Monday, October 19, 2015

1930-31 New York Americans Roy Worters Jersey

Born on this date in 1900, goaltender Roy Worters first played junior hockey for the Parkdale Canoe Club in the 1918-19 season, winning 7 of the 8 games he played. He followed that with a 3-0 record in 1919-20 for the Toronto Canoe Club and then followed that by helping Toronto capture the second ever Memorial Cup on a roster which included future Hockey Hall of Famers Billy Burch and Lionel Conacher. as they defeated the Selkirk Fishermen in a two-game, total goals series 15-5.

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The 1920 Memorial Cup champion Toronto Canoe Club

During the 1920-21 season Worters was 7-2-1 for the Porcupine Gold Miners, but a high sticking incident resulted in him being suspended for the entire 1921-22 season. Worters returned to the ice in 1922-23 playing for the Toronto Argonauts of the Ontario Hockey Association in senior hockey.

He moved to the United States for the 1923-24 season, his first of two with the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets of the United States Amateur Hockey Association, where he continued his dominant ways, reeling off a 15-5 record with 7 shutouts and a stellar 1.23 goals against average during the regular season and a 9-3-1 playoff record, highlighted by an even better 0.86 goals against average thanks to his 5 playoff shutouts on the way to a national championship.

The 1924-25 season saw Worters return to the Yellow Jackets, going 25-10-4 with a 0.81 goals against average followed by a 6-1-1 playoff mark and a second consecutive national championship.

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Worters won US championships in 1924 and 1925 with the Yellow Jackets

Nearly the entire Yellow Jackets roster became the NHL expansion club, the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1925-26 season. Worters excelled in goal to keep the Pirates competitive, as evidenced by his 7 shutouts and 1.90 goals against average in 35 games which allowed the first year club to be one of only three of the seven teams to advance to the playoffs. In one notable game, Worters stopped 70 of the 73 shots taken by the New York Americans.

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Worters broke into the NHL with the Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates had a down year in 1926-27, but rebounded in 1927-28 to return to the playoffs in the now ten team NHL as Worters posted 10 shutouts. Following the season Worters turned down a contract offer from the Pirates, which eventually led to a trade to the Americans for the 1928-29 season which reunited him with his junior hockey, Yellow Jackets and Pirates teammate Conacher for two more seasons.

Worters arrival in New York was a memorable one, as he became the first goaltender in NHL history to post back-to-back shutouts in his first two games for a new club. That season also saw the Americans rise from 28 points the previous season (9th out of 19) to 50 points (4th of 10), a 22 point improvement in just a 44 game season on the back of Worters 13 shutouts and 1.15 goals against average. His fine season was recognized with him becoming the first goaltender to win the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. It would be another 21 years before another goaltender would win the Hart Trophy.

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The 1928-29 New York Americans, featuring Hart Trophy winner Worters
Note the early "New York" crested sweaters

Two seasons later Worters led the NHL with a 1.61 goals against average, which earned him the 1931 Vezina Trophy.

Of note, during the 1929-30 season, Worters was loaned to the Montreal Canadiens for a game on February 27, 1930 to fill in for an injured George Hainsworth, which Montreal won 6-2.

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A 1933-34 O-Pee-Chee Roy Worters card

The Americans were falling on tough times, hit hard by the recession and competition from the New York Rangers, with whom they shared their Madison Square Garden home, and for the remaining six seasons of Worters career he would never again post a winning record.

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He would continue to post shutouts at a regular rate, totaling 22 over his final six seasons to give him a career total of 66 in 484 games. So well respected was the diminutive 5' 3" Worters, that he was named the Americans team captain for the 1932-33 season, one of just six goaltenders to ever captain an NHL team before a rule change in 1948 which prevented goaltenders from being a team captain. His 5' 3" height also made him the shortest player in NHL history.

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The 1935-36 New York Americans. See if you can spot the 5' 3" Worters!

Worters finished his NHL career in 1937 with final career totals of 171-229-83 and a career 2.27 goals against.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

Today's featured jersey is a 1930-31 New York Americans Roy Worters jersey as worn by Worters during the season in which he would win the Vezina Trophy.

When the Americans debuted in 1925-26, the had "New York" across the chest of their star-spangled sweaters. The following year they swapped the colors, making the shoulders red and added player names to the back of their sweaters for just one experimental season. The red shoulders would remain through the 1929-30 season.

1930-31 would see a redesign of the club's uniforms more in line with the United States flag, as the stars would return to being in a blue shoulder field, while the body would have alternating red and white stripes for the first time. This style would remain essentially unchanged through the 1937-38 season, save for the stripes on the body becoming wider and fewer in 1935.

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New York Americans 1930-31 jersey photo New York Americans 1930-31 B.jpg

Today's video is about the New York Americans.

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