Friday, April 1, 2011
This Day in NHL History
On April 1, 1919, the Stanley Cup Playoffs were called off and made national headlines across the continent. This was because of an influenza outbreak after game five between the Pacific Coast Hockey Association champion, Seattle Metropolitans, and the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. The series was tied 2-2-1 after five games before city health officials were forced to cancel the deciding game due to the Spanish Flu epidemic sweeping North America. Most of the Canadiens players and their manager, George Kennedy, fell ill with the flu and were hospitalized or bedridden.
The hospitalized included Joe Hall, Louis Berlinquette, Jack McDonald and Blake Geoffrion's dirty great great grand uncle, Billy Coutu. The Habs manager tried to borrow PCHA players from Victoria, but PCHA president, Frank Patrick, denied the Canadiens request to fill their roster to play the decisive game. With little to no team to put on the ice, Kennedy said he was forfeiting the Cup to Seattle, but Pete Muldoon, the manager-coach of the Metropolitans refused to accept the Cup in forfeiture. Muldoon saw that it was a catastrophic illness that had caused the Habs lineup to be short of players, and refused to claim victory that way. Very honourable Mr. Muldoon.
For those that think cancelling the Stanley Cup playoffs over a flu outbreak was an overreaction - pneumonia would claim the life of Habs defenceman Joe Hall just five days after the deciding game was to take place. George Kennedy's health was also weakened greatly, and he would pass away only two years later. Here is a telegram sent by Frank Patrick on April 3 that discusses the health of the sick players - very cool, but eerie. So the next time a player on your team misses a few games with the flu, don't think he is softy who could have played through it, remember the flu can lead to some serious shit.
In short, no official Stanley Cup winner was declared in 1919 and no engraving added to Lord Stanley's mug. However when the cup was redesigned in 1948 with a new collar being added to include those teams that did no engrave their names on the trophy themselves, the following was added:
Posted by Dirty Dangle at 12:25 AM