|History||St. Louis Eagles
1934-35 (franchise canceled c. 1936)
|Home Arena||Quebec Bulldogs
1878 – 1920
1920 – 1925
|City||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Colors||White and Red|
|St. Louis Arena|
The Senators are generally acknowledged as the greatest team in the early history of hockey. They were a charter member of the NHL in 1917, and won the Stanley Cup four times in the NHL's first decade (and seven times before the league's formation).
However, the Senators were in serious financial straits from 1927 onward, largely because Ottawa was far and away the smallest market in the league. In its early days, the city could offer good government jobs to players and keep expenses low. The NHL expansions in the 1920s hurt the Senators as fans did not come out in large numbers to see visiting expansion teams from the United States, while travel costs increased. This, along with the Great Depression, eventually took its toll on the team's finances. Even sitting out the 1931-32 season didn't relieve the pressure, and the team barely survived the 1933-34 season. The league's other owners, some also in difficulties due to the Great Depression, turned a deaf ear to the Senators requests for financial assistance.
In 1934, after massive financial losses in the previous two seasons in Ottawa, the Ottawa Auditorium, owners of the Senators, decided to relocate the franchise to a larger city to recoup the losses. They ultimately decided to move to St. Louis, and the transfer was approved by the league on May 14, 1934. Frank Ahearn resigned as president and Redmond Quain became president. The Ottawa Auditorium transferred the players' contracts and franchise operations to a new company, the "Hockey Association of St. Louis, Inc.", and hired Eddie Gerard to coach the team. The club was named the Eagles, after the logo of Anheuser-Busch. The Senators name and logo would remain in Ottawa and would be used by an Ottawa Senators senior amateur team until 1954. The club would have its training camp in the Auditorium and departed in October to start play in St. Louis.
At the time, St. Louis was the seventh largest city in the United States, and was seven times as large as Ottawa. A St. Louis group had originally applied for an NHL franchise in 1932, but was turned down due to concerns about travel costs in the midst of the Great Depression. Most teams traveled by train at the time.
It soon became apparent why the league had been skeptical about placing a team in St. Louis. While playing to large crowds in the St. Louis Arena, the team soon buckled under the strain of long train rides to Boston, Montreal and Toronto. The Eagles had to play a large number of games in Montreal and Toronto because they had assumed the Senators' place in the Canadian Division in defiance of all geographic reality. This resulted in the longest road trips in the NHL, and prevented a natural rivalry with the Chicago Black Hawks. Under the circumstances, the results were predictable--a record of 11-31-6, dead last in the league. Gerard stepped down as coach midway through the season due to illness, and George "Buck" Boucher took over for the rest of the season. Escalating travel costs chewed through what money the team had on hand, and the club sold players Syd Howe and Ralph Bowman to meet expenses.
After the season, the owners asked permission to return the franchise to Ottawa. This plan, though, would require suspending operations for the 1935-36 season. This alternative was turned down by the league. However, the owners had concluded that even though St. Louis had proven it could support an NHL team, the rising travel costs were too high for the Eagles to be a viable venture there. The resulting impasse was ended just before the 1935-36 season when the team owners decided the best course of action was to "get out" and President Quain went to the NHL pre-season meetings to broker the best deal possible. On October 15, 1935, the NHL bought back the franchise and players contracts for $40,000 and suspended the Eagles' operations again, opting to play as an eight-team league. Under the agreement, the NHL paid for the players and regained possession of the franchise. If the franchise had ever been resold, the proceeds would have gone to the Ottawa Hockey Association. Although rumors persisted that it would move to Cleveland, the once-proud Senators/Eagles franchise would never return to the ice again.
The players were distributed as follows:New York Americans: Pete Kelly, Eddie Finnigan,
The NHL did not allow the Montreal Maroons to move to St. Louis in 1938, in part because of concerns that the Maroons would be bogged down by the same travel expenses that sank the Eagles. The NHL would not return to St. Louis until the St. Louis Blues joined the league in 1967. A total of 29 different players suited up for the 1934-35 St. Louis Eagles. The last active Eagles player in the NHL was Bill Cowley, who retired in 1947.
St-Louis Eagles logo
1934 - 1935
1934 - 1935
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|1934-35||48||11||31||6||28||86||144||385||fifth in Canadian||Out of playoffs|