Toronto Blueshirts win Stanley Cup
The 1913–14 NHA season was the sixth season of the National Hockey Association (NHA). At the end of the regular season, a tie for first place necessitated a playoff to determine the championship and the Stanley Cup.
The Toronto Blueshirts defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6–2 in a two-game, total-goals playoff. The Blueshirts then defeated the challenging Victoria Aristocrats of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association to retain the Cup.
Tied at the top of the standings, the Blueshirts and Canadiens faced off in a two game, total goals series to determine a league champion. The Blueshirts won the series 6–2.
The 1913–14 season marked the last year of the challenge era in Stanley Cup history. After dispatching the Canadiens, the Blueshirts faced off against the Victoria Aristocrats of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. The series would be controversial, as the Aristocrats never formally applied with the Cup trustees to challenge for the cup. As a result, the trustees would negotiate an agreement to have the champions of the NHA and the PCHA meet each year to determine a champion, beginning in 1915.
Although it was their first ever appearance in a Stanley Cup final, it certainly was not the last for the Montreal Canadiens. The Stanley Cup series was decided by a two game total goal showdown between the Canadiens and the Toronto Blueshirts (later renamed the Maple Leafs). Swapping shutouts, Montreal blanked Toronto 2-0 in the first game, but the Blueshirts came back to win game two 6-0. As a result, Toronto claimed its first Stanley Cup title by outscoring Montreal 6-2. Game two in Toronto was the first Stanley Cup contest ever played on artificial ice. Albeit unofficial, this series was a best of five competition, pitting the Toronto Blueshirts of the NHA against the Victoria Cougars of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Unfortunately, Victoria had neglected to file a proper challenge. The Stanley Cup trustees did not accept the series as legitimate, although it did register as a title defense for the Stanley Cup. The Blueshirts won three consecutive games against the Cougars?5-2, 6-5 in overtime and 2-1 to successfully defend their Stanley Cup. Frank Foyston scored three goals, including the Cup-winner, to lead all Toronto scorers.
The club won the Stanley Cup in 1914, before becoming the centre of controversy amongst National Hockey Association owners leading to the NHA suspending operations and the owners forming the National Hockey League. The franchise was taken away from its owner in 1917 and the Toronto players played in the NHL in 1917–18 as the Torontos, winning the Stanley Cup again under temporary ownership. The temporary operators then formed an official franchise for the 1918–19 season that eventually evolved into today's Toronto Maple Leafs.
Before the 1913–14 season, the club faced some upheaval. Ridpath resigned as manager in October 1913, and the club was sold to Frank Robinson. Despite the changes, the Blueshirts won the Stanley Cup in 1914, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in a playoff to decide the NHA champion.
After the season, the team then played a series with the Victoria Aristocrats of the Pacific Coast Hockey League. It was intended as a challenge series for the Stanley Cup, but was ruled an unofficial challenge because Victoria had not applied to the Stanley Cup trustees. Nevertheless, the Blueshirts defeated Victoria in a best-of-five series played in Toronto in three straight games.
Despite losing leading scorer Frank Nighbor to the rival PCHA, the Blue Shirts were much stronger on the ice finishing tied for the NHA title with the Montreal Canadiens with a record of 13-7. Without Nighbor, the Blue Shirts were led by Scotty Davidson's 23 goals and Jack Walker's 20 goals, while Harry Cameron had a career year scoring 15 goals, as Hap Holmes anchored the team in goal. At seasons end the Blue Shirts and Canadiens had a two game, total goals series to decide the NHA and Stanley Cup championship. The Blue Shirts would win the series 6-2, as they rapped up the series in Game 2 at home in what was the first Stanley Cup game to be played on artificial ice, in the process bringing the city of Toronto its first Stanley Cup. After beating the Canadiens, the Blue Shirts would easily fend off a challenge for the Stanley Cup by the PCHA Champion Victoria Aristocrats sweeping them in 3 straight to hold on to the cup.