Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Born on this date in 1884, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor was one of the first stars of the fledgling sport of hockey and one of the leading scorers of his day.
As was common in the early days of organized hockey, Taylor played for several teams in several leagues - depending on where the money was. He joined his is first professional club, thanks to a $3,000 salary offer, the Portage Lakes Hockey Club in Houghton, Michigan in the International Professional Hockey League. Taylor arrived in the latter part of the 1905-06 season in time to score 11 goals in 6 games and help the club win the league championship with a 19-5 record.
He returned for the 1906-07 season and scored 14 times in 23 games as Portage Lakes again won the championship, this time with a record of 16-8. With professional teams now starting up in Canada, many of the players preferred to play closer to home and the IPHL disbanded after before the start of the next season.
Taylor moved back east, joining the Ottawa Senators of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association for the 1907-08 season. In 1908, Taylor played the start of the season with Pittsburgh of the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League but returned to Ottawa in time for the start of the Senators next season. Once back, he scored 9 goals in 11 games as Ottawa won the league title with a 10-2 record. As champions of the league, Ottawa became the holders of the Stanley Cup, previously held by league members the Montreal Wanderers.
Taylor of the Ottawa Senators
It was during this period that Canada's Governor General was so impressed with his incredible speed that he gave Taylor the nickname "Cyclone".
After a falling out with management of Ottawa, Taylor accepted an offer to join the Renfrew Creamery Kings for the inaugural season of the National Hockey Association.
There he was joined by future hall of famers Lester Patrick, his brother Frank Patrick as well as mid-season addition Newsy Lalonde. The paychecks handed out to the Renfew players earned the club the unofficial nickname of the Renfrew "Millionaires". Taylor's salary in particular was the highest ever for a Canadian athlete up to that time and remained so for many years.
Newsy Lalonde, Frank Patrick and Cyclone Taylor of Renfrew
Despite their high priced talent, Renfrew finished third in the league and reportedly lost $17,000 that season. Taylor returned for the 1910-11 season, only without the Patricks or Lalonde.
The club once again finished third in the standings and disbanded following the season, putting Taylor back on the open market. Sort of.
His rights were transferred to the Montreal Wanderers, but Taylor was quoted as saying he'd rather retire than join the Wanderers and ended up playing in a game for the Ottawa Senators. The Wanderers protested Taylor's appearance for Ottawa and won. The game was ordered replayed, Taylor and Ottawa were fined $100 each and Taylor was given an indefinite suspension, ending his 1911-12 season at one game.
In November of 1912, Taylor was lured to the Vancouver Millionaires by his former teammates the Patrick brothers, who had formed the Pacific Coast Hockey League.
Taylor with the Vancouver Millionaires in 1912-13
There, he would find a permanent home, playing the next nine seasons of his career, which included five scoring titles, thanks in part to moving up to forward from defense, a career high of 32 goals in 18 games in 1917-18 and a Stanley Cup championship in 1915 thanks to a 3 games to none win over Taylor's former club, the Ottawa Senators which included Taylor scoring six times in the three games including twice in the cup clinching Game 3. The victory by the Millionaires remains the only Stanley Cup ever won by a team from Vancouver 95 years later.
1915 Stanley Cup champion Vancouver Millionaires
The Millionaires returned to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1918, and while they fell in seven games to the Toronto Arenas, Taylor led all playoff scorers with 9 goals in 7 games.
He stopped playing hockey after the 1920-21 season, but did return for a single game in the 1922-23 season with the club now renamed the Vancouver Maroons. He finished his career averaging more than a goal per game with 194 goals in 186 regular season games.
Following his playing career, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. His son Fred Jr. opened a chain of hockey equipment stores called Cyclone Taylor Sports in 1957 which remain in operation today. Since 1967 the playoff champions of the three British Columbia Junior B hockey leagues is awarded the Cyclone Taylor Cup.
In 1979, the Canucks renamed the club's annual MVP award the Cyclone Taylor Award. There are also arenas in Vancouver and his birthplace of Tara, Ontario named in his honor as well as Cyclone Taylor Boulevard, which is one of the four roads around the current Ottawa Senators arena, Scotia Bank Place in Ottawa.
Today's featured jersey is a 1905-06 Portage Lake Hockey Club Fred "Cyclone" Taylor jersey. Or in this case we should we say "sweater". This classic turn of the century hockey sweater features a wonderful "PL" monogram adorned with wings on either side. This heavy sweater certainly would have kept the players warm, as the IPHL played it's games in the winter on natural ice.
While the Portage Lake team only existed for a limited number years, playing exhibition games as early as 1900 and joining the IPHL in 1904 when they began to attract players of note from Canada with the salaries they were paying in the days of amateur hockey, the lineup of future hall of famers was quite impressive, including IPHL founder Jack Gibson in the Builders category, "Bad" Joe Hall, goaltender Riley Hern, team captain Bruce Stuart, his brother Hod Stuart and of course the legendary Cyclone Taylor.
Today's video is a look at the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, of which Cyclone Taylor is a member.