While the Vancouver Canucks have been unlucky in their search for a Stanley Cup since the team joined the NHL in 1970, a drought of 40 years now, the city of Vancouver has been suffering a bit longer. While the Canucks have trotted out names like Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo this year and names like Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, and Trevor Linden during the 1990s, it was guys like Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, Lloyd Cook, and Barney Stanley who brought Vancouver the Stanley Cup for the first and only time it’s been in the city.
Not familiar with those names? Well why not? That Vancouver team did beat the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup after all. No, not the Senators as you know them now, but the legendary Senators of the early 1900s. In this case Taylor, Cook, and Stanley did the job way back in 1915 as members of the Vancouver Millionaires.
Canadiens blog Habs Eyes On The Prize has a killer run down of that 1915 Millionaires team that brought the City of Vancouver their first and only Stanley Cup to date. While the exploits of Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler could become the things of legend by the time the finals are over this year, they’d rather not fade into distant memory the way the Millionaires did.
The Millionaires, curiously named because the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) team owned in part by Lester Patrick (of Patrick Division fame) was paying out players in large sums for the day between $3,500 and $5,200 to play hockey. In those early days of the Stanley Cup it was contested between the champion of the PCHA and the National Hockey Association (NHA). In this case in 1915, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Wanderers in a two game series (winner determined by who scored the most goals) for the right to face the Vancouver Millionaires.
In those finals, things went really well for Vancouver in spite of the curious rules.
The best of five series was set to be played on five consecutive nights from March 22 to March 26 at Denman Arena in Vancouver. Odd numbered games would be played under PCHA rules, allowing for six players and a rover, whereas games 2 and 4 would feature the six per side NHA rules.
Before 7,000 excited fans, the Millionaires won the first game of the series by a 6-2 score. In the second game, with six men per side, Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Vancouver pounced back, winning 8-3. Game 3 was even more lopsided, as Barney Stanley of the Millionaires scored a hat trick in the middle frame, to pace Vancouver to a 12-3 thumping of the Senators, and a claim on Vancouver’s first Stanley Cup. The 26 goals scored by Vancouver would set a Stanley Cup final record for the time.
While it’s no longer played that way nor is the game played the same way, fans in Vancouver are hoping the Canucks have some of that Millionaires spirit to them in these Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins.
(Millionaires photo thanks to Ice Hockey Wiki)