Effect of World War on Formation of the NHL

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by dunkdad, Oct 16, 2013.

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  1. dunkdad

    dunkdad Registered User

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    Hey!

    I'm an avid hockey fan, and I am pretty young.
    I love all things hockey and love playing hockey.

    I just had a question so I could enhance by knowledge of the history of hockey.

    What effect did World War 1 have on the formation of the NHL. I do know that it was after the NHA was disbanded but I don't know how WW1 effected the formation of the NHL. I was hoping to get some answers from some of the more experience, knowledgeable hockey lovers and would appreciate some help. Let me know.

    Thanks
    Dunkdad
    Go Leafs Go!
     
  2. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Welcome to hf dunkdad.... as a Leafs fan you'll be interested in this chapter of league history as the NHL was in fact formed from the NHA to rid itself of the Toronto franchises much disliked owner, one Eddie Livingstone, who owned both the Toronto Shamrocks & the Toronto Arenas' for a time. A former OHA Referee & newspaper reporter, Eddie there hasd bought the old Toronto Ontario's of the NHA in 1914 & renamed them the Shamrocks, later acquiring the Blueshirts in 1915, something the NHA was aghast about as they didnt like the idea of a single owner owning 2 teams so they ordered him to sell one. Previously Livingstone had also gotten himself into a feud with Sammy Lichtenhein, owner of the Montreal Wanderers over a forfeited game that escalated right out of control. Lichtenhein offering Livingstone $3000 to fold the club & get out of the league; Eddie countering with a $5000 offer for Sammy to do so himself....

    Long story short and a lot of back & forth, the club owners of the NHA excluding Livingstone voted to fold the league using the excuse that Conscription to WW1 was causing all kinds of problems (which it was to some extent, star players being called into service) and then about a week later formed the National Hockey League, grabbing all of Eddies players from both the Blueshirts & the Shamrocks, forming a single team called The Toronto Arenas' under the ownership & guidance of the Toronto Arena Management Corporation & managed by Charlie Querrie. Livingstone sued, was eventually awarded $100,000 however that was appealed, the amount dropped to $10,000 - however - the Toronto Arena Management Corporation declared bankruptcy so Eddie got stiffed on that one as well, the newly formed Toronto St. Patricks then taking to the ice under none other than Charlie Querrie. Now, Ive only outlined about 1/10th, if that of all the legal Shenanigans that went on but you get the picture Im sure. Livingstone spent a fortune and years suing the NHL, he himself essentially Blackballed from just about every league on the planet that had any ties to the NHL or its friends at even semi-pro levels. He did finally wind up owning & managing a club in the OHA however even there he was like a lightning rod for controversy... died in 1945 at like 60yrs of age I believe.
     
  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Kingston

    The effect of WWI on hockey in Canada is best exemplified by the impact the war had on the OHA, specifically Kingston, Ontario and the creation of the Memorial Cup.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Cup

    Two leading Kingston players - Alan "Scotty" Davidson,NHA star and George Richardson, both HHOFers died in the war as did OHA Junior and Senior players. Others had their entry into pro hockey either the NHL or out west delayed, example Bill Cook:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cook
     
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Yes, of course theres the above, the Memorial Cup, but so too a somewhat forgotten story of the 228th Battalion. Due to the complications with Eddie Livingstone, another problem with the Patricks of the Pacific League who were threatening actions over breaches of agreements pursuant to players combined with the loss of talent to enlistment, the NHA suspended play of the Toronto Blueshirts leaving just 5 teams with full but "challenged" rosters crippling the league. The Canadian Army decided to capitalize on the popularity of the game as a way to promote enlistment in Ontario & across Canada by putting together a team of Ringers and having them play in the NHA, giving the league back its 6 teams with a stronghold in Toronto with 2 clubs. They recruited the services of a number of well known players, promising them $3000 & Officers Ranks however most got shortchanged on the cash and none of them ever received Officer Rank but they did play a 1/2 a season in the NHA... and not in normal hockey uniforms, but in their combat outfits. Can you imagine the sight of that?! :laugh:

    At any rate, they absolutely slaughtered the NHA teams, scores of 10-Zip, 10-3, just rolled over them. Wildly popular, hugely successful, praised by the media, adored by the fans, big boon to recruiting efforts. However, 1/2 way through the 1916/17 season they were called up to the Front and not as Officers as I mentioned but as your basic Trench Grunts. And in WW1, that was bad. Reeeeeal bad. Fortunately they wound up in England & I believe Europe building railways, though none of them had had any experience in doing so, but such was the makeshift nature of War that it didnt seem to phase the Majors & Generals when delivering orders. So of course derailments, being shelled & shot at while constructing them the norm, yesterdays or last weeks work revisited as the lines no longer existed having been blown sky high.... quite an interesting story. Total of 12 fully pro or semi-pro players in the Battalion along with several more excellent amateurs including Goldie Prodgers who had been with the Habs and scored the Stanley Cup Winning Goal for the Habs in 1916.... another colorfully named guy by the name of Roxy Beaudro who'd won a Stanley Cup playing for the legendary Kenora Thistles... Eddie Oatman, Archie Earchman, Art Duncan and brothers George & Howard McNamara to name several.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  5. Ace88*

    Ace88* Guest

    The ending of WWI had a huge impact on all entertainment industries, and even forced the creation of new ones (hollywood etc). Times were good, going into the 20s the economy was on the upswing and the influx of young men coming back from the war flooded the sport with new talent. It was like a huge weight was lifted off of everyone's shoulders and they could just get back to playing hockey without worrying about conscription or leaving behind families and friends.

    There's just no way that the NHL could have formed during the war. Not for lack of trying, but for lack of personnel and lack of enthusiasm. Once it ended, the floodgates opened and North America started to really boom for the next 10-12 years. Along with that came the NHL and the following prosperity.
     
  6. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The NHL did "form" during the war. The NHL officially came into being for the 1917-18 season, during the height of World War I. I have "form" in quotes because the NHL was just the NHA minus Eddie Livingstone's team.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_National_Hockey_League_(1917–1942)
     
  7. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ^^^ Ya, WW1 ran from 1914-18, the NHA disbanded & the NHL created in November 1917. For many Canadian, American and Allied Troops though they didnt return until 1919 or later, being sent to Russia to fight on the Czarist side in that countries Civil War as linked above by C58 with Bill Cook who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Siberia through 1919.... The Toronto Arena Gardens was built in 1912 and for awhile was one of only 3 indoor artificial surfaces in Canada, the only one in the east. 6000 seater, name changed to Mutual Street Arena then in 1962 to The Terrace featuring Curling Pads, Roller Skating etc. Eventually knocked down in 1989 I believe.

    NHA
    Toronto Tecumsehs 1912/13
    Toronto Blueshirts 1912/17
    Toronto Ontarios 1913/14
    Toronto Shamrocks 1914/15
    Canadian 228th Battalion 1916/17

    NHL

    Toronto St.Pats & Leafs 1917/31

    IHL

    Toronto Falcons 1929/30

    OHA
    Toronto Aura Lee 1916/26
    Toronto Marlboros 1926/31
     
  8. dunkdad

    dunkdad Registered User

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    First of all,

    Thank you to all for these awesome answers and I hope more keep coming in.

    I understand what you are all saying but for a more in-depth learning experience, how did the NHL help Canada after the War ended? You all have a lot of background info for the actual formation but what about the effect of the NHL formation on Canada?

    I really appreciate the help and look forward to expanding my hockey knowledge with your answers.

    PS: I feel like a true hockey expert with this info. Used one of the points from you guys and the other person was dumbfounded!

    Thanks

    Dunkdad
     
  9. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    The ramifications from both a sociological & business perspective were quite profound. Beyond extensive. Reached into virtually every community from Coast-Coast, throughout the US Northeast and on the Westcoast with the PCHA.... impossible to put together an abbreviated Readers Digest version in a post.
     
  10. dunkdad

    dunkdad Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply.
    Is there anywhere I could find this info other than the post? I would like to know what the PCHA and the actual effects would have been. Could you please refer me to a link or give me a little bit more background on the benefits of the formation of the NHL?

    Thanks
    Dunkdad
     
  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    The explosion of hockey's popularity in the 1910s had this effect, for sure. Not sure if WW1 had much to do with it though - the NHA goes back to 1909 and the PCHA goes back to 1911

    The "suspension" of the NHA and "formation" of the NHL in 1918 didn't have much affect on anyone other than Eddie Livingstone and his employees. His best players all found jobs on other teams
     
  12. dunkdad

    dunkdad Registered User

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    Thanks for that. But, what did the NHL do for Canadian Society? I mean now, the NHL benefits the economy, tickets sold, jobs. What was the benefits for the formation of the NHL back then?

    Dunkdad
     
  13. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    There are numerous books available of course, our Moderator 70'sLord a good authority on most along with a thread you'll find here on the HOH discussing & reviewing many of them. On-line resources for starters would include Wikipedia. Simply read up on the PCHA, the NHA & NHL etc. Voluminous information available for the curious, interested. ;)
     
  14. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    None. The "suspension" of the NHA and "formation" of the NHL were just legal fictions, since the other owners couldn't legally kick Eddie Livingstone out of the NHA. Sorry to keep harping on it, but it's a pet peeve of mine when people treat the NHA and NHL as anything but the same league under a different name.

    Anyway, the original question is a very interesting one. The effects of WW1 on hockey are much less understood on this forum than the effects of WW1.

    Edit: maybe I'm misunderstanding the original question. The lingering affects of the war, Spanish flu, and societal changes after the war certainly had profound effects on the early development of the NHL
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Hockey

    Hockey helped Canada. The NHL was only a small segment.

    Internationally with the first Winter Olympics, hockey gave Canada an identifiable sporting niche.

    Nationally the growth of the sport across the country. NHL plus two pro leagues out west combined with an explosion at the senior semi-pro - Allen Cup, junior - Memorial Cup and school levels facilitated by the first indoor arena building boom.
     
  16. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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  17. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    And photo's of the old Toronto Arena Gardens aka Mutual Street Arena aka The Terrace in which the NHA's Toronto teams & the Leafs etc played...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Ace88*

    Ace88* Guest

    Those are awesome phots and thats a great link. im a huge history buff, thanks for the share!
     
  19. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Quite welcome... Heres the Montreal Arena in 1899, used prior to the construction of the Forum:

    [​IMG]

    .... and the old Denman Arena in Vancouver the Patricks built in 1911 (burned down in 1936) that housed the Millionaires & New Westminster (they eventually got their own building as well) of the PCHA. Until 1926 when the Montreal Forum went up, it was the largest indoor arena in Canada with artificial ice seating 10,500.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. dunkdad

    dunkdad Registered User

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    Thanks for the links.
    These images... Where did you get them from? Is there a place I can get a whole gallery of them? I would love to see some actual photos from the old NHL formation days and after WW1.

    Furthermore, going back to my main question. What societal factors did the NHL formation have after the WW1? Was the economy good due to the NHL or were tickets not selling? Did people find the formation of a solid league appropriate after the war? Did the soldiers who could not find work after the war, join the NHL?

    These types of questions would really help me in understanding the topic.

    Thanks
     
  21. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    In the search box upper right here on hf, simply type in Old Arena Photo's and there are a few threads with pictures of many of them. Additionally, you can go here and find many more in Ontario with links to others elsewhere. You can read up on the OHL/OHA, pictures of all the old buildings included so search the site thoroughly;

    www.ohlarenaguide.com

    As for your questions, fairly complicated & complex and for which there is no simple answer nor explanation. Would fill pages herein Im afraid as the 1920's through the 30's & into WW2 were absolutely halcyon days for the NHL, professional sports generally. Your best bet in terms of a primer would be to simply go to wikipedia on-line, type in NHL, read-up on the subject in a condensed format. That'll give you the basics, broader understanding... hope that helps.
     
  22. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    I think this is the best place to put this stuff...

    First bold - Here's a direct example of a player whose career potential was likely ******ed due to enlistment. Duncan would have been roughly 26 when he enlisted, with two years of pro hockey behind him. Then two years of being off skates altogether, which the article hints required him to go through an adjustment period just to get back to his previous level.

    Second bold - I hope we've learned something in the past century about what it means when a recently-returned soldier refuses to talk about his "thrilling" experiences on the front lines. Based on his time of service, Duncan would not have encountered planes (friend or enemy) equipped with parachutes. So while that anecdote about stealing a downed German plane is amusing, there are only a couple of grim ways that the situation could have played out from Duncan's perspective.

    And then there's poor Punch Broadbent...

     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  23. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Broadbent :(

    About the adjustment back to the hockey here is one from Red Dutton when the WW2 soldiers were coming back

    Ottawa Citizen - May 29, 1945
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2194&dat=19450529&id=Tx0vAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9dsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6299,4701661
    There were many whose career or development was put on pause by war. Many was wounded and its easy to believe that there was mental scars also. I have read about few war veteran goalies who was claimed to suffer sometimes from bad nerves caused by war time trauma. Though those might be just cruel rumours to explain their weak performances.

    I think its really underestimated how much affect the WW1 had in hockey. I´m not from North America so I don´t claim to be expert on this matter, but when you go through old newspapers its really easy to notice.

    The scarcity of pro material players was continiously talked on papers. I believe it continued well to the 1920´s

    One opinion from Lester Patrick
    The Seattle star., June 11, 1921
     
  24. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    That's a good point. You found a good article there where Patrick quantifies the problem somewhat (basically the league was short ~3 elite players, which would be roughly enough to make a competitive new team). But the greater part of the evidence comes from the day-to-day news blurbs that add up over time -- a promising young athlete killed on Tuesday, five thousand men to leave town on Wednesday, a club team folded Thursday, another athlete killed Friday, another on Saturday... on and on. Then they come back and you have all the unemployed, soldier suicides showing up in the papers, disfigurements and prosthetics as a common everyday sight. Whole families wiped off the map by the 1/2 punch of war and flu. You can't put your finger on one statistic or one event, but the scale just becomes obvious over time. In pro hockey and everything else.

    To belatedly address the question upthread -- the NHL's formation was on such tenuous footing that I'm not sure it was even viewed as an especially significant event when it happened. As far as anyone was concerned at the time, it was just a new brand name slapped onto the old NHA for legal reasons. With ongoing battles for ownership and rink access, not to mention the Wanderers folding altogether and the Bulldogs in limbo, there was just a lot of uncertainty about how it would all look when the dust settled. You could compare it to the opening of a new movie company around that time. It was an entertainment option, something to chat about afterward, but not anything of real import that you expected to last for generations. If anything, people were probably just glad the whole operation didn't get shut down for either conservation or flu concerns.

    Economically, it seems that the core teams did well at the gate. But I doubt much of that money flowed directly back into the economy; for the most part the players were working other jobs in between or even during the seasons, basically about two dozen guys making part-time money. They probably helped sell papers, and small-time stuff like giving concession vendors some business. But it wasn't anything close to an economically significant entity at that point, just a popular entertainment outfit trying to keep head above water.
     
  25. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Oh indeed. Fascinating period in history, the Edwardian era pre WW1 as the Victorian era came to a close & the Sun set on the British Empire, the war itself, all that followed in its aftermath shaping the 20th and early 21st Century. Canada, hockeys heartland greatly affected by all of these events & changes. A still very young country that its been said of came of age during WW1.
     

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