Rover (ice hockey)

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Cyclone Taylor, here with the Portage Lakes Hockey Club, sometimes played as a rover during his career. Cyclone Taylor, Portage Lakes Hockey Club.jpg
Cyclone Taylor, here with the Portage Lakes Hockey Club, sometimes played as a rover during his career.

A rover was a position in ice hockey used from its formation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. At the time ice hockey consisted of seven positions: along with the goaltender, two defencemen, and three forwards, positions which still remain. Unlike all the others, the rover did not have a set position, and roamed the ice at will, going where needed.

As the skill level of players increased, the need to have a rover decreased. Shortly after it was formed in 1910, the National Hockey Association decided to exclude the rover. The league's successor, the NHL, did the same in 1917. However, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, formed in 1911, kept the rover. The Western Canada Hockey League also used a rover when it was founded in 1921.

As the NHA and later NHL did not have a rover, but the PCHA did, a compromise was made during Stanley Cup matches, which, at the time, was a challenge cup. Games would alternate between the NHA/NHL rules and PCHA versions, allowing each team an advantage and disadvantage during games.

The first Olympic ice hockey tournament in 1920 used a rover, but this position was eliminated for subsequent games.

In 1923, both the PCHA and the WCHL decided to drop the rover position, as it was seen to be crowding the ice and therefore reducing the speed of play. With the decision to remove the rover, it disappeared from professional hockey forever.

Contemporary usage

The term is sometimes used to informally describe fast, rushing offensive defencemen, such as former NHL star Scott Niedermayer, as they often roam the ice creating offensive pressure instead of being simply "blueliners". Other players who have been described as modern "rovers" include Bobby Orr, Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Dustin Byfuglien, Erik Karlsson, Paul Coffey and Sandis Ozolinsh, due to their ability to either play forward and defense, or because of their strong puck handling skills. The term is also used to describe the extra attacker, who roams the ice instead of assuming one of the usual positions.

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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.

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Pacific Coast Hockey Association Former ice hockey league

The Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) was a professional men's ice hockey league in western Canada and the western United States, which operated from 1911 to 1924 when it then merged with the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL). The PCHA was considered to be a major league of ice hockey and was important in the development of the sport of professional ice hockey through its innovations.

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.

Toronto Blueshirts Ice hockey team

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.

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.

The Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL), founded in 1921, was a major professional ice hockey league originally based in the prairies of Canada. It was renamed the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 1925 and disbanded in 1926.

The 1911–12 NHA season was the third season of the National Hockey Association (NHA). Four teams played 18 games each. The Quebec Bulldogs would win the league championship and take over the Stanley Cup.

The Stanley Cup Finals in ice hockey is the National Hockey League (NHL)'s championship series to determine the winner of the Stanley Cup, North America's oldest professional sports trophy.

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.

1915 Stanley Cup Finals

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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.

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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 1922 Stanley Cup Finals was contested by the National Hockey League (NHL) champion Toronto St. Patricks and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) champion Vancouver Millionaires. The St. Pats defeated Vancouver three games to two in the best-of-five game series to win their only Stanley Cup as the St. Pats.

The 1913–14 PCHA season was the third season of the professional men's ice hockey Pacific Coast Hockey Association league. Season play ran from December 5, 1913, until February 24, 1914. Like the previous two seasons, teams were to play a 16-game schedule, but one game was cancelled. The Victoria Aristocrats club would be the PCHA champions. After the season, Victoria travelled to Toronto to play the Toronto Hockey Club, National Hockey Association (NHA) champions, in a challenge series for the 1914 Stanley Cup. Toronto won the series.

The 1914–15 PCHA season was the fourth season of the professional men's ice hockey Pacific Coast Hockey Association league. Season play ran from December 8, 1914, until March 9, 1915. The schedule was made for each team to play 18 games, but like the previous three seasons, one game was cancelled. The Vancouver Millionaires club were the PCHA champions. After the season the club faced off against the Ottawa Senators, NHA champions for the Stanley Cup, winning the series and becoming the first west-coast team to win the Cup.

1917–18 Toronto Hockey Club season

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. To this day, the Toronto Arenas are the only team in the four major North American sports to win the title in their first season as a franchise.

1914–15 Vancouver Millionaires season

The 1914–15 Vancouver Millionaires season was the fourth season of the professional men's ice hockey Vancouver Millionaires team of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association league. The Millionaires were the PCHA champions. After the season the club faced off against the Ottawa Senators, NHA champions for the Stanley Cup. The Millionaires won the series to become the first west-coast team to win the Cup. This was the first time that a team from Vancouver won the Stanley Cup.

The 1914 Stanley Cup Finals was a series between the Victoria Aristocrats, champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), and the Toronto Hockey Club, champions of the National Hockey Association (NHA). The Torontos defeated the Aristocrats in three games to win the best-of-five series. It was the first officially sanctioned series for the Stanley Cup between the two leagues, starting the "World's Series" era where the NHL champion played off against a PCHA or Western league champion annually for the Stanley Cup. It was also the final series of the "challenge" era, where inter-league series for the Stanley Cup were sanctioned by the Stanley Cup trustees. An anticipated follow-on challenge series between Toronto and Sydney, champions of the Maritime League did not take place as Sydney abandoned their challenge for the Cup.