1925/26: The Pittsburgh Pirates one of two new American teams to join the NHL a year after the Boston Bruins became the first American based NHL team. The Pirates roots go back to 1915 when they were the Amateur Pittsburgh Yellowjackets. The Yellowjackets played in the USAHA (United States Amateur Hockey Association.) After winning the USAHA Championship in 1924 and 1925, the Yellowjackets are sold to attorney James F. Callahan who wanted to get the team into a professional league. The NHL would grant the renamed Pirates “semi-expansion” status their first season. On November 26th, the Pirates, who had ten former Yellowjackets on their roster, beat the Boston Bruins on the road in their very first game. Two nights late, the Pirates would stun the Canadiens in Montreal 1-0 in what would end up being legendary Habs goalie George Vezina’s final game. The Pirates, who were the first team to change players on the fly, would go on to finish in third place with a record of 19-16-1. In the playoffs, the Pirates would be beaten by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Maroons.
1926/27: As the NHL got sole possession of the Stanley Cup, the NHL adds three more American franchises and sets up an American Division. In their second season, the Pirates would struggle, missing the playoffs with a record of 15-26-3. The highlight of the season came on December 26th when the Pirates and New York Americans combined for a single-game record 141 shots. The Americans would win 3-1 as the Pirates made 68 of the history-making total.
1927/28: In their third season, the Pirates made it back into the playoffs by finishing in third place with a record of 19-17-8. However, in the playoffs, the Pirates would be beaten by the New York Rangers in a total goal series 6-4. As their 4-2 win in Game 2 could not overcome a 4-0 whitewashing that they suffered in Game 1. Following the season, the Pirates who were facing a financial crunch were forced to sell off several off their top players. The team itself would also be sold as an ownership group, which included Benny Leonard, a fight promoter and ex-lightweight boxing champion who purchased the team.
1928/29: Under new management, the Pirates struggled to finish in fourth place with a woeful record of 9-27-6.
1929/30: Hit hard by the October stock market crash, the Pirates who were now wearing Orange and Black uniforms would win just five games on the season as they finished in last place with a league-worst 5-36-3. With the Steel industry struggling, the Pirates owners were $400,000 in debt as they sought permission to move to Philadelphia with the possibility of returning to Pittsburgh if a new arena was built.
1967/68: The Great Depression would devastate the NHL as four teams were forced to fold, leaving behind just six teams. The NHL would play with six teams for 25 years before deciding to expand in 1967, with a team added to Pittsburgh named the Penguins.
©MMXIV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Chris Creamer, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates 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 April 28, 2003. Last updated on July 13, 2014 at 1:45 am.