This week we may have a better idea if the Phoenix Coyotes will really move to Hamilton, Ontario. Bankruptcy court may make rulings as early as Tuesday that will decide whether Jerry Moyes and Jim Balsillie should have even been allowed to go this far without the NHL's permission. It is all a long ways from being settled though, and regardless what happens there will probably be appeals every step of the way.
Just for fun, let's assume the team is allowed to relocate to Hamilton. What will the new team's name be? The Hamilton Coyotes? Not likely. The Hamilton Jets? I like that. How about the Hamilton Tigers? That was the name of Hamilton's NHL franchise back in the 1920s.
Wait a minute, you say. Hamilton once had a NHL franchise?
It's true, and not very well known. After all, it's been 80 years. Here's a real quick run down on their five year history.
In 1920 the struggling Quebec Bulldogs relocate to Hamilton and are renamed the Tigers. The team continues to do poorly on the ice until 1924-25. In that season coach Jimmy Gardner and players Alex McKinnon, Billy Burch and brothers Shorty and Red Green they were the best team in hockey, the NHL's regular season champions, as they entered the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That's when things fell apart. They never did enter the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.
The players revolted as they wanted to be paid for playoff games and that they did not get pay increases when the NHL increased the regular season schedule from 24 games to 30. They actually went on strike, demanding $200 each before they would participate in NHL post-season activity.
Bad move. The league never caved and suspended the players and the entire franchise. In the summer the franchise was sold to New York's notorious prohibition bootlegger Bill Dwyer. He moved the franchise to New York where they were renamed as the Americans.
Hamilton has not had NHL hockey since.
That's a real quick summary. For a much more thorough history of the Hamilton Tigers, check out Sam Wesley's book Hamilton's Hockey Tigers, pictured to the right. It even has a foreword written by Don Cherry.
You can read my full book review courtesy of Hockey Book Reviews.com.
Here's some more interesting Hamilton Tigers links:
Red Canoe Productions - A documentary crew is trying to find the only known remaining game worn Hamilton Tigers' jersey and bring it back to Hamilton.
Shorty Green Biography - Here's my Shorty Green biography.
Statistical History - Here's a look at the Hamilton Tiger's year by year standings and a look at every player's stats who played for the Tigers.
Copps Coliseum website - It is probably the most famous arena never to be used for NHL hockey.
Hamilton Tigers Blog - It is more about the current struggle to bring the Coyotes to Hamilton. As such it is an excellent source to keep up on the very complicated preceedings.