Toronto Blueshirts

Played in NHA 1912-1917 Disbanded and reformed as Toronto Arenas* *-Arenas later known as Toronto Maple Leafs
Logo 1912-1917
Alternate Logo 1912-1917

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1912/13: After a one year delay caused by construction delays for the Arena Gardens, the team was once known as the Renfrew Millionaires finally takes the ice under the moniker Blue Shirts. Now owned by M.J. Quinn, the Blue Shirts were 1 of 2 teams in Toronto to join the NHA playing at the Arena Gardens, which was the first arena to use artificial ice. One that synthetic ice the Blue Shirts were led by Frank Nighbor, who paced the team with 25 goals. Speedy forward, Scotty Davidson also helped to chip in 19 goals while Harry Cameron led on defense. Cameron was a staple of the team’s defense as he was one of the first defensemen to perform end to end rushes as well as the first player to curve his slap shots. However, they would only manage to finish in third place with a sub .500 record of 9-11.

1913/14: Despite losing leading scorer Frank Nighbor to the rival PCHA, the Blue Shirts were much stronger on the ice finishing tied for the NHA title with the Montreal Canadiens with a record of 13-7. Without Nighbor, the Blue Shirts were led by Scotty Davidson’s 23 goals and Jack Walker’s 20 goals, while Harry Cameron had a career year scoring 15 goals, as Hap Holmes anchored the team in goal. At seasons end, the Blue Shirts and Canadiens had a two-game, total goals series to decide the NHA and Stanley Cup championship. The Blue Shirts would win the series 6-2, as they wrapped up the series in Game 2 at home in what was the first Stanley Cup game to be played on artificial ice, in the process bringing the city of Toronto its first Stanley Cup. After beating the Canadiens, the Blue Shirts would easily fend off a challenge for the Stanley Cup by the PCHA Champion Victoria Aristocrats, sweeping them in three straight wins to hold on to the cup.

1914/15: Following their Stanley Cup Championship, the Blue Shirts struggled all season and finished in fourth place with a disappointing record of 8-12. Leading teams in scoring were Cully Wilson, who scored 22 goals, while Harry Cameron continued to anchor the defense chipping in 12 goals. The Blue Shirts played the entire season without Scotty Davidson, who was the first professional hockey player to volunteer with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I. Davidson would never come home from the fighting in Europe as he was Killed in Action in France in June of 1915.

1915/16: Before this season, Blue Shirts new owner Eddie Livingstone, who had taken over the franchise from Frank Robinson who enlisted into service for World War I, purchases the other Toronto franchise, the Toronto Shamrocks. When the other owners complained about owning dual teams and demanded he sell one of his franchises, Livingstone promptly merged the Shamrocks into his Blue Shirts, creating one superior organization. This shenanigan was only the beginning of trouble between Livingston and the other NHA owners, which would escalate the following year. Besides, the Blue Shirts signed the Denneny brothers, Corb and Cy. Cy scored 24 goals while Corb chipped in 20 as Duke Keats scored 22. These three players provided the Blue Shirts with a dynamic offense, however because of their defensive woes, the Blue Shirts finished with a record of 9-14 finishing in last place.

1916/17: The Blue Shirts jumped to a 7-7 record, led by the scoring of Duke Keats, who scored 15 goals and Corb Denneny who had 14, picking up the slack from Cy Denneny, who had left the team for the Ottawa Senators. As the season wore on, the other owners of the NHA became increasingly annoyed by Edward Livingstone’s unethical business practices. Livingstone was always at odds with the league over, travel costs, salaries, scheduling, and dispersion of money throughout the league. He was notorious for having a gang of toughs around to try to intimidate his rivals. Fed up, the others decided to throw Livingstone and his Blue Shirts, out of the league. The players were all assigned to the other clubs. Livingstone was livid and threatened a lawsuit against the owners. The other owners decided to avoid the headaches of court and form a whole new league the next season to be called the NHL, leaving Livingstone, and his franchise is now a one-team league. However, when the Quebec Bulldogs were unable to take the ice Toronto was allowed back into the league. However, in one of sports’ greatest injustices, the Arena officially owned the team, and even though most of their team was the players from Livingstone’s Blue Shirts, it was considered a separate team, prompting several lawsuits which threatened the future of professional hockey. Livingstone would eventually lose his lawsuits, as the “new” Toronto franchise would develop into one of the NHL’s cornerstone franchises, later taking the familiar nickname Maple Leafs.