Thursday, March 31, 2011
At the conclusion of the 1918-19 hockey season, the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL travelled west to face off against the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA for the rights to the Stanley Cup Finals. With the series tied at 2-2-1, several members of the Canadiens began to show symptoms of the Spanish Influenza, which caused the remainder of the series to be cancelled and eventually claimed the life of Montreal's Joe Hall.
The 1919 Stanely Cup engraving which reads "series not completed"
One year later the NHL champion Ottawa Senators, who won both halves of the regular season to qualify for the finals without the need for the usual playoff. Meanwhile out west, the Metropolitans finished first overall in the PCHA by the slimmest of margins, as Seattle won 12 and lost 10 to narrowly edge the Vancouver Millionaires, who had a final record of 11-11-0, just ahead of the third place Victoria Aristocrats and their 10-12-0 mark.
Seattle still had to face Vancouver in a playoff series to determine the PCHA championship. Vancouver came out strong and won the first game by a 3-0 shutout only to have Seattle return the favor in spades, shutting out the Millionaires by a resounding 6-0 score to claim the series 6 goals to 3.
With their spot in the finals now secured, Seattle began the cross continent trek to the Canadian capital to face off against the Senators, who last drank from the cup back in 1911.
Before the clubs could take to the ice, there was a sartorial issue which needed to be resolved, as both the host Senators and the visiting Metropolitans wore "barberpole" style sweaters which featured colorful horizontal striping, the Senators in black, red and white, while Seattle arrived with their green, red and whites, forcing the Senators to agree to wear white sweaters to avoid any on ice confusion.
The Ottawa Senators in their black, red and white sweaters
The Seattle Metropolitans similar green, red and white sweaters
With their sweater clash now resolved, the Senators captured Game 1 on March 22nd when Jack Darragh scored the game winning goal to give Ottawa a hard fought 3-2 win.
Game 2 on March 24th also went the way of the Senators as goaltender Clint Benedict held the challengers from Seattle off the scoreboard with less than ideal ice conditions creating issues, but not enough to prevent Ottawa from scoring three times for the victory, with Darragh again getting credit for the game winning goal.
Three days later the Metropolitans fought back to make the series 2-1, but with the Senators still holding the advantage.
With milder temperatures in the capital compromising the quality of the ice at The Arena in Ottawa, which did not have the capability of producing artificial ice, officials conferred and a decision was reached to move the series to Arena Gardens in Toronto which was capable of producing it's own ice.
Seattle exploited the faster ice conditions for Game 4 on March 30 to even the series with a 5-2 win to force a deciding Game 5, which was held on this date in 1920. Darragh was the star of the night, as his hat trick, which once again included the game winning goal, powered the Senators to a 6-1 win to clinch the series 3 games to 2, returning the Stanley Cup to Ottawa where it has spent so much time during the century's first decade. Darragh finished the series second on goals scored with five, with three of them being game winning goals.
The 1920 Stanley Cup champion Ottawa Senators
The championship would begin the final era of Senators domination, as they would win the cup following season (191) and again in 1923 and 1927 for the fourth time in seven years before entering a period of financial decline which would see the club relocate to St. Louis by 1934.
Today's featured jersey is a 1919-20 Ottawa Senators Jack Darragh jersey in the familiar Senators barberpole style worn throughout their history.
After much searching, we were unable to locate any photos of the Senators from the 1920 Stanley Cup Finals wearing the white jerseys worn to avoid confusion with the Seattle Metropolitans similarly striped sweaters.
Darragh joined the Senators prior to them even becoming members of the NHL and would play 13 seasons with the club, winning Stanley Cups in 1911, 1920, 1921 and 1923. He had actually retired following their championship in 1921, but returned for after a season away from the team to play two more seasons, which included the championship in 1923. He finished his career with 194 goals in 250 games during his career and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Today's video selection documents the early years of the Ottawa Senators and their Stanley Cup success with a focus on the arenas and their locations around Ottawa.