1924-25: NHL Hockey Heads To America
The Three Stars:
Bruins, Maroons Join NHL - The NHL crosses the border for the first time as the Boston Bruins are welcomed to the league, along with a second team from Montreal - the Maroons. At the same time the NHL announces Pittsburgh and New York will get franchises the following season. Franchise fees back then? $15,000.
First Players Strike Costs Hamilton Dearly - After finishing first and qualifying for the playoffs for the only time in franchise history, the Hamilton Tigers stun the hockey world by going on strike prior to the NHL final with the Montreal Canadiens. Players want a pay increase because the NHL increased the season schedule from 24 to 30 games. The players alleged a $200 bonus had been promised but never paid. The result - the NHL suspends the franchise and all its players, and the team is dissolved and relocated to New York in the offseason.
The Montreal Forum Opens - They may not have known it at the time, but the Montreal Forum would truly become the cathedral of hockey. The $1 million arena welcomes 9000 guests as the Montreal Canadiens beat Toronto 7-1. A month later the largest crowd in NHL history - 11,000 fans - pack the building to see a 1-1 tie between the Canadiens and the Maroons.
- The Montreal Canadiens wear a special jersey for the season. As defending Stanley Cup champions they wanted to flaunt their status as "world champions."
- However the Habs would not successfully defend their championship. For the last time in history a non-NHL team wins the Stanley Cup. The WCHL's Victoria Cougars shock the Habs with a three games to one triumph. Frank Frederickson and Hap Holmes led the way for the westerners.
- The NHL introduces a new trophy. The Lady Byng Trophy, named after the wife of the Canadian governor general, is awarded for sportsmanship and accomplishment. Ottawa's Frank Nighbor is the inaugural winner.
- Babe Dye wins the NHL scoring title for the third time. Billy Burch wins the Hart Trophy.