Source: Donald M. Clark Unpublished Notes
Although ice hockey was played in 1895 in Minneapolis prior to being played in St. Paul, it was St. Paul that developed the most extensive program in the nation during the first decade of the twentieth century. It appears that the first hockey games played in St. Paul occurred January 24-25, 1896 at the Aurora rink before large crowds. Two teams from St. Paul, one each from Minneapolis and Winnipeg, competed in the tournament as part of the famous St. Paul winter carnival.
|St. Paul One||2|
|St. Paul Two||1|
This may have been the first tournament in the United States involving a team from Canada. Canadian teams had played a series of games in this country during 1895, but these teams had not been involved in any tournaments. Lineups for the two St. Paul teams were as follows:
St. Paul One: B.B. Clark, H. Trowbridge, B. Newsom, B.B. Thomas, H. Steer, F. Pfeifer, Homer Clark
St. Paul Two: J. Synod, R. Neely, A.B. McCoughy, M. Berry, T.D. Edd Brisay, H. McDonald, F. Saben
Warm weather during the next few years hampered growth of the game in St. Paul and ice polo continued to be played. During the winter of 1898 the newly organized St. Paul Hockey Club planned a trip East to play teams from New York, Brooklyn, Washington, and Philadelphia. Due to the inability to obtain a sufficient number of players and lack of practice the team president, Richard Neely canceled the trip. The St. Paul Hockey Club played a few games during 1899, one of them being against St. Cloud Normal School at the Virginia rink in St. Paul before a crowd of 400 fans. St. Paul won the game 6-0 with Patterson, Elliot, and Newsom each scoring two goals. By the winter of 1900 several senior teams had been organized in the city. Among them were St. Paul AC, St. Paul HC, and the Virginias. St. Paul High Schools and the Manual Training School were playing as were the Laurels and Virginias in the Junior class (15 and under). During the second decade of the 1900's St. Paul High Schools had formed a city league and started drawing large crowds for their crucial games.
The season of 1899-1900 was the first season that St. Paul was able to place two good senior teams in competition. These clubs were the St. Paul AC and the Virginias. For the season of 1900-1901 a four team league composed of two teams from ST. Paul and Minneapolis was formed with the following members: St. Paul mechanic Arts High School, St. Paul Hockey Club, Minneapolis Central High School, and Minneapolis Hockey club. Several years later, as additional high school were built St. Paul formed its own High School league.
January 17, 1902 the Twin City Hockey League was formed at a meeting held at Clarendon hotel in St. Paul. Five teams from St. Paul as follows joined the league: St. Paul HC, Mascots, Virginias, Mechanic Arts High School, and Central High School with Minneapolis as the sixth team in the league. Officers were as follows: President- A.E.S. Mac Donald, Secretary- W.D. Crist, Directors- J.S. Robinson, F.B. Chapman, Bert Clayton, G.A. Mac Donald, H.T. Laurence, and W.D. Crist. Robert H. Dunbar, world famous curler, presented a silver cup to be known as the Dunbar Cup to the yearly champion. The Virginias won the first league championship. Among the leading players during the leagues early years were Fred Cook, Ed Murphy, Harry and Bert Clayton, Joe Jones, Roy Sanders, Jack and Matt Taylor, Charles Kenny, Art Larkin, Roy Moritz, Ray Armstrong, George Patterson, Bob Barron, and Tom Newson. There were two Edward Murphy's involved in early St. Paul ice polo and hockey. Big Ed Murphy was a Canadian hockey and lacrosse player, while the other Ed Murphy, and American from Maine, did not care for ice polo and was instrumental in starting hockey in St. Paul. During the season of 1902 the St. Paul Hockey Club won two out of three games against the Minneapolis Hockey Club. The Minneapolis team which had joined the Twin City League, withdrew from the league soon after the schedule was released, leaving the circuit with five St. Paul teams. One of the games with the Minneapolis team was played at the enclosed Star Roller Rink at 11th Street and 4th Avenue South in Minneapolis. This may have been the first St. Paul team to have played indoors.
At the conclusion of the 1902 league schedule the St. Paul Virginia team traveled to Houghton, Michigan to meet the Portage Lake Pioneers, later to become the best team in the world during the following few seasons. St. Paul lost the game to Portage lake 11-2 before a crowd of 700 at the Amphidrome in Houghton. Later Portage Lake visited St. Paul and defeated the local team 2-0. Joe Jones, playing goal for St. Paul, was the star of both games to such an extent that the famous Portage Lake team hired him to tend their goal the following season. He was termed by local Houghton-Hancock hockey followers to be the best goaltender that appeared in Houghton to that date. A highlight of the era was the visit of a combined St. Paul team to St. Louis in 1904 to compete in the World's Fair Tournament against teams from St. Louis and Michigan. Members of the St. Paul team of 1904 were as follows: Ray Armstrong, Bert Clayton, Harry Clayton, Fred Cook, Jack Taylor, Otto Oehme, Bill Newell and Bob O' Brien. During the nine year history of the Twin City League, St. Paul teams dominated the league with the Gotzian Victorias capturing the Dunbar Cup five straight seasons. Among the Minneapolis teams that competed in the Twin City League during its existence were the Wanderers, Harriets, AAA, YMCA, Lake Shores, and the University.
|1902||St. Paul Virginias|
|1903||St. Paul Victorias|
|1904||St. Paul Victorias|
|1905||St. Paul Victorias|
|1906||St. Paul Victorias|
|1907||St. Paul Victorias|
|1908||St. Paul Mic Macs|
|1909||St. Paul Phoenix|
|1910||St. Paul Phoenix|
For the season of 1910-1911 the Chinooks of St. Paul and the Wanderers of Minneapolis withdrew from the Twin City League this ending the league's existence. The Phoenix, strengthened as a result of the breakup, and played in a series of exhibition games during the winter of 1911 against local High Schools, Minneapolis Lake Shores, Duluth, and Fort William. In addition, they traveled to Chicago and Cleveland for a series of games. The last two games of the season against Duluth and Fort William were played at the Hippodrome in St. Paul. The building was billed as having the largest sheet of ice in the world at 119' x 270'. The building was to play a large part in the development of hockey in St. Paul during the following thirty years. Members of the 1911 Phoenix team were: Faircy, Peterson, Foley, Tierney, Leonard, Palmer, Mc Nair, Bawlf, and Fitzgerald.
During the first decade a series of games were played against Duluth and Two Harbor teams to determine the State Senior Champion. The results were as follows:
|Away Team||Score||Home Team||Score|
|St. Paul Victorias||5||@||Two Harbors||2|
|St. Paul Victorias||6||@||Two Harbors||4|
|St. Paul Victorias||4||@||Duluth||2|
|St. Paul Victorias||4||@||Two Harbors||2|
1904 Champion: St. Paul Victorias
|Away Team||Score||Home Team||Score|
|St. Paul Victorias||4||@||Two Harbors||3|
|St. Paul Victorias||10||@||Two Harbors||3|
|St. Paul Victorias||6||@||Two Harbors||3|
1905 Champion: St. Paul Victorias
|Away Team||Score||Home Team||Score|
|Duluth||2||@||St. Paul Victorias||4|
|St. Paul Victorias||2||@||Duluth||3|
|St. Paul Victorias||9||@||Two Harbors||6|
1906 Champion: St. Paul Victorias
|Away Team||Score||Home Team||Score|
|Duluth Northerns||3||@||St. Paul Mic Macs||2|
1908 Champion: Duluth Northerns
|Away Team||Score||Home Team||Score|
|Duluth||0||@||St. Paul Phoenix||8|
|Duluth||0||@||St. Paul Phoenix||6|
|St. Paul Phoenix||8||@||Duluth||1|
|St. Paul Phoenix||5||@||Duluth||3|
1910 Champion: St. Paul Phoenix
Among the outstanding players in St. Paul during the first decade of the 1900's were: Bert and Harry Clayton, Fred Cook, Ed Fitzgerald, Ray Armstrong, Harvey McNair, Jack Ordway, Joe Jones, Leo Leonard, Port Palmer, Jack Taylor, Fred Minser, Walter Seeger, John Foley, Charles Driscoll, Art Larkin, and Fred Bawlf. All except, Bawlf, who was a Canadian, learned their hockey an St. Paul. Larkin was a quarterback for th Gopher football team in 1906 and 1907, while Driscoll played hokey at Yale University. Cook and Armstrong played in Canada in 1907.
For the season of 1914-1915 the St. Paul AC, long to be an important part of St. Paul hockey, was organized and completed a successful independent season against Grand Forks, Fort William, Port Arthur, Duluth, and the Ottawa Aberdeens. The team's only two losses came from Ottawa. Among the players were: Weidenborner, Goheen, Conroy, Peterson, Henderson, Kahler, Fitzgerald, McCourt, and Le Claire. Most of the team members were local area players.
For the 1915-1916 season the St. Paul AC joined the American Amateur Hockey Association along with Portage Lake, Calumet and American Soo, the latter teams being located in Upper Michigan. Many of the players in the league were imported Canadians. St. Paul tied for the regular scheduled season league title with American Soo (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan). IN the playoffs St. Paul defeated American Soo three games out of four, thus capturing the famous MacNaughton Trophy. The MacNaughton Trophy was donated to the American Amateur Hokey Association by James MacNaughton, president of the Calumet and Hecla Copper Company of Calumet, Michigan. Previous winner were Cleveland in 1914, and American Soo in 1915, Crowds of 4,000-5,000 fans attended the playoff games at the Hippodrome at the Minnesota State Fair grounds. These were the largest crowds to attend hockey games in St. Paul to that date. After capturing the MacNaughton Cup the AC team traveled to Montreal and defeated Lachine, Quebec for the Art Ross Cup. People in Canada could not believe that St. Paul players like Goheen, Conroy, Fitzgerald, and Weidenborner were born and bred local St. Paul products. With the publicity attending the capturing of both trophies by the AC team the populace of St. Paul was becoming very hockey conscious. Several Canadian players were imported for the season of 1915-1916. Among them were Bill Adams, Bert Mohan, R.F. Bonney, A.L. Whalen, Nick Henderson, and Duke Wellington. Local players on the team were Frank Goheen, Tony Conroy, Ed Fitzgerald, Tom Sweeney, Nick Kahler, and Cy Weidenborner. Ray Johns was manager of the team and Hugh Gawley was brought in from Fort William to coach. Goheen, born and reared in nearby White Bear Lake, was considered the best American developed player in western United States.
The season of 1916-1917 was the last season of operation for the St. Paul AC during the war years. As the AAHA did not operate, the AC team was forced to play an exhibition schedule of games. Herb Drury, the speedster from Midland Ontario, was added to the roster. Drury later played in the National Hockey League as a member of the Pittsburgh team. Dick Conway, a star football and baseball player at St. Thomas College from White Bear Lake, played a few games with the AC team. During the season Nick Kahler went to Minneapolis and formed a team known as the (Millers), composed almost entirely of Canadian players which played a limited schedule and met the St. Paul team twice with the AC's winning both meetings. The first game played at the Hippodrome resulted in a 9-2 win for St. Paul, and the second game played at the small Casino rink in Minneapolis resulted in a 9-0 victory as well for the AC's. Lyle Wright, a native of Winnipeg and later associated with the Minneapolis Arena and professional teams in Minneapolis, was goalie for the Millers. In addition to the Minneapolis games the AC's met American Soo, Duluth, and Canadian teams. St, Paul ended the season with a trip to Pittsburgh, losing two close games to the Pittsburgh team considered to be the best in the East. Up to this date hockey in The United States was still being played with seven players and no forward passing. Financially, the 1916-1917 season was a failure for the AC team s the league disbanded in December of 1916, which forced the AC to schedule exhibition games which did not draw fans. World War I depleted the hockey ranks and interest in the game for two seasons. In the fall of 1919 the St. Paul Athletic Club tea, was re-organized with four local players, Frank Goheen, Tony Conroy, Ed Fitzgerald, and Cy Weidenborner, from the 1917 team forming a nucleus. Other local players added were: Everett McGowan, George Conroy, and Emmy Garrett. McGowan was a nationally known speed skater. In addition to Nick Kahler, a member of the 1916 AC team, Frank McCarthy came from Toronto to join the 1919-1920 team. The team joined Group Two of the American Amateur Hockey Association along with the Upper Michigan teams Portage Lake and American Soo. The Canadian Soo were the fourth member of the group. Although the team was billed as the AC, it was financed by a group of local business men.
Many of the games were played at the small Coliseum Rink located on Lexington Avenue near University Avenue. The Coliseum, also called the Lexington Rink, had the disadvantage of a small ice surface with limited seating capacity of about 1,700. Later in the season with larger crowds attending the games in the Hippodrome located on the edge of the city was used. Many of the fans complained about traveling to the large Hippodrome, located in the Minnesota State Fair grounds. St. Paul and American Soo tied for the league title, but did not playoff because of being unable to agree upon the playoff conditions. Bad feeling existed between the American Soo and the other teams in the group. St. Paul met Pittsburgh, who had defeated Boston in the first round of the playoffs, and lost two of the three games at Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh fans rated Goheen as the best player they had seen. in this series, these two teams played six man hockey for the first time in their history. Another innovation in the St. Paul- Pittsburgh playoffs was the allowance of a substitute for a penalized player, so there was always a full compliment of players. Fitzgerald, Goheen, Conroy, and Weidenborner were selected for the 1920 United States Olympic team, the first in history. They traveled to Antwerp, Belgium where they came in second to the Winnipeg Falcons, whom represented Canada. Other members of the United States team were Leon Tuck and Gerry Geran, both from the Boston area and five Canadian players, who after much controversy in the IOC, were allowed to play for the United States because they had been members of the Pittsburgh and Boston teams in the AAHA. The team, assembled in Pittsburgh, under the guidance of the International Skating Union. The United States Amateur Hockey Association was formed in the fall of 1920 and first operated for the season of 1920-1921. Three groups or leagues were part of the newly formed association, one in the East and two in the Midwest. The season was the first full season for six man hockey. St. Paul, with a lineup similar to the 1919-1920 team, played in Group two with Cleveland and Duluth. During the season the Eveleth Reds defeated the AC team twice in the non-group games. The season was not a great success story for the AC six.
For the season of 1921-1922 new players Charles Cassini, Jack Chambers, Babe Elliot, and K. Jonasson were added to the team. As in the previous season they competed in Group Two, along with Duluth, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. St. Paul won the group title with a one game edge over the talented Cleveland team, which rostered many of the very best players in the UASHA. In intergroup playoffs, St. Paul defeated Eveleth of Group Three in a very close five game series, two of the games being 0-0 contests. Eveleth has a very strong team with the likes of Monette, Ching and Ade Johnson, Seaborn, Grey, Des Jardins, Galbraith, Breen, and Nicklin. With the exception of Des Jardins, the entire roster was Canadian. The AC team then met the Boston Westminster's, the East winner, in a five game series and lost three games as Boston emerges as the United State's champion. The 1921-1922 season was a banner one for St. Paul as they went to the finals and drew 51,000 fans to nine playoff games against Eveleth and Boston.
St. Paul added the new faces of Taffy Abel, Dennis Breen, George Clark, and Joe McCormick to their roster for the 1922-1923 season. St. Paul along with Duluth, Eveleth, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and newcomer Milwaukee formed Group Two of the USAHA. Group One operated in the East with teams from Boston, New Haven, and New York. Group Three was not organized as in the past, in as much as the Upper Michigan teams decided to compete in top level USAHA competition. Again St. Paul captured Group Two honors with a 15-5 record, three games ahead of Cleveland and four games in front of Eveleth. For the national finals Boston AA edged St. Paul three games to one in very close contests, with all games being decided by one goal decisions, All games were played in the newly constructed Boston Arena.
The season of 1923-1924 saw St. Paul icing a similar lineup to the previous season except for the addition of Wilf Peltier. Minneapolis replaced Milwaukee, which had not followed the sport in great numbers, as the sixth team in the league. Pittsburgh edged St. Paul for the group title by one game. Cleveland, St. Paul, and Pittsburgh played a round robin style of playoff with St. Paul being eliminated thus ending the third successful season for the AC team. Pittsburgh ousted Cleveland in further play, and went on to defeat Boston for the national crown. The St. Paul-Pittsburgh games at the Hippodrome drew crowds of 6,500 and 7,000.
The same league membership carried on for the 1924-1925 season. Ed Fitzgerald continued to coach the team, which played a forty game schedule divided into first and second halves of twenty games each. New members added to the team included Naismith and George Nichols, a local St. Paul player. St. Paul's season was not a great success as they posted a poor 6-12-2 record for the first half, and a better second half showing of 10-10-0. Consequently, St. Paul did not qualify for the playoffs. Pittsburgh, whom was the first half winner went on to defeat the second half champion, Eveleth, in a three game series. These games were played in Pittsburgh and Duluth as Eveleth did not have artificial ice. Pittsburgh won the series and went on to defeat Fort Pit who represented the East in the national finals.
Cleveland and Pittsburgh withdrew from the USAHA for the 1925-1926 season with the Pittsburgh team entering the National Hockey League for the 1925-1926 campaign. The fact that the Pittsburgh team, which entered the NHL almost intact from its competition in the USAHA and finished third in the seven team NHL, conveys an idea of the strength of the so-called "amateur" USAHA. Winnipeg and American Soo replaced Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Eveleth and nearby Hibbing joined forces as one team for the 1925-1926 season. The league changed its name to the Central Hockey Association, thus ending the existence of the USAHA. Steve Rice and Sil Acaster were added to the St. Paul roster. St. Paul finished fourth in the league standing with a 15-17-6 record, thus missing the playoffs, which the Minneapolis Rockets in turn won by defeating Duluth and Winnipeg. There was no national playoffs as the East had abandoned their league after the 1924-1925 season. In as much as the Central Association found that it could not protect its players from raids by the NHL and other professional leagues, they decided to reform as an outright professional league for the 1926-1927 season. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Winnipeg, and Chicago formed the areas first professional circuit, Thus ended, after several successful season, the so-called "amateur" USAHA game being played in the Midwest.
For the season of 1927-1928 the professional league, known as the American Hockey Association, replaced the Chicago franchise with Kansas City. St. Paul placed fourth in the five team circuit with Goheen and Des Jardins leading the Saints in scoring. After the 1927-1928 season Winnipeg withdrew from the AHA and Tulsa and St. Louis joined to form a six team league for 1928-1929. Membership for the following season of 1929-1930 remained the same. Des Jardins and Romnes led the Saints scoring for the latter two seasons. St. Paul dropped from the league for the seasons of 1930-1931 and 1931-1932. For the season of 1932-1933 the AHA started the season with teams in St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Paul, and Duluth. At the end of the first half of the schedule the St. Paul and Duluth franchises were moved to Tulsa and Wichita. Thus ended St. Paul's membership in the AHA until they re-entered the circuit for the 1935-1936 season. The St. Paul Auditorium was opened in 1931, With its artificial ice and seating for 7,000 it provided a first class place to play and watch hockey and boded well for the future of the game in St. Paul.
During the period St. Paul fans had the opportunity to see many outstanding and colorful players on the various USAHA and CHA teams such as: Charlie Conacher, Ching Johnson, Ade Johnson, Jim Seaborn, Perk Galbraith, Cooney Weiland, Roy Worters, Tiny Thompson, Vern Turner, Nels Stewart, Doc Romnes, Moose Goheen, Moose Jamieson, Coddy Winters, Tony Conroy, Mike Goodman, Leo La France, Herb Lewis, Nobby Clark, George Clarke, Vic Des Jardins, and Joe De Bernardi. Goheen, Conroy, and Romnes were local area players, while Winters and Nobby Clark were from Duluth. Many of the above performers became outstanding players in the National Hockey League. Other St. Paul natives who played on the St. Paul team during the 1920's were George Conroy, Ed Fitzgerald, George Nichols, Emy Garrett, Everett Mc Gowan, and Cy Weidenborner. During the first quarter of the century Hobey Baker of Princeton fame and Frank Goheen were considered to be the best two American born and developed players in the United States. In 1978 Don Riley, in his column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, described the play of the legendary Goheen as follows:
"MOOSE" "MOOSE" "MOOSE" The crows would sit and stand in bone
chilling temperatures in the old unheated State Fairgrounds Hippodrome. And then, suddenly, the sound would begin like the distant rumble of a locomotive. The building would tremble and shake, and the sound would become an explosion. "MOOSE".. "MOOSE".. "MOOSE" they would cry. And the great shoulders and powerful thighs would be a blurred vision on the ice as the Mighty Moose Goheen would up and begin another of the shattering, game-breaking stories which became his trademark. Never doubt it for a moment. Francis Goheen was not just another great hockey player. He was hockey. You spoke of the Hipp and you spoke of Goheen. You spoke of past greats and Goheen led the list. You ask Garrett and George and Tony Conroy who was the best and strongest of their lot. The answer-always Goheen. Had he gone to Canada or other outposts in North America where the game flourished Goheen would have been sainted years ago. Old-time hockey expert Bob Fitzsimmons said it just the other day: "I've watched all the hockey players for sixty years, and none could do so many things as Goheen. He was a man born with skates on his feet. For him, the ice was like ground to the rest of us. He could lift a whole team with one his great breakaways. He was truly the only hockey player I ever saw who combined speed, power, brute force, finesse, and brains. God made Moose and threw away the mold."
Garrett once stated, " The team could be sluggish and then Moose would make one of those rink-long trips, split the defense, leave falling bodies behind and pour in the goal. From that point on, bedlam tore up the house and his team would become unbeatable." Halsey Hall, a Minneapolis announcer and sportswriter, was an arden admirer of Goheen, stating "Nothing in sports could ever beat the sight of Moose Goheen taking the puck, circling behind his own net, and taking it down the rink, leaping over sticks along the way."
In an interview with George Barton of the Minneapolis Tribune Perk Galbraith former Eveleth and Boston Bruins forward to the White Bear Lake Star reads as follows: " Too bad he never saw fit to accept an offer from the National League. I know he received plenty of offers, but refused to leave St. Paul because of a well paying job he had year round which did not interfere with his playing with the Saints. How the fans in the big cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal , and Toronto would have gone for a player of Goheen's ability. He was something to see when he took the puck and started down the ice with the "hell with everybody attitude." Moose really had crowd appeal."
The 1916-1921 found the Bilboa team dominating senior hockey in St. Paul as they captured six straight league titles. Eight teams as follows comprised the top senior league in 1920: Bilboas, Tuxedos, Masters, St. Frances, Chinooks, Hook-Em Cows, White Bear Legion, and St. Paul Phoenix. Among other prominent senior teams operating in St. Paul during the 1920’s were: Armours, Sheriff Wegeners, Minnesota Mining, Fire and Marine, Van Guards, Gas Lites, Kennedy Arms, Northern Pacific, Palace, Hazel Park, Zimmerman, Sylvan and Fort Snelling. During the mid-twenties natural ice was placed in the Riding Academy at Fort Snelling and the Hippodrome at the Ramsey County Fairgrounds in White Bear Lake, affording St. Paul amateur players additional facilities. High School hockey was played as early as 1899 in St. Paul with the cities two public school, Mechanic Arts, and Central icing teams. They played the Minneapolis high school such as North, Central, East, and West and often scheduled club teams such as Mic Macs, Virginias, Victorias, and Chinooks as well as St. Thomas and Luther Colleges. After a few years a Twin City League was formed composed of Mechanic Arts and Central of St. Paul and East, Central, and West from Minneapolis. In 1914 Mechanic Arts and Central joined to form a St. Paul city league with Humboldt and Johnson. Of the public High Schools, Mechanic Arts, Central, and Humboldt usually were among the conference leaders. Mechanic Arts during the ten year period of 1922-1923 through 1931-1932 won eight city titles outright, tied with Humboldt in 1927-1928 and placed second to Central in 1928-1929. Mat Garding was coach of the Mechanic Arts teams for several years during this time. Many of the games were played on outdoor ice, although often the more important games were moved to the Coliseum located on Lexington Avenue near University Avenue or to the Hippodrome at the State Fairgrounds. In both 1923 and 1925 Eveleth High School met and defeated mechanic Arts in games billed as being for the state mythical title. In 1922 St. Paul Central defeated Duluth Central 5-3. At times the St. Paul champion met Minneapolis counterpart for the Twin City championship. However, on several occasions after having entered into an agreement to play, The Minneapolis school authorities would cancel the contest. After the 1931-1932 season St. Paul Public School dropped hockey as a varsity sport and it was not restored until the 1937-1938 season
|1933-1937||No High School Hockey|
Goals Scored: Westphalinger - 1, Lindgren - 1, De Paul - 3, Prelesnik - 4, Shavor - 2
Spares: Eveleth - Suomi, Dahlquist St. Paul - Eldridge, Brooks
Among the best players developed in St. Paul during the twenties were: Doc Romnes, Ken Hamann, Herb Brooks, Arnie Mentes, Earl Willey, Julie Matschke, Bob McCoy, Beef Munson, George Amidon, Walter Goswitz, Howie and Wiley Van, Chet and Chick Eldridge, William Wright, Stanley Gunthunz, Roy Westphalinger, Earl Franz, Bob Annen, Harvey Garrett, Norm Lindgren, Raymond Staples, Harold Goodwillie, and Ed Ziegler. Many of these players continued on to play professional. Doc Romnes joined the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL where he played for several seasons and was a member of the Stanley Cup Champions in 1938 along with three other Minnesotans being: Karakas, Dahlstrom, and Johnson. These four players at the time were the only American born and developed players in the NHL. In 1936 Romnes was awarded the NHL’s coveted Lady Byng Trophy.
St. Thomas College started playing hockey in the early 1900’s often meeting high school and club teams. In 1926, St. Thomas led by Romnes, Falk, Emond, and Starrett defeated Michigan Tech 8-1 at Calumet and 8-0 in a return contest in St. Paul. Both Hamline and St. Thomas had strong teams in the early twenties. Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference records reveal that St. Thomas won the conference championship in 1926, 27, 34, 38, 40, 41, and 42. Macalester won outright titles in 1930, 31, 33, 36, and 1937 and shared the honors in 1932 with Hamline and in 1939 with St. Olaf. In 1922 Hamline split a two game series with the University of Minnesota, winning 2-1 and losing 3-2. In 1921 St. Thomas lost to the Gophers 2-1, while two years later in 1923 they were shut out by Minnesota 4-0. In 1927 the two teams played a pair of games with the Gophers winning 4-1, and losing 2-1. In the mid-thirties a strong senior league was formed called the Auditorium League, as they played their games at the St. Paul Auditorium. Fire and Marine, Wards, Midland Hills, Minnesota Mining, Barnes, Fort Snelling and others were members of the league which ran for a few seasons. Among the leading players in the circuit were Howie, Al and Willie Van, James Fletcher, Bill Toenjes, Lowell Booten, Bob McCabe, Al Trieble, Milo Gabriel, Don King, Bob Bates, Bob Meyers, Bob Dill, Ray and Roy Schartin, Bill Galligan, Frank and Bill Haider. In 1939 Barnes Café won the Northwest-State AAU tournament which had been held at the Minneapolis Arena since 1930. After being dropped for five season public high school hockey was revived for the 1937-1938 season. Most of the games were played on two outdoor rinks designated for high school use, although on occasion contests were played at the Auditorium or the Hippodrome. Humboldt won the St. Paul Public School title in 1938. Bob Meyers, Joe Guertin, Elmer Monge, and goalie Ray Gipple distinguished themselves in Humboldt’s successful season. Humboldt defeated Minneapolis Marshall for the Twin City title before 2,600 fans at the St. Paul Auditorium. Washington, under Coach Frank Bergup, led by Hal Younghans, Bob Graiziger, George Patch, and Joe Borsch won St. Paul city titles in 1939 and 1940. During the two season span they had a 25-1-5 record. In 1939 efforts were made to hold a state tournament involving Washington, Cretin, Eveleth, and Baudette but a sponsor could not be found and the idea was discarded. During a four year period from 1936 through 1939 Cretin posted a 45-10-2 record. Leading players during the era included: John Quesnell, Doc Reardon, Bob Dill, Bill Galligan, Bob Pates, and Jim Mooney. Under coach Max Sporer, St. Paul Academy in a three span starting in 1941 sported a 33-2-0 performance. Bob Carley and Harry Bratnober, who played for SPA during this period, later performed for the Minnesota Gophers. St. Paul players from the late thirties who turned professional were Bob Dill, Bob Graiziger, and Bill Galligan. Dill, a former Cretin standout, played defense for the New York Rangers of the NHL in the 1943-1944 and 1944-1945 seasons. He also played several years in the United States Hockey league and the American hockey League. Romnes, Goheen, Dill and Tony Conroy have been inducted into the United States Hall of Fame in Eveleth. Paul Wild, Al Van, Bob Graiziger, Lowell Booten, Bob McCabe, and James Fletcher from this era continued on to play with the U.S. National and or U.S. Olympic teams, with Van being a member of these teams seven times.
St. Paul players from the thirties and early forties who donned the colors of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were: Paul Wild, Bill Klatt, Bill Galligan, Bob Carley, Harry Bratnober, Bob Graiziger, Andy Caincross, Granny Gutterson, Russ Gray, Jim Magnus, Harvey McNair, Rudy Meyer, Jiggs Rheinberger, Al Van, Joe Schwab, and Norm Robertson. During the 1930’s the St. Paul Recreation Department operated a vast hockey program for players of all ages with scores of lighted outdoor rinks being maintained for their use. During the years of absence of high school hockey in the public school system the City Recreation Department filled the needs of the players as they joined the numerous Junior and Senior teams in the program. In the fall of 1931 the St. Paul Saints joined the Central Hockey league for the 1931-1932 season. At one time or another during the four year existence of the CHL, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Eveleth, Hibbing, Duluth, and Virginia were members of the league. The league title was captured by Minneapolis in 1932 and 1934, by Eveleth in 1933 and by St. Paul in 1935, the last year of operation for the league. Among the locally developed players who played for the Saints were Goheen, Matschke, McCoy, Goodwillie, Ziegler, Frank, Van, Munson, and Tricker. An example of the strength of the league is shown by the fact that St. Paul in a playoff at the end of the 1934-1935 season defeated the St. Louis Flyers of the AHA three games to none.
After a two and one-half year absence St. Paul re-joined with the AHA for the 1935-1936 season and won the regular season title with a lineup composed entirely of Minnesota players playing in a league made up almost entirely of Canadian performers. Julie Matschke and Beef Munson were local St. Paul products while the rest of the St. Paul lineup came from Eveleth and Minneapolis. The remainder of the lineup included Coach Emil Hanson, Oscar Hanson, Emory Hanson, Oscar Almquist, Jack Flood, Virgil Johnson, Hodge Johnson, Pete Pleban, Bill McGlone, and Cully Dahlstrom. Oscar Hanson, St. Paul forward, led the AHA for the 1935-1936 season in scoring with 60 points in a 48 game schedule. In addition, while playing for St. Louis, he won the scoring title the following season. During the 1938-1939 season, while wearing a Minneapolis uniform, Hanson set a record for all of professional hockey by scoring 89 points. During the late thirties, and until the league’s demise after the 1941-1942 campaign, the St. Louis Flyers dominated the yearly races. During this period the game in St. Louis was very popular with crowds of 6,000-7,000 being commonplace. In 1940 an AHA All Star game, under the guidance of newly elected President George Higgans, was held in St. Louis and drew 9,000 fans.
During its eleven and one-half season in the AHA St. Paul registered seven winning seasons. In 1940, led by Jack, Saunders, Carrigan, Connelly, V. Johnson, and Lo Presti, the Saints captured the league playoff crown by defeating Minneapolis and Omaha. Among the players who played for St. Paul in the AHA, and not previously mentioned as competing for the Saints were: Joe Miller, Don Anderson, Roy Burmeister, Gordon Reid, Bob Teel, Happy Harnott, Perk Galbraith, Russ Heximer, Glee Jagunich, Milt Brink, John Gross, Jack Keating, and B. McDonald. Following the 1941-1942 season the AHA ceased operations during the war period. The league resumed play as the United States hockey League for the season of 1945-1946 with teams in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Omaha, Kansas City, Tulsa, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
* Did not qualify
** League Divided into two divisions
Mention should be made of White Bear Lake’s contribution to the game of hockey in Minnesota. Before World War I such outstanding players as Moose Goheen, Dick Conway, and Paul Castner came from this suburb north of St. Paul. Goheen is one of only three American players that have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame in Toronto. The other Americans are Eveleth’s Frank Brimsek, and Hobey Baker of the St. Pauls’ school and Princeton University fame. Conway was an all around athlete at St. Thomas College, while Paul Castner played football, hockey, and basketball at Notre Dame University in the late 1920’s. In 1922 he was chosen as All-American in football and later played baseball for the Chicago White Sox. White Bear Lake hockey players who shined during the late twenties and thirties included Gene Collette, Pat Shea, and Hank Frantzen. Romnes, who played in the NFL for several seasons won the Lady Byng trophy for the 1935-1936 season. The trophy awarded to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship combined with a high standard of playing ability. Shea played with Minneapolis and other teams in the AHA for several seasons, while Frantzen and Collette were members of several strong local area amateur teams and Frantzen refereed for many seasons.
During the late twenties and early thirties the American Legion Post in White Bear Lake sponsored a strong senior team. During the 1927-1928 season the team finished the season undefeated and the following season of 1928-1929 they posted a 13-1 record. Members of the team included: Cunningham, O’Halloran, Shea, Voges, Guthunz, C. Fournelle, C. Melhorn, Stanke, H. Melhorn, Schwinzer, Mackenhausen, Gerken, McCarthy, Collette, and Picha. In the late 1920’s natural ice was placed in the Hippodrome at the Ramsey County Fairgrounds in White Bear Lake. For the next thirty years this was the only Twin City suburb to possess an indoor facility. The building was outfitted with artificial ice in the 1980’s and in presently in use. White Bear Lake High School formed a varsity hockey team in the mid-twenties, thus becoming the first Twin City suburb to ice a high school team. Their opposition was the public schools of St. Paul and the private schools such as Cretin, St. Paul Academy, and St. Thomas Academy. At times the Minneapolis high school were scheduled.