April 28, 2009

Flu Epidemic Cancelled Stanley Cup in 1919

Much of the world is worry (sensationalizing?) this new Swine Flu epidemic. When the World Health Organization issues a pandemic alert it must be serious.

This Swine Flue apparently has potential to be something significant. This flu has something called a H1N1 virus. H1N1 was the key ingredient in the "Spanish Flu" of 1918 and 1919 that is estimated to have killed as many as 100 million people world wide.

There was another casualty of that famous flu - the Stanley Cup. The NHL actually had to end the Stanley Cup finals before a winner could be declared. Prior to the 2004-05 lockout season it was the only time the Stanley Cup was not awarded.

The decisive sixth game was to supposed to decide the winner, as the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans battled to two wins a piece with one tied game. The game was to be played in Seattle.

The Montreal Canadiens could not ice a full team for the game, as Joe Hall, Louis Berlinquette, Billy Coutu, Jack McDonald and manager George Kennedy were all in hospital. With the Canadiens short players, Kennedy tried to borrow PCHA players from nearby Victoria. Frank Patrick refused any such request.

Knowing he could not ice a team, Kennedy felt he had no choice but to forfeit the Stanley Cup to Seattle. But Mets coach Pete Muldoon refused to accept the Cup under such dire circumstances. No winner was declared.

Hall died of flu-related pneumonia five days after the game was supposed to have taken place. Kennedy survived, but was said to have never been healthy again. He died in 1921.

Hopefully no NHL teams of 2009 fall ill to flu!

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