). Founded in 1909 by Ambrose O'Brien, the NHA introduced 'six-man hockey' by removing the 'rover' position in 1911. During its lifetime, the league coped with competition for players with the rival Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), the enlistment of players for World War I and disagreements between owners. The disagreements between owners came to a head in 1917, when the NHA suspended operations in order to get rid of an unwanted owner. The remaining NHA team owners started the NHL in parallel as a temporary measure, to continue play while negotiations went on with Livingstone and other lawsuits were pending. A year later, after no progress was reached with Livingstone, the other NHA owners decided to permanently suspend the NHA. The NHA's rules, constitution and trophies were continued in the NHL.
In November 1917, the owners of the NHA, apparently unwilling to continue the league with Toronto NHA owner Eddie Livingstone, decided to suspend the NHA and form a new league, the NHL, without Livingstone. The events transpired as follows:
On October 19, a meeting of the NHA board of directors was held. Livingstone did not attend, sending lawyer Eddie Barclay. Barclay was informed by the directors that Toronto would not play in the 1917–18 season due to the difficulty of operating a five-team league, both in scheduling and availability of players during wartime. Livingstone then publicly announced that he would set up an international circuit and raid the NHA players.
On November 9, 1917, it was reported that the Toronto NHA franchise was sold to Charles Querrie of the Toronto Arena corporation. At this point, NHA president Robertson and secretary Frank Calder denied that the NHA would change, dissolve or adopt other subterfuge.This sale never completed.
The November 10, 1917, annual meeting of the NHA was presided over by Calder, and attended by Martin Rosenthal and E.P Dey for Ottawa; Sam Lichtenheim for the Wanderers; George Kennedy for the Canadiens and M. J. Quinn and Charles Fremont for Quebec. At the meeting, Livingstone was represented by J. F. Boland, who stated that if the league operates that the Toronto franchise intended to be a full member. The NHA voted to suspend operations but not wind up the organization and meet in one year's time. According to the Globe, there was a movement to form a new four-team league of Toronto, Ottawa and the two Montreal teams.The Toronto representative offered to allow the Arena Gardens to manage the Torontos and lease the players.
There then followed a period of speculation in the newspapers as to whether Quebec would play in the new season and what would be the league organization. One name for the new league was speculated: the "National Professional Hockey League". If Quebec could play then the Toronto players would be dispersed; if Quebec could not play then the Toronto players would be loaned to a temporary Toronto franchise. Representatives of Ottawa, Quebec, and the Montreal teams met on November 22, 1917, but adjourned without a decision.
On November 26, 1917, representatives of the Ottawa, Quebec, and Montreal NHA clubs met at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal. The decision to start a new league was finalized and announced. The decision was made to start a new league, the National Hockey League, with the following provisions:
Frank Sellick Calder was a British-born Canadian ice hockey executive, journalist, and athlete. He is most notable for serving as the first president of the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1917 until his death in 1943. He was the last president of the NHL's predecessor league, the National Hockey Association (NHA), and was instrumental in the transition from the NHA to the NHL, a transition made to expel a franchise owner. He presided over the expansion of the NHL from Canada into the United States, while at the same time fending off rivals to the NHL's status as the premier North American ice hockey league.
A Toronto franchise was to be operated 'temporarily' by the Arena Gardens while the Toronto ownership situation was resolved. The franchise used the players of the Blueshirts, including those who had been transferred to other NHA teams for the second half of the 1916–17 NHA season. While Livingstone agreed to a lease of the team, the NHL owners did not intend to share any revenues from the players. Livingstone would sue for the team's revenues in 1918. George Kennedy, owner of the Canadiens, would later say:
"The Toronto players belong as a body to the National Hockey League, for they were only loaned to the Toronto Arena Company, though Livingstone tried to make the Arena Company believe that he controlled those players"
The team played without a nickname for the season.
According to Holzman,the NHL itself was intended to operate temporarily until the Toronto NHA franchise was resolved. The NHA had a pending lawsuit against the 228th Battalion, and could or would not fold until after that was heard.
According to McFarlane, the owners of the Quebec franchise asked $200 per man selected; but the amount received by the franchise is not recorded. The Wanderers took four players, but overlooked great Joe Malone, who was picked up by the Canadiens, who also took Joe Hall. Odie Cleghorn and Sprague Cleghorn joined the Wanderers, but Sprague broke a leg and was sidelined.
On January 9, 1918, the league decided to allow goaltenders to drop to the ice surface in order to make saves. This was the first implemented and amended rule change in the National Hockey League. It was done in response to Ottawa's Clint Benedict constantly falling to make saves.According to NHL president Frank Calder, "As far as I am concerned they can stand on their head(s)."
The new league faced stiff competition for players from a number of other leagues including the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Also, filling rosters was a challenge because the talent pool was decimated by World War I.
The Wanderers were in trouble from the start of the season. They won their home opener but drew only 700 fans. The Wanderers then lost the next three games and owner Lichtenhein threatened to withdraw from the league unless he could get some players. Although they could have acquired Joe Malone in the draft, they turned to the PCHA and signed goaltender Hap Holmes. They also obtained permission to sign such players as Frank Foyston, Jack Walker and others if they could do so. The Wanderers loaned Holmes to the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA, but he eventually found his way back to the NHL when Seattle loaned him to Toronto.
A league meeting was planned to deal with the situation, but on January 2, 1918, the matter was resolved when the Montreal Arena burned down, leaving the Canadiens and Wanderers homeless. The Canadiens moved into the 3,250 seat Jubilee Rink.The Hamilton arena offered to provide a home for the Wanderers, but Lichtenhein disbanded the team on January 4, after the other clubs refused to give him any players. The remaining three teams would complete the season.
The last active player from the inaugural season was Reg Noble, who retired following the 1933 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The first game of the season, and in league history, featured the visiting Montreal Canadiens defeat the Ottawa Senators 7-4, with Joe Malone scoring five of Montreal's seven goals.On the same night a game featured the unnamed Toronto team versus the Wanderers. Montreal's Dave Ritchie scored the first goal in NHL history and Harry Hyland had four goals (the league's first hat trick) in the Wanderers' 10–9 victory, which would be their only one in the NHL; Player-coach Art Ross earned the league's first penalty. The game in Montreal was played in front of only 700 fans.
On January 28, when the Canadiens visited Toronto, players Alf Skinner and Joe Hall got into a stick-swinging duel. Both players received match penalties, $15 fines and were arrested by the Toronto Police for disorderly conduct, for which they received suspended sentences.
In February, Ken Randall of Toronto was suspended pending payment of $35 in fines to the league. He brought $32 in paper money and 300 pennies. The pennies were refused. He tossed his bag of pennies onto the ice prior to the game against Ottawa, and one of the Ottawa players banged it with his stick, scattering the pennies around the ice. The game was delayed while the pennies were picked up.
|Toronto Hockey Club||14||8||6||0||16||71||75|
|Toronto Hockey Club||8||5||3||0||10||37||34|
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
The Wanderers defaulted scheduled games against the Canadiens (Jan. 2, 1918) and Toronto (Jan. 5, 1918), when their arena burned down.
These appear as losses in the standings, but the games were not played.
Wanderers defaulted scheduled games against the Canadiens (Jan. 2, 1918) and Toronto (Jan. 5, 1918), when their arena burned down. These appear as losses in the standings, but the games were not played.
"The league did not accept the Wanderers' resignation immediately, electing to wait and see whether the team showed up for its scheduled match in Toronto on Saturday January 5. ... The deadline did expire, and the once-powerful team that had been known as the Little Men of Iron was thrown onto the scrap heap of hockey history. The Wanderers' scheduled games of January 2 and 5 were officially recorded in the standings as victories for their respective opponents, the Canadiens and Torontos." — Holzman.
Montreal had won the first half of the NHL split season and Toronto had won the second half. The two teams then played a two-game total goals series for the NHL championship. The series saw lots of fighting involving Bert Corbeau and Newsy Lalonde.Toronto won the series and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
|March 11||Montreal Canadiens||3–7||Toronto Arenas||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|No scoring||First period|| Harry Meeking (1) - 5:00|
Ken Randall (1) - 17:00
|4:00 - Newsy Lalonde (1)||Second period||Harry Meeking (2) - 5:00|
|7:00 - Bert Corbeau (1)|
13:00 - Newsy Lalonde (2)
|Third period||Harry Meeking (3) - 5:00|
Jack Adams (1) - 11:00
Harry Cameron (1) - 12:00
Harry Mummery (1) - 14:00
|Georges Vezina||Goalie stats||Hap Holmes|
|March 13||Toronto Arenas||3–4||Montreal Canadiens||Montreal Arena||Recap|
|12:00 - Reg Noble (1)||First period||No scoring|
|16:51 - Rusty Crawford (1)||Second period|| Joe Malone (1) - 4:25|
Jack McDonald (1) - 5:30
|8:00 - Rusty Crawford (2)||Third period|| Newsy Lalonde (3) - 1:40|
Newsy Lalonde (4) - 10:30
|Georges Vezina||Goalie stats||Hap Holmes|
|Toronto won series on total goals 10–7|
The championship series was played at Arena Gardens in Toronto. The games alternated between seven-man PCHA rules and NHL six-man rules. Toronto won all three games played under NHL rules, and Vancouver won the two games played under PCHA rules. Although Vancouver's Mickey MacKay was described as sensational in the fifth and deciding game, it was Corbett Denneny of Toronto who scored the winning goal and Toronto won the Stanley Cup.
|March 20||Vancouver Millionaires||3–5||Toronto Arenas||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|16:00 – Cyclone Taylor (1)|
17:00 – Cyclone Taylor (2)
|First period|| Reg Noble (2) – 08:00|
Harry Meeking (4) – 10:00
Reg Noble (3) – 11:00
Alf Skinner (1) – 19:50
|10:00 – Mickey MacKay (1)||Second period||Alf Skinner (2) – 13:00|
|No scoring||Third period||No scoring|
|Hugh Lehman||Goalie stats||Hap Holmes|
|March 23||Toronto Arenas||4–6||Vancouver Millionaires||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|Alf Skinner (3) – 17:00||First period||18:00 – Cyclone Taylor (3)|
|Harry Cameron (2) 16:00||Second period||02:00 – Cyclone Taylor (4)|
06:00 – Mickey MacKay (2)
14:00 – Mickey MacKay (3)
|Alf Skinner (4) – 08:00|
Alf Skinner (5) – 16:00
|Third period||06:00 – Si Griffis (1)|
10:00 – Mickey MacKay (3)
|Hap Holmes||Goalie stats||Hugh Lehman|
|March 26||Vancouver Millionaires||3–6||Toronto Arenas||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|No scoring||First period||05:00 – Harry Cameron (3)|
08:00 – Alf Skinner (6)
13:00 – Corb Denneny (1)
| Ran McDonald (1) – pp – 06:00|
Cyclone Taylor (5) – 16:00
|Second period||11:00 – Harry Cameron (4)|
14:00 – Corb Denneny (2)
|Cyclone Taylor (6) – 03:00||Third period||13:00 – Alf Skinner (7)|
|Hugh Lehman||Goalie stats||Hap Holmes|
|March 28||Toronto Arenas||1–8||Vancouver Millionaires||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|No scoring||First period||05:00 – Cyclone Taylor (7)|
|Ken Randall (1) – 04:26||Second period||04:00 – Barney Stanley (1)|
11:06 – Mickey MacKay (5)
13:06 – Barney Stanley (2)
|No scoring||Third period||06:00 – Cyclone Taylor (8)|
13:00 – pp – Lloyd Cook (1)
13:45 – pp – Ran MacDonald (2)
15:00 – pp – Lloyd Cook (2)
|Hap Holmes||Goalie stats||Hugh Lehman|
|March 30||Vancouver Millionaires||1–2||Toronto Arenas||Mutual Street Arena||Recap|
|No scoring||First period||No scoring|
|No scoring||Second period||No scoring|
|Cyclone Taylor (9) – 09:30||Third period||00:30 – Alf Skinner (8)|
10:30 – Corb Denneny (3)
|Hugh Lehman||Goalie stats||Hap Holmes|
|Toronto won series 3–2|
|5||Ottawa||5||Canadiens||6 (27' OT)|
† Montreal Arena burned down and Wanderers withdraw. Two Wanderers games count as wins for Canadiens and Toronto.
|27||Ottawa||3||Canadiens||1 (at Quebec)|
The O'Brien Cup, still considered the championship of the NHA, was not actually awarded to Toronto in 1918. It remained under the care of the Canadiens who had won it in 1917, until the death of their owner, George Kennedy, in 1921, when the NHL made arrangements to re-use the trophy.The Hockey Hall of Fame lists Toronto as the winner for 1917–18.
GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes
|Joe Malone||Montreal Canadiens||20||44||4||48||30|
|Cy Denneny||Ottawa Senators||20||36||10||46||80|
|Newsy Lalonde||Montreal Canadiens||14||23||7||30||51|
|Didier Pitre||Montreal Canadiens||20||17||6||23||29|
|Eddie Gerard||Ottawa Senators||20||13||7||20||26|
|Jack Darragh||Ottawa Senators||18||14||5||19||26|
|Frank Nighbor||Ottawa Senators||10||11||8||19||6|
GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1917–18 (listed with their first team, not including players who previously played in the NHA):
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1917–18 (listed with their last team):
The Toronto Arenas or Torontos were a professional men's ice hockey team that played in the first two seasons of the National Hockey League (NHL). It was operated by the owner of the Arena Gardens, the Toronto Arena Company. As the ownership of the National Hockey Association (NHA) Toronto Blueshirts franchise was in dispute, the new NHL league was started, and a temporary Toronto franchise was operated. The NHL itself was intended to only be a one-year entity until the NHA could be reactivated, although it never was.
The Quebec Bulldogs were a men's senior-level ice hockey team based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The team was officially known as the Quebec Hockey Club, and later as the Quebec Athletic Club. One of the first organized ice hockey clubs, the club debuted in 1878 with the opening of the Quebec Skating Rink. The club continued as an amateur team through various leagues, eventually becoming professional in 1908. The club would play in the National Hockey Association and the National Hockey League. In 1920, the team moved to Hamilton, Ontario and became the Hamilton Tigers.
The 1918–19 NHL season was the second season of the National Hockey League (NHL). While at first it was uncertain that the NHL would operate, and the possibility that National Hockey Association (NHA) would be resumed, the unfinished business of Eddie Livingstone's Toronto and Ottawa's NHA franchise, led to the NHL owners suspending the NHA again. Livingstone would attempt to overthrow the NHA management, and failing that, attempt to operate a rival league. The pre-season was filled with legal actions, deceptions and public verbal attacks. Ultimately, the NHL operated with three teams, in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. However, the season ended early with Toronto suspending operations, leaving Montreal and Ottawa to play off for the championship. Montreal would win the playoff and travel to Seattle for the Stanley Cup final. However, the Cup series would not be completed due to influenza infecting the whole Montreal team and causing the eventual death of Montreal's Joe Hall.
The Toronto Hockey Club, known as the Torontos and the Toronto Blueshirts, were a professional ice hockey team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They were a member of the National Hockey Association (NHA). The club was founded in 1911 and began operations in 1912. The club won its sole Stanley Cup championship in 1914.
Edward James Livingstone was a Canadian sports team owner and manager. He was the principal owner of the Toronto Shamrocks and the Toronto Blueshirts professional ice hockey clubs of the National Hockey Association (NHA), where his battles with his fellow owners led them to create the National Hockey League.
The 1919–20 NHL season was the third season of the National Hockey League (NHL). A Quebec team was activated by the NHL, increasing the number of teams to four. The four teams played 24 games in a split-schedule format. The Ottawa Senators won the league championship by winning both halves of the split-season. The Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans three games to two in a best-of-five series.
David Alexander Ritchie was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played nine seasons in the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Quebec Bulldogs, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and Montreal Canadiens. He scored the first goal in NHL history, on December 19, 1917 as a member of the Wanderers in a game against the Toronto Arenas.
Patrick John "Jack" McDonald was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played from 1905 until 1922, including eleven seasons in the National Hockey Association/National Hockey League for the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Quebec Bulldogs, Toronto Ontarios and Toronto St. Patricks. He was a member of the 1912 Quebec Bulldogs Stanley Cup championship team, playing eleven seasons for the Bulldogs in the period from 1905–06 until 1919–20.
The 1915–16 NHA season was the seventh season of the National Hockey Association. Five teams would play a 24 game schedule. Montreal Canadiens would win the league championship and defeat the Portland Rosebuds to win their first ever Stanley Cup.
The 1918 Stanley Cup Finals was contested by the National Hockey League (NHL) champion Toronto and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) champion Vancouver Millionaires. In a series held entirely in Toronto, the Toronto team won the series by three games to two in the best-of-five game series to win the Stanley Cup. It was the first series contested by the new NHL and subsequently the first Stanley Cup win by the Toronto NHL franchise team.
The 1916–17 NHA season was the eighth and final season of the National Hockey Association. Six teams were to play two half-seasons of ten games each, but this was disrupted and only four teams finished the season. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators in a playoff to win the NHA championship.
The 1914–15 NHA season was the sixth season of the National Hockey Association and played from December 26, 1914, until March 3, 1915. Each team played 20 games. The Ottawa Senators won the NHA championship in a two-game, total goal playoff against the Montreal Wanderers. The Senators, however fell to the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association in the Stanley Cup championship. It was the second 'World's Series' between the NHA and the PCHA for the Stanley Cup.
The 1913–14 NHA season was the fifth season of the National Hockey Association (NHA). At the end of the regular season, a tie for first place necessitated a playoff to determine the championship. The Toronto Hockey Club defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6–2 in a two-game, total-goals playoff. The Torontos then played the Victoria Aristocrats of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in the first Stanley Cup 'World's Series' between the leagues.
The 1917–18 Ottawa Senators season was the team's first season in the newly formed National Hockey League (NHL) and 33rd season of play overall. The Senators, along with the Montreal and Quebec franchises of the National Hockey Association (NHA), voted to suspend the NHA and form the NHL. Ottawa would finish second and third in the first and second halves of the season, and did not qualify for the playoffs.
The 1917–18 Toronto Hockey Club season was the first season of the new Toronto franchise in the newly organized National Hockey League (NHL). The team was intended as a 'temporary' franchise, operating without an official club nickname and without a formal organization separate from the Toronto Arena Company that managed the Arena Gardens. Despite this, the team came together to win the first NHL Championship, competing against existing teams that had transferred directly from the National Hockey Association (NHA). Toronto would go on to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Pacific Coast Hockey Association champion Vancouver Millionaires – the first Stanley Cup for an NHL team and the second Cup for a Toronto team after the Toronto Blueshirts' victory in the 1913–14 season of the NHA.
The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded in 1917 following the demise of its predecessor league, the National Hockey Association (NHA). In an effort to remove Eddie Livingstone as owner of the Toronto Blueshirts, a majority of the NHA franchises suspended the NHA and formed the new NHL. Quebec, while a member, did not operate in the NHL for the first two years. Instead the owners of the Toronto Arena Gardens operated a new Toronto franchise. While the NHL was intended as a temporary measure, the continuing dispute with Livingstone led to the four NHA owners meeting and making the suspension of the NHA permanent one year later.
The 1917–18 Montreal Canadiens season was the team's ninth season and first as a member of the new National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens sided with other members of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and voted to suspend the NHA and start the NHL to expel the Toronto Blueshirts ownership. The Canadiens qualified for the playoffs by winning the first half of the season, but lost the playoff to the temporary Toronto franchise, made up of Blueshirts players.
The 1917–18 Montreal Wanderers season was the 15th and final season of play of the Montreal Wanderers ice hockey club. Along with the Canadiens, Ottawa and Quebec, the club voted to suspend the National Hockey Association (NHA) and form the National Hockey League (NHL) to freeze out the Toronto NHA franchise owner. On the ice club still had difficulties fielding a competitive club, and when the Montreal Arena burned down, owner Sam Lichtenhein elected to suspend the club.
The 1918–19 Toronto Arenas season was the second season of the Toronto franchise of the National Hockey League. After being operated on a temporary basis in the previous year, the team became a formal entity, known as the 'Toronto Arena Hockey Club.' The club played 18 games and suspended operations.
The league did not accept the Wanderers' resignation immediately, electing to wait and see whether the team showed up for its scheduled match in Toronto on Saturday January 5. ... The deadline did expire, and the once-powerful team that had been known as the Little Men of Iron was thrown onto the scrap heap of hockey history. The Wanderers' scheduled games of January 2 and 5 were officially recorded in the standings as victories for their respective opponents, the Canadiens and Torontos.
1916–17 NHA season
| First NHL season |
1918–19 NHL season