Toronto St. Patricks Hockey

February 14, 2012 by staff 

Toronto St. Patricks Hockey, The Toronto St. Patricks professional men’s ice hockey team started as an amateur ice hockey organization. In 1919, the club purchased the Toronto National Hockey League (NHL) franchise from the NHL. The club renamed the franchise the Toronto St. Patricks club and operated the franchise until 1927, when it was sold to a partnership of Conn Smythe and Toronto investors. The club won the Stanley Cup in 1922.

The St. Pats organization had operated amateur hockey clubs in the Toronto area since the first decade of the 1900s, including the senior amateur St. Patricks team in the Ontario Hockey Association.

The Toronto NHL franchise, since the NHL’s founding in 1917, had been operated by the Arena Company, operators of the Arena Gardens in Toronto. The Arena Company had been granted a temporary franchise for the 1917-18 season, and leased the players from the Toronto Blue Shirts from owner Eddie Livingstone while litigation was underway between Livingstone and the NHL. This temporary franchise won the Stanley Cup in 1918. However, instead of returning the players to Livingstone, the Arena Company formed the Toronto Arena Hockey Club, popularly known as the Toronto Arenas, with Arena Company auditor Hubert Vearncombe as team president. This new organization was duly admitted to the NHL as a full member in good standing, touching off a new round of litigation with Livingstone which forced the Arenas to unload most of their stars. They only won five games in 1918-19, and were forced to suspend operations in February.

Livingstone won a $20,000 judgment against the Arena Company, which declared bankruptcy to avoid paying the bill. Before the 1919-20 season, general manager Charlie Querrie learned that the Arena Company wanted to sell. As an interim measure, Querrie changed the team name to the Tecumsehs on December 7, 1919. The following day, Querrie reached agreement with the owners of the amateur St. Patrick’s club to purchase the franchise. Frank Heffernan was named as manager. On December 13, 1919, the NHL transferred the Toronto franchise to the Querrie St. Patricks group, for the fee of $5,000. While the money was to go to Livingstone to settle the purchase of his NHA club, it appeared that NHL president Frank Calder kept the money. The incorporation date of the club was December 22, 1919, and listed Fred Hambly, Percy Hambly, Paul Ciceri and Querrie with 99 shares each, and Richard Greer with 4 shares. This move was possible because the Arena Hockey Club was a self-contained corporation, and was therefore beyond the legal reach of Livingstone.

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