Friday, November 18, 2011
Born on this date in 1881, Percy LeSueur, played amateur hockey in his hometown of Quebec City before the right winger relocating to Smith Falls, Ontario to play for the Smiths Falls Seniors, where he switched to playing in goal, beginning with the 1903-04 season.
He went 3-3 in his fist season and for the 1905-06 season Smith Falls joined the Federal Amateur Hockey League and dominated the competition on their way to a perfect 7-0 record, which earned Smiths Falls the right to challenge the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Stanley Cup. While Ottawa would win the best-of-three series 2 games to none, LeSueur so impressed the Senators with his play, that a week later, with Ottawa having been blown out in the first game of their two-game, total-goals series against the Montreal Wanderers by a score of 9-1, the Silver Seven turned to LeSueur as a replacement for Billy Hauge.
LeSueur accepted the offer and his debut with the Silver Seven was one of the most memorable games in hockey history and perhaps the greatest game ever up to that point, as Ottawa gave up and early goal to increase their deficit to 9 goals before they came roaring back with nine consecutive goals to even the series at 10-10. However, Lester Patrick scored two late goals for the Wanderers to not only spoil the Ottawa comeback but also end their three year stranglehold on the Stanley Cup.
Despite the loss, LeSueur became a full time member of the Silver Seven beginning with the 1906-07 season and would remain so through a series of evolving leagues the club were members of, beginning with the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. He was second in the league in goals against that season.
During the next ECAHA season, LeSueur was the lone Ottawa representative in the first hockey All-Star game, which was a benefit for the late Hod Stuart. During the regular season, LeSueur was again second in goals against average while repeating his 7-3 won-loss record.
The league shortened it's name to the ECHA for the 1908-09 season during which Ottawa finished in first place with a 10-2 mark as LeSueur once more finished runner-up in the goals against statistic. As league champions, Ottawa was granted possession of the Stanley Cup, having supplanted the previous champion Montreal Wanderers.
As was frequently the case in the formative years of professional hockey, the Silver Seven joined a new league for the 1909-10 season, the Canadian Hockey Association. Before the regular season began, Ottawa defended a challenge for their cup from a team from Galt, Ontario. who they defeated 15 goals to 4 over the two game series. Once the regular season began, the new league was an instant failure, which caused Ottawa to withdraw from the league after playing just two games. They then joined the rival National Hockey Association and went 9-3 to place second behind the rival Wanderers. While Ottawa had defended the cup once more during the NHA season against the Edmonton Hockey Club in late January, possession of the cup passed to Montreal by virtue of their having won the regular season title over Ottawa. With the regular season record from two leagues combined, as well as the Stanley Cup challenge games, LeSueur finished the season with a 15-3 record.
LeSueur was named team captain for the 1910-11 season and Ottawa then stormed the league, powering to a 13-3 record with 122 goals in 16 games, while no other team finished with a record above .500 or 91 goals. LeSueur returned to his customary position with the second best goals against average in the league and, as league champions, Ottawa regained possession of the Stanley Cup, which led to a pair of challenges in March of 1911, which they successfully turned away with a 7-4 win over Galt and a 13-4 thrashing of the Port Arthur Bearcats. They were to be the last Stanley Cup games for LeSueur with Ottawa and he finished with a perfect 7-0 mark in challenge games for the club.
1910-11 Ottawa Senators - holders of the Stanley Cup
LeSueur is in the center of the photo holding his goalie stick and wearing the leg pads
LeSueur would play three more seasons for the club, by now known as the Ottawa Senators. Additionally, the now veteran LeSueur also coached the team in 1913-14 in addition to maintaining his captain's duties.
With Ottawa having now found a new, younger goaltender to take over their duties in the form of future Hall of Famer Clint Benedict, LeSueur was traded to the Toronto Shamrocks for the 1914-15 season during which he went 8-11. For his final season in hockey, he and the other Shamrocks players were transferred to the Toronto Blueshirts, also owned by Eddie Livingstone. The Blueshirts performed very much the same as the Shamrocks, with LeSueur posting a 9-13 record.
After retiring as a player, LeSueur remained very active in hockey, at times being a referee, manager, arena manager, journalist, broadcaster and coach in both the minor leagues as well as the NHL. Additionally, he is credited with creating the first gauntlet style goalies glove, which evolved from his experimenting with gloves used in baseball. He also designed and patented the first goal net used by the NHL.
LeSueur was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
Today's featured jersey is a 1910-11 Ottawa Senators Percy LeSueur jersey with the Senators trademark black, red and white horizontal "barberpole" stripes. This style of jersey was first adopted in 1904, and except for one season with vertical stripes in 1910-11, remained in use through the original Senators final season in Ottawa of 1933-34, with the addition of the letter "O" crest from 1929-30 on.