New York Americans
1925/26: After the Hamilton Tigers went on strike over payment in the postseason, Bill Dwyer, New York’s most-celebrated prohibition bootlegger, seized a perfect opportunity to purchase the troubled team for $75,000 and bring NHL hockey to New York. A year after the Boston Bruins became the first NHL team based in the US, New York got a team of its own. Playing at the newly created Madison Square Garden on 50th street and 8th Avenue, the Americans, clad his team in eye-catching red, white, and blue stars and stripes uniforms made their New York debut on December 15th in front of 17,000 fans losing to the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. “The Star-Spangled Skaters” as they were sometimes called would go on to finish their first season in fifth place with a record of 12-20-4, as Yonkers native Billy Burch led the team with 22 goals. Following the season, Garden management who were impressed with the popularity of the Americans went out and landed an expansion team that would share the Garden, despite promising a year earlier they would not start a team of their own.
1926/27: Despite acquiring Lionel Conacher from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Americans would continue to struggle to finish fourth in the Canadian Division with a record of 17-25-2. Meanwhile, the Garden owned Rangers would capture the American Division in the very first season, attracting a loyal fan base away from the Americans.
1927/28: The Americans’ struggles continue as they finished in last place with a dreadful 11-27-6 record. Adding insult to injury, the New York Rangers would win the Stanley Cup in just their second season, becoming the toast of the town, leaving the Americans to permanently play second fiddle.
1928/29: Buoyed by the acquisition of Goalie Roy Worters from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Americans come storming out of the gate, making the playoffs for the first time in since moving to New York with a solid record of 19-13-2, good enough for second place. The diminutive Worters listed at 5’3″ went on to become the first goalie to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP with an amazing 1.21 GAA. Facing the New York Rangers in a total goal series Worters would keep the Rangers off the board in the first game. However, the Americans would be unable to score either as the Rangers finally won the series 1-0 in overtime of Game 2.
1929/30: Coming off their first playoff appearance, the Americans would struggle as Roy Worters tripled his GAA to 3.75, coming off an impressive Hart Trophy season. With their backstop struggling, the Americans would finish in last place with a disappointing record of 14-25-5.
1930/31: Before the start of the season, the Americans would make a blockbuster trade acquiring Red Dutton from the Montreal Maroons for Lionel Conacher. The trade would strengthen the Americans’ defense as Roy Worters rebounded off a terrible season by posting a solid 1.68 GAA. However, the Americans would fall short of the playoffs by a tiebreaker despite posting a winning record of 18-16-10.
1931/32: Due to a lack of talent, the Americans were often overmatched to compensate the Americans would often shoot the puck down the ice when they were under pressure in the defensive zone. During a game against the Boston Bruins, the Americans iced the puck 61 times on route to a 3-2 win. This incensed Bruins governor Charles Adams so much that he pressured the NHL to add a rule that when a team shot the puck down the length of the ice and the other team touched the puck, the play would be whistled dead and the face-off in the offending team’s zone. When the board of governors refused this, he vowed to return the favor against the Americans the next time they meet. Sure enough at MSG, the Bruins iced the puck 87 times in a scoreless tie putting the fans to sleep. A few years alter the NHL would adopt a rule prohibiting icing. However, while still, legal icing would not help the Americans who in last place with a record of 16-24-8.
1932/33: Americans Owner Bill Dwyer’s was losing a fortune as his illegal alcohol business fell apart with the end of prohibition and the start of the Great Depression. Still, he refused to dump his beloved Americans despite being were unable to sign top players and allow them to become competitive as they finished in 4th place with a 15-22-11 record.
1933/34: The Americans continue to struggle, missing the playoffs for the fifth year in a row with a lousy record of 15-23-10. Following the season, the cash strapped American would attempt to merge with the cash strapped Ottawa Senators to inject some revenue into a struggling franchise. Still, the NHL Board of Governors shot down the idea.
1934/35: The Americans continue to be an NHL doormat missing the playoffs for the sixth straight season while finishing in 4th place with a horrible 12-27-9, as players began to complain to the league that Owner Bill Dwyer was failing to make payroll. Despite the missed paycheck and horrible record Sweeny Schriner would win the Calder Trophy.
1935/36: Owner Bill Dwyer finally decides to put the Americans up for sale, as the team again muddles along with a 16-25-7 record. However, by finishing third in the Canadian Division, the Americans would sneak into the playoffs where they would shock the Chicago Black Hawks in a total goal series 7-5. In the semifinals, the Americans would be beaten by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-game series.
1936/37: The NHL assumes control of the Americans as Owner Bill Dwyer abandons the team after being unable to find a buyer. With uncertainty surrounding the franchise, the Americans would finish in last place with a league-worst record of 15-29-4. However, Sweeny Schriner would provide a bright spot as he led the league in scoring.
1937/38: With Red Dutton now running the team, the Americans go out and sign veterans Ching Johnson and Hap Day. The move, along with the acquisition of Goalie Earl Robertson, helped enable the Americans to finish in second place with a record of 19-18-11. In the playoffs, the Americans were matched up against the New York Rangers. The Americans won the first game 2-1 on Johnny Sorell’s Overtime winner taking a one nothing lead. The Rangers bounced back to win Game 2 and force a decisive third game. On March 27th at MSG with the largest crowd of the season on hand, things didn’t look good early when the Rangers grabbed a 2-0 lead. However, the Americans would storm back in the third period, tying the game on goals by Lorne Carr and Nels Stewart. Finally, early in the third overtime, Carr scored again, giving the Americans the upset victory. In the semifinals, the Americans continue the momentum grabbing Game 1 over the Chicago Black Hawks. However, the Black Hawks would bounce back to win Game 2 in overtime, taking the series in three games.
1938/39: The Americans would make the playoffs for the second straight season by finishing in fourth place with a mediocre record of 17-21-10. However, there would be no miracle playoff run this time as they are swept by the Toronto Maple Leafs in two straight games, being outscored 6-0 along the way.
1939/40: “AN HC” is added to the Americans logo, so it read “An Americans Hockey Club.” This was done to get fans to patriotically support the team with anticipation that World War II would soon be starting. During the season, Americans picked up a couple of more veterans in the form of Charlie Conacher and Eddie Shore, on the way to making the playoff for the third straight season with a 15-29-4 record, which landed them in sixth place. However, in the playoffs, it would be another quick exit as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Americans in a three-game series.
1940/41: The Americans were once again in grave financial shape as they lost most of their players to overseas service due to Canada’s involvement in World War II, as they finished in last place with a horrible 8-29-11 record. Due to lack of funds, Owner Red Dutton is forced to give his best players away for cash.
1941/42: Because of a severely dwindling fan base, Owner Red Dutton was desperate and decided to see if he could grow a fan base in Brooklyn. So he renamed his team the Brooklyn Americans. Dutton moved out to Brooklyn himself and encouraged his players to do so. However, without an adequate arena, the team only practiced in Brooklyn, while they continued to play their home games at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The arrangement alienated what was left of their fan base in Manhattan. In contrast, the potential fans in Brooklyn refused to come into Manhattan to support the struggling Americans, who barely survived the season, finishing dead last with a measly record of 16-29-3. The lone bright sport would come from Swedish defender Tommy Anderson who won the Hart Trophy.
1942-1994: After their lone season in Brooklyn, the Americans ceased operations due to player shortages during WW2, and debts they still owed from the time Bill Dwyer owned the club. The Americans had intended to return once World War II was over. However, when the war was over, the NHL was not open to reviving the Americans, and they remained a 6-team league for 25 years until expansion in 1967. New York would also get a second team again in 1972 with the berth of the New York Islanders. There was plenty of blame and bitter feeling over the demise of the Americans. Most of it directed at the New York Rangers, who owned and controlled Madison Square Garden. Americans Owner Red Dutton felt the Americans were turning the corner, and said, “A couple of more years and we would have run the Rangers right out of the rink.” Also, it was alleged Dutton put a curse on the Rangers, saying, “They would not win another Stanley Cup in my lifetime.” Those words would become legendary as they Rangers struggled for more than 50 years before winning the Cup in 1994, seven years after the death of Dutton, who often joked about the quote, enjoying how his name became linked with Ranger failure.
©MMXI Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, with assistance from Mike Bianco all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the New York Americans or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on May 13, 2003. Last updated on June 12, 2011 at 4:11 am ET.