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Central Hockey League

Source: Donald M. Clark Unpublished Notes

The Central hockey league was organized November 11, 1931 with the election of the following officers:


Position Name City
President Ben Bachelor Hibbing
1st Vice President Carl Raymond Minneapolis
2nd Vice President J.E. Goodwillie St. Paul
Secretary Treasurer Harry Wenzel Minneapolis

The league, which started out as an amateur circuit, was born and operated during the  depths of the Great Depression. Those were the dark days when the public was trying to determine what all the alphabet agencies created under the Roosevelt administration meant- such as the AAA, NRA, WPA, PWA, CCC, FLSA, REA, NYA, FDIC and TVA.

During the season of 1930-31 two strong amateur leagues were operating in the state. Minneapolis Americans and Phantoms, St. Paul and White Bear Lake formed the Twin City League, while Eveleth, Hibbing, Virginia and Fort Frances were members of the Arrowhead League, which had been running since 1927.

Hibbing, Eveleth and Virginia from the Mesabi Range and St. Paul and Minneapolis joined forces to form the Central Hockey League for its initial season of 1931-32 season. Eveleth, which a team composed of local players, captured the thirty-five game regular season crown, despite the fact that they had to play their entire schedule on the road, as they had no home ice. Eveleth fans dubbed the team the orphans.  Their rink had been condemned for the 1931-32 season.

Virginia, after suffering a losing season, withdrew from the league after the first season of operation.  For the season of 1933-34 Duluth joined the circuit, restoring the week membership to five teams.  In the spring of 1934 Hibbing lost its rink to a fire and a long with Duluth withdrew from the league leaving three teams for its last season of 1934-35.  For the 1934-35 campaign as both the AHA and CHL were short on member teams they decided to play an interlocking schedule.  Each of the seven teams took two trips through the others league. At the conclusion of the 1934-35 season St. Paul defeated St. Louis, AHA titlists, three games to none in the inter-league playoffs.  In its second season, that of 1932-33, of the CHL was declared to be a professional circuit.  Players were signing contracts and weekly salaries were being paid.

During the weeks existents crowds in St. Paul and Minneapolis on 7,000 and 5,000 were not uncommon. St. Paul-Minneapolis games often drew large crowds as did St. Louis's visit to play their interlocking schedule games.

With the CHL team membership down to three teams for the upcoming 1935-36 season St. Paul and Minneapolis decided to join the AHA along with Tulsa, Kansas City, St. Louis and Wichita. Thus ended the fortunes of the CHL after four seasons of successful operation.  The CHL proved to be an incubator for the development of American hockey players with several of them playing in the National Hockey League.  After the breakup of the CHL, thirty-four former CHL players of American descent, most of them Minnesota born and developed, joined the six AHA teams.

Central Hockey League Regular Season/Playoff Champions

Season Regular Season Champion Playoff Champion
1931-1932 Eveleth Rangers Minneapolis Millers
1932-1933 Eveleth Rangers Eveleth Rangers
1933-1934 Minneapolis Millers Minneapolis Millers
1934-1935 St. Paul Saints St. Paul Saints