|Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets|
|City:||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Home Arena:||Duquesne Gardens|
|Colors:||Black, gold, white |
|Head Coach:||Dick Carroll|
|Media:||Pittsburgh Post |
The Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets was an amateur ice hockey team that existed between (1915–1925) . They evolved from being an amateur to a semi-pro team and are one the earliest sports organizations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Yellow Jackets played primarily in the United States Amateur Hockey Association (USAHA). After winning the USAHA Championship in 1924 and 1925 the Yellow Jackets were sold to attorney James Callahan and soon became the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National Hockey League. However after the demise of the Pirates in 1930, the Yellow Jackets became an IHL club from 1930–1932.
A third team of the same name played in the Eastern Hockey League from 1935 to 1937.
The Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets, of the United States Amateur Hockey Association were formed in 1915. The organization's owner was a former referee named Roy Schooley. According to former sports reporter Paul Sullivan, who covered hockey for much of his life for the old Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, the USAHA wasn't a completely amateur league. Sullivan noted that even though the USAHA was called an amateur league, "They didn't come down from Canada because they thought Pittsburgh was a nice place." This leds one to believe that money was paid out to top players in the league.
The Jackets won the USAHA's championship in 1924 and 1925 under Dick Carroll, who had coached the Toronto Arenas to the Stanley Cup in 1918. The Yellow Jackets of the Western Division were so dominant that they spun off another Pittsburgh team, the Fort Pitt Hornets, who played in the Eastern Division. The Yellow Jackets ended up defeating their cross-town rivals, 2-1, on April 11, 1925 to win their second USAHA championship. Captain Lionel Conacher scored in the first period on an end-to-end rush and Harold Cotton scored the final goal in the team's history at the 13:00 mark of the first period by beating the Hornets' goalie Earl Miller. The Yellow Jackets won three games and tied one against the Hornets due to solid goaltending from Roy Worters.
The Yellow Jackets stopped playing after the US Amateur Hockey Association folded at the end of the 1924–25 season. When Schooley encountered financial problems he sold the team to James Callahan, a lawyer from Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville. Callahan wanted to move the team to a professional league. As a result he was granted an NHL team which became the Pittsburgh Pirates, stealing the name from the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club.
The core of the Pirates was formed from the stars of the Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets. Among the Jackets-turned-Pirates were two Hockey Hall of Famers -- Lionel Conacher, who would be named Canadian male athlete of the half century, and goalie Roy Worters. The Pirates would operate from 1925 until 1930.
Yellow Jackets II
The Pirates left Pittsburgh and became the short-lived Philadelphia Quakers in 1930, due to issues related to the Great Depression and the failure to find a replacement for the aging Duquesne Gardens. Shortly afterwards a second version of the Yellow Jackets returned to Pittsburgh after Schooley re-acquired the team. This team played in the IHL. The team completely folded in 1937 when they were later purchased by Pittsburgh theatre chain owner, John Harris, who also purchased the Detroit Olympics in October 1936. He later moved the Olympics to Pittsburgh and renamed them the Pittsburgh Hornets.
The Yellow Jackets wore yellow wool jerseys with a "P" on the front of their jerseys in 1924. The wool jerseys featured black felt lettering would become the Pirates first set of jerseys. The team used the Pittsburgh's city crest emblems on the uniform sleeves. John McMahon, a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Press once referred to the color of the home jerseys as a "dingy mustard yellow." When the Yellow Jackets evolved into the City's first NHL team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the color scheme followed. In fact when the City's second NHL team, the Pittsburgh Penguins wanted to change their uniform colors from blue and white to black and gold, a move protested by the Boston Bruins, the Pirates-Yellow Jackets jerseys were showcased as precedence for the move.