1926–27 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||November 16, 1926 - April 13, 1927|
|Number of games||44|
|Number of teams||10|
|Season champions||Ottawa Senators|
|Top scorer||Bill Cook (New York Rangers)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Ottawa Senators|
The 1926–27 NHL season was the tenth season of the National Hockey League. The success of the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Pirates led the NHL to expand further within the United States. The league added three new teams: the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers, to make a total of ten, split in two divisions. To stock the teams with players the new teams brought in players from the Western Hockey League, which folded in May 1926. This left the NHL in sole possession of hockey's top players, as well as sole control of hockey's top trophy, the Stanley Cup, which was won by the Ottawa Senators. This was the original Senators' eleventh and final Stanley Cup win. The Senators' first was in 1903.
At the 1926 Stanley Cup Final, WHL president Frank Patrick began shopping the WHL's players to the NHL, hoping to raise $300,000 to distribute to the PCHA owners. Patrick approached Art Ross of the Bruins, who agreed to purchase the contracts of Frank Fredrickson, Eddie Shore and Duke Keats. After the series, Patrick approached the new New York Rangers owner Tex Hammond and their general manager Conn Smythe, but they were turned down. Patrick and Ross approached the Bruins' owner who agreed to purchase the entire lot of PCHA players for $250,000, and gave Patrick a $50,000 check as a deposit. He planned to keep some of the players for the Bruins, sell twelve players each to the new Chicago and Detroit franchises and distribute the rest to the rest of the league.1
At the May 1, 1926 meeting, the NHL awarded the Detroit franchise to the syndicate of Wesley Seybourn and John Townsend, formed by Charles A. Hughes. However, a split occurred in the NHL over the awarding of the Chicago franchise. Tex Ricard wanted to build a new arena in Chicago, and backed the syndicate formed by Huntington Hardwick. This was blocked at first by the New York Rangers, as a new franchise required unanimity. But the NHL governors could amend their constitution with a two-thirds vote, and they amended the constitution to lower the bar for a new franchise to a simple majority vote. The governors agreed that Huntwick would get the Chicago franchise. Huntwick proceeded to buy the Portland Rosebuds and the Hughes group purchased the Victoria Cougars, each for $100,000. The Bruins took Fredrickson, Shore, Keats and others, while the Rangers took Frank Boucher. In total, the player's contracts purchased that day totalled $267,000 for Patrick to take back to the WHL. On May 15, the NHL awarded the franchises to the Hardwick and Hughes consortiums, with provisals that each team would have an NHL-ready team for September 1, and new arenas by November 10.2
At the September 25, 1926, NHL meeting, the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers were added to the league. The Hughes consortium proceeded with the purchase of the Cougars and the franchise, while the Chicago franchise instead went to Frederic McLaughlin, who took over the deal from Huntwick on June 1.3 The NHL's second franchise in New York City went to the Madison Square Garden syndicate of John S. Hammond.4
Toronto bought the players of the Saskatoon franchise separately; and Montreal claimed George Hainsworth. The rest of the WHL players would be distributed by a committee of Frank Calder, Leo Dandurand and James Strachan. The former WHL players make an impact in the NHL. The top scorer is Bill Cook, the top goalie is George Hainsworth, and defenceman Herb Gardiner is the league MVP.5
A special meeting was held on October 26 at which the NHL was split into the Canadian and American divisions. It was the first divisional format to be implemented in a major professional North American sports league. To balance the divisions, the New York Americans were placed in the Canadian Division. With the new divisional alignment came an altered playoff format: the top team from each division would meet the winner of a total-goals series between the second and third place teams from their divisions. The winners of those total-goals series would meet in a best-of-five Stanley Cup final.
The Toronto St. Patricks are sold in mid-season to a syndicate headed by Conn Smythe for $160,000.5 The club is renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the NHL ruled that the team had to use the name St. Patricks until the end of the 1926–27 season. They became the Maple Leafs the following season.
The blue lines moved to sixty feet from the goal line from twenty feet from the center red line to increase the size of the neutral zone.
The Montreal Canadiens, last place finishers in 1925–26, solved their goaltending woes by signing George Hainsworth. They further strengthened their team by signing Herb Gardiner of the Western League's Calgary Tigers for defence. The Canadiens finished second in the Canadian Division to powerful Ottawa, who was the league's best team.
Dave Gill, secretary-treasurer (general manager), decided to take over as coach of the Ottawa Senators. He would be assisted by Frank Shaughnessy, a former manager of the Senators in the NHA days, to assist him with the strategy used in games. Ottawa finished first atop the Canadian Division.
The New York Americans' Shorty Green's playing career is ended after an injury in a game on February 27, 1927. New York Rangers' 225 pound defenceman Taffy Abel bodychecked Green, causing a kidney injury. Green requires an emergency operation to remove the kidney and retires for health reasons.5
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against
|New York Americans||44||17||25||2||82||91||36|
|Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs||44||15||24||5||79||94||35|
|New York Rangers||44||25||13||6||95||72||56|
|Chicago Black Hawks||44||19||22||3||115||116||41|
Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
With the collapse of the Western Hockey League, the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the NHL. The new division alignment and playoff format endured that for the first time, an American team would play in the NHL Final, now the Stanley Cup Final. The Seattle Metropolitans earlier had competed for the Stanley Cup as champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
All dates in 1927
Cy Denneny led the Senators with four of the team's seven total goals. He scored the game-winning goals in both victories.
Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators
|April 7||Ottawa Senators||0||Boston Bruins||0||(OT)|
|April 9||Ottawa Senators||3||Boston Bruins||1|
|April 11||Boston Bruins||1||Ottawa Senators||1||(OT)|
|April 13||Boston Bruins||1||Ottawa Senators||3|
Ottawa wins best-of-five series 2–0–2
|Quarter-finals||Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|A1||New York Rangers||1G|
|A3||Chicago Black Hawks||5G|
A new trophy in memory of Georges Vezina, the Vezina Trophy, was donated this year by Montreal Canadiens owners Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joseph Cattarinich. It is to be presented to the league's "most valuable goaltender." It is won by his successor with the Canadiens, George Hainsworth.
|1926–27 NHL awards|
(Most valuable player)
|Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Billy Burch, New York Americans|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
|George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Bill Cook||New York Rangers||44||33||4||37|
|Dick Irvin||Chicago Black Hawks||43||18||18||36|
|Howie Morenz||Montreal Canadiens||44||25||7||32|
|Frank Fredrickson||Detroit Cougars / Boston Bruins||44||18||13||31|
|Babe Dye||Chicago Black Hawks||41||25||5||30|
|Ace Bailey||Toronto St. Patricks||42||15||13||28|
|Frank Boucher||New York Rangers||44||13||15||28|
|Billy Burch||New York Americans||43||19||8||27|
|Harry Oliver||Boston Bruins||42||18||6||24|
|Duke Keats||Boston / Detroit Cougars||42||16||8||24|
Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; GAA = Goals against average
|Clint Benedict||Montreal Maroons||43||2748||65||13||1.42|
|Lorne Chabot||New York Rangers||36||2307||56||10||1.46|
|George Hainsworth||Montreal Canadiens||44||2732||67||14||1.47|
|Alex Connell||Ottawa Senators||44||2782||69||13||1.49|
|Hal Winkler||New York Rangers / Boston Bruins||31||1959||56||6||1.72|
|Jake Forbes||New York Americans||44||2715||91||8||2.01|
|John Ross Roach||Toronto St. Patricks||44||2764||94||4||2.04|
|Hap Holmes||Detroit Cougars||41||2685||100||6||2.23|
|Roy Worters||Pittsburgh Pirates||44||2711||108||4||2.39|
|Hugh Lehman||Chicago Black Hawks||44||2797||116||5||2.49|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Harry Oliver||Boston Bruins||8||4||2||6|
|Percy Galbraith||Boston Bruins||8||3||3||6|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1926–27 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Percy Galbraith, Boston Bruins
- Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
- Harry Oliver, Boston Bruins
- Duke Keats, Boston Bruins
- George Hay, Chicago Black Hawks
- Mickey MacKay, Chicago Black Hawks
- Dick Irvin, Chicago Black Hawks
- Frank Foyston, Detroit Cougars
- Jack Walker, Detroit Cougars
- Frank Fredrickson, Detroit Cougars
- George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens
- Art Gagne, Montreal Canadiens
- Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens
- Hap Emms, Montreal Maroons
- Red Dutton, Montreal Maroons
- Norman Himes, New York Americans
- Paul Thompson, New York Rangers
- Bill Cook, New York Rangers
- Bun Cook, New York Rangers
- Murray Murdoch, New York Rangers
- Lorne Chabot, New York Rangers
- Clarence Abel, New York Rangers
- Ching Johnson, New York Rangers
- Ace Bailey, Toronto St. Patricks
- Butch Keeling, Toronto St. Patricks
- Carl Voss, Toronto St. Patricks
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1926–27 (listed with their last team):
- Shorty Green, New York Americans
- Newsy Lalonde, New York Americans
- Jack Adams, Ottawa Senators
- Bert Corbeau, Toronto St. Patricks
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- Prairie Hockey League
- List of pre-NHL seasons
- 1926 in sports
- 1927 in sports
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- Dinger 2011, p. 146.