Western league hockey had undergone its share of changes as well in 1924. Prior to the start of the season, the PCHA folded and two of its best teams, the Vancouver Maroons and the Victoria Cougars, joined the WCHL. This meant that after three seasons of having three leagues compete for the Stanley Cup, the final would once again have only two competing teams.The Cougars followed much the same path to the final as did Montreal. They were also a third place finisher, and they topled the Calgary Tigers and Newsy Lalonde's Saskatoon Crescents to earn their way into the final.
CANADIENS LEAVE STANLEY BEHIND
The Canadiens were perhaps a little overconfident as the left for Victoria, and purposely did not bring the Stanley Cup with them, assured it would still be theirs upon their return.
The games were played at the Victoria Arena in this best of five series were the first broadcast on radio, and it was Dr. Clem Davies who called the play by play.
The series began on March 21, and the Canadiens dropped game one by a 5-2 score. In a supersticious move prior to the start of the game, the Cougars players hurried to leave the pre-game warmup first for good luck. The trick worked well for them again in game two, as they put the Canadiens in a hole with a 3-1 win.
INNOVATIVE PATRICK DUPES CANADIENS
Montreal, as did most of the NHL teams, still used its six best players for the majority of the game, substituting them as they each tired. Cougars manager Lester Patrick, perhaps hockey's greatest visionary, employed two lines in constant rotation during games. His reasoning was that even fresh second tier players had more to give energy wise over the course of a game that the tired players the opposition would counter with.
For game three, the Canadiens thought they would pull the Cougars trick of leaving the warmup first. It likely had no bearing on the final score, but the stunt seemed to work, as they Canadiens went on to win 4-2.
The Canadiens backs were again against the wall on March 30, and Victoria handed them a firm 6-1 routing. There would be no Stanley Cup in Montreal this season.