Turnin' Back the NHL Clock: Hamilton Tigers
The next article in my summer-long series of defunct NHL franchises is the Hamilton Tigers.
After the Quebec Bulldogs were forced to relocate, they chose Hamilton, Ontario as the site to start a new franchise. The name was also changed to the Tigers. Their first season would be a disastrous one at 6-18, but one of the bright spots was when they acquired Joe Malone (pictured above), who he led the league in goals with 28.
After a second season of sub-par hockey, the coach Percy Thompson was so frustrated he quit and focused his duties solely on the general manager position. Even under new coach and hockey legend Art Ross, the Tigers the next season would be worse then the previous season, and once again fall to a 6-18 record.
Slowly but surely, the team would start to improve, but not by much—until the 1924-25 season. With a 19-10-1 record, they finished first in the NHL, and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. That is where things got interesting.
The players told their general manager Percy Thompson that they would not play in the Finals unless they were given an extra $200 added to their salaries. Unable to reach an agreement with the NHL, the players were all fined and suspended, which eliminated them from the Finals and the awarded the Cup to the rival Montreal Canadiens.
Following that season, the Tigers were purchased by Bill Dwyer—who immediately moved the team to New York, where they became the Americans.
During their five-year stint in Hamilton, the Tigers had four coaches—Percy Thompson, Art Ross, Percy LeSueur, and Jimmy Gardiner.
The team played at Barton Street Arena, and did not name a captain during the franchises’ brief history
Since the Tigers left, the NHL has eluded Hamilton—but there have been rumors that if a team needs to relocate, that Hamilton would be a suitable place for a new franchise. Don’t get your hopes up, but it’s something to think about.
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