Robert L Note: The following encapsulation of the Canadiens 1916-17 season is a lengthy posting, and will involve many evolving tentacles that detail the transition of the NHA into the NHL within a twelve month span. This particular season is quite historic on many levels, as it not only includes the Canadiens defending their first Stanley Cup, but also takes in a great number of changes within the sport of hockey. World War I, an army hockey club in the NHA, and the ongoing saga of two Toronto based clubs run parallel to the Canadiens season in this detailed account.
For historians of the game, or anyone curious about the NHL's beginnings, this post provides great detail into how it all came about. For fans of this era in hockey, this post is enlivened by a pair of newpaper accounts from 1917 that shed light on the perception of the sport in all it's innocence. Enjoy!
The 1917-18 NHA season was the eighth and final season of the league's existence. Events during the season would divide teams owners on a number of issues, and the fracture would lead to the creation of the National Hockey League the following season. It could be said that it was a season of war, outside the NHL, and within it.
Prior to the start of the season, it was decided that the six clubs would play two half seasons of 10 games each, with the winners of each half meeting for the league championship. It was an idea the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens could warm to, as in recent seasons they often had great first halves, only to cool down in the latter part of the schedule.
With the onset of World War I about to rage overseas, the Canadiens and the other five NHA franchises would donate 2.5% of their gate receipts for the season to the Red Cross army relief fund. As the war wreaked havoc on all team sports in North America at the time, the NHA was not spared. Players league wide who were enlisted in the army were being called into service, and it would force the league to adapt and adjust haphazardly along the way.
The fledgling NHA considered suspending its activities initially, but soon approached dealing with the issue in a unique manner. Much of what transpired among the team owners during the schedule, affected the changes that would lead the league to being reborn at the season's close.
During the NHA summer meetings, the franchise of the dormant Toronto Shamrocks was revoked from renegade owner Eddie Livingstone, and baptised the 228th Battalion. The club would feature a number of NHA players who had enlisted in the military service.
The Shamrocks were an unsuccessful venture for its owners and the NHA, and the franchise had gone through several cosmetic alterations during it's existence. It began as the 1909-10 Montreal Canadiens, as owned by J. Ambrose O' Brien. After the club went into failure, the team's activities were then suspended for a season pending a transfer or sale. Finally in late 1911, the NHA transferred the rights of the club to Toronto interests, and it became known as the Tecumsehs.
The NHA was quite keen to set up shop in Toronto, and the league debuted two teams in the city in 1912-13, with the other coming under the name of Blueshirts. After one season, the Tecumsehs had been renamed the Ontarios, but it would be the Blueshirts who gained all headlines in winning the 1913-14 Stanley Cup.
Although NHA hockey proved to be extremely popular in Toronto, the Ontarios were the lesser of the two city clubs. Interests in the team were purchased by Livingstone in 1914, and the NHA owners would come to regret his inclusion into their inner circle. Midway through the campaign, Livingstone changed the club's name from Ontarios to Shamrocks, switching their uniform colours from orange to green in the process. It did little to avert the club's misfortunes.
During the season, the Shamrocks had trouble dressing a full team and paying its players. A belligerent Livingstone, hardly in a position to make demands, began to make enemies within the NHA by expecting that the league cover for his team's inadequacies in a number of ways. When the season ended without a solution from Livingstone for his club's woes, the NHA suspended the franchise for one season, in order for Livingstone to buy himself time to reorganize his finances.
Livingstone then went about several moves to keep himself in the NHA mix, but having made foes out of potential allies, he was blocked on every front. On different occasions he attempted to sell his club, buy both the Blueshirts and Wanderers, and move his franchise to Boston. All of his efforts received a thumbs down from the league. He was also at odds in a set of similar legal conflicts with the Arena Gardens, who had been home to the Shamrocks franchise.
Damned at every turn, Livingstone then sold his best Shamrocks players of to the Blueshirts, which reduced the Shamrocks franchise value greatly. When the NHA blocked Livingstone's attempt to buy the Blueshirts, arguing that an owner could not hold two clubs according to league bylaws, he disbanded the Shamrocks and purchased the Blueshirts prior to the 1915-16 season. To his horror, he then watched as his players were picked apart from him, some joining the Battalion club, and others signing with the Pacific Coast Hockey League.
After the dust had settled, and few of Livingstone's efforts bore fruit prior to the start of the 1916-17 campaign, his Shamrocks franchise was revoked by the league, who also declared that he no longer owned rights to his remaining former players that had been spread out across the other franchises. The multitude of acts and threats by Livingston would provoke a decade long series of litigation between Livingstone and the NHA owners, based primarily on the notion that he felt he was never fully compensated for his losses and received unfair treatment at the hands of the other NHA owners.
The creation of the NHL from the remnants of the NHA after the term of the 1916-17 season, were the league's answers to sidestepping ongoing hassles with Livingstone. It was deviously planned that forcing him out of their picture would leave him with little legal recourse. An Ottawa team governor at the time, was quoted as suggesting that Livingstone's hands were tied in legal matters, as he still owned his team, essentially, and the league it played in. The only problem was that Livingstone's franchise currently existed in a one team league.
Prior to Livingstone's being dealt with terminally, the NHA came upon the idea of employing his dormant franchise as a means to counter the challenges presented by the war and players enlisting in the service.
The 228th Battalion would be based in Toronto, and it would be comprised of several star players from the other five remaining clubs. The Canadiens lost three players to the service as Amos Arbour, Goldie Prodgers, and Howard McNamara all became members of the Battalion team. Skene Ronan, a key player in the Canadiens plans, went onto play with the Ottawa Munitions club in the OCHL.
The Battalion, also going under the Northern Fusiliers moniker, wore khaki military uniforms and were the league's most popular and highest scoring team in the earlier half of the schedule. The addition of the club to the NHA in this season was a morale booster during these times, but their creation would be short lived.
When the regiment was ordered overseas in February of 1917, the team was forced to withdraw from league play midway through the schedule's second half. This threw the NHA into an unforeeen tizzy, and rash decisions on what to do with the remainder of scheduled games ensued.
As the Toronto Blueshirts were also mired in financial straights at the moment, the NHA suspended the club for the rest of the season, and its players moved on to play for other teams for what was left of the season. Part of the decision by league governors had to do with the simplicity of recreating a schedule for four teams rather than five. The league made it known that it intended for the Blueshirts players to be returned to the franchise at the season's end when new ownership for the club would be found.
Several scandals for the NHA ensued beyond the nullifying of both Toronto based squads during 1916-17. The Blueshirts would not be sold, but instead the league approved a transfer of it's ownership to a group headed by the Arena Gardens, much to ire of Livingstone. The club would be an immediate hit in 1918, eventually metamorphisizing into the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A second scandal involved the Battalion players, as it was later revealed upon several of the stars being subsequently discharged from the army, that they had been promised commissions solely to play hockey, and not fight in the war. Of course this conflicted with the reasoning behind their withdrawl from the NHA schedule in the first place. Apparently, there was not much substance to the allegations, and although the NHA would sue the 228th Battalion club for its withdrawal, the suit ultimately did not succeed.
Considering the constant facelifts the NHA endured in 1917-18, the member clubs did a great deal of improvising on the fly to maintain the composition of their teams. In this regard, the Canadiens fared better than most in adapting to the changes.
The Canadiens would employ 18 players in 1917-18, the most they had ever dressed in one single season up to this time. The returnees included core players Georges Vezina, Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre, Bert Corbeau, Jack Laviolette, Louis Berlinguette and Skinner Poulin. Not returning were Skene Ronan, Amos Arbour, Howard McNamara, Jack Fournier, and the man who scored the Stanley Cup clinching goal in 1916, Goldie Prodgers. All but Fournier were enlisted in enlisted into the army and were called into service at different points.
An incredible eleven new faces, a mixture of veterans and hopefuls, joined the 1917-18 Canadiens, with visions of another Stanley Cup trip in their eyes. They included the seasoned Harry Mummery and Tommy Smith, who had each spent parts of the last four years with the Quebec Bulldogs and were part of their 1912-13 Cup win.
Reg Noble and Arthur Brooks came to the Canadiens in the second half when the Blueshirts season had been ended abruptly. Billy Coutu, Sarsfield Malone, Jules Rochon, Dave Creighton, Joe Maltais, Harold McNamara, and Dave Major were the other additions to the club. Harold McNamara, was the younger brother of Howard and was acquired on November 27 in exchange for the rights to Jack Fournier on November 27.
Of this new group of players, only Coutu would play beyond this season with the Canadiens, remaining until the end of the 1925-26 season.
Defenseman Mummery, all 220 lbs of him, would return for 24 games in the 1920-21 season. Coutu, whose real name was William Couture, would later become the first player banned from the professional hockey for assault in 1927, while a member of the Boston Bruins.
The aquisition of Smith was somewhat disapointing. After scoring 40 goals three seasons ago, and 16 goals for the Bulldogs the previous season, his goal total dropped to 8 with the Canadiens.
With the popularity of the Canadiens having grown by extremes following their 1916 Stanley Cup win, the Jubilee Arena, the rink that housed the Canadiens in their inaugural 1909-10 season, wanted them back as tenants in a big way. Even though the Jubilee had less seating capacity, they made the Canadiens an offer that was quite tempting, but eventually passed up by the club. The Canadiens then used the Jubilee offer as a bargaining chip for a better deal at the Westmount Arena. In an unfortunate twist of fate, the Canadiens would return to the Jubilee in 1918, when the Westmount Arena would burn to the ground.
Starting the season, several Canadiens players were again unhappy with their contract offers from the club. Corbeau, Pitre, Laviolette and as usual, Newsy Lalonde, all balked at initial offers made, but all had little salary leverage with the World War's effect on the economy. Despite problems during negotiations, all four players were duly signed without any holdouts, trades, or league skipping due to the new restrictions brought on one season prior in agreements put in place by the NHA and the PCHL.
Money was tight in this time of war, and despite the team coffers being crowbarred for player raises, the Canadiens finally settled a year old outstanding debt with the Vancouver Millionaires for $750. A disputed fee owed to the Patrick brother's PCHA club in the botched Lalonde transfer from two seasons back was dealt with easier than had been expected due to the tough times.
As for the Canadiens starting the split schedule season hot and ending it cold, that exact scenario played out. They went 7-3 in the first ten game slice, earning a spot in the league final halfway through the season, before settling down in the second half and going 3-7 down the stretch.
In the first half, Montreal scored 58 goals, second behind the 228th Battalion with 70. However, they allowed only 38, the least among teams in the first ten games. In the second half, the Canadiens would manage but 32 goals, the least of the four teams who finished the season. They allowed 42 goals against, good enough for second place but well behind the Seantors who only surrendered a mere 22 goals.
Ottawa goalie Clint Benedict would beat out Vezina for the best goals against average and the leading scorers for the season were Joe Malone of the Bulldogs and Frank Nighbor of the Senators each with 41 tallies. The Canadiens best were Lalonde with 28 and Pitre with 21.
In the season's opening ten game half, both the Canadiens and Senators shared a 7-3 record, but first place was awarded to Montreal based on percentage system of wins versus losses and goals scored versus goals against. Montreal was plus 20 in goals and had a .604 percentage to Ottawa's plus 15 and a .577 percentage.
The Senators would excel in the second half, running up a 9-1 record. With a combined 16-4 season, the Senators were favorites over the Canadiens to represent the NHA in the Stanley Cup final. The two teams would square off in a two game total goals final to decide which club would represent the NHA.
The Canadiens took the first contest in Montreal by a 5-2 score and held off the Senators with a 4-2 loss in Ottawa for a final score of 7-6 in the Canadiens favor.
The Canadiens were a very confident bunch as they headed out to Seattle to defend their Stanley Cup championship against the Metropolitans. The series began on March 17 and things got off to a good start with 4 goals by Didier Pitre in game one, an 8-4 handling of the west champs.
All games were scheduled with two days off between matches, and the rest did little to help Montreal the rest of the way. They lost the three next games by scores of 6-1, 4-1, and 9-1. The Canadiens had to console themselves with being Canada's best eastern team for the time being.
They would have an opportunity to avenge the loss to the Metropolitans again in two years time.
Here is an account of the 1917 final from Collections Canada.
In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans, of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), became the first American based team to win the Stanley Cup. They did so by defeating the Montreal Canadiens, of the National Hockey Association (NHA), 23 to 11 in a four game, total goal series. The games alternated between the seven player rule of the PCHA and the six player rule of the NHA.
SEATTLE, March 27. The Seattle Hockey team annexed the highest honors in hockey last night when they met and defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth and final game of the series for the Stanley Cup, the score was nine goals to one.
Starting in a manner which threatened to give the local team trouble the Flying Frenchmen couldn't keep the pace and in the latter stages of the battle the Seattle forwards rained goals through Vezina. The speed of the local team again won for Seattle. The Mets outskated and bested the Montreal players at every turn. At times the visitors showed flashes of the form they exhibited on the first night but for the most part their play lacked the dash and aggressiveness expected of them.
The visitors seemed tired and listless and plainly showed the strain of former struggles. Again and again the Seattle skaters rushed through their defence for scores. Bernie Morris seemed to be the principal fly in the Montreal ointment, the Seattle forward snagging five scores alone. Captain Foyston followed with three. Pitre who shot goals like a world beater on the opening night got the only Canadien score late in the struggle.
A peculiar feature of last night's contest was the lack of roughness, not one player was sent off the ice by the referee and the penalty bench was deserted all through the game. The play was clean all the way but lacked the thrills and excitement of the other three contests.
The victory for the Mets makes Seattle the first American team which ever won the world's title. Every game found the Arena filled to overflowing and the Seattle people were treated to one of the most thrilling series of hockey ever played.
Manager Kennedy admits his team was outclassed. He said his boys never had a chance and that the speed of the local men was altogether too much for his players. He believes however that with Noble in the lineup his team can trim the Champions. They will get a chance to make good Wednesday night when the same teams play for the gate receipts, after this game the teams will go south where they will play a series of three games in San Francisco.
Here is another accounting from the Seattle Metropolitan's perspective:
That Championship Season: The Story of the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans by Gary M. Bernklow
The NHA playoff pitted the defending Cup holders and first half champion Montreal Canadiens against the second half champion Ottawa Senators. The predominantly French speaking Canadiens won the first game of the two game, total-goals series by the score of 5-2. They managed to stay close enough to the Senators in the second game, losing 4-2, to win the series 7-6. The Canadiens, nicknamed the "Flying Frenchmen," would head to Seattle to defend the Cup, in a five game series. As captain of the Canadiens, Newsy Lalonde headed back to the PCHA, this time as an opponent.
With an opponent finally set, the city of Seattle began to buzz with talk of the World Series of Hockey. Arena manager Curtis Lester prepared the building for what he expected would be the biggest crowd ever, and sportswriters from all over the Northwest converged on the city. Special telegraph wires were strung into the Arena, and newspapers all over Canada prepared to print bulletins on the goals as they occurred.
While enthusiasm ran high among the fans, oddsmakers put Seattle's chances of winning the cup at around 50-50. Just before the series was to begin, Mets' defenseman Bobby Rowe injured his shoulder in practice. Without Rowe in the lineup, Seattle's defense was weakened. Roy Rickey, Rowe's replacement, was hailed as a promising prospect, but lacked the experience of Rowe.
Muldoon's players were further disheartened when Seattle sportswriters, unfamiliar with any of the teams in the Eastern league, requested player biographies for the Montreal team. "Statistics taken from the Montreal Herald, giving the individual weight of the Canadiens, indicate that the NHA pennant winners probably are the heaviest hockey team in the world," commented a Seattle Daily Times writer. With an average weight of 179 pounds compared to the Mets' average of 163 pounds, "the Canadiens loom like giants."
Tickets for the first game went on sale at 9 A.M. on March 14, three days before the first game. A crowd gathered hours before the ticket window opened, stretching nearly one block. The seats were sold in a few hours, at which time the Arena management printed standing room only vouchers, raising the building's capacity to more than four thousand.
As injured defenseman Bobby Rowe tried to heal in time for the first game, Montreal was delayed on its trip to the West. Due to arrive on March 16, the team stopped and practiced at the Vancouver Arena as Frank Patrick's guests. They arrived late at night on March 16, just one day before the first game was scheduled. Travel weary and without their skating legs, even the Canadiens manager expected them to lose the first game.
"I do not expect my team to have their feet tonight because of the long trip they have just finished, " said Montreal manager George Kennedy, just before the first game. "They will be in fighting form by Tuesday, however, and we have not the slightest doubt of the outcome of the series."
In addition to fatigue, his team also had to play the first game under the seven player system still used in the West, adding to Seattle's advantages for the first game.
On St. Patrick's Day, 1917, the Canadiens drew first blood in the series, winning the opening game easily. Led by the great goaltending of Georges Vezina, the Montreal team "skimmed over the ice like feathers floating down an airshaft." The aging winger, Didier Pitre, scored four goals for Montreal, all on fifty foot shots that whizzed past Seattle netminder Hap Holmes "so fast that Holmes could not see them."
At 40 years old, Pitre was one of the oldest players in either league. But if his age slowed him down, he didn't show it. In the NHA, he was recognized as having the hardest shot in the league. "Whenever the whirlwind forward for the Frenchmen hooked his stick on the puck, 'Happy' Holmes folded his arms, closed his eyes, and prayed."
When the third period began, Montreal led 5-1, as Seattle tried to mount a counterattack, without the services of Bobby Rowe. Bernie Morris scored his second goal of the night just one minute into the period, which was followed by another from Frank Foyston just minutes later. But the comeback fell short two minutes later, as Pitre again blasted one by Happy Holmes, making the score 6-3. Bernie Morris got his hat-trick later, but to no avail, as the Canadiens held on to take the first game, 8-4. In addition to the victory, Newsy Lalonde also managed to make some enemies with the Seattle team by taking three penalties for a total of nine minutes.
Montreal was elated by the victory. The Mets, on the other hand, seemed to take the loss in stride, saying they still intended to win the series. But the loss must have weighed as heavily on Pete Muldoon as it did on the Seattle sportswriters:
"When the speed boys from the East got through with the home lads you could only recognize them by the 'S' on their uniforms," quipped Royal Brougham in the Post-Intelligencer. "In the language of the street, they 'blew'. The goalkeeper leaked like a fork," he continued, "altogether it was a sad night." Muldoon vowed his team would be prepared for the next meeting.
The teams met for game two just three nights later. This time, the match would be played under the NHA six man system. Oddsmakers, or "dopesters" as they were called by the press, gave the edge to the Canadiens on the basis of their showing in the first contest and Seattle's unfamiliarity with the six player game. Muldoon was outwardly confidant, if inwardly troubled, by his team's performance in the previous match.
"My team got all the bad hockey out of its system Saturday night," he told reporters.
"Five of my men were on the team which beat the Canadiens out of the NHA pennant in 1914," he added. "Foyston, Walker, Carpenter, Wilson, and Holmes beat the Frenchmen then and they ought to be able to do it again."
Happy Homes echoed the sentiments of his boss. Realizing that his poor play was partially responsible for the defeat, Holmes promised to "show up those frog-eaters Tuesday night if he ever showed up a team in his life." Despite the outward confidence of the Seattle players, none of them would have predicted the outcome of the crucial second game.
Seattle came out of the locker room flying. Ten minutes into the game, Bernie Morris scored his fourth goal of the series, giving the Mets their first lead against the Canadiens. Then, with Newsy Lalonde of Montreal out for roughing, Cully Wilson scored a power play goal on a pass from Jack Walker, giving Seattle a two goal lead.
The second period featured more of the same, with Bernie Morris again putting the puck behind Georges Vezina. Frank Foyston then added another, giving Seattle a four goal edge to begin the third period. Captain Foyston then added two more in the third, closing out the Mets' scoring. Tommy Smith scored for Montreal with less than a minute remaining to spoil Holmes' shutout.
Besides the lopsided 6-1 score, the game provided excitement for the boxing enthusiasts.
"The fight fan was in his glory," wrote Royal Brougham. "There were not any eight ounce gloves or padded rings, but there was plenty of mixing just the same."
Once again, it was Montreal who received the bulk of the penalties, leading one columnist to crack, "The brand of hockey those lads play is as clean as the bottom of a parrot's cage. Tuesday's contest wasn't a game, it was a crime."
The controversy about the fighting, however, did not matter to the Metropolitans. They had tied the series, and earned a measure of respect from the Canadiens.
Happy Holmes was especially pleased, having redeemed himself in front of his fans.
"If 'Happy' had nailed a six-foot fence across his nets the Montreal forwards couldn't have had any more trouble slipping the puck through for scores," Brougham said.
The Seattle Times wrote, "Last night Holmes was stopping them with everything from his toe to his eyebrow, fending off shots from every angle and guarding his goal like Horatius watched the bridge." Then, as now, a player's popularity was the direct result of his last performance.
By "upsetting the dope," Seattle managed to cause a switch in the wagering and put the pressure back on the shoulders of the defending Cup champions. Believing the loss resulted from his players having "too many parties," Montreal Manager George Kennedy forced his team to buckle down. "No more pleasure from now on, " he told the press. "The boys have found out that they haven't any walk away and they are going to knuckle down to business now."
The third game, on March 23, proved not only to be the most important contest of the series, but the most controversial as well.
Led once again by the amazing scoring touch of Bernie Morris, the Mets moved to within one game of taking home the Stanley Cup. Morris opened the first period with the first of his three goals on the night. The Canadiens held Seattle scoreless in the second to preserve their hopes of equalizing the score in the third. But Frank Foyston netted his fifth goal of the series, and Morris followed with two goals in two minutes to seal the victory. Tommy Smith again spoiled the shutout with a Montreal goal in the last minute.
But the real fireworks began after the game. George Kennedy filed a formal protest following the match, claiming that when his best defenseman, Harry Mummery, was given a ten minute penalty, the Canadiens had no replacement for him. The Montreal reserves were all either serving penalties or actively playing on the ice. Seattle scored all three of its third period goals while Mummery served his penalty. Kennedy formally submitted his protest to league president Frank Patrick the following day. The surprise move by the Montreal manager made him "about as popular as a worm in a chestnut" with Seattle fans.
On March 25, just one day before the scheduled fourth game, Frank Patrick handed down his decision regarding the protest. After consulting with NHA president Frank Robinson, Patrick ruled against the protest, validating the results of the game.
"I do not think Montreal was deprived of Friday's game by any action of the officials," Frank said in a written statement to the press. "And for that reason I cannot allow the protest. The Seattle players were in the lead all the way, and they got none the worst of the refereeing."
Despite the near setback, Seattle fans were confidant that their team would capture the Cup in the next game. "Seattle fans are unable to see how the Canadiens can win from the dashing Metros," wrote reporters. "In the last two games the Seattle puck chasers have so far outplayed the Canadiens that nothing but a drastic reversal of form by the Mets or a wonderful revival of form by the Canadiens would make it possible for the Montreal men to win."
By the start of the fourth game, all of the "dope" was with Seattle. The game would be played under NHA rules (six players), but the Mets seemed to have no trouble adapting to the different style, as they had demonstrated in the second game. They had dominated the Canadiens since getting over their opening night jitters, outclassing the Frenchmen at every turn. Mike Jay, a Vancouver Sun sports reporter, declared that he would like to be "in at the death Monday." The Seattle players were "filled to overflowing with confidence and pep," sure that the Cup would be theirs following the game.
GROUNDING THE FLYING FRENCHMEN
At precisely 8:30 P.M. on Monday, March 26, referee Mickey Ion dropped the puck for the opening face off of the fourth game between the opposing centers, Bernie Morris for the Mets and Newsy Lalonde for the Canadiens. Less than two minutes later, in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a hockey game in Seattle, Morris bulged the twine behind Georges Vezina with an unassisted goal. That goal held up through the period, which ended with Seattle nursing a 1-0 lead.
The second period began with the Mets becoming more aggressive. A Frank Foyston shot right after the faceoff just missed the net. Montreal forward Jack Laviolette, after leading a brilliant rush, crumpled to the ice following a check from Mets defenseman Ed Carpenter. He returned later in the game, but the tone had been set: the Metropolitans would not lose this game.
Eight minutes into the second stanza, Foyston and Morris carried the puck into the Montreal zone on a two on one. Foyston feathered a pass to Morris who then slipped it by Vezina for a 2-0 lead. One minute later, Foyston tallied one of his own, unassisted, for a three goal lead. Now, the Seattle players had found their stride, and the floodgates were about to open, with Bernie Morris leading the deluge.
Roy Rickey, the young Seattle defenseman, shot down the ice with Morris close behind. He held the puck as Morris positioned himself in front of the net, then floated a pass right on Bernie's stick. "The tricky Morris," wrote a sportswriter, "shot with ridiculous ease." Seattle headed into the second intermission with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The third period started as badly for the Montreal Canadiens as the second period had ended. First, as George Kennedy walked across the ice to his bench, the Seattle fans gave the Montreal manager quite a good natured heckling. Soon after the puck was dropped, Kennedy's spirits sank even further. Again the source was Bernie Morris, picking up his fourth goal of the game a little more than one minute after the face off. At this point, the Arena fans erupted, sensing the demise of the Canadiens. The crowd had scarcely quieted down when Morris struck again, this time with an assist to Jack Walker.
The fans were in an uproar, cheering and stomping their feet until the iron girders in the Arena rattled from the vibration. All the Montreal Canadiens could do was wait for the clock to run out in the game, and their reign as Stanley Cup Champions. Foyston scored again, making it 7-0. Didier Pitre countered for the Canadiens, but it was too late. Jack Walker added one more late for the soon to be champion Seattle team, and the amazing Bernie Morris put away his sixth goal of the game to close it out. As the game ended, Seattle had walloped Montreal, 9-1.
The Seattle fans went berserk. "The lexicon of sport," wrote the Seattle Daily Times, "does not contain language adequate to describe the fervor of the fans."
But if the Seattle faithful were expecting to catch a glimpse of the fabled Stanley Cup, they were disappointed. Not only had the Montreal Canadiens left the chalice at home, but the Mets would have to put up a $500 bond before the NHA would relinquish it to their possession. It would be another three months before any of the Seattle players could hold the Cup aloft as world champions.
Even though the physical symbol of their victory was missing for a short time, the players took pride in the fact that they had done what no other U.S. team had ever done - etched their name on the base of the Stanley Cup.
With their victory over Montreal, Seattle sports fans had their first ever big league professional sports championship. It would be sixty two years before the Seattle Supersonics of the National Basketball Association would give them another. Mets fans showed their appreciation by presenting the Seattle players with trophies purchased with donations.
Seattle sports writers wasted no time before gloating about the victory.
"The Mets went through the invaders defense like a tornado on wheels in huckleberry time," wrote one columnist. "They couldn't have played better if they cheated."
The Canadiens prized Stanley Cup had "gone where the woodbind twineth and the grass is ever green, and Lalonde and his gladiator's chests have receeded and resumed their normal position on their backs."
The reporter concluded with a nod to the more than sixteen thousand fans who witnessed the four games, and exclaimed, "Among Monday's four thousand spectators were the Montreal players."
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