Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Then Chunklets Discovered Hockey-Reference.Com, And Was Never Heard Of Again
The National Hockey League began its inaugural season on Wednesday, December 19, 1917, featuring a match between the Toronto Arenas (later the St. Patricks, and then the Maple Leafs) and the Montreal Wanderers (pictured above). The host Wanderers, the team of choice for Anglophone Montrealers, won the game 10-9under their player-coach Art Ross, and Wanderers player Dave Ritchie scored the NHL's first goal. The Arenas, however, would go on to win the NHL Championship, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in a two-game, total-goal, final (the Arenas would subsequently defeat the Pacific Coast Hockey Association's Vancouver Millionaires for the Stanley Cup). Joe Malone of the Canadiens won the scoring title with 44 goals and 48 total points (not too shabby for a 22-game season), and his team-mate Georges Vezina was the league's leading goalie. The NHL, that season, was composed of the Wanderers, the Canadiens, the Arenas, and the Ottawa Senators.
The Wanderers, who had won the Stanley Cup several times prior to the creation of the NHL, did not fare so well after their bright start. In fact, their opening-night victory over the Arenas was the only game they would ever win in the NHL. On December 22 they were pounded 11-2 by the rival Canadiens. On Boxing Day, they hosted the Senators and lost 6-3, before travelling to Ottawa for a rematch on the 29th. The Senators won that one, too, by a score of 9-2. Then, on January 2, 1918, the arena shared by the Wanderers and Canadiens burned down. While the Canadiens were quickly able to arrange new accomodation, that was it for the Wanderers. They forfeited games against the Canadiens and the Arenas before formally packing it in. Art Ross went on to become famous as the coach of the Boston Bruins, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945. Dave Richie finished the 1917-1918 season with the Senators, before going on to play for the Arenas, the Quebec Bulldogs, and the Canadiens.