New York’s First Hockey Team

By Phin Upham

Canadians had been playing hockey as an organized sport since 1909, when the National Hockey Association was founded. The teams in that league were competing for the Stanley Cup, which was a kind of amateur trophy passed around to the best teams in Canada. Eventually Americans caught wind of this competition and wanted in on the sport. One of the first American entries into the National Hockey League was the New York Americans.

Most people today would think probably find this name unfamiliar, but the club played from 1925 to 1942, when it was finally dissolved under revenue pressures and the pending second World War.

The team began with Thomas Duggan, who’d won three contracts from Canada to start NHL teams in America. One was sold to a grocery magnate in Boston, who formed the Boston Bruins. Duggan wanted to form a team that would have a grand arena as its home, so he approached Tex Rickard, who helped found and build the third Madison Square Garden.

The two men found a team who had been suspended from play after striking for higher pay. They collectively bought the rights to that team’s players, moved them to New York, gave them a healthy raise in pay and called them “The New York Americans”.

The Americans never won Stanley’s Cup, but they managed to make it to the semifinals twice. Travel to and from Canada took its toll on players, who found themselves tired and sluggish when game time came. The Americans were eventually replaced by the more prominent New York Rangers, a team owned by the men who owned Madison Square Garden.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

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