1919–20 NHL season

The 1919–20 NHL season was the third season of the National Hockey League (NHL). A Quebec team was activated by the NHL, increasing the number of teams to four. The four teams played 24 games in a split-schedule format. The Ottawa Senators won the league championship by winning both halves of the split-season. The Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans three games to two in a best-of-five series.

1919–20 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationDecember 23, 1919 – March 13, 1920
Number of games24
Number of teams4
Regular season
Top scorerJoe Malone (Athletics)
ChampionsOttawa Senators
  Runners-upMontreal Canadiens, Toronto St. Patricks

League business

The NHL approved the name change of Toronto's franchise to Tecumsehs on December 6, 1919, a previous name of a Toronto franchise in the NHA.[1] Several days later the franchise was transferred from the Arena to private investors, which named the club the Toronto St. Patricks.[2] The group paid $5,000 to the NHL for the franchise.

Since the NHL had cancelled the previous Quebec franchise after Percy Quinn tried to use the franchise to resurrect the NHA, Quebec was without a franchise. By agreement with the NHL franchise's previous owners, a new Quebec franchise was approved on December 16, 1919.[3] Quebec, which did not ice teams in the first two seasons of the NHL, finally iced a team, although they were not successful.

Regular season


The Montreal Canadiens had their home opener January 10 in brand new Mount Royal Arena and Newsy Lalonde used the occasion to celebrate with six goals in a 14–7 drubbing of the Toronto St. Patricks. The combined total of 21 goals by both teams set the NHL record.[4]

Jack Darragh of Ottawa had a chance to play in goal when Toronto defeated Ottawa 5–3 on January 24. He took over when Clint Benedict was penalized. He did not surrender any goals during the two minutes.

Despite a dismal record of 2–10 in both halves of the season, the Quebec Athletics' Joe Malone scored seven goals in one game on January 31, 1920.[5] As of 2016, it is still the NHL record for most goals in one game. An eighth goal was disallowed on an off-side call. Malone was later quoted "the thing I recall most vividly is that it was bitterly cold."[4] He nearly equalled the record on March 10 when he scored six goals in a 10–4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Malone led the league in goals with 39. But by surrendering 7.18 goals against per game, a record that stands today, Quebec finished dead last.

With the war now over, players came home and fans were now coming in larger numbers to see games. On February 21, 1920, a record crowd of 8,500 fans came to see Ottawa play Toronto at the Arena Gardens.[5]

Final standings

First half
Ottawa Senators12930185923
Montreal Canadiens12840166251
Toronto St. Patricks12570105262
Quebec Athletics12210044481
Second half
Ottawa Senators121020206241
Toronto St. Patricks12750146744
Montreal Canadiens12570106762
Quebec Athletics12210044796

[6] Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.


Because the Ottawa Senators won both halves of the split regular season, there was no need for an NHL playoff. The Senators were named NHL champions and given a spot in the Stanley Cup championship series. Representing the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) was the Seattle Metropolitans, which battled in a tight PCHA, in which two wins separated its three teams. A problem arose as Seattle's green, red, and white uniforms looked similar to Ottawa's black, red, and white uniforms. The Senators agreed to play in white sweaters. The five-game series was scheduled to be played in Ottawa, but unseasonably warm weather forced the final two games to Toronto's Arena Gardens.

Stanley Cup Finals

Games one, three and five were played under NHL rules (without a rover), while games two and four were played under PCHA rules (with a rover).

Ottawa won series 3–2


Note: The O'Brien Cup, still considered the championship of the NHA, was not actually awarded in 1920. It remained under the care of the Canadiens who had won it in 1917, until the death of their owner, George Kennedy in 1921, when the NHL made arrangements to re-use the trophy.[7] The Hockey Hall of Fame lists Ottawa as the winner for 1919–20.

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties In Minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Joe Malone Quebec Athletics2439104912
Newsy Lalonde Montreal Canadiens233794634
Frank Nighbor Ottawa Senators2326154118
Corbett Denneny Toronto St. Patricks2424123620
Jack Darragh Ottawa Senators2322143622
Reg Noble Toronto St. Patricks242493352
Amos Arbour Montreal Canadiens222152613
Cully Wilson Toronto St. Patricks232062686
Didier Pitre Montreal Canadiens221412266
Punch Broadbent Ottawa Senators211962540

Source: NHL.[8]

Leading goaltenders

GP = Games Played, Mins = Minutes played, GA = Goals Against, SO = Shutouts, GAA = Goals Against Average

Name Team GP Mins W L T GA SO GAA
Clint Benedict Ottawa Senators24144319506452.66
Jake Forbes Toronto St. Patricks53002302104.20
Ivan Mitchell Toronto St. Patricks168306706004.34
Georges Vezina Montreal Canadiens2414561311011304.66
Howard Lockhart Toronto,Quebec83704303605.84
Frank Brophy Quebec Athletics211249318014807.11

Source: NHL[9]


Milestones and records

  • January 31 – Quebec Athletics' Joe Malone scores seven goals in one game (record for most goals in one game by a player)[5]
  • March 3 – Montreal Canadiens defeat Quebec Athletics 16–3 (record for most goals by one team)[4]


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1919–20 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Babe DyeToronto St. PatricksHockey Hall of Fame (1970)

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1919–20 (listed with their last team):

Free agency

November 27, 1919Cully WilsonToronto St. Patricks
December 15, 1919Babe DyeToronto St. Patricks
December 16, 1919Mickey RoachToronto St. Patricks


December 21, 1919 To Quebec Bulldogs
Ed Carpenter
To Montreal Canadiens
Goldie Prodgers
January 14, 1920 To Toronto Arenas
Goldie Prodgers
To Montreal Canadiens
Harry Cameron

See also


  • Coleman, Charles (1966). The Trail of the Stanley Cup, vol. 1, 1893–1926 inc.
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
  • Wong, John Chi-Kit (2005). Lords of the Rinks. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-8520-2.
  1. "NHL Drafts Its Schedule". The Globe. December 8, 1919. p. 14.
  2. "Tecumseh Club Disposes of Franchise Secured From Arenas". The Globe. p. 12.
  3. Wong 2005, p. 78.
  4. Dryden 2000, p. 22.
  5. McFarlane 1973, p. 29.
  6. Standings: NHL Public Relations Department (2008). Dave McCarthy; et al. (eds.). THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Official Guide & Record Book/2009. National Hockey League. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-894801-14-0.
  7. "O'Brien Trophy To Be Given To Ottawa". The Morning Leader. Regina, Saskatchewan. November 17, 1921. p. 14. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  8. "1919–1920 – Regular Season – Skater – Skater Season Stats Leaders – Points". nhl.com. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  9. "1919–20 Regular Season – Goalie Season Stats Leaders". NHL. Retrieved December 1, 2011.

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