Monday, September 13, 2010
Born on this date in 1902, Harold Darragh first played four seasons in the Ottawa City Hockey League for the Ottawa Gunners prior to joining the Pittsburgh Yellowjackets of the United States Amateur Hockey Association in 1922-23
He returned to the OCHL with the Ottawa New Edinburghs for the 1923-24 season prior to returning to the Yellowjackets for 1924-25.
He remained in Pittsburgh for the following season, only this time with the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL. Darragh finished third in scoring while helping the Pirates finish third in the seven team NHL and were one of three clubs to make the playoffs.
Darragh would finish second in team scoring the following two seasons before tying for the team lead in scoring for the 1928-29 season, but with a mere 12 points in 43 games as the low-scoring Pirates would only total 46 goals in 44 games.
The Pirates suffered through a dismal 1929-30 season, as they would only win five of 44 games. Darrah however, benefitted greatly from a new rule change which permitted forward passing in the offensive zone for the first time, and set personal highs with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 42 games, nearly three times more than the previous season.
The Pirates were in financial difficulties and also in need of a new arena. With no solutions forthcoming in Pittsburgh, the team looked for greener pastures and relocated to Philadelphia where they were renamed the Quakers for the 1930-31 season.
The 1930-31 Philadelphia Quakers. Darragh is the third from the right in the back row.
After ten games with the Quakers, Darragh was traded to the Boston Bruins for the remainder of the season.
When the Bruins asked for waivers on Darragh, he was purchased by the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 1931-32 season, the same season the club moved into Maple Leaf Gardens. Toronto finished with the third best record during the regular season. During the playoffs, the Maple Leafs eliminated the Chicago Black Hawks in a two-game, total-goals playoff 6-2 and then did the same to the Montreal Maroons 4-3 to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. There, the Maple Leafs swept the New York Rangers 5-4, 6-2 and 6-4 to earn Darragh the only Stanley Cup title of his career.
He would play 19 games the following season in Toronto before leaving the club and joining the Syracuse Stars of the International Hockey League to finish out the season. He also played the 1933-34 season with the Stars prior to taking a year off before returning to the ice with the Pittsburgh Shamrocks, also of the IHL for his final season as a player.
His final NHL totals were 308 games played, 68 goals and 49 assists for 117 points and a mere 50 penalty minutes, as Darragh was known as a very gentlemanly player. For the final 12 seasons as a player, Darragh only registered more than 6 penalty minutes in a season twice (16 in 1927-28 and 12 in 1933-34).
Today's featured jersey is a 1929-30 Pittsburgh Pirates Harold Darragh jersey. This unusual style jersey was worn for the Pirates last season in Pittsburgh and featured a change from black and yellow to black and orange. Those colors would be retained when the team relocated to Philadelphia for the Quakers only season and adopted by the expansion Philadelphia Flyers in 1967.
This jersey used simple one color block numbers on the back.
Having played in both Pittsburgh for their final season and with the Quakers during their only season, Darragh wore two of the rarest styles of jerseys in NHL history and we can only hope his family was lucky enough to have inherited them, as their value would be quite enormous these days.
Bonus jersey: Today's Bonus jersey is a 1935-36 Pittsburgh Shamrocks jersey. It's unusual to think of a jersey from Pittsburgh being colors other than black and gold these days, but this classic example of a 1930's jersey features barberpole striped sleeves and a plain body adorned with a vertically arched name and simple shamrock logo. The striped sleeves gives it an appearance more like a football jersey from the time period.
For more on the history of hockey in Pittsburgh, we recommend the excellent PittsburghHockey.net.
Our video section today features the history of hockey in Pittsburgh.