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1926–27 NHL season

1926–27 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration November 16, 1926 – April 13, 1927
Number of games 44
Number of teams 10
Regular season
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Ottawa Senators
Top scorer Bill Cook (New York Rangers)
Stanley Cup
Champions Ottawa Senators
  Runners-up Boston Bruins
NHL seasons

The 1926–27 NHL season was the tenth season of the National Hockey League. The success of the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Pirates led the NHL to expand further within the United States. The league added three new teams: the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers, to make a total of ten, split in two divisions. This resulted in teams based in Canada being in the minority for the first time. To stock the teams with players the new teams brought in players from the Western Hockey League, which folded in May 1926. This left the NHL in sole possession of hockey's top players, as well as sole control of hockey's top trophy, the Stanley Cup, which was won by the Ottawa Senators. This was the original Senators' eleventh and final Stanley Cup win. The Senators' first was in 1903.

League business

At the 1926 Stanley Cup Final, WHL president Frank Patrick began shopping the WHL's players to the NHL, hoping to raise $300,000 to distribute to the PCHA owners. Patrick approached Art Ross of the Bruins, who agreed to purchase the contracts of Frank Fredrickson, Eddie Shore and Duke Keats. After the series, Patrick approached the new New York Rangers owner Tex Hammond and their general manager Conn Smythe, but they were turned down. Patrick and Ross approached the Bruins' owner who agreed to purchase the entire lot of PCHA players for $250,000, and gave Patrick a $50,000 check as a deposit. He planned to keep some of the players for the Bruins, sell twelve players each to the new Chicago and Detroit franchises and distribute the rest to the rest of the league.[1]

At the May 1, 1926 meeting, the NHL awarded the Detroit franchise to the syndicate of Wesley Seybourn and John Townsend, formed by Charles A. Hughes. However, a split occurred in the NHL over the awarding of the Chicago franchise. Tex Ricard wanted to build a new arena in Chicago, and backed the syndicate formed by Huntington Hardwick. This was blocked at first by the New York Rangers, as a new franchise required unanimity. But the NHL governors could amend their constitution with a two-thirds vote, and they amended the constitution to lower the bar for a new franchise to a simple majority vote. The governors agreed that Huntwick would get the Chicago franchise. Huntwick proceeded to buy the Portland Rosebuds and the Hughes group purchased the Victoria Cougars, each for $100,000. The Bruins took Fredrickson, Shore, Keats and others, while the Rangers took Frank Boucher. In total, the player's contracts purchased that day totalled $267,000 for Patrick to take back to the WHL. On May 15, the NHL awarded the franchises to the Hardwick and Hughes consortiums, with provisals that each team would have an NHL-ready team for September 1, and new arenas by November 10.[2]

At the September 25, 1926, NHL meeting, the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers were added to the league. The Hughes consortium proceeded with the purchase of the Cougars and the franchise, while the Chicago franchise instead went to Frederic McLaughlin, who took over the deal from Huntwick on June 1.[3] The NHL's second franchise in New York City went to the Madison Square Garden syndicate of John S. Hammond.[4]

Toronto bought the players of the Saskatoon franchise separately; and Montreal claimed George Hainsworth. The rest of the WHL players would be distributed by a committee of Frank Calder, Leo Dandurand and James Strachan. The former WHL players make an impact in the NHL. The top scorer is Bill Cook, the top goalie is George Hainsworth, and defenceman Herb Gardiner is the league MVP.[5]

A special meeting was held on October 26 at which the NHL was split into the Canadian and American divisions. It was the first divisional format to be implemented in a major professional North American sports league. To balance the divisions, the New York Americans were placed in the Canadian Division. With the new divisional alignment came an altered playoff format: the top team from each division would meet the winner of a total-goals series between the second and third place teams from their divisions. The winners of those total-goals series would meet in a best-of-five Stanley Cup final.

The Toronto St. Patricks are sold in mid-season to a syndicate headed by Conn Smythe for $160,000.[5] The club is renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the NHL ruled that the team had to use the name St. Patricks until the end of the 1926–27 season, or the team's players would become free agents, as they were under contract as the St. Pats. They became the Maple Leafs the following season.

Rules changes

The blue lines moved to sixty feet from the goal line from twenty feet from the center red line to increase the size of the neutral zone.

Two innovations attributed to Art Ross are adopted by the NHL. The league adopts a modified puck, which has rounded edges. The net is modified to keep the puck in the webbing.[5]

Regular season

The Montreal Canadiens, last place finishers in 1925–26, solved their goaltending woes by signing George Hainsworth. They further strengthened their team by signing Herb Gardiner of the Western League's Calgary Tigers for defence. The Canadiens finished second in the Canadian Division to powerful Ottawa, who was the league's best team.

Dave Gill, secretary-treasurer (general manager), decided to take over as coach of the Ottawa Senators. He would be assisted by Frank Shaughnessy, a former manager of the Senators in the NHA days, to assist him with the strategy used in games. Ottawa finished first atop the Canadian Division.

The arena is not ready in Detroit for the start of the regular season. The expansion Cougars play their first 22 "home" games in Windsor, Ontario at the Border Cities Arena.[5]

The New York Americans' Shorty Green's playing career is ended after an injury in a game on February 27, 1927. New York Rangers' 225 pound defenceman Taffy Abel bodychecked Green, causing a kidney injury. Green requires an emergency operation to remove the kidney and retires for health reasons.[5]

Final standings

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against

Canadian Division
Ottawa Senators 44 30 10 4 86 69 64
Montreal Canadiens 44 28 14 2 99 67 58
Montreal Maroons 44 20 20 4 71 68 44
New York Americans 44 17 25 2 82 91 36
Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs 44 15 24 5 79 94 35
American Division
New York Rangers 44 25 13 6 95 72 56
Boston Bruins 44 21 20 3 97 89 45
Chicago Black Hawks 44 19 22 3 115 116 41
Pittsburgh Pirates 44 15 26 3 79 108 33
Detroit Cougars 44 12 28 4 76 105 28

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.


With the collapse of the Western Hockey League, the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the NHL. The new division alignment and playoff format endured that for the first time, an American team would play in the NHL Final, now the Stanley Cup Final. The Seattle Metropolitans earlier had competed for the Stanley Cup as champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

Stanley Cup Final

All dates in 1927

Cy Denneny led the Senators with four of the team's seven total goals. He scored the game-winning goals in both victories.

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 7 Ottawa Senators 0 Boston Bruins 0 (OT)
April 9 Ottawa Senators 3 Boston Bruins 1
April 11 Boston Bruins 1 Ottawa Senators 1 (OT)
April 13 Boston Bruins 1 Ottawa Senators 3

Ottawa wins best-of-five series 2–0–2

Playoff bracket

  Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
  C1  Ottawa Senators 5G  
Canadian Division
    C2  Montreal Canadiens 1G  
C2  Montreal Canadiens 2G
  C3  Montreal Maroons 1G  
    C1  Ottawa Senators 2
  A2  Boston Bruins 0
A1  New York Rangers 1G
American Division
    A2  Boston Bruins 3G  
A2  Boston Bruins 10G

<tr> <td height="14"> </td> <td style="text-align:center;background-color:#f2f2f2;border:1px solid #aaa;"> A3</td> <td style="border:1px solid #aaa;background-color:#f9f9f9;" > Chicago Black Hawks</td> <td style="text-align:center;border:1px solid #aaa;background-color:#f9f9f9;" >5G</td> <td style="border-width:2px 0 0 0; border-style:solid;border-color:black;"> </td></tr>


A new trophy in memory of Georges Vezina, the Vezina Trophy, was donated this year by Montreal Canadiens owners Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joseph Cattarinich. It is to be presented to the league's "most valuable goaltender." It is won by his successor with the Canadiens, George Hainsworth.

1926–27 NHL awards
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Billy Burch, New York Americans
O'Brien Cup:
(League champions)
Ottawa Senators
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(League champions)
Ottawa Senators
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Bill Cook New York Rangers 44 33 4 37
Dick Irvin Chicago Black Hawks 43 18 18 36
Howie Morenz Montreal Canadiens 44 25 7 32
Frank Fredrickson Detroit Cougars / Boston Bruins 44 18 13 31
Babe Dye Chicago Black Hawks 41 25 5 30
Ace Bailey Toronto St. Patricks 42 15 13 28
Frank Boucher New York Rangers 44 13 15 28
Billy Burch New York Americans 43 19 8 27
Harry Oliver Boston Bruins 42 18 6 24
Duke Keats Boston / Detroit Cougars 42 16 8 24

Source: NHL.[7]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Mins GA SO GAA
Clint Benedict Montreal Maroons 43 2748 65 13 1.42
Lorne Chabot New York Rangers 36 2307 56 10 1.46
George Hainsworth Montreal Canadiens 44 2732 67 14 1.47
Alex Connell Ottawa Senators 44 2782 69 13 1.49
Hal Winkler New York Rangers / Boston Bruins 31 1959 56 6 1.72
Jake Forbes New York Americans 44 2715 91 8 2.01
John Ross Roach Toronto St. Patricks 44 2764 94 4 2.04
Hap Holmes Detroit Cougars 41 2685 100 6 2.23
Roy Worters Pittsburgh Pirates 44 2711 108 4 2.39
Hugh Lehman Chicago Black Hawks 44 2797 116 5 2.49

Playoff scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Harry Oliver Boston Bruins 8 4 2 6
Percy Galbraith Boston Bruins 8 3 3 6


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1926–27 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1926–27 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9. 
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
  • Jenish, D'Arcy (2013). The NHL: 100 Years of On-Ice Action and Boardroom Battles. Random House LLC. ISBN 9780385671477. 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1. 
  • Deceptions and Doublecross: How the NHL Conquered Hockey by Morey Holzman and Joseph Nieforth Dundurn Books
  1. ^ Jenish 2013, pp. 46–47.
  2. ^ Jenish 2013, pp. 47–48.
  3. ^ Jenish 2013, p. 52.
  4. ^ McFarlane 1973, p. 37.
  5. ^ a b c d e Dryden 2000, p. 29.
  6. ^ Standings: NHL Public Relations Department (2008). Dave McCarthy et al., eds. THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Official Guide & Record Book/2009. National Hockey League. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-894801-14-0. 
  7. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 146.

External links