Hamilton Tigers

Last updated
Hamilton Tigers
Hamilton Tigers Logo.svg
History Quebec Bulldogs
Hamilton Tigers
Home arena Barton Street Arena
City Hamilton, Ontario
ColorsBlack, gold, white
Logo used from 1920 to 1921 Hamilton Tigers (1921) Team Logo.png
Logo used from 1920 to 1921

The Hamilton Tigers were a professional ice hockey team based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. They competed in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1920 to 1925. The Tigers were formed by the sale of the Quebec Bulldogs NHL franchise to Hamilton interests. After years of struggling, the franchise finished first in the league in the 1924–25 NHL season, but a players' strike before the playoffs resulted in the franchise's dissolution. The players' contracts were sold to New York City interests to stock the expansion New York Americans. A namesake amateur team existed prior to and during the NHL team's existence, and a minor league professional team named the Hamilton Tigers existed from 1926 to 1930.

Ice hockey team sport played on ice using sticks, skates, and a puck

Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points. The sport is known to be fast-paced and physical, with teams usually consisting of six players each: one goaltender, and five players who skate up and down the ice trying to take the puck and score a goal against the opposing team.

Hamilton, Ontario City in Ontario, Canada

Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. An industrialized city in the Golden Horseshoe at the west end of Lake Ontario, Hamilton has a population of 536,917, and its metropolitan area, which includes Burlington and Grimsby, has a population of 747,545. The city is about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Toronto, with which the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is formed.

National Hockey League North American professional ice hockey league

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.


Franchise history

The origins of the team go back to the old Quebec Hockey Club team that started play in 1878. Originally an amateur team, it turned professional in 1909. Quebec was a charter member of the NHL in 1917, however, due to financial difficulties, and the NHA-NHL dispute, the franchise was dormant until the 1919–20 season, when it was operated by the Quebec Athletic Club. That season proved to be a dismal one; despite the presence of Joe Malone the club finished with only four wins in 24 games. [1]

Quebec Bulldogs Ice hockey team from 1878 to 1920

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 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.

Joe Malone (ice hockey) ice hockey player

Maurice Joseph "Phantom Joe" Malone was a Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played in the National Hockey Association and National Hockey League. He was notable for his scoring feats and his clean play. He scored the third-most career goals of any player in major hockey's first half-century and is the only player in the history of the NHL to score seven goals in a single game.

After the 1919–20 season, the NHL took back the Quebec franchise and sold the team to the Abso Pure Ice Company of Hamilton, Ontario. The club was moved to Hamilton for the 1920–21 season and renamed the Hamilton Tigers. This was done to prevent the startup of a rival league that was trying to land a club in Hamilton. [2] (see Eddie Livingstone) At the time, the NHL had no teams in the United States and no teams in Western Canada. Hamilton was the fifth-largest city in the country and third-largest in Central Canada (pop. 114,200) and therefore was considered a vital market. Percy Thompson, a part-owner and manager of the Barton Street Arena, became manager of the team.

The 1920–21 NHL season was the fourth season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Four teams each played 24 games in a split season. The Quebec franchise was transferred to Hamilton, Ontario, to become the Hamilton Tigers. The Ottawa Senators won the league championship in a playoff with the Toronto St. Patricks. The Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association three games to two in a best-of-five series. This would be the last split season before the NHL changed its regular season and playoff formats.

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.

Percy Thompson was the part-owner and manager of the Hamilton Tigers professional ice hockey team in the National Hockey League.

The move to Hamilton did not improve the team's record. Despite earning a shutout in their first game, the first team ever to do so, with a 5–0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on December 22, 1920, the Tigers were as noncompetitive as the Bulldogs. As a result, the NHL ordered the other three teams to supply players to the Tigers. [3] Receiving quality players from the other teams was not enough to keep Hamilton out of the league cellar with 6 wins, 18 losses, and 0 ties in 24 games. Malone was reacquired four games into the season and went on to score 30 goals in 20 games.

Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League team in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Montreal Canadiens are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).

The next three seasons were just as dreadful as the first. The Tigers finished dead last every year, making a total of 5 straight last place finishes (counting the one season as the Bulldogs). During these years, the Tigers attempted a rebuilding phase to bring the team up to par. After the 1921–22 NHL season, they hired Art Ross as their new coach and made several player changes, even trading superstar Malone to the Montreal Canadiens for Bert Corbeau and Edmond Bouchard. The fans were outraged at seeing Malone leave, but were vindicated when he scored a single goal in his lone season with the Canadiens.

The 1921–22 NHL season was the fifth season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Four teams each played 24 games. The league dropped the split season and the two top teams played off for the league championship. The second-place Toronto St. Patricks defeated the first-place Ottawa Senators for the league championship.

Art Ross Canadian ice hockey player, coach, executive and innovator

Arthur Howey "Art" Ross was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and executive from 1905 until 1954. Regarded as one of the best defenders of his era by his peers, he was one of the first to skate with the puck up the ice rather than pass it to a forward. He was on Stanley Cup championship teams twice in a playing career that lasted thirteen seasons; in January 1907 with the Kenora Thistles and 1908 with the Montreal Wanderers. Like other players of the time, Ross played for several different teams and leagues, and is most notable for his time with the Wanderers while they were members of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and its successor, the National Hockey League (NHL). In 1911 he led one of the first organized player strikes over increased pay. When the Wanderers' home arena burned down in January 1918, the team ceased operations and Ross retired as a player.

Bertram Orian "Pig Iron" Corbeau was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played ten seasons in the National Hockey League for the Montreal Canadiens, Hamilton Tigers, Toronto St. Pats and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a member of the Canadiens' first Stanley Cup championship team in 1916. His brother Con also played professional ice hockey.

Prior to the 1922–23 season, the NHL held its governors meeting at the Royal Connaught Hotel on King Street, the same location where visiting teams routinely stayed when playing the Tigers.

Royal Connaught Hotel

The Royal Connaught Hotel is a 13-storey building in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. It was built by Harry Frost of Buffalo, New York in 1914, who also started up and owned the Frost Fence Company in Hamilton. It is located at the corner of King Street East and John Street South. From 2014-2018 it was converted to a condominium.

King Street (Hamilton, Ontario) road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

King Street is a Lower City arterial road in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, also known as Highway 8. The western-end starts off in front of the McMaster University Medical Centre as a two-way street and passes through Westdale. At Paradise Road, King Street switches over to a one-way street (westbound) right through the city's core up to "the Delta", a spot in town where King and Main streets intersect. From the Delta onwards, King Street then switches over to become a two-way street again and ends at Highway 8 in Stoney Creek.

After four years of futility, things started to come together in the 1923–24 NHL season, with Percy LeSueur as the new head coach. Four players were acquired from the Sudbury Wolves of the NOHA: brothers Red and Shorty Green, Alex McKinnon, and Charlie Langlois, who all contributed to a team high of nine wins in 24 games.

Logo used (1922-23) Hamiltontigerslogo.png
Logo used (1922–23)
The Globe reporting the players' strike Hamilton-pros-on-strike.jpg
The Globe reporting the players' strike

Players revolt

With yet another new head coach (Jimmy Gardner), the Hamilton Tigers roared off to an impressive 10–4–1 start in the 1924–25 NHL season. Only halfway through the season, they had more wins than any other season in their NHL history. The team slumped somewhat in the second half of the season but still managed to finish first overall with a record of 19 wins, 10 losses, and 1 tie, just ahead of the Toronto St. Patricks. It looked like the franchise would have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since winning it as the Bulldogs over a decade prior in 1913.

But it was not to be. During the rail travel back to Hamilton after the season's final game, the Tigers' players went to their general manager, Percy Thompson, and demanded $200 pay for the six extra games they played that season or they would not play in the playoffs. [4] The NHL had increased the number of games played that year from 24 to 30, but the players didn't receive an increase in pay. The Tigers management, stating that the players' contracts stated that the players were under contract from December 1 to March 30, regardless of the number of games, refused to pay the money and passed the issue to the NHL. [4] Thus began the first players' strike in NHL history. [5]

NHL President Frank Calder warned the players that if they sat out the final, they would be suspended and replaced in the final by fourth-place Ottawa. [6] At the same time, Calder ordered that the players' back-pay be held. [7] The impasse continued while second-place Toronto and third-place Montreal played their semi-final, ending with Montreal winning on March 13. On March 14, after consulting with Tigers management, Calder declared the Canadiens league champions and fined the Tigers' players $200. [8] The Canadiens then went on to play the Victoria Cougars for the Stanley Cup but lost. That marked the last time that an NHL team had lost the Stanley Cup to a rival league.

Takeover by New York

Thomas Duggan of Montreal, owner of the Mount Royal Arena, held two options for expansion teams in the United States. He sold the first of the two to Boston grocery magnate Charles Adams, who used it to start the Boston Bruins. He sold the second to a New York bootlegger named "Big Bill" Dwyer for a team to play in New York. At the NHL league meeting of April 17, 1925, Dwyer was granted an expansion franchise for New York.

Although Dwyer wished to purchase the Hamilton players, for a little while it seemed that Hamilton might remain in the NHL as Abso-Pure talked about building a new arena. The arena was not built and Dwyer bought the rights to the Tigers' players from Thompson for $75,000, and gave the players raises, some as high as 200% of their previous salary. Dwyer's team was for a time known as the "New York Hamilton Tigers" by the time it reached training camp, but this was changed to the New York Americans. The Hamilton franchise was officially revoked at the September 22 league meeting in the same year, and the matter of the players' suspensions and fines dropped with little additional comment. Although Dwyer was ostensibly the owner, due to his underworld ties he was not publicly named by the NHL at the meeting announcing the team. Instead, Colonel Hammond of Madison Square Garden, Duggan, and former Ottawa manager Tommy Gorman were announced as the officers. [9] Although the Americans' roster was composed almost entirely of the former Tigers players, despite popular misconceptions to the contrary, the NHL does not consider the Americans to be a continuation of the Bulldogs/Tigers franchise.

The last active Tigers player was Billy Burch, who retired in 1933.

Other Hamilton Tigers teams

The OHA Tigers

At the time, the city had another Tigers hockey team. Hamilton's senior amateur OHA Senior A League team was also named the Tigers. The senior Tigers wore the same black and gold colours as the NHL Tigers, and were just as popular. When the newspapers reported about "the Tigers" it was usually in reference to the amateurs. The NHLers were called "the Professionals." The senior Tigers continued into the 1950s, winning the OHA championship in 1919, 1931, 1934, 1942 and 1944–1948. The team won the Allan Cup in 1919, 1931 and 1946.

Hamilton Tigers (CPHL)

In 1926-27, a new Tigers team was formed as an expansion franchise in the minor-pro Canadian Professional Hockey League. This Tigers team, along with the larger teams in the CPHL, broke away in 1929 to form the International Hockey League. In 1930, the Tigers moved to Syracuse, New York to become the Syracuse Stars. This franchise, along with three other IHL teams, merged with the Canadian-American Hockey League to form the International-American Hockey League, forerunner of today's American Hockey League. In 1940, the Stars were sold and transferred to Buffalo, New York to become the Buffalo Bisons, who survived until being displaced by the NHL's Buffalo Sabres in 1970.

Season-by-season record

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Relocated from Quebec
1920–21 24618012921321544th in NHLOut of playoffs
1921–22 2471701488105764th in NHLOut of playoffs
1922–23 24618012811101824th in NHLOut of playoffs
1923–24 249150186368834th in NHLOut of playoffs
1924–25 30191013990603321st in NHLTeam suspended

Notable players

Hall of Famers

Team captains

Team coaches

See also

Related Research Articles

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.

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.

The 1923–24 NHL season was the seventh season of the National Hockey League. Four teams each played 24 games. The league champions were the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the first-place Ottawa Senators in the league playoff. The Canadiens then defeated the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) and Vancouver Maroons of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) to win their second Stanley Cup championship.

The 1924–25 NHL season was the eighth season of the National Hockey League. The NHL added two teams this season, a second team in Montreal, the Montreal Maroons and the first U.S. team, the Boston Bruins. Six teams each played 30 games.

The 1925–26 NHL season was the ninth season of the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL dropped the Hamilton, Ontario team and added two new teams in the United States (US), the New York Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring the total number of teams to seven. The Ottawa Senators were the regular-season champion, but lost in the NHL playoff final to the Montreal Maroons. The Maroons then defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Victoria Cougars of the newly renamed Western Hockey League three games to one in a best-of-five series to win their first Stanley Cup.

The 1912–13 NHA season was the fourth season of the National Hockey Association (NHA). Six teams played 20 games each. The Quebec Bulldogs won the league championship to retain the Stanley Cup. They played and defeated the Sydney Millionaires in a challenge after the regular season.

Harry Mummery American ice hockey player

Harold "Mum" Mummery was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman. Mummery played professionally from 1911 until 1923, including six seasons in the National Hockey League for the Toronto Arenas, Quebec Bulldogs, Montreal Canadiens and Hamilton Tigers. He was a three-time O'Brien Cup champion and a two-time winner of the Stanley Cup.

Dave Ritchie (ice hockey) Canadian ice hockey player

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.

George Prodgers Canadian ice hockey player

Samuel George "Goldie" Prodgers of London, Ontario was a professional ice hockey player. He was a member of the 1912 Stanley Cup champion Quebec Bulldogs and the 1916 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens. He also played professionally for the Hamilton Tigers, Montreal Wanderers, Toronto St. Pats, Victoria Aristocrats and Waterloo Colts.

Jack McDonald (ice hockey) Canadian ice hockey player

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.

History of the National Hockey League (1917–1942)

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 1919–20 Montreal Canadiens season was the team's 11th season and third as a member of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens opened their new Mount Royal Arena built to replace burnt-down Jubilee Rink.

The 1919–20 Quebec Athletics season was the Athletics' first and last season in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Quebec franchise, dating from the National Hockey Association (NHA), was re-activated after two seasons of dormancy. The team placed fourth and last in the league in both halves of the season to not qualify for the playoffs. The Quebec franchise would be transferred to Hamilton, Ontario, before the next season.

The 1920–21 Hamilton Tigers season was the first season of play for the new Hamilton Tigers team in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Tigers finished in last place in both halves of the season and did not qualify for the playoffs.

John Joseph "Jack" Coughlin was a professional ice hockey player. He played three seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1917-18 to 1919-20 season for Toronto Arenas, Quebec Bulldogs, Montreal Canadiens, and Hamilton Tigers. He played 6 games in 1918 helping Toronto win the Stanley Cup. He died in 1969 at Peterborough, Ontario.


  1. Coleman, pp. 368-369
  2. Holzman, pp. 214-224
  3. Coleman, p. 378
  4. 1 2 Wesley, p. 80
  5. Duplacey, James. Hockey’s Book of Firsts. JG Press. p. 40. ISBN   978-1-57215-037-9.
  6. "Hamilton "Pro" Team Demands More Money". The Globe. March 13, 1925. p. 8.
  7. Wesley, p. 81
  8. "Canadiens Declared Champions of N.H.L". The Globe. March 16, 1925. p. 8.
  9. Coleman, p.487