The 1925-26 NHL season was the ninth season of the National Hockey League. Seven teams each played 36 games. The Stanley Cup winners were the Montreal Maroons who defeated the Victoria Cougars of the newly renamed Western Hockey League 3 games to 1 in a best of 5 series.
The league added two new expansion franchises, in Pittsburgh and New York, the second and third United States based teams in the NHL.
The Pirates were formed because former Toronto NHA owner Eddie Livingstone had been again threatening to form a rival league and mentioned Pittsburgh as one of the possible franchise locations. Frank Calder and the governors quickly agreed to grant the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets organization an NHL franchise, known as the the Pittsburgh Pirates, like the baseball club.
The New York franchise was known as the New York Americans, a franchise having been granted to "Big Bill" Dwyer, an infamous bootlegger from New York City, to play in New York's Madison Square Garden. He purchased the suspended Hamilton Tigers players for his new New York Americans club.
Tommy Gorman and Ted Dey sold their interests in the Ottawa Senators to T. Franklin Ahearn. Ahearn then hired a successful junior executive, Dave Gill, to be secretary-treasurer (general manager) of the team and Gill hired Alex Curry, a former Senators player in the old NHA, to coach the team.
The Hamilton Tigers had spent their first five seasons in the NHL in last place until last season where they went from worst to first. The success enjoyed by the Tigers players was not carried over to New York, though, as the Americans finished fifth overall with a record of 12-20-4.
Eddie Gerard improved the Montreal Maroons by signing Nels Stewart and Babe Siebert and signing former olympian Dunc Munro for defense. The Maroons were on their way to glory. Nels Stewart not only set a record for goals by a rookie, but became the first rookie to win the scoring title.
From the start of the NHL, Georges Vezina had been the Montreal Canadiens goaltender, and had led them to the Cup in 1924. In the first game of this season, he collapsed on the ice as the second period got underway. It was found he had tuberculosis, and he died in March of 1926.
Ottawa's coach Curry was quite successful, as he took a team that had gone from fourth overall to first with an impressive record of 24-8-4, and the expansion Pittsburgh Pirates, with a strong cast of ex-amateurs led by future Hall of Famers Roy Worters and Lionel Conacher, finished third.
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|New York Americans||36||12||20||4||28||68||89||361|
|Toronto St. Patricks||36||12||21||3||27||92||114||325|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Nels Stewart||Montreal Maroons||36||34||8||42|
|Cy Denneny||Ottawa Senators||36||24||12||36|
|Carson Cooper||Boston Bruins||36||28||3||31|
|Jimmy Herberts||Boston Bruins||36||26||5||31|
|Howie Morenz||Montreal Canadiens||31||23||3||26|
|Jack Adams||Toronto St. Patricks||36||21||5||26|
|Aurel Joliat||Montreal Canadiens||35||17||9||26|
|Billy Burch||New York Americans||36||22||3||25|
|Hooley Smith||Ottawa Senators||28||16||9||25|
|Frank Nighbor||Ottawa Senators||35||12||13||25|
|Alec Connell||Ottawa Senators||36||42||15||1.12|
|Roy Worters||Pittsburgh Pirates||35||68||7||1.90|
|Clint Benedict||Montreal Maroons||36||73||6||1.92|
|Charles Stewart||Boston Bruins||35||80||6||2.21|
|Jake Forbes||New York Americans||36||89||2||2.30|
Stanley Cup Playoffs
This is the last season that saw challengers from outside of the NHL compete for the Stanley Cup. At the beginning of the season, the Western Canada Hockey League renamed itself the Western Hockey League because one of its teams, the Regina Capitals, had moved to the States to play in Portland, Oregon. They were renamed the Portland Rosebuds.
Once again, the Victoria Cougars finished third in their league but once again won their league championship and the right to play for the Stanley Cup. The previous season, the Cougars beat the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup with that being the only time in NHL history in which a non-NHL team won the Cup. After the 1926 playoffs, the Western Hockey League would fold leaving the Stanley Cup entirely to the NHL. The Cup would never again be challenged by a non-NHL team, despite efforts to Free Stanley during the 2004-05 NHL lockout season of 2004-2005.This was also the only season that more teams missed the playoffs than made the playoffs .
All dates 1926
The second seed Montreal Maroons beat the third seed Pittsburgh Pirates and then went on to beat first place Ottawa Senators 2 goals to 1 in a two game total goals series, thus capturing the Prince of Wales Trophy and the right to play the Victoria Cougars for the Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Montreal Maroons
|March 8||Pittsburgh Pirates||1||Montreal Maroons||3|
|March 11||Pittsburgh Pirates||3||Montreal Maroons||3|
Montreal wins total goals series 6 goals to 4
Montreal Maroons vs. Ottawa Senators
|March 25||Montreal Maroons||1||Ottawa Senators||1|
|March 27||Montreal Maroons||1||Ottawa Senators||0|
Montreal wins total goals series 2 goals to 1
- Nels Stewart was "Old Poison" to the Victoria Cougars, as he scored 6 goals in the 4 games
and goaltender Clint Benedict shut out the westerners three times.
Victoria Cougars vs. Montreal Maroons
|March 30||Victoria Cougars||0||Montreal Maroons||3|
|April 1||Victoria Cougars||0||Montreal Maroons||3|
|April 3||Victoria Cougars||3||Montreal Maroons||2|
|April 6||Victoria Cougars||0||Montreal Maroons||2|
Montreal Maroons win best-of-five series 3 games to 1 for the Stanley Cup
NHL Playoff Leading Scorer
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Nels Stewart||Montreal Maroons||8||6||3||9|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:||Montreal Maroons|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons|
|Lady Byng Trophy:||Frank Nighbor, Ottawa Senators|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1925-26 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Wildor Larochelle, Montreal Canadiens
- Albert Leduc, Montreal Canadiens
- Pit Lepine, Montreal Canadiens
- Babe Siebert, Montreal Maroons
- Nels Stewart, Montreal Maroons
- Joe Simpson, New York Americans
- Hec Kilrea, Ottawa Senators
- Roy Worters, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Harold Darragh, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Baldy Cotton, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Lionel Conacher, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Hib Milks, Pittsburgh Pirates
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1925-26 (listed with their last team):
- Georges Vezina, Montreal Canadiens
|1925–26 NHL season by team|
|NHL||Boston • Mtl Canadiens • Mtl Maroons • NY Americans • Ottawa • Pittsburgh • Toronto|
|See also||Stanley Cup Playoffs|
|National Hockey League|