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Toronto St. Patricks

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Toronto St. Patricks
TSPLogo
Name: Toronto St. Patricks
League: National Hockey League
Colors:          
City: Toronto, Ontario
Arena: Arena Gardens
Owner: Toronto St. Patricks Partnership
Founded: 1919
Ceased: 1927
Stanley Cups: 1


History - Main Discussion


The Toronto St. Patricks hockey club was a professional hockey team that played within the National Hockey League and operated out of Toronto, Ontario. In 1919, the Toronto St. Patricks amateur hockey partnership purchased the Toronto National Hockey League franchise and named the team the St. Patricks. The franchise operated until 1927 when they were purchased by Conn Smythe and a group of investors, where the team was then renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs.

HistoryEdit

The St. Patricks organization had operated amateur hockey clubs in the Toronto area since the first decade of the 1900s, including the senior amateur St. Patricks team in the Ontario Hockey Association.

The Toronto NHL franchise, since the NHL's founding in 1917, had been operated by the Arena Company, operators of the Arena Gardens arena in Toronto. The franchise and the NHL itself, were involved in litigation with the owner of the Toronto NHA franchise, Eddie Livingstone. While the legal battles were going on, the club had a successful season in 1917-18, winning the Stanley Cup, but the following season saw a steep drop-off and the club did not finish the season.

Before the 1919-20 season, the Arena Company stated that it wished to get out of managing the team. Manager Charlie Querrie, who also managed the Toronto Tecumsehs lacrosse club, at first had the club name changed to Tecumsehs on December 7, 1919.[ The following day, Querrie reached agreement with the St. Patrick's club of amateur ice hockey to purchase the franchise. Frank Heffernan was named as manager. On December 13, 1919, the NHL, under the direction of Frank Calder, transferred the Toronto franchise to the Toronto St. Patricks group, for the fee of five thousand dollars. While the money was to go to Eddie Livingstone to settle the purchase of his NHA club, it never was received by Mr. Livingstone and appears to have been appropriated by Mr. Calder. The incorporation date of the club was December 22, 1919, and listed Fred Hambly, Percy Hambly, Paul Ciceri and Querrie with 99 shares each, and Richard Greer with 4 shares.

In 1919-20, the franchise was rebuilt from the ground up. Although Charlie Querrie returned, player turnover was nearly complete, partly because the Quebec NHL franchise was activating for this season, and players were being returned to the club. Thhe poor performance of the previous season, and the turnover in franchise management also led to the overhaul. The club improved to second and third place finishes in the halves of the schedule.

In 1920-21, the club placed second and first in the schedule halves, enough to make a playoff appearance. Unfortunately, the powerful Ottawa squad would dominate the club 7–0 in a two-game total goals playoff. The experience would be helpful in the following season, however.

1922 Stanley Cup championsEdit

In the 1921–22 season, the St. Patricks made their first and only appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. After placing second in the league standings, the club upset first place Ottawa to win the NHL championship and face Vancouver in the final. A fifth and deciding game was necessary in this series to determine who would win the championship. After Vancouver won game one by a score of 4–3, Babe Dye scored four minutes and fifty seconds into overtime of game two to give Toronto a 2–1 win. Then, in game three, goaltender Hugh Lehman led the Millionaires to a 3–0 shutout win. However, the St. Patricks tied the series in game four with a resounding 6–0 victory, as John Ross Roach became the first rookie goaltender to record a Stanley Cup shutout. Game five belonged to Toronto, as Dye scored 4 goals in a 5–1 victory to clinch the championship. For the series, Dye scored 9 out of the St. Patricks 16 goals, while Roach posted a 1.80 goals-against average.

In the following two seasons, the St. Patricks would miss the playoffs with third place finishes. In 1924–25, the club would place second and play off against the Montreal Canadiens. While Hamilton had finished first, the club was on strike, making the St. Patricks-Canadiens semi-final the de facto final. The Canadiens would win the playoff to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

In 1925-26, the club struggled to a sixth place finish, finishing behind the expansion Pittsburgh and New York clubs. The St. Patricks had suffered due to the struggles of Dye, and only the fact that the Canadiens had lost their top goalie Georges Vezina kept the St. Patricks out of last place. In 1926–27, the club finished fifth and last in the new Canadian division. Dye was sold to the new Chicago Black Hawks team for cash considerations.

Franchise SaleEdit

The club was in trouble in 1927, both on the ice and legally. Querrie lost a lawsuit to Livingstone and decided to put the St. Patricks up for sale. He gave serious consideration to a $200,000 bid from a Philadelphia group. However, Toronto Varsity Graduates coach Conn Smythe put together an ownership group of his own and made a $160,000 offer for the franchise. With the support of St. Patricks shareholder J. P. Bickell, Smythe persuaded Querrie to reject the Philadelphia bid, arguing that civic pride was more important than money. The team was sold to Smythe's group, and the team was rebranded as the Toronto Maple Leafs for the following season.

Notable PlayersEdit

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