The 1911-1912 NHA Season



Here's something Harry Molson would have enjoyed:

The 1911-1912 National Hockey Association season was the first season of professional hockey to be more-or-less recognizable to modern viewers. Between the 1910-1911 and 1911-1912 seasons, the NHA abolished the "rover" position (think of the long-stick midfielder position in men's lacrosse and you have a general idea of the "rover") and instituted major and minor penalties. The length of penalties were different, however; a major penalty under the 1911-1912 rules constituted a game misconduct, while today they're five minute penalties. Foul language was considered a major penalty.

Watch any hockey game at any level above the youth level and you can see why that changed rather quickly.

Anyway, the NHA declared the rival Pacific Coast Hockey League an "outlaw league" at the outset of the season after it signed several NHA players.

Before the season began, Bruce Ridpath, a forward for the 1911 Stanley Cup champion Ottawa Senators, was hit by a car in Toronto, suffering a fractured skull. Fred Taylor outright refused a trade to the Montreal Wanderers because of his government job in Ottawa.

18 games per team were scheduled, the first game on Christmas Day 1911, the final game on March 5, 1912, while gales kept Olympic cooped up in Belfast after she dropped a propeller blade.

The Quebec Bulldogs finished in first place, winning 10 of 18, while the Canadiens finished in last place, winning 8 of 18. The Senators and the Toronto Blueshirts finished tied for second place, winning 9 of 18 games.

Of those four teams, only the Canadiens remain in the NHL. They finished 6th in the Atlantic Division in the 2017-2018 season. The modern Senators began play in 1992. The Blueshirts franchise was taken over by the league when it reorganized in 1917, renamed the Arenas, before bouncing through a handful of owners and eventually becoming the Maple Leafs.