Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Goaltender Hal Winkler began is hockey playing days in Winnipeg with a series of senior clubs from 1913 to 1918, concluding with a challenge for the Allan Cup. He subsequently played for the Brandon Elks, Moose Jaw Maple Leafs and Saskatoon Crescents over the next three seasons prior to being sold to the Edmonton Eskimos of the brand new Western Canada Hockey League for the 1921-22 season.
He would play three seasons for the Eskimos with a 36-27-5 record, finishing with the best regular season record twice and winning the league playoff title in 1923. For the 1924-25 season, Winkler was sold to the Calgary Tigers and immediately finished with the league's best record once again. After a second season with Calgary, Winkler moved east as the NHL was in a period of expansion.
Winkler's 1923 Paulin's Candy trading card
Tex Rickard, president of New York's Madison Square Garden, saw the success of his tenants the New York Americans during their first season in 1925-26, and wanted to maximize the use of his arena by having a second team play there. He was granted a franchise for the 1926-27 season, which was quickly referred to as "Tex's Rangers".
The 1926-27 New York Rangers first training camp.
Note the white lettering on the sweaters.
One of the players obtained to stock the Rangers new lineup was Winkler, who was named the starting goaltender for the Rangers first ever game on this date in 1926. Their opponents that night were the Montreal Maroons, who Winkler shutout 1-0 thanks to a goal by Bill Cook, making Winkler the first goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in his first game.
After playing eight games for the Rangers, Winkler was dealt to the Boston Bruins for $5,000 in mid-January and went 12-9-2 for the Bruins before leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in the postseason as the Bruins ousted the Chicago Black Hawks in a total-goals series 10-5 and eliminated the Rangers 3 goals to 1.
Winkler leads the Bruins lineup into the 1927 Stanley Cup Finals
He played a career high 44 games with Boston in 1927-28, also setting a career best with 20 wins, which included a stunning 15 shutouts on his way to a 1.51 goals against average.
Despite having played every game in goal for Boston and finishing with the the third best wins and goal against average plus leading the league in shutouts, Winkler found himself in the minor leagues with the Minneapolis Millers for the 1928-29 American Hockey Association season. There, he posted a fine 17-7-10 record.
Winkler moved to the west coast for the 1929-30 season when he joined the Seattle Eskimos of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. After one season with Seattle, it was back to Boston for Winkler to finish out his career, this time with the Boston Tigers of the Canadian-American Hockey League.
Today's featured jersey is a 1926-27 New York Rangers Hal Winkler jersey. While researching this entry we believed that the original Rangers sweaters had white lettering, changing to red for the 1927-28 season before adopting red letters with white outlines from 1928-29 on. However... we found several team photos and player photos attributed to the 1926-27 season, including the below photo of Winkler, which had to be from 1926-27, as he only played eight total games for the Rangers, clearly with red letters with white outlines two seasons before we believed they were first used.
Perhaps the white only jerseys were used in training camp and were replaced with the jersey shown below for the regular season. Either way, we're confident that the below photo of Winkler is from the Rangers inaugural season leaving us with a mystery to solve.
Today's video selection is a look at the history of the New York Rangers, which includes their founding in 1926.