1887, 1891–1898 (AHAC)
|Home Arena||Royal Rink(1883)
Dey's Rink (1884–1887)
Rideau Rink (1889–1895,1898)
Dey's Arena (1896–1897,1898–1903)
Aberdeen Pavilion (1904)
Dey's Arena (1905–1907)
The Arena (1908–1923)
Ottawa Auditorium (1923–1954)
|Colors||Black, red, and white|
|Stanley Cups||1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1927|
|Division championships||Canadian Division: 1927|
The Club was a member of several leagues during its lifetime as disputes were usually resolved by the closing of one league and opening another. The Club played matches in the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, from 1886 to 1898, the Ontario Hockey Association from 1890 to 1894 and the Canadian Amateur Hockey League from 1899 until 1904, when it went independent over a dispute. The Club played in the Federal Amateur Hockey League for one year before helping to start the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA) in 1906. They were members until 1910 when that league dissolved. In 1910, the Senators were briefly members of the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA), before joining the National Hockey Association (NHA). The NHA itself dissolved in 1917, and Ottawa became one of the founding four teams of the National Hockey League. The Club competed in the National Hockey League from the 1917 season until the franchise relocated to St. Louis, Missouri after the 1933-34 NHL season due to financial difficulties. After the relocation, an Ottawa Senators team played in Quebec senior men's leagues until 1954.
Early amateur era (1883-1902)
After witnessing the 1883 Montreal Winter Carnival Ice Hockey Tournament, Halder Kirby, Jack Kerr and Frank Jenkins founded the Ottawa Hockey Club. The first organized ice hockey club in Ottawa, the Ottawa Hockey Club had no other clubs to play that season, but held practices at the 'Royal Rink' starting on March 5, 1883. Until 1902, the club was also known by the nickname "Generals", attributed to the club's insignia. The club was affiliated with the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Club, and used its colours of red, white and black uniforms. The club is also referred to as "Capitals" in literature, although there was a rival Ottawa Capitals club organized by the Capital Amateur Athletics Association active at the time.
The club participated competitively in the following years at the 1884 and 1885 Montreal Winter Carnival Ice Hockey Tournaments, considered the Canadian championship at the time. Future Ottawa mayor Nelson Porter is recorded as the scorer of the club's first goal, at the 1884 Carnival. Frank Jenkins was the first captain of the team, and later would become the president of the Hockey Club in 1891, and the president of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada in 1892.
Formation of the AHAC
The Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHA or AHAC) was founded on December 8, 1886 at a meeting of representatives of several hockey clubs, Ottawa included. Mr. Thomas D. Green of Ottawa was named first President of the league. Play was until 1893 held in "series." Ottawa played in one challenge in 1887.
The Club was inactive between 1887 and 1889 until the opening of the Rideau Skating Rink in 1889. It re-organized with future Stanley Cup trustee Phillip D. Ross on the management committee. The captain was Frank Jenkins and the other players were Halder Kirby, Jack Kerr, Nelson Porter, Ross, George Young, Weldy Young, Thomas D. Green, William O'Dell, Tom Gallagher, Albert Low and Henry Ami.
In 1890, Ottawa HC was a founding member of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and would win the championship for its first three years. The first championship was played on March 7, 1891 at the Rideau rink, won 5-0 by Ottawa over Toronto St. George's.
After the 1891-92 season, Lord Stanley announced his new Dominion Challenge Trophy for the Canadian champions at a dinner to honour the OHA champion Ottawa Hockey Club at the Russell Hotel in Ottawa. The former president of the Club, P. D. Ross, would be a trustee of the Cup.
The 1891 championship was the only OHA final played in Ottawa, as Ottawa played the 1892 final in Toronto, defeating Osgoode Hall 4-2, and in 1893 the Toronto Granites did not appear for the championship match scheduled for Ottawa, defaulting. The Club resigned from the OHA in February 1894 after the OHA refused the Club's demand to have the 1894 final in Ottawa.
In 1890-91, Ottawa HC returned to AHAC challenge play, and in 1891-92 won the Canadian championship (AHAC) and held it for most of the season, from January 10 until March 7, 1892. The club took the championship from Montreal Hockey Club(Montreal HC), previously undefeated and won five straight before losing 1–0 to Montreal in the last challenge. Montreal's win in the final challenge was their only win of the season and only one in four against Ottawa.
At the suggestion of Lord Stanley (in the letter announcing the Stanley Cup), the AHAC changed to a a round-robin type regular season format of play in 1892-93. The key match-up in that season was against on February 18, 1893, when Montreal HC defeated Ottawa 7-1, thus securing the one game margin of victory which led to Lord Stanley awarding the initial Cup to Montreal.
In 1893-1894, the Ottawa HC would finish in a four-way tie for first in the AHAC standings. A playoff was arranged in Montreal for the championship between Ottawa, Montreal HC and Montreal Victorias. (The other first place club, Quebec, having dropped out of the playoff). This was the first Stanley Cup playoffs. Ottawa, as the 'away' team was given a bye to the final game. On March 23, 1894, at the Victoria Rink, Ottawa and Montreal played off for the championship. Ottawa scored the first goal, but Montreal would score the next three to win the game 3–1. Ottawa captain Weldy Young would faint from exhaustion at the end of the game.
For the period of 1894 to 1900, the club did not win the league championship, finishing as high as second several times, and fifth (last) once. For the 1896-97 season, the Ottawa club would unveil the first of their trademark 'barber-pole' style jerseys of horizontal bars of black, red and white. This basic style would be used by the club until 1954.
In 1898, the AHAC would dissolve after the rival intermediate-team Ottawa Capitals of the CCHA applied and were approved by the league executive to join the AHAC. Ottawa, along with Montreal clubs and Quebec left the AHAC and formed the Canadian Amateur Hockey League (CAHL), shutting out the Capitals.
In 1901, the club would win the CAHL league regular season title, its first league championship since winning the OHA in 1893. The club at first wished to challenge the Stanley Cup champion Winnipeg Victorias, but after deliberating for a week after the season it chose not to. According to Coleman, it was due to the "lateness of the season".
Notable players of this period included A. Morel and Fred Chittick in goal, who led the league several times in goaltending and future Hall of Famers Harvey Pulford, Alf Smith, Harry Westwick and brothers Bruce Stuart and Hod Stuart.
The first reference to the nickname of Senators was in a game report of the Ottawa Journal on January 7, 1901. However, from 1903 to 1906, the team was better known as the Silver Seven.
Silver Seven era (1903-1906)
Possibly the most famous era of the Ottawa Hockey Club was the 1903-06 era where the team was known as the 'Silver Seven'. The era started with the arrival of Frank McGee for the 1903 season and ended with his retirement after the 1906 season. Having lost an eye in local amateur hockey, he was persuaded, despite the threat of permanent blindness to join the Senators. Only 5'6" tall, and the youngest player on the team, he would go on to score 135 goals in 45 games. In a 1905 challenge against the Dawson City, he would famously score 14 goals in a 23-2 shellacking. He retired in 1906 at the age of 23.
In the 1903 CAHL season, Ottawa and Montreal Victorias dominated, both finishing with 6-2 records. The top scorers were the Victorias' Russell Bowie who scored 7 goals in one game and 6 in another, and McGee who would have 5 goals as his top performance. The two clubs then faced off in a two-game total goals series to decide the league championship and inherit the Stanley Cup. The first game, played in Montreal on slushy ice making it a desperate struggle to score, ended 1–1. The return match in Ottawa, witnessed by 3000 fans, was on ice coated with an inch of water. The conditions did not hinder Ottawa as they won 8–0 with McGee scoring 3 and the other 5 shared among the three Gilmours Dave (3), Suddy (1) and Bill (1) to win their first Cup. This would start a period where they would hold the Stanley Cup and defeat all challengers until March 1906. For that first win, the team's players were paid "under the table" with silver nuggets, since the players were technically amateurs. After this, the team would gain the nickname of the Silver Seven. (In those days, hockey teams iced seven men -- a goaltender, three forwards, two defencemen and a rover).
The Silver Seven played in several leagues during its time, and for a time was independent. In February 1904, during the 1904 CAHL season, the Ottawa Hockey Club resigned from the league in a dispute over the replaying of a game. The Ottawas had arrived late and the game had been called at midnight, with a tied score. The league demanded that the game be replayed. The club agreed to play only if the game mattered in the standings. The impasse led to Ottawa leaving the league, playing only in Cup challenges. Quebec won the championship of the league, and demanded the Stanley Cup, but the Stanley Cup trustees ruled that Ottawa still retained it. Quebec refused to play a challenge. The next season, Ottawa joined the Federal Amateur Hockey League (FAHL), winning the league championship. The club was only in the FAHL for one season with new rival the Montreal Wanderers. For the 1906 season Ottawa, along with the Wanderers and several of the CAHL teams, formed the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA).
Style of play
The Silver Seven were well-known for the number of injuries that they inflicted on other teams. In a Stanley Cup challenge game in 1904, the Ottawas injured seven of the nine Winnipeg players, and the Winnipeg Free Press called it the 'bloodiest game in Ottawa.' The next team to challenge the Ottawas, the Toronto Marlboroughs were similar treated. According to the Toronto Globe:
The style of hockey seems to be the only one known and people consider it quite proper and legitimate for a team to endeavor to incapacitate their opponents rather than to excel them in skill and speed ... slashing, tripping, the severest kind of cross-checking and a systematic method of hammering Marlboroughs on hand and wrists are the most effective points in Ottawa's style.
According to one player, the "Marlboroughs got off very easily. When Winnipeg Rowing Club played here, most of their players were carried off on stretchers."
Dawson City challenge
The Silver Seven participated in perhaps the most famous Stanley Cup challenge of all, that of Dawson City of Yukon Territory in 1905. Dawson City had two former elite hockey players, Weldy Young who had played for Ottawa in the 1890s and D. R. McLennan who had played for Queen's College against the Montreal Victorias in the challenge of 1895. Other players were selected from other Dawson City clubs. Dawson City's challenge was accepted in the summer of 1904 by the Stanley Cup trustees, scheduled (inauspiciously) for Friday January 13, 1905. The date of the challenge meant that Young had to travel later as he had to work in a federal election that December, and meet the club in Ottawa.
To get to Ottawa, several thousand miles away, the club would have to get to Whitehorse by road, catch a train from there to Skagway, Alaska, then catch a steamer to Vancouver, and a train from there to Ottawa. On December 18, 1904 several players set out by dogsled and the rest left the next day by bicycle for a 330 mile trek to Whitehorse. At first the team made good progress, but the weather turned warm enough to thaw the roads, meaning the players had to walk several hundred miles. The team would spend the nights in police sheds along the road. At Whitehorse, the weather turned bad, causing the trains not to run for three days, causing the Nuggets to miss their steamer in Skagway. The next one could not dock for three days due to the ice buildup. The club would find the sea journey treacherous, causing seasickness amongst the team. When the steamer reached Vancouver, the area was too fogged in to dock, and the steamer docked in Seattle. The team from there caught a train to Vancouver, and finally left Vancouver on January 6, 1905, arriving in Ottawa on January 11.
Despite the difficult journey, the Ottawas refused to change the date of the first game, only two days away. Otherwise, Ottawa was hospitable. The Klondikers received a huge welcome at the train station, had a welcoming dinner, and used the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Club's rooms for the duration of their stay. Young would not arrive in time to play for Dawson.
The first game started well for Dawson, being only down 3–1 at the half, but things turned ugly afterwards. Norman Watt of Dawson tripped Ottawa's Art Moore, who retaliated with a stick to the mouth of Watt, who promptly knocked Moore out hitting him on the head with his stick. The game ended 9–2 for Ottawa. The game left a poor taste in the Klondikers, complaining that several goals were offside.
Someone on the Dawson City squad made the mistake of saying that Frank McGee wasn't that good as he had only scored one in the first game. McGee would score 4 goals in the first half of the second match and 10 in the second half leading Ottawa to a 23–2 score. Despite this high score, the newspapers claimed that Albert Forrest, the Dawson City goalie had played a "really fine game", otherwise the score "might have been doubled". Ottawa would celebrate by hosting Dawson at a banquet, then players would take the Cup and would attempt to drop-kick it over the Rideau Canal. The stunt was unsuccessful, the Cup landing on the frozen ice, to be retrieved the next day.
Stanley Cup Challenge win streak
The end of the streak came in March 1906. Ottawa and the Wanderers would tie for the ECAHA league lead in 1906, and played a two-game total goals series for the league championship and the Cup. Montreal won the first game in Montreal 9-1. In the return match, Ottawa would replace their goaltender Bouse Hutton and use goaltender Percy LeSueur, formerly of Smiths Falls. Ottawa would storm back in the return match in Ottawa, getting a 9-1 lead to tie the series, only to have Lester Patrick of the Wanderers score the next two to win the series. McGee would score two goals in this, his final game.
Besides McGee, future Hall of Fame players Billy Gilmour, Percy LeSueur, Harvey Pulford, Alf Smith and Harry Westwick played for the Ottawas. Alf Smith was the playing coach. Other players of the 'Seven' included Arthur Allen, Dave Finnie, Arthur Fraser, Horace Gaul, Dave Gilmour, Suddy Gilmour, Bouse Hutton, Jim McGee, Art Moore, Percy Sims, Hamby Shore, Charles Spittal, Frank White and Frank Wood.
Early professional era (1907-1917)
Transition to professional (1907-1910)
Until the 1906-07 season, the team was classified as 'amateur'. The Ottawa HC was successful prior to this time because the players could work for the government and play for the team as well. Meanwhile, in the United States, the International Hockey League was paying players. The ECAHA, while having amateur association teams, started to allow professional players, so that the top teams could compete for the top players and the gate attractions that they were.
The period would see the rivalry between the Senators and the Wanderers continue, and at times it was brutally contested. On January 12, 1907 a full-scale "donnybrook" took place between the two teams at a game in Montreal. Charles Spittal of Ottawa was described as "attempting to split Blachford's skull", Alf Smith hit Hod Stuart "across the temple with his stick, laying him out like a corpse" and Harry Smith cracked his stick across Ernie Johnson's nose, breaking it. The Wanderers managed to win the game 4–2. Discipline was first attempted by the league at a meeting of January 18, where the Victorias proposed suspending Spittal and Alf Smith for the season, but this was voted down and the president of the league resigned. The police arrested Spittal, Alf and Harry Smith on their next visit to Montreal, leading to $20 fines for Spittal and Alf Smith and an acquittal for Harry Smith. The tactics did not work on the Wanderers, they would win the return match in Ottawa in March and would go undefeated for the season, leaving Ottawa in second.
The 1907-08 season was a season of turn-over for the Senators. Harry Smith and Hamby Shore left to join Winnipeg. The Senators hired several free agents including Marty Walsh, Tommy Phillips and Fred 'The Listowel Whirlwind' Taylor. Taylor was hired away from the IHL for the 1908 season at $1000 and a guaranteed federal civil service job. He was an immediate sensation, and earned a new nickname of 'Cyclone' for his fast skating and end-to-end rushes. Walsh would tie for the scoring lead with 28 goals in 9 games (including 7 in one match), with Phillips close behind at 26 goals in 10 games. The Senators opened the third Dey's Arena, with seating for 4,500 and standing room for 2,500. The capacity was topped with a crowd of 7100 attending a game against the Wanderers on January 11, won by the Senators 12–2. The Senators started the season with two losses out of three games, and ended up second to the Wanderers.
In 1908-09, the league became completely professional, leading to the retirements of several stars including Russell Bowie who wished to remain amateur. The Victorias and Montreal HC left the league, leaving only Ottawa, Quebec, Wanderers and Shamrocks. Harvey Pulford and Alf Smith retired from Ottawa and Tommy Phillips joined Edmonton. The club picked up Bruce Stuart from the Wanderers, Fred Lake from Winnipeg and Dubby Kerr from Toronto. This lineup had an outstanding season winning 10 out of 12 games. Marty Walsh led all scorers with 38 goals in 12 games and Stuart had 22 and Kerr had 20. The season was clinched with a win against the Wanderers on March 3 in Ottawa, 8–3, winning the league and Stanley Cup.
Notable players of this time period include future Hall of Famers Percy LeSueur in goal, Dubby Kerr, Tommy Phillips, Harvey Pulford , Alf Smith, Bruce Stuart and Marty Walsh.
National Hockey Association (1910-1917)
The 1909-10 season would see the hockey world turn over again, as the remnants of the ECHA organization would split and form two organizations, the Canadian Hockey Association(CHA) and the National Hockey Association(NHA). The Senators at first would resist joining the NHA, and instead, helped to form the CHA. After a few poorly attended games, the Senators would join the NHA to continue the rivalry with the Wanderers and the gate revenues those games provided. The Wanderers would win the league in 1910, and the Senators would win in 1911 and 1915.
The 1910 NHA season was one of transition as Cyclone Taylor defected to Renfrew. On his first return in February 1910, he made his famous promise to score a goal backwards against Ottawa. This led to incredible interest, with over 7000 in attendance. A bet of $100 was placed at the King Edward Hotel against him scoring at all. The Senators would win 8-5 (3 goals in overtime) and more importantly keep Taylor off the scoresheet. Later in the season at the return match in Renfrew, Taylor made good on his boast with a goal scored backwards. This was the final game of the season, and the Senators had no chance at the league title, and don't appear to have put in an effort, losing 17–2.
In 1911, the Senators would return the favour, defeating Renfrew 19–5. The team went 13–3 to win the NHA and inherit the Stanley Cup, with Marty Walsh and Dubby Kerr leading the goal scoring with 37 and 32 goals in 16 games. After the season the Senators played two challenges, against Galt, winning 7–4, and against Port Arthur, winning 13–4.
In 1914-15, the Senators would tie the Wanderers for the NHA season title. Art Ross was added to the team this year from the Wanderers after a dispute and would help the Sens win in a two-game playoff 4-1. This led to a series with the Vancouver Millionaires, with Cyclone Taylor haunting his old team, scoring 6 goals in 3 games as the Senators lost three straight in Vancouver. Future Senator Frank Nighbor would play in this series for Vancouver and score 5 goals.
In 1916-17, the last season of the NHA, the Senators won the second-half of the split schedule, notable because an Army team, the 228th Battalion, and Eddie Livingstone's Toronto Blueshirts would both play in the first half and withdraw after the first half. Clint Benedict would top Georges Vezina in goal, and Nighbor tied for the scoring lead, scoring 41 goals in 19 games.
The Sens would end their play in the NHA losing a two-game total goals playoff series to the Canadiens, who would lose eventually to Seattle in the Stanley Cup final. This season would see the final decline of the Senators' old rivals the Wanderers who would finish at the bottom of the standings. The next year, the Wanderers would play only four games in the NHL, winning only one and folding the franchise after their home arena burned down.
While World War I affected all the NHA teams, the Senators, after signing Frank Nighbor from the PCHA never finished worse than second during the war years.
Champions in 1906 and 1910? Historians' debate
Due to the 'challenge' format of Stanley Cup play before 1915, there is often confusion about how many Stanley Cups the Senators should be given credit for; nine, ten or eleven. The Senators were Stanley Cup champions at the end of nine hockey seasons without dispute. In another two seasons, 1905-06 and 1909-10, the Senators won Stanley Cup challenges but were not champions at the end of the season. The Hockey Hall of Fame and the National Hockey League disagree on whether the Senators were champions in 1910. Entering that year, the Senators were the undisputed defending champions, and during that year's hockey season, the Senators won Stanley Cup challenges. However, by the end of the hockey season they were no longer holders of the Stanley Cup.
In 1906, Ottawa defeated Queen's University, champions of the OHA and Smiths Falls, champions of the FAHL in Stanley Cup challenges. However, Ottawa tied the Montreal Wanderers for the ECAHA regular season championship. To decide the ECAHA championship and the Stanley Cup, the Sens played a two game total goals series against the Wanderers in March of 1906 and lost. The 1906 hockey season ended with the Wanderers as the Stanley Cup champions. The Hockey Hall of Fame recognizes both Ottawa and the Wanderers as champions for that year as does the NHL.
In January 1910, Ottawa defeated Galt, champions of the OPHL, during the CHA regular season and Edmonton of the Alberta Hockey League during the NHA regular season. (The Senators switched leagues in-between.) However, they would give up the Cup to the Montreal Wanderers, regular-season champions of the new NHA league. Unlike the 1906 case, the Hockey Hall of Fame does not recognize the Senators as champions for January 1910, although the NHL does.
In October 1992, at the first game of the current Ottawa Senators NHL club, banners were raised to commemorate Stanley Cups in nine seasons, excluding 1906 and 1910. In media guides published by the club, they listed the original Senators as nine-time winners. This changed in March 2003, when the current Ottawa Senators NHL club raised banners for the 1906 and 1910 years to join the other nine banners hanging at the Corel Centre. The club and the NHL now list the original Senators as eleven-time winners.
NHL Years (1917-1934)
After struggling through the war years, the Ottawa Hockey Association put the Club up for sale for $5,000 in the fall of 1917. Montreal Canadiens' owner George Kennedy was leading an effort to get rid of Toronto Blueshirts' owner Eddie Livingstone, and he needed the Senators in his corner. He loaned Ottawa Citizen sports editor Tommy Gorman (who also doubled as a press representative for the Canadiens) $2,500 to help buy into the Senators. Gorman, along with Martin Rosenthal and Ted Dey bought the club. As it turned out, Gorman attended the famous meeting at Montreal's Windsor Hotel where the NHL was formed. Within a year, Gorman and partner Ted Dey had made enough money to pay back Kennedy. Gorman would also attend the meeting one year later of the NHA owners where the final vote to suspend the league was made.
In 1917-18, they lost their previous top rival, the Wanderers after 5 games. The team struggled through the season. The Senators would not qualify for the playoffs, coming in third in the first half, and second in the second half. Cy Denneny would lead the team, coming second overall in the league with 36 goals in 20 games.
In 1918-1919, the Senators would win the second half of the split schedule. Clint Benedict had the top goalkeeper average, and Cy Denneny and Frank Nighbor would come third and fourth for scoring with 18 and 17 goals in 18 games. The schedule had been abbreviated by the demise of the Arenas, so the Senators and Canadiens played off in the first best-of-seven series. Due to a bereavement, Ottawa was without star centre Frank Nighbor for the first three games and lost all three. Ottawa asked to use Corb Denneny of Toronto, but the Canadiens turned down the request. Nighbor would return for the fourth game in Ottawa, won by Ottawa 6–3. The series ended in five games with the Canadiens winning 4–2. The Stanley Cup Final between Montreal and Seattle would be left undecided as an influenza outbreak suspended the final.
The 'Super Six' (1920-1927)
The "Super Six" Senators of the 1920s are considered by the NHL to be its first dynasty. The club won four Stanley Cups and placed first in the regular season seven times. The team's success was based on the timely scoring of several forwards, including Frank Nighbor and Cy Denneny, and a defence-first policy, which led to the NHL forcing a change in rules in 1924, forcing defencemen to leave the defensive zone once the puck had left the zone. The talent pool in Ottawa and the Ottawa valley was deep; the Senators would trade away two future Hall of Famers (Clint Benedict and Harry Broadbent) in 1924 to make way for two prospects (Alex Connell and Hooley Smith) who would also become Hall of Famers. Benedict and Broadbent would lead the Montreal Maroons to a playoff defeat of the Senators on the way to a Stanley Cup win in 1926.
1920 Stanley Cup win
In 1919-20, the Quebec Bulldogs would return and the NHL would play with four teams. Ottawa this time won both halves of the schedule and won the undisputed NHL championship. Clint Benedict again led the goalkeeper averages and Frank Nighbor came third in the scoring race with 25 goals in 23 games.
The Senators would then play the Seattle Millionaires of the PCHA for the Cup. The Senators played in simple white sweaters for this series, as Seattle's uniforms were nearly the same as Ottawa's. The first three games were held in Ottawa 3–2 and 3–0 for Ottawa and 3–1 for Seattle. At this point the series was moved to the Mutual St. Arena in Toronto, which had artificial ice. Seattle won 5-2 to tie the series. In the fifth and deciding game, Ottawa won 6–1 on Jack Darragh's three goal performance and won their first Stanley Cup as a member of the NHL.
1921 Stanley Cup win
In 1920-21, the Quebec Bulldogs moved to Hamilton. The Senators would win the first half of the season to qualify for the playoffs. Benedict again led the goalkeeper averages and Cy Denneny came second in scoring, with 34 goals in 24 games. The Senators would go on to shut out Toronto 7-0 in a two-game total goals playoff and went west to play off against Vancouver for the Stanley Cup. Vancouver still had Cyclone Taylor, though it was the end of his career and he made no difference, scoring no goals. Ottawa would win a best-of-five series 1-2, 4-3, 3-2, 2-3 and 2-1, with Jack Darragh scoring the winning goal.
1921-22 would see the debut of Frank Boucher and Frank "King" Clancy for Ottawa and the retirement of Jack Darragh. The Senators would win the season, but lose to Toronto 5-4 in a two-game total goals series. The series had the Boucher brothers play for Ottawa, while Cy Denneny played for Ottawa and his brother Corbett played for Toronto.
1923 Stanley Cup win
In 1922-23, the Senators were led by the league's top goalie Clint Benedict, the goal-scoring of Cy Denneny and the return from retirement of Jack Darragh. The Senators won the regular season and took the playoff against the Canadiens 3-2 in a two-game total-goals playoff.
The Cup Final playoff format had changed. There would be semi-finals against the PCHA champion, followed by the final against the WCHL champion. In the Cup semi-finals, Ottawa would again face Vancouver (now known as the Maroons) in Vancouver. New attendance records were set for this series, with 9000 for the first game and 10,000 for the second. Ottawa won the series 1-0, 1-4, 3-2, and 4-1, with Benedict getting the shutout and Harry Broadbent scoring five goals. The Senators next had to play Edmonton in a best-of-three and won it 2-1, and 1-0 with Broadbent scoring the winning goal. The second game of the finals is famous for being the game in which King Clancy played all positions, including goal.
In 1923, owners Dey and Gorman would enter into a partnership with Frank Ahearn. Ahearn's family was well-off, owning the Ottawa Electric Company and the Ottawa Street Railway Company. Ted Dey then sold his share of the club and retired. The first work of the partnership was a new arena, the Ottawa Auditorium, a 7,500 seat (10,000 capacity with standing room) arena with artificial ice.
1923-24 would see the Senators win the season, but lose the playoff to the Canadiens 0-1 and 2-4, with Georges Vezina getting the shutout, and Howie Morenz scoring 3 goals. The first regular season game in the new Ottawa Auditorium was on December 26, 1923 to 8300 fans for a game against the Canadiens, in which Morenz would score his first NHL goal. Frank Nighbor would be the first winner of the Hart Trophy as 'most valuable player' in the regular season.
1924-25 was the first year of expansion to the U.S., starting with the Boston Bruins. Making his debut in goal was Alex Connell, displacing Clint Benedict who was then traded, along with Harry Broadbent, to the new [Montreal Maroons]. Broadbent had been replaced himself, by Hooley Smith. Cy Denneny would place fourth in scoring with 28 goals in 28 games. Frank Nighbor would be the first winner of the Lady Byng Trophy, donated by Marie Evelyn Moreton (Lady Byng), wife of Viscount Byng of Vimy, who was Governor General of Canada from 1921 to 1926. Nighbor received the trophy personally from Lady Byng at a presentation at Rideau Hall. Nighbor would win the trophy in 1925-26 and 1926-27 as well.
In January 1925 Gorman sold his share of the Senators to Ahearn for $35,000 and a share of the local Connaught Park horse racing track. Gorman left the Senators organization and joined the expansion New York Americans. Gorman would arrange the purchase of the suspended Hamilton Tigers players later that year to stock the club.
1925-26 would see the new New York Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates join the NHL. Ottawa would run away with the league title led by the stellar play of Alex Connell in net, getting 15 shutouts in 36 games, and Cy Denneny scoring 24 goals, and receive a bye to the playoff finals. However, the Montreal Maroons would win the two-game total goals series 1–1 and 1–0, with former Senator Clint Benedict getting the shutout. The Maroons would go on to win the Stanley Cup against Victoria.
1927 Stanley Cup win
1926-27 would see the Senators win the Cup again. The NHL was now composed of two divisions and the Senators would win the Canadian division and the Prince of Wales Trophy. They advanced to the semi-finals and defeated the Canadiens 4–0, and 1–1 and faced the Boston Bruins for the Cup. In the first series for the Stanley Cup with only NHL opponents, Ottawa defeated Boston 0–0, 3–1, 1–1 and 3–1, the final game in Ottawa. Alex Connell led the way in net, letting in only 3 goals in the four games. Cy Denneny would lead the way in scoring, scoring 4, including the Cup winner. After the series, the Senators players received a parade in Ottawa, a civic banquet and an 18-carat gold ring with fourteen small diamonds in the shape of an 'O'.
Ottawa had been by far the smallest market in the NHL even before American teams began playing in 1924. The later 1931 census listed a population 110,000 in the City. It was about one-fifth the size of Toronto, which was the league's second-smallest market. The team sought financial relief from the league as early as 1927. Despite winning the Stanley Cup, the Senators were already in financial trouble, having lost $50,000 for the season. They sold their star right wing Hooley Smith to the Montreal Maroons for $22,500 and the return of former star Punch Broadbent.
Expansion to the U.S. did not benefit the Senators. Attendance was low for games against U.S. expansion teams, providing a poor gate at home, and higher travel costs for away games. In attempts to increase revenues, the team played "home" games in other cities. In 1927-28, the team played two "home" games in Detroit, collecting the bulk of the gate receipts (thus allowing them to actually finish in the black for that season). They repeated the Detroit plan the following season, and in 1929-30, the team transferred two scheduled home games to Atlantic City (one each against the New York Rangers and New York Americans), two to Detroit, and one to Boston.
In 1929-30, the Senators would make the playoffs for a final time, finishing third in the Canadian Division. The Senators faced off against the New York Rangers in a two-game total-goals series. In the last NHL playoff game in Ottawa until 1996, the Senators tied the Rangers 1–1 on March 28, 1930, but lost game two in New York 5–1 to lose the series 6 goals to 2.
With the onset of the Great Depression, the team would sell its stars to other clubs. On January 31, 1930, Frank Nighbor was sold to Toronto. Another of the deals was the famous King Clancy transfer that saw the star defenceman sent to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs for an unprecedented $35,000, on October 11, 1930. The team fell into last place for the first time since 1898.
In 1931, there was a potential deal involving the Chicago Stadium's owners (including James Norris Sr.) to move the team to Chicago, but the Black Hawks owner did not want another team in his territory. (Norris bought the bankrupt Detroit Falcons instead and turn them into the Detroit Red Wings) On September 26, 1931, the NHL suspended the franchises of Ottawa and Pittsburgh for one year. Ottawa received $25,000 for the use of its players, and the NHL co-signed a Bank of Montreal loan of $28,000 to the club. In Toronto, Conn Smythe desired a second tenant for the new Maple Leaf Gardens, but agreeable terms were not found. Smythe wanted a $100,000 guarantee, with a 40%/60% split of revenues.
Returning after a one-year hiatus, the Senators finished last in the two seasons that followed. They usually only saw large crowds for games against the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Montreal Maroons. Frank Finnigan, one of the stars of the Senators' last Cup-winning season, recalled that they frequently played home games before crowds of 3,500 to 4,000. In June 1933, former captain Harvey Pulford was given an option to buy the team and move it to Baltimore, but the option was never exercised.
In December 1933, rumours surfaced that the Senators would merge with the New York Americans, however this was denied by club President Ahearn who had sought financial help from the league. The team played the full 1933-34 season, transferring one home game to Detroit. Near the end of the season, reports surfaced that the club had entered into a deal with St. Louis "interests" to move the club. The team lost its last home game 3-2 to the Americans on March 15, 1934 before a crowd of 6,500. The Senators had lent Alex Connell to the Americans when the Americans goalie Worters was hurt, and he turned in a "sensational performance" for the visitors. The home crowd was in a "throwing mood" and "carrots, parsnips, lemons, oranges and several other unidentified objects were thrown onto the ice continuously for no reason whatsoever." The final game of the season was a 2-2 tie with the Maroons at the Montreal Forum on March 18, 1934.
The Senators, while finishing last in their division, actually improved their attendance over the previous season. It was not enough. After the season ended, it was announced by the Auditorium's president F. D. Burpee, that the franchise would not return to Ottawa for the 1934-35 season due to losses of $60,000 over the previous two seasons. The losses were too great to be made up by the sale of players' contracts and the club needed to be moved to "some very large city which has a large rink, if we are to protect the Auditorium shareholders and pay off our debts."
The NHL franchise was moved to St. Louis, Missouri where they formed the St. Louis Eagles. The Eagles played only one season before the NHL bought out the franchise. The city of Ottawa would not have an NHL franchise again until the 1992-93 season. See the article Ottawa Senators.
While the NHL franchise moved to St. Louis, the Senators name, logo and sweaters stayed behind on a new senior amateur team in the Montreal Group of the Quebec Amateur Hockey Association(QAHA). (One player, Eddie Finnigan, played for both the Senators and the Eagles in that 1934-35 season.) The team would renew the rivalry with Montreal-area senior amateur teams such as the Montreal Victorias it had played in the years prior to 1908. Later, the team would welcome Tommy Gorman back as owner, and helped to found the Quebec Senior Hockey League. Winning the Allan Cup in 1949, the Senators club continued until December 1954. See the article Ottawa Senators (senior hockey).
Logos and Jerseys
The Ottawa Hockey Club was initiated as an amateur organization, affiliated with the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association (OAAA). The team adopted the colors of the organization: red, white and black. The first logo of the team was a simplified version of the 'triskelion' logo of the OAAA, which can be described as a "running wheel". The first jerseys were solid white with the club logo in red. The players wore knee-length white pants with black stockings, as seen in the 1891 photo.
In 1896, the Club first adopted the "barber-pole" design which it would be synonymous with. The design was simple: strong horizontal stripes of red, black and white. No logo was present on the jersey at first and until 1930 logos were not used for more than a year at a time. During World War I, the club adopted a logo of flags to show allegiance to the war effort, as seen in the 1915 photo. After each Stanley Cup win, the club would affix a badge or logo stating World Champions. Players wore white pants and red, white and black striped stockings.
After 1930, the club started to use the familiar "O" logo, which would be used into the 1940s.
From the start, the Club was owned by its members and known as the "Ottawa Hockey Association". In 1907, according to Coleman, some of the ownership was transferred to five of the players: Smith, Pulford, Moore, Westwick and LeSueur. The Club was separated from the Association and sold to Tommy Gorman, Ted Dey and Martin Rosenthal in 1917 for $5,000 in time to join the National Hockey League.
In 1918, Rosenthal was forced out by Dey in a complex scheme. Dey was negotiating, as Dey's Arena owner, with both Rosenthal and Percy Quinn (owner of the Quebec franchise) over exclusive rights to the Arena for professional hockey. Dey maintained to the public that he had reserved the Arena for Quinn's proposed league, when in fact, he had not cashed the check for the reservation option on the Arena, clearly planning to derail Livingstone's plans. Rosenthal attempted to find alternate arrangements for the Club, including refurbishing Aberdeen Pavilion, but was unsuccessful. Mr. Dey made an offer to buy the Ottawa Hockey Association. The Association then began taking offers, and accepted an offer from the Club itself to take over the Association. On October 28, 1918, Rosenthal resigned from the Club. Quinn filed a law-suit against Dey but it was dismissed. Quinn would get further action from the NHL, as the NHL suspended Quinn's franchise and took over its players' contracts.
In 1923, Dey sold his ownership interest to Gorman and new investor Frank Ahearn and retired. Frank Ahearn bought Gorman's interest in the club for $35,000 and a share of the Connaught race track in 1925. Gorman would join the New York Americans as manager. In 1929, Ahearn sold the club to the Ottawa Auditorium corporation for $150,000, financed by a share issue. William Foran, the Stanley Cup trustee would become president of the Club. As the Auditorium did not meet its payments, Ahearn resumed a share of the club in 1931.
In 1931, a dispute would arise between Mr. Foran, in his role as Stanley Cup trustee and the NHL. The American Hockey League had asked for a Stanley Cup challenge against the champions of the NHL. Mr. Foran had agreed to the challenge, and ordered the NHL to comply, but the NHL refused to play the challenge and Foran was fired from his position as Senators' president. Redmond Quain would become the club's president.
In 1934, the club's NHL franchise was transferred to St. Louis, but the Association continued its ownership of the franchise and player contracts as well as the senior club. On October 15, 1935, the NHL bought back the franchise and players contracts for $40,000 and suspended its operations again. Under the agreement, the NHL paid for the players, and took back possession of the franchise. If the franchise was resold, the proceeds would go to the Ottawa Hockey Association.
The Association remained in control of the senior club until 1937, when it was sold to James MacCaffery, the owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders. In 1944, Tommy Gorman purchased the club, and operated it until December 1954. He shut down the team over the "rise of hockey on television."
When the Ottawa Hockey Club began play, there was no division between the ice surface and the stands like today. The fans would get quite wet in the times when the temperature was warm. In the 1903 Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Victorias, the Governor-General (who had a private box seat at the ice's edge) is recorded as getting quite wet from the play. On another occasion, in the 1906 Stanley Cup Final against the Wanderers, the Governor-General's top hat was knocked off by the stick of Ernie Johnson. The top hat was taken by a fan and given to Johnson.
One custom of the Ottawa fans towards opposition teams was to throw lemons. Cyclone Taylor, on his first visit back to Ottawa after signing with Renfrew was pelted with lemons, as well as a bottle.
Ottawa Senators Logo
|1917/18 - 1933/34|
| || || || || |
1928 - 1930 1932 - 1933
1927 - 1928
1924 - 1927
1923 - 1924
1922 - 1923
| || |
1921 - 1922
1917 - 1919
| || || || || |
1928 - 1930 1932 - 1933
1927 - 1928
1924 - 1927
1923 - 1924
1922 - 1923
| || |
1921 - 1922
1917 - 1919
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
QF = Quarter Final, CD = Canadian Division
|NHL season||Team season||GP||W||L||T||PTS||GF||GA||PIM||Finish||Playoffs|
|1917–18||1917–18||22||9||13||0||18||102||114||--||third in NHL||Out of playoffs|
|1918–19||1918–19||18||12||6||0||24||71||54||192||first in NHL||Lost league final|
|1919–20||1919–20||24||19||5||0||38||121||64||237||second in NHL||Won Stanley Cup|
|1920–21||1920–21||24||14||10||0||28||97||75||151||first in NHL||Won Stanley Cup|
|1921–22||1921–22||24||14||8||2||30||106||84||99||first in NHL||Lost league final|
|1922–23||1922–23||24||14||9||1||29||77||54||188||first in NHL||Won Stanley Cup|
|1923–24||1923–24||24||16||8||0||32||74||54||154||first in NHL||Lost league final|
|1924–25||1924–25||30||17||12||1||35||83||66||331||fourth in NHL||Out of playoffs|
|1925–26||1925–26||36||24||8||4||52||77||42||341||first in NHL||Lost league final|
|1926–27||1926–27||44||30||10||4||64||86||69||607||first in CD||Won Stanley Cup|
|1927–28||1927–28||44||20||14||10||50||78||57||483||third in CD||Lost in QF|
|1928–29||1928–29||44||14||17||13||41||54||67||461||fourth in CD||Out of Playoffs|
|1929–30||1929–30||44||21||15||8||50||138||118||536||fifth in CD||Lost in QF|
|1930–31||1930–31||44||10||30||4||24||91||142||486||fifth in CD||Out of playoffs|
|1931–32||-||suspended by league|
|1932–33||1932–33||48||11||27||10||32||88||131||398||fifth in CD||Out of playoffs|
|1933–34||1933–34||48||13||29||6||32||115||143||344||fifth in CD||Out of playoffs|
The Ottawa Senators Hall of Famers
Fred "Cyclone" Taylor
Thomas Franklin Ahearn (Owner)