Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters

The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters were a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1940 to 1942, and 1947 to 1960. The team was often known as the "Biltmores" and sponsored by the Guelph Biltmore Hat Company, and played home games at the Guelph Memorial Gardens.

Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters
CityGuelph, Ontario
LeagueOntario Hockey Association
Operated1940 (1940)-42 & 1947-1960
Home arenaGuelph Memorial Gardens
Parent club(s)New York Rangers
Championships1952 Memorial Cup Champions
Franchise history
1947-60Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters
1960-63Guelph Royals
1963-PresentKitchener Rangers
Previous franchise history
1936-40Guelph Indians
1940-42Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters

History

The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters were a brief note in junior hockey history, but left an impression on the game during 13 years of operation. The team that was sponsored by a local manufacturer in the Royal City would capture a national championship, several provincial titles, and send four men onto the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The team was founded as the Guelph Indians for the 1936-37 season. After four seasons, the Guelph Biltmore Hat Company became the team's sponsors. After two more seasons of play, the team was put on hiatus for World War II. The team was resurrected in 1947 as a farm team for the New York Rangers of the NHL and coached by former Rangers forward Alf Pike until the end of 1954. Eddie Bush, a former NHL defenceman, would take over the coaching duties from 1954 onwards.

The Biltmore Hat Company rewarded any player scoring three or more goals in one game the choice of hats at their factory, bringing new meaning to the term "hat trick."

After running into financial trouble in 1960, new ownership renamed the team the Guelph Royals, after the city's nickname. Three years later the team moved becoming the Kitchener Rangers, taking the name of the parent club from the NHL.

Championships

The Mad Hatters won the Memorial Cup in 1952 as national junior ice hockey champions of Canada, and the George Richardson Memorial Trophy as eastern Canadian champions the same year. Guelph won the J. Ross Robertson Cup three times as OHA champions.

Memorial Cup of 1952

The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters played in the best-of-seven series for the Memorial Cup of 1952 versus the Regina Pats, the Abbott Cup champions of Western Canada hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan.

Guelph that year broke the OHA record for single season scoring with 341 goals in a 54-game schedule, which was 34 goals more than the previous mark. Ken Laufman set on OHA record at the time with 139 points. Guelph defeated the Montreal Junior Canadiens in a six-game series for the Eastern Canadian final.

The Mad Hatters won the first game on home ice at the Guelph Memorial Gardens by a score of 8 to 2. The rest of the series would be played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Guelph won the next two games 4 to 2 and 8 to 2. The Biltmores completed the series sweep in game four posting a 10 to 2 triumph to win the Memorial Cup.

Players

Four alumni of the Mad Hatters have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert, Harry Howell and Jean Ratelle. Players who also had impressive NHL careers are Dean Prentice and Ron Murphy.

Award winners

NHL alumni

Yearly results

Played as Guelph Indians, 1936-40.

SeasonGamesWonLostTiedPointsPct %Goals
For
Goals
Against
Standing
1936-37Data unavailable.
1937-38Data unavailable.
1938-3914752150.53630382nd Group 1
1939-40201082220.55088614th OHA
1940-41161150220.68885752nd OHA
1941-422413110260.5421001153rd OHA
1947-483612231250.3471441688th OHA
1948-494820262420.4381692217th OHA
1949-504826184560.5831891574th OHA
1950-515431167690.6392561943rd OHA
1951-525437134780.7223411972nd OHA
1952-535622322460.4112122447th OHA
1953-545926312540.4582482686th OHA
1954-554932152660.6732111582nd OHA
1955-564825203530.5522621953rd OHA
1956-575237123770.7402371431st OHA
1957-585213345310.2981372237th OHA
1958-5954231813590.5462202263rd OHA
1959-604819218460.4791971856th OHA

References

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