Saturday, January 21, 2012
Today is the sixth annual Hockey Day Minnesota, a celebration of the game in the state of Minnesota during which Fox Sports North runs non-stop hockey programming for an entire day.
The first Hockey Day Minnesota was held back in 2007, which featured two high school games played outdoors on Baudette Bay.
At the conclusion of the broadcast of the first game, FSN ran feature programming on various hockey related topics, such as backyard rinks and pond hockey. Later in the day the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers hosted the Denver Pioneers at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis followed by the Minnesota Wild hosting the Dallas Stars in an NHL contest over in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
Xcel Energy Center
So successful was the event that it became an instant tradition and led to an expanded schedule of games for 2008. The day began with a return to Baudette in temperatures which plunged to -25º F. Two high school games were held, with storied Eveleth (home of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame) taking on Lake of the Woods High School followed by Blaine from the Twin Cities suburbs battling Roseau. Meanwhile, down in St. Paul, hockey powers Hill-Murray and St. Thomas Academy played at the Xcel Energy Center followed by the New York Islanders taking on the Wild. Later that night, the Gophers game from Denver was broadcast.
Since then, outdoor games for the high schoolers have been held in Phalen Park in St. Paul in 2009, Hermantown (just west of Duluth) in 2010 and Moorhead (across the river from Fargo, North Dakota) in 2011, featuring not only the boys, but now with girls added to the schedule.
Action from Phalen Park
photo courtesy of VintageHockeyMinnesota
St. Cloud was included in the event when they hosted the Gophers in the day's college portion of the event in 2009 before they travelled to Minneapolis to face the Gophers the following year. Denver returned as the Gophers opponent for 2011. (At this point we must ask why the defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs have yet to be included in Hockey Day Minnesota, especially as hosts for the Gophers in their brand new Amsoil Arena?)
While the high school games move from location to location, and the college games have as well, one constant has been the Wild, without whose support and cooperation the event would not be possible, hosting a game in St. Paul. The remainder of their opponents have been the Anaheim Ducks in 2009, the Columbus Blue Jackets on 2010 and the St. Louis Blues in 2011.
The Wild hosted the Blues on Hockey Day Minnesota in 2011
This year's schedule begins with White Bear Lake taking on Grand Rapids followed by the #1 and 2 rated teams in the state, as Minnetonka faces off against Duluth East in boys high school hockey followed by the Minnetonka girls playing against Hopkins' girls. The games were originally scheduled to be held outdoors on Lake Minnetonka, but due to the unseasonably warm temperatures a safe and playable surface would not be ready in time, forcing the high school games indoors for the first time in the history of the event.
The Gophers will host the Colorado College Tigers at 5 PM followed by the Wild taking on the Dallas Stars at 8 PM. Additionally, the Golden Gophers women's team's game against Bemidji State will be shown on the Big Ten Network at 4 PM.
With the high school games being held in the Twin Cities metro area for only the second time, those with a hearty appetite for the game can take in as many as four live games at three different locations in one day. For those of you craving your outdoor hockey, there is always the option of a trip to Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis for the 2012 U. S. Pond Hockey Championships, which would fit nicely in between the early high school games in the west metro area and the early evening college game just 10 miles up the freeway to the north.
Including a stop at the pond hockey championships, all four venues are located within 35 miles of each other, easily doable for the devoted hockey faithful, rather nicely laid out with no backtracking!
A - Pagel Activity Center, Minnetonka
B - Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis
C - Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis
D - Xcel Engery Center, St. Paul
Special for this year is that the over 16 hours of programming on FSN will feature a telethon to raise money for the Jack Jablonkski Trust Fund for the player recently paralyzed from a broken neck resulting from a check from behind in a recent junior varsity high school game. If you would like to make a donation to the fund, please click on the logo below.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Born on this date in 1950 in Winnipeg, Chuck Lefley began his career with his hometown Winnipeg Rangers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1965. There, the center racked up 39 points in 46 games to earn league rookie of the year honors as the Rangers would go on to win the Turnbull Cup as league champions. He would follow that up with a 25 goal, 46 point season in 1966-67.
Rather than join a team higher up the junior ranks for the following season, Lefley instead chose to become a member of the Canadian National Team, whom he played for over the course of the next three seasons, which included his participation in the 1969 World Championships, Canada's final participation in the World Championships until 1977 due to a dispute over the amateur status of players from Soviet Bloc countries.
After three seasons with the national team, Lefley played in seven games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, impressively scoring 6 goals and 12 points. That spring he was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 6th overall in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft.
He would spend the vast majority of the 1970-71 season in the American Hockey League with the Montreal Voyageurs, scoring 35 points in 48 games. He would also make his NHL debut with a single game with the Canadiens as well as one playoff game later that year, which was enough to earn Lefley his name on the Stanley Cup despite only two games of NHL experience as the Canadiens would claim the title following a seven game series against the Chicago Black Hawks!
Lefley would play 16 games with the Canadiens, scoring his first NHL points with a pair of assists, but once again spent most of his time with the Voyaguers in the AHL, who had now been relocated to Nova Scotia. During the post season, the Voyageurs would defeat Springfield, Boston and Baltimore while Lefley came in third in team scoring with 14 points in 15 games as Nova Scotia captured the Calder Cup as league champions.
Lefley would become a full-time member of the Canadiens in 1972-73, registering his first 20 goals season with 21 on his way to 46 points as part of the powerhouse Montreal roster. During the playoffs, Buffalo fell first, followed by Philadelphia before Chicago fell victim once again, giving Lefley the second Stanley Cup of his career, only this one slightly more earned with
8 points in 17 games.
The 1973-74 season saw Lefley raise his career highs to 23 goals and 54 points. He played in 18 games with Montreal in 1974-75, but his scoring touch had gone away, with just 1 goal and 3 points at the time of his trade to the St. Louis Blues.
While the Montreal lineup was stacked with future hall of famers on the verge of their latest Stanley Cup dynasty, the Blues welcomed Lefley's offensive skills to their roster. Given ample playing time and responsibility, he equalled his 23 goals from the previous season while playing 17 less games than the year before.
The 1975-76 season would prove to be the best of Lefley's career, as he would register 43 goals, 20 more than any other season of his career. The 43 goals would place him in the top ten in the NHL and his 85 points would lead St. Louis in scoring as well as setting club records in both categories in the process.
He would play one more season, but lack the drive and excitement he had brought to his game the previous season. He point totals would drop precipitously, finishing with just 11 goals and 41 points. He would surprise everyone by walking away from his contract and retiring at the end of the season with plans to return to his farm in Manitoba.
If that were not surprising enough, he really caught everyone off guard at the following season when he played for Jokerti Helsinki in Finland, a very uncommon move in the 1970's for a North American player. Of their 36 games, Lefley appeared in 24, scoring 11 goals and 12 points, equalling his NHL goal total from the year before.
He travelled even further east for the 1978-79 season, joining his older brother and defenseman Bryan Lefley as members of Dusseldorfer EG (now better known as the DEG Metro Stars) in West Germany, where in 26 games he scored 17 goals and 22 points, clearly a shoot first mentality as evidenced by just 5 assists! Bryan, who had been with the Colorado Rockies the previous season, would remain in with Dusseldorf for another season before finishing his career with SC Bern in Switzerland.
He returned to St. Louis for the 1979-80 season to resurrect his NHL career, but a hard hit in training camp separated his shoulder, which limited him to 28 games for the season. He returned to the Blues for the 1980-81 season, but decided his career was over after just two games, retiring for good this time.
His final NHL totals were 407 games played, 128 goals and 164 assists for 292 points as well as 13 points in 29 playoff games and his name on the Stanley Cup twice.
Today's featured jersey is a 1975-76 St. Louis Blues Chuck Lefley jersey. This was the second version of the Blues dark jerseys, as their original ones had the colors on the stripes reversed. Names were added permanently in 1977-78 and colored shoulders, matching the style of their white jerseys, came in 1979 and remained in use through 1984.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The first collegiate hockey game in the oldest active rivalry in the United States was played on this date in 1898 when Brown University defeated Harvard University by a score of 6-0 in a game played outdoors at Franklin Field in Boston, Massachusetts.
The 1898 Brown University hockey team, winners of the first collegiate game in the United States
The Boston Herald's account of the game
Brown would win again the following year by a score of 2-1, but Harvard would even the score in 1900 with a pair of wins over Brown in back to back games.
Brown, based in Providence, Rhode Island, originally played men's hockey from 1898 until 1906. They resumed play in 1926-27 through 1939 before taking an extended break during World War II.
The 1929-30 Brown Bears
Play resumed in 1947 as an independent club until joining the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1961-62, where they have retained membership ever since. Notable seasons for Brown have included 1964-65, going 21-9, and the 1975-76 season which saw Brown finish with a record of 23-7.
The 1975-76 Brown Bears
Their last NCAA appearance came in 1993, when they were defeated by Minnesota-Duluth in the first round. They came in third in 1976 following a 7-6 loss to Michigan Tech in two overtimes followed by an 8-7 win over Boston University. They took fourth in the nation in 1965 and were runners-up to Michigan back in 1951 following an 18-6 regular season.
Notable NHLers to have played for Brown include Curt Bennett, Tim Bothwell and Todd Simpson among the dozen Bears to have appeared in the NHL.
Curt Bennett while with Brown and later the Atlanta Flames
Harvard, meanwhile, played just the one game in 1898, but fielded a team continuously through 1916-17, taking a break of one year due to World War I.
Hockey at Harvard Stadium, circa 1910
Starting up again in 1918-19, played through 1942-43 before they too, suspended play during World War II, resuming again in 1945-46 after a two year hiatus.
The 1931 Harvard Crimson hockey team
Harvard played as an independent until 1960-61 when the ECAC was formed due to the NCAA selection committee overlooking any Boston area schools, which prompted the formation of the ECAC, with the conference tournament champion earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Crimson has won the regular season conference title ten times, with a period of dominance from 1985-86 to 1993-94 seeing them win 7 times in 9 seasons, the first four of those won consecutively under long time coach and 1960 United States gold medalist Bill Cleary, who ran the program from 1971 to 1990.
Longtime Crimson head coach Bill Cleary
Additionally, Harvard has won the ECAC post season tournament 8 times in 1963, 1971, 1983, 1987, 1994, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Harvard has made the NCAA tournament 21 times, winning the national championship in overtime in 1989 and posting runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1986. Most recently, the qualified five years running, from 2002 until 2006.
Ed Krayer scores the overtime goal to win the national championship in 1989
Team Captain Lane MacDonald with the 1989 NCAA championship trophy
Harvard has had three players win the Hobey Baker Award, Mark Fusco in 1983, Scott Fusco in 1986 and Lane McDonald in 1989. 23 Crimson players have appeared in the NHL, with some of the better known ones being Craig Adams, current Crimson head coach Ted Donato, Dominic Moore and Don Sweeney.
Current NHLer Dominic Moore while captain of the Harvard Crimson
Since that first meeting back in 1898, the Harvard Crimson holds a 102-41-12 all-time lead in American college hockey's oldest rivalry, a rivalry which will be renewed on January 28th when Brown travels to meet Harvard, with the rematch coming on February 17th.
Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Harvard Crimson Peter Ciavaglia jersey as worn during Harvard's championship victory in 1989. Normally overlooked in the world of college hockey as being too soft, the Crimson began the season with 15 straight wins to earn the #1 overall ranking in the country. They went on to win their first Beanpot Tournament in 8 years to further demonstrate they were a club not to be overlooked that season.
Their number one line, the "Line of Fire" consisted of Hobey Baker winner MacDonald, and runner up Allen Bourbeau as well as C. J. Young, both of whom had played for the United States at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Additionally, Peter Ciavaglia and Donato would both play in the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. The Crimson won the ECAC regular season title and entered the playoffs with a stellar 24-2 record.
They learned from being beaten in overtime during the ECAC playoffs, and went on to defeat defending champions Lake Superior State in the NCAA playoffs 4-2 and 5-2 in their best-of-three series. They defeated Michigan State 6-3 to advance to the finals against the University of Minnesota, a game held in the Golden Gophers backyard in St. Paul.
In one of the greatest games ever played, the two teams traded goals back and forth, ending regulation of the exhilarating contest tied at 3-3. In overtime, Ciavaglia won a faceoff in the Minnesota zone back to Ed Krayer, who passed it to Brian McCormack who fired a shot which rebounded off Minnesota goaltender Robb Stauber's pad to Krayer, who moved to his right, forcing Stauber to move, which allowed Krayer the opening he needed to slide the puck between Stauber's legs for the championship winning goal, giving Harvard it's first championship in any NCAA sport.
Harvard's classic jerseys, rivaling those of teams like the Chicago Blackhawks for unchanging longevity, are true hockey classics, with their simple waist and arm stripes, colored shoulder yoke and "Harvard" vertically arched above each players number on the front. They jerseys are topped off with the school crest, which contains the university motto Veritas, Latin for "truth".
Here is footage from Harvard's championship victory over Minnesota, when the Gophers Randy Skarda hits the pipe, keeping Harvard alive in a game they would go on to win, a moment still talked about in Minnesota to this day. We were unable to find any footage of the game winning goal, however.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Born on this date in 1915, Syl Apps Sr. was not only a hockey player, but an accomplished pole vaulter as well, winning the gold medal in the 1934 British Empire Games in London and later represented Canada at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, placing sixth.
A big player for his era, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, the center first played junior hockey for in his hometown of Paris, Ontario in 1930. From there he played for McMaster University, where he was recognized for his athletic ability while playing football by the Toronto Maple Leafs Conn Smythe, who signed him to play for the Maple Leafs despite never having seen him play hockey! He declined at the time in order to retain his amateur status in order to compete in the 1936 Olympics.
Syl Apps while a football player at McMaster
Apps joined the Hamilton Tigers of the Ontario Hockey Association in 1935-36 to play senior hockey, scoring 22 goals and 38 points in just 19 games and adding another 9 points in 4 playoff games.
Even though some wondered if the non-smoking, non-drinking, non-swearing Apps was too nice to play in the NHL, he joined the Maple Leafs for the 1936-37 season, winning the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year following an impressive 45 points in 48 games to lead the club in scoring and place second in the league by just a single point, putting to rest any questions about his ability to compete in the NHL!
Syl Apps 1936 rookie card
While Apps raised his point total to 50 the following season, he again placed second in NHL scoring by two points to teammate Gordie Drillon. Apps did lead the league in assists with 29 and added 5 more points as the Maple Leafs made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1938.
Apps led the Maple Leafs in scoring in 1938-39 despite a reduction in his total to 40, accumulated in 44 games played. He had a fine playoff campaign, as Toronto again made it to the finals, thanks in part to Apps' 8 points in 10 games.
Note the texture of Apps' wool sweater
Despite being limited to just 27 games by a broken collarbone, he averaged more than a point per game with 30, good for second on the Maple Leafs. For the third consecutive season, the Maple Leafs would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but come up short once more. Prior to the season, Apps would be selected to play in the Babe Siebert Memorial Game as a member of the NHL All-Stars, who took on the Montreal Canadiens.
The popular Apps was regularly featured on the cover of the Maple Leafs program
For the 1940-41 season, Apps was named the 5th captain of the Maple Leafs. He responded with the second 20 goal season of his career and added 24 assists for 44 points to equal Drillon's team leading total.
Maple Leafs captain Syl Apps
For the 1941-42 season, Apps was yet again second to Drillon for the club lead in points with 41 and was named the winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for the Most Gentlemanly Player thanks to completing the entire season without a single penalty! In the postseason, Apps led the Maple Leafs in playoff scoring with 14 points in 13 games as Toronto would eliminate the New York Rangers in six games before defeating the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to capture the 1942 Stanley Cup in remarkable fashion, having lost the first three games of the finals and leaving no further margin for error.
The 1941-42 Maple Leafs Stanley Cup engraving, listing Apps as team captain
Apps would be limited to 29 games due to a broken leg in 1942-43, his final season with the Maple Leafs for the time being, as he enlisted in the Canadian Army during World War II. After two years away from the NHL, Apps would return for the 1945-46 season, resuming his captaincy in the process. He did not skip a beat, scoring his fourth consecutive 40 point season, thanks to a then career best 24 goals.
Apps while in the military
He would raise his goal scoring total to 25 the following season and come second on the team with 49 points in 54 games. He would equal his career best with 5 playoff goals as the Maple Leafs ousted the Red Wings in 5 games and then captured the second Stanley Cup of Apps career by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4 games to 2.
A happy Apps with coach Hap Day and goaltender Turk Broda
Going out in style, Apps set career bests in goals, with 26 (which included a hat trick on the final day of the season), and points, with 53, to lead the Maple Leafs in scoring before they marched to the championship, defeating the Boston Bruins in five and sweeping the Red Wings in four straight for the second consecutive and third Stanley Cup of Apps career.
Apps with his third Stanley Cup, going out on top
And with that, Apps retired from the NHL at the age of 33, taking a marketing job with a department store as well as serving as Ontario Athletic Commissioner. Later in the 1960's, he became active in politics and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1975.
His career totals were 423 games played, 201 goals and 231 assists for 432 points and a mere 56 penalty minutes in 10 seasons, 15 of which came from the only 3 fights of his career.
In 1961 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and later became a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and a Member of the Order of Canada in 1977. The Maple Leafs made Apps' #10 one of the club's "honored numbers" in 1993. Another tribute arrived in 2001, when Apps was featured on a postage stamp in Canada.
His son, Syl Apps, Jr. would also have a career in the NHL, playing ten seasons after breaking in with the Rangers. He would spend the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins before finishing with three seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Syl Apps, Jr. with his father, Syl, Sr.
Today's featured jersey is a 1938-39 Toronto Maple Leafs Syl Apps jersey. This was the first season for this style sweater with this new version of the Maple Leafs crest. The striping template for this sweater was first adopted in the 1937-38 season, carrying over the original crest, which dated back to 1927 when Smythe purchased the Toronto St. Patricks franchise and changed the club's name to the Maple Leafs.
After one season with the new striping pattern, the new style crest made it's debut and lasted well beyond the conclusion of Apps' career in 1948, remaining unchanged through the 1957-58 season when a blue shoulder yoke was added.
Today's video selection is a cool old documentary on hockey in Canada featuring footage of Apps and the Maple Leafs taking on the New York Rangers in November 1939.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1948, Andy Van Hellemond began his hockey career like most others as a player, competing for the St. James Canadians of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, which included winning a league championship in 1968 and being named to the league's First All-Star Team as a center.
With his playing career at an end, Van Hellemond began to officiate in various leagues in Manitoba before moving up to first the Western Hockey League for two years and eventually in the NHL, making his debut as a 23-year-old on November 22, 1972 as a replacement for Bruce Hood, who had suffered a knee injury.
How times have changed - a seated Van Hellemond is taller than the glass in 1975
In 1984 he became the first NHL on-ice official to wear a helmet, leading the way to others doing the same before they eventually became mandatory beginning with the 2006-07 season.
A helmeted Van Hellemond
After the era of NHL referees wearing their names on their backs ended in 1993-94, Van Hellemond wore #25 for the remainder of his career, which included setting the NHL record for the most games when he appeared in his 1,173rd regular season game when the St. Louis Blues hosted the Montreal Canadiens, breaking the record held by Dave Newell.
Van Hellemond was immortalized as part of the 1990 Pro Set hockey card set
Upon his retirement after 24 years as an official in 1996, Van Hellemond held the records for most regular season games, with 1,475, most playoff games at 227, and most Stanley Cup finals with 19.
For fourteen years he was the NHL's top rated referee and had the honor of working two NHL All-Star Games, the 1979 Challenge Cup and Rendez-Vous '87 between the NHL All-Stars and the Soviet Union.
Following his retirement as a NHL referee, he became Senior Vice-President and Director of Operations for the ECHL until 2000, when he became Director of Officiating for the NHL until July of 2004.
Although his NHL career came to an end in 1996, Van Hellemond was back on the ice in 2003 for the MegaStars Game, an alumni game with alumni referees between past greats of the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens prior to the Heritage Classic outdoor game in Edmonton.
Van Hellemond in a throwback NHL referee's sweater
Van Hellemond with Wayne Gretzky at 2003's MegaStars Game
He was later selected as Manitoba's Referee of the Century, became an Honored Member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.
Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 NHL Referee Andy Van Hellemond jersey. This sweater was worn during the era of referees wearing their names on the backs of their sweaters. This jersey also features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch as worn on not only all the players jerseys in 1992-93, but also the referees' sweaters.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1994-95 NHL Referee Andy Van Hellemond jersey. This jersey, with Van Hellemond's #25 on the back was worn during the first season NHL officials returned to the use of numbers rather than names on their backs for the final two seasons of Van Hellemond's career.
Life as a referee is never an easy one, but getting deliberately punched by a player should not be one of the things they are forced to put up with. Here, Van Hellemond is on the receiving end of a blow by the Boston Bruins Terry O'Reilly. He would be suspended for 10 games for hitting Van Hellemond.
Once again, Van Hellemond earns his paycheck when things boil over between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs engage in a sucker punching line brawl cage match, including Chicago's Dave Manson jumping off the top rope for a disqualification. Even Santa Claus seems upset by their behavior.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Born in 1882, Frank McGee excelled at sports, rowing, playing lacrosse and rugby, which included winning a Canadian championship in 1898. But what McGee is best remembered for was his goal scoring prowess at hockey.
In 1900, at the age of 17, while playing in a charity exhibition game with a local Canadian Pacific Railway team, McGee permanently lost the sight in one eye when hit with a high stick. He quit playing to become a referee, but quickly returned to playing despite the risk of losing the vision in his remaining good eye.
After playing junior and intermediate level hockey in his native Ottawa, he joined the Ottawa Hockey Club for the 1903 season. He appeared in six of the club's eight games and immediately showed his offensive skills with 14 goals to place second overall in the Canadian Amateur Hockey League.
In the CAHL playoffs, McGee and Ottawa faced off against the Montreal Victorias in a two-game total-goal series for the rights to the Stanley Cup. Game 1 finished tied at 1-1, with McGee held scoreless. Ottawa roared to life in Game 2, however, as McGee led the Ottawa onslaught with a hat trick as they overpowered the Victorias 8-0. As a result of their 9-1 triumph, Ottawa became league champions were declared holders of the cup for the first time in club history.
Two days later the new champions were challenged for their new trophy by the Rat Portage Thistles in a best-of-three series. Game 1 went to Ottawa 6-2, with McGee scoring twice. Two days later, Ottawa successfully defended their trophy with a 4-2 win, with McGee scoring twice more, including the cup winning goal at 8:20 of the first half, as the game had yet to be divided into three periods. As a reward for their victory, each member of the squad would receive a silver nugget, which gave birth to the team's new nickname, The Silver Seven.
The Stanley Cup champion 1903 Ottawa Hockey Club
Before the 1904 CAHL season began, Ottawa faced another challenge for the Stanley Cup, this from the Winnipeg Rowing Club. A best-of-three series, play began on December 30th, 1903. When the series concluded on January 4, 1904, the Silver Seven prevailed after a 9-1 win, a 6-2 loss and a 2-0 shutout in Game 3.
Ottawa had a tumultuous 1904 season, as they withdrew from the CAHL after only four games and joined the new Federal Amateur Hockey League, but did not participate in any of the FAHL regular season games. In the four CAHL games Ottawa did compete in, McGee scored 12 times, which was still good enough to place him fifth in the final scoring totals.
After leaving the CAHL, the Silver Seven would face a cup challenge from the Toronto Marlboros, whom they would turn away 2 games to none in their best-of-three challenge in late February of 1904.
Once the FAHL regular season was concluded, it's regular season champions, the Montreal Wanderers met the Silver Seven to compete in a two-game, total-goal series for the FAHL championship and the rights to the Stanley Cup that went with it. At least that was the plan. The first game ended in a 5-5 tie when the Wanderers refused to play overtime with the same referee in charge and then had the temerity to demand the series begin anew as a best-of-three! When the trustees of the cup ordered the series to continue as planned, the Wanderers abandoned their challenge, leaving the Silver Seven as FAHL champions despite their having played but a single tie game in league competition! During the tie game, McGee added another goal to his career total.
A final challenge to Ottawa was arranged for one week later, this from Brandon Wheat Cities in another best-of-three format, which the Silver Seven turned away with a pair of victories. While McGee had only played in four regular season games during the 1904 season, he skated in eight cup challenge games, scoring 21 times as the Silver Seven turned away no less than four separate challengers.
In their first full season of FAHL competition in 1905, Ottawa came first with a 7-1 record as McGee would tie for the league lead with 17 goals, but he would score his while playing in two less games than Jack Marshall. The highlight of McGee's regular season would be a five goal performance on February 4th.
During the season, the Dawson City Nuggets would travel 4,000 miles from the Yukon to challenge Ottawa. Their trip would take a month to complete and include traveling on foot, by sled dog, automobile, ship and train. Game 1 of the best-of-three would go to Ottawa by a score of 9-2, with McGee scoring once. Game 2 on this date in 1905 would be one for the ages, as Ottawa continued to pile up goals at a furious pace, eventually winning by an unfathomable 23-2 final score with McGee setting a record which still stands today, as he scored an incredible 14 times! Eight of McGee's goals were consecutive and came in under nine minutes of playing time.
As league champions, Ottawa retained the cup and was challenged once again by the Rat Portage Thistles. McGee did not play in Game 1, which was won by the Thistles 9-3. McGee returned for Games 2 and 3, which were won by Ottawa 4-2 and 5-4 with McGee scoring three times.
The Stanley Cup champion 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven
For the 1906 season, the Silver Seven moved to the new Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. They tied for the best record at 9-1. McGee was third in league scoring with 28 goals in seven games, which included an eight goal performance on March 3rd.
Ottawa would face two challenges during the regular season, first from Queen's University in a best-of-three. After Game 1 went the way of the Silver Seven 16-7, there was little doubt that the cup would change hands, which was confirmed by a 12-7 score in Game 2. McGee scored four times in Game 1.
Just prior to the end of the regular season, Ottawa again had to face a cup challenge, this from Smiths Falls in another best-of-three series. Ottawa had little trouble defending it's now three year grip on the Stanley Cup, as they won two straight by scores of 6-5 and 8-2. In all, McGee scored 15 times in the four cup challenge games that season.
The final two games of McGee's career came in the ECAHA playoffs on March 14th and 17th, 1906. The series was a two-game, total-goal affair. The Montreal Wanderers put in an early claim on the cup with a resounding 9-1 win in the first game.
Ottawa was down, but not out, as they entered Game 2, but 12 minutes in, Montreal scored again to increase their lead to nine goals. McGee got Ottawa on the board in the first half and again before the half ended to help cut the margin to 10-4. The Silver Seven would come out flying in the second half, and score six consecutive goals to even the series at 10-10! In the final seven minutes of the contest, Lester Patrick would score to put Montreal in front and then end the three year reign of the Silver Seven with an empty net goal in the final seconds.
It would be McGee's final game as a hockey player in a career which spanned four seasons, divided between 23 regular season games in which he scored 71 goals, an average of more than three per game. Mc Gee would also participate in 22 playoff and Stanley Cup challenge games during which he would score 63 times, including his record 14 in one game in 1905, all while only having vision in one eye.
Frank Patrick was quoted as saying about McGee, "He was even better than they say he was. He had everything - speed, stick handling, scoring ability and was a punishing checker. He was strongly built but beautifully proportioned and he had an almost animal rhythm."
Following his retirement as a player at just 23 years of age, said to be because his government job would not allow him to travel. Despite having vision in only one eye, he somehow was accepted into the military at age 32. His certificate of examination noted that McGee could "see the required distance with either eye" after he apparently tricked the doctor by covering his bad eye with first one hand and then the other during his exam.
He began to serve in May of 1915 before suffering a knee injury when his vehicle was hit by a shell. While out of action he was given the opportunity to take a non-combat posting in the northwest of France far from the battle, but chose instead to return to the front in August only to be killed in action on September 16, 1916. His body was never recovered.
Lieutenant Frank McGee
McGee was later elected to the first class to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.
Today's featured jersey is a 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven Frank McGee jersey as worn during his record setting 14 goal game against Dawson City. The Senators trademark red, black and white horizontal "barberpole" stripes were first adopted in 1903, 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.