Sunday, March 17, 2013
The Toronto Arenas had won the Stanley Cup in 1918 but quickly ran into financial difficulties and were sold by their owners, The Toronto Arena Company, who owned the Arena Gardens rink where the team played, to new owners for $5,000. The new owners then changed the club's name to the Toronto St. Patricks and their sweaters from blue to a more appropriate green.
Rebounding from a chaotic 5-13 season resulting from the sale or defection of their best players due to the financial problems of the previous ownership, the club was essentially starting over for the 1919-20 season.
While they did not qualify for the playoffs, the St. Patricks did improve their season record to 12-12 and were led in points by Corb Denneny, a holdover from the Toronto Arenas, who totaled 24 goals and 36 points in 24 games, good for fourth in the three year old NHL.
Future Hall of Famer Babe Dye led the club with 33 goals and 38 points in 23 games in 1920-21, and the team would finish first in the second half standings, but lost in the NHL playoff finals to the Ottawa Senators.
1921-22 again saw the St. Patricks led by Dye's 31 goals and 38 points in 24 games, as Toronto would defeat the Senators 5-4 in a two-game, total goals series to capture the O'Brien Trophy and earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup against the Vancouver Millionaires, champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey League.
The series was a best-of-five and all games were played in Toronto. The Millionaires won Game 1 and Dye scored in overtime to even the series at 1 game apiece. Vancouver shut out Toronto 3-0 in Game 3, only to have the St. Patricks return the favor 6-0 in Game 4. Dye took control of the deciding Game 5, scoring four goals to lead the St. Patricks to a 5-1 victory and the Stanley Cup.
1921-22 Stanley Cup Champion Toronto St. Patricks
The next two seasons Toronto would finish in third place, and miss out on the playoffs both times. Dye again led the team in scoring both seasons, with 37 points in 1922-23 and just 19 in 1923-24, but still enough to lead the club.
Dye rebounded with 38 goals and 46 points in 1924-25 to lead the team for the fifth consecutive season to lead Toronto back into the playoffs, only to lose out to the Montreal Canadiens 5 goals to 2 in their two games, total goals series.
Another future Hall of Famer, Jack Adams, would finally unseat Dye as the club's leading scorer, as he managed 21 goals and 26 points to Dye's 23 points in 1925-26, but Toronto would fail to reach the playoffs.
St. Pats Owner Charlie Querrie lost a lawsuit to the notorious Eddie Livingstone, the one time owner of the franchise when they were known as the Toronto Blueshirts and played in the previous National Hockey Association, and decided to put the team up for sale. The club was purchased by Conn Smythe for $160,000. Smythe took control of the team on February 14, 1927 and immediately changed the club's name to the Toronto Maple Leafs, bringing to an end the era of the St. Pats.
On March 2, 2002, the Toronto Maple Leafs wore the green jerseys of the St. Patricks, along with brown pants and helmets, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the franchise changing their name to the Maple Leafs in a 3-3 tie against the Buffalo Sabres, led by captain Mats Sundin's two goals.
Today's featured jersey is a 2001-02 Toronto St. Patricks Mats Sundin jersey as worn for one game only on March 2, 2002 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the change in the club's name from the St. Patricks to the Maple Leafs on March 2, 2002.