Thursday, July 10, 2014
July by the Numbers travels back in time to the 1950's for jersey #10.
Members of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, the Seattle Ironmen were created as an expansion franchise in time for the 1944-45 season when the league resumed play following the end of World War II.
The Ironmen broke out of the gate quickly, finishing with a league best 20-6-1 record on their way to being named league champions. Ironmen, player/coach Frank Dotten led the PCHL in both goals, with 38, and points with 72. The Ironmen then faced the Boston Olympics, and after losing the first two games, rallied to win the next four to become the United States Amateur Hockey Association champions.
Dotten would coach the Ironmen for four seasons of amateur play, including the first three as a player/coach, to three winning records in four seasons which concluded with the Ironmen finishing with the best record in the league following a 42-21-3 record for 87 points in 1947-48.
The 1947-48 Seattle Ironmen
The change to a professional league was a blow to the Ironmen, as only four players returned and they dropped to a tie for the league's worst record in 1948-49 but rebounded with a top four finish in 1949-50.
The league suffered a big loss in membership for the 1950-51 season when five of the league's 11 teams did not return for the 1950-51 season but rebounded in 1951-52 when it added three teams from the Western Canada Senior Hockey League.
One year later the league changed it's name to the Western Hockey League while the Ironmen changed their name to the Seattle Bombers, bringing and end to the Ironmen's eight year run which included one championship in the club's first season.
The Bombers would last just two seasons before running into financial difficulties and being purchased by the league and being renamed the Seattle Americans. New owners bought the club in 1958 and christened the club the Seattle Totems, who would continue to play through the 1974-75 season, ending the club's run of over 30 years.
For more on the Ironmen and the history of hockey in Seattle, please visit SeattleHockey.net.
Today's featured jersey is a 1949-50 Seattle Ironmen Pete Kalapaca jersey. This classic vintage sweater features great chain-stitching on the crest and is a great example of a cresting style that is practically a lost art today.
Despite "Iron Men" appearing as two words on the crest of the jersey and the program featured above, nearly all references online to the club show "Ironmen" as one word, including the team photo also shown above.
Today's video is a slideshow of images from the PCHL from 1944 to 1952.