|St. Louis Eagles|
The St. Louis Eagles were a professional ice hockey team, a member of the National Hockey League (NHL), that played during the 1934-35 NHL season in St. Louis, Missouri. They were a relocation of the (1917–1934) Ottawa Senators NHL franchise.
History[edit | edit source]
The Senators are generally acknowledged as the greatest team in the early history of hockey, but Ottawa was far and away the smallest market in the league. In its early days, the city could offer good government jobs to players and keep expenses low. However, the NHL expansions in the 1920s hurt the Senators as fans were unwilling to come out to see visiting teams from the United States and revenues suffered. This, along with the Great Depression eventually took its toll on the team's finances. Even sitting out the 1931-32 season didn't relieve the pressure, and the team barely survived the 1933-34 season. The league's other owners, many also in difficulties, turned a deaf ear to the Senator's requests for financial assistance.
However, the league was not willing to lose another team so soon after the Philadelphia Quakers suspended operations (unlike Ottawa, they would never return). On May 14, 1934, the Senators were transferred to St. Louis, where they would be renamed the Eagles, named after the logo of Anheuser-Busch.
At the time, St. Louis was the 7th largest city in the United States, and was far larger than Ottawa. A St. Louis group had originally applied for an NHL franchise in 1932, but was turned down due to concerns about travel costs in the midst of the Great Depression. Teams travelled by train at the time.
The Eagles opened the NHL season at home, in the segregated seating of the St. Louis Arena, against the Chicago Black Hawks on November 8, 1934. Howie Morenz made his debut for Chicago during the game and assisted on the game's first goal, by Johnny Gottselig. Earl Roche scored the Eagles first goal, assisted by Ralph "Scotty" Bowman but the Black Hawks triumphed 3-1.
It soon became apparent why the league was skittish about placing a team in St. Louis. While playing to large crowds in the St. Louis Arena, the team soon buckled under the strain of long train rides to Boston, Montreal and Toronto. The Eagles had to play a large number of games in Montreal and Toronto because they had assumed the Senators' place in the Canadian Division, which resulted in the longest road trips in the NHL, and diluted a natural rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks. Under the circumstances, the results were predictable, a record of 11-31-6, dead last in the league. Eddie Gerard began the season as coach, only to be replaced by George Boucher.
Escalating travel costs chewed through what money the team had on hand, and the club sold players Syd Howe and Ralph Bowman to meet expenses. After the season, the club asked to suspend operations for the coming season and this was declined by the league. On October 15, 1935, the NHL bought back the franchise and players contracts for $40,000 and suspended its operations again. Under the agreement, the NHL paid for the players, and took back possession of the franchise. If the franchise was resold, the proceeds would go to the Ottawa Hockey Association. 
The players were distributed as follows:
- New York Americans: Pete Kelly, Ed Finnigan,
- Montreal Canadiens: Bill Beveridge, Irvin Frew, Henry Lauzon, Paul Drouin,
- Detroit Red Wings: Carl Voss, W. Peterkin
- New York Rangers: Glen Barydeon, Vernon Ayres,
- Montreal Maroons: Joe Lamb, Bill Taugher,
- Boston Bruins: Bill Cowley, Teddy Graham,
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Charles Shannon, Cliff Bupur , J. Dewey, Mickey Blake
Team Captains[edit | edit source]
- Syd Howe, 1934-35
Season-by-Season Record[edit | edit source]
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|1934-35||48||11||31||6||0||28||86||144||385||5th in Canadian||Out of playoffs|
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- During the January 15, 1935 game Boston Bruins-St. Louis Eagles at the Boston Garden, an ice making problem caused a patch with no ice at the east end. A rubber mat was placed over the patch and the teams switched ends every 10 minutes. The Bruins won 5-3.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Player Frank Finnigan recalled that arena's seating was segregated, a first for the NHL. [Finnigan], pg.
- "Ottawa Interests Through;NHL Purchases Franchise", Toronto Star, October 16,1935
- Coleman, Charles. Trail of the Stanley Cup, vol. 2, 1927-1946 inc.
- Finnigan, Joan (1990). Old Scores, New Goals.
|National Hockey League|