Wednesday, November 11, 2009
On this date back in 1930, NHL hockey made it's debut in the City of Brotherly Love, as the Philadelphia Quakers faced off for the first time ever.
The team had relocated from their previous home in Pittsburgh, where they were known as the Pirates. The owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates were $400,000 in debt and needed a new arena in Pittsburgh and asked permission to relocate the team to Philadelphia, temporarily, until a new arena could be constructed in Pittsburgh.
The Quakers were nothing short of a disaster. It wasn't until the third game of the season that they managed to score their first goal and they completed the season with a record of 4 wins, 36 losses and 4 ties. Their .136 winning percentage was an NHL record low that would stand for 45 years.
As one would assume with a record such as that, the Quakers had the fewest goals scored and gave up the most goals against that season.
Making matters worse for the Quakers, they had competition from the Philadelphia Arrows of the Can-Am Hockey League, who had a three season head start on the Quakers, with whom they shared the Philadelphia Arena with.
The one notable player for the Quakers was Syd Howe, who started his career with the Ottawa Senators, then played for the Philadelphia Quakers before moving on to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, relocated with them when they became the St. Louis Eagles and Ottawa Senators before joining the Detroit Red Wings for 12 seasons. Syd, no relation to Gordie Howe, would retire as the NHL's leading scorer with 237 goals and 291 assists for 528 points when he retired in 1946.
Rather than move back to Pittsburgh for the next season as originally hoped, the owners did not field a team anywhere the next season. Finally after five non-playing seasons during the heart of the depression the owners officially cancelled their franchise when a new arena was never constructed in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.
During the era of the depression, four of the ten NHL clubs would fold, leaving what is now known as "The Original Six". Aside from the Pittsburgh Pirates/Philadelphia Quakers who folded in 1931, the Ottawa Senators/St. Louis Eagles ceased to be in 1935, the Montreal Maroons folded in 1938 and New York Americans would fall by the wayside in 1942.
NHL hockey would not return to either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh until 1967, with the arrival of the Flyers and Penguins.
Today's featured jersey is a 1930-31 Philadelphia Quakers Bill Hutton jersey from their only season in the NHL. Hutton was a defenseman who joined the Quakers during the season and played in 21 of their 44 games.