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6/30/2022 9:22 pm  #21

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

1921 Preseason

Off-ice, the whole preseason consisted of making sure that each team was set up to make the jump from amateur to professional. As part of this, Burris stated that no player personnel moves were to be made before the league’s first games.

While team officials were working hard around the clock, journalists were working tirelessly to make their predictions for how the league’s first season would play out. Frederick Winton, one of the most widely-respected journalists in the game, made a comprehensive list of each team’s strengths and weaknesses in each position, ranking the top teams in all categories. Here is what he concluded:

1. MTL Barons
2. York
3. Cleveland

1. Cleveland
2. Toronto
3. Binghamton

1. Toronto
2. Pittsburgh
3. Binghamton

1. Pittsburgh
2. Toronto
3. Cleveland

Winton also listed who he thought the league’s best players were in terms of how they played, not necessarily the points they scored.

1. Frank Clercius, G, TOR
2. Andrew Moehring, D, NYB
3. Tom Robert, C, CLE
4. John Leblanc, D, CLE
5. Denis Jones, G, PIT

The stage has been set! For the season posts, I'll be doing two per season, one at the halfway point and one at the conclusion of the season. Watch out for the 1920-21 halfway post tomorrow!


6/30/2022 10:09 pm  #22

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

Love seeing the Wolves with two top 5 players! Seems like we should have ourselves a good year!  Looks like the Royals have some good forwards but not much. We shall see I guess! Go Wolves and Go Royals!


7/01/2022 8:04 pm  #23

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

1920-21 Regular Season: First Half

The league internally debated on whether or not divisions were needed for the entire preseason, so much so that they didn’t make their decision until 3 days before the first games were to be played, and the schedule had already been released. This meant that for the inaugural season, the concept of divisions was pointless. Nevertheless, they still decided to use divisions for the official standings, but the top 4 teams overall would make the playoffs. The league made sure to tell reporters multiple times that divisions would make much more sense when they were to be straightened out in 1921-22.

The first game in MHL history was held in Ottawa’s Rideau Gardens on November 23, 1920, before a crowd of 8,000. New York’s George King scored the first goal 1:14 into the first period. Robert Willis broke a 2-2 tie in the third period, giving the Bluebirds the first win in the league’s history.

Other scores from the league’s first games included:
A 4-3 road win by the championship favourite Ints in Brooklyn,
A 3-3 tie in Cleveland between the Wolves and Bears,
A dominant 6-2 win by the Wildcats over the Greys in Montreal,
A surprising 2-1 win by the Royals over the Lakers in the Battle of Toronto,
And a 3-1 win by the Barons against the Colts.

Because of the divisional schedule imbalance, there emerged a massive rift between the two by the halfway point. The Western Division held an overall record of 79-70-2, while the East had a record of 70-79-2.

In the west, as everyone anticipated, it was the Toronto Lakers leading the way, at 17-8-1. However, due to multiple forward injuries early on, their defence made them so strong. Frank Clercius, who many predicted to be the league’s #1 goalie, wasn’t entirely playing up to his normal level but was still playing well.

Behind Toronto were the Cleveland Wolves, at 13-9-2. The Wolves were playing well both on offence and defence, helping them hold on to the final playoff spot. They didn’t have any superstars carrying the team, but their teamwork was a big factor in helping them win the majority of their games. Edwin Robinson led the MHL in assists with 10 at the halfway point.

Two points behind Cleveland were the York Royals. Despite being at 0.500, they weren’t seen as too much of a threat, as they had been quite inconsistent to start, and had a negative goal differential. However, the emergence of defender Robert Andrews as a hard-hitting and hard-shooting player gave them many moments in the spotlight.

The bottom three teams in the West (Chicago, Pittsburgh and Buffalo) all stood deadlocked at 24 points. Chicago and Buffalo were having the same story as York: inconsistent play, but also moments of hope with a chance to sneak into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh, despite being projected as the #1 overall team, wasn’t playing like that at all. They were basically being carried by goalie Dennis Jones, who led the league in save percentage and GAA. their offence was futile, and Jones was the only reason they weren’t in the basement of the league.

In the east, it was a surprise team on top, the Montreal Barons. They weren’t projected to be bad, but they definitely weren’t projected to have the league’s best record of 18-7-1 either. This was all thanks to superstar Robert Courbouche, who was tied for the league lead in goals (30), while also leading the league in points (36). He was dubbed as the budding league’s “first superstar”, and at the age of 22, the sky is the limit for his career.

Sitting 2nd in the east and 3rd overall were the New York Bluebirds. They weren’t amazing in any one category, but they were great all around. They also had a knack for winning close games, helping them to a 15-10 record halfway through.

In the 3rd spot in the east were the Binghamton Bears. Despite uncertainty about their future in the league, they played very well, sitting at 12-12-1. 

In Ottawa, despite being 10-16, the Lumbermen were actually playing above expectations, as many projected them to be last place and nothing more. However, their 4.08 goals against per game was not a good statistic.

Second-last in the East and the league were the Montreal Greys. Their main issue was playing on the road, as they were actually above 0.500 at home, but a measly 3-10 away from it. As well, they have lost all 3 of their meetings against the Barons so far, leading to their faithful not having the best time on the streets of Montreal.

Last at the halfway point was a major surprise, the Brooklyn Kings. While injuries were a big factor in their futility, they were still only averaging 2.16 goals for per game, while the league average was at 3.31. They should be expected to do better in the second half, but this start looks like the worst possible scenario for their first year in the MHL.

League Leaders:

Robert Courbouche (MTL/CAN) (30)
Jacques Julien (BUF/CAN) (30)
Robert Andrews (YRK/USA) (24)

Edwin Robinson (CLE/CAN) (10)
Lewis Urban (NYB/CAN) (9)
Denny Knight (9)

Robert Courbouche (MTL/CAN) (36)
Jacques Julien (BUF/CAN) (33)
Robert Andrews (YRK/USA) (27)

Save Percentage:
Dennis Jones (PIT/CAN) (0.912)
Frank Clercius (TOR/CAN) (0.903)
Kermit Ward (BNG/CAN) (0.892)

Goals Against Average:
Dennis Jones (PIT/CAN) (2.45)
Frank Clercius (TOR/CAN) (2.47)
Alexander Graham (MTB/CAN) (2.69)

     Thread Starter

7/01/2022 8:41 pm  #24

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

Awesome to see my Wolves in second place and the Royals are third! Seems like I’ll be liking Robert Andrews and Edwin Robinson. Hopefully both can keep it up in the second half in what seems to be a crowded west.

Last edited by Rugrat (7/01/2022 8:42 pm)


7/01/2022 9:29 pm  #25

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

Let's go Bluebirds! A solid showing to begin. Also glad to see the crosstown Kings in the basement.


7/04/2022 6:48 pm  #26

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

I don't have faith that either team will be able to stick around but until something happens I'm gonna be pulling for Binghamton and York


7/04/2022 11:31 pm  #27

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

Section30 wrote:

I don't have faith that either team will be able to stick around but until something happens I'm gonna be pulling for Binghamton and York


2x Alt Champion :: AltLB Champion Oklahoma City Bison - 2022 :: AltFL Champion New York Emperors - 2022


7/05/2022 2:46 pm  #28

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

1920-21 Regular Season: Second Half

The second half of the season saw a bunch of movement in the standings.

In the west, it was the Cleveland Wolves that took the top spot, and #1 seed overall. Despite their uncertain future and headlines of losing money, they still jumped over the Lakers into first by the end of the year. With players knowing this might be their only chance at keeping the team, they played lights out in the second half, and are the hottest of the 4 playoff teams heading into the postseason.

Meanwhile the Lakers finished the season well, but they definitely declined in form. A loss to lowly Brooklyn in their last regular season game is not the way they wanted to finish it off. Despite this decline in form, they tightened up defensively. Frank Clercius was the best goalie in the league in the second half, helping the Lakers maintain home-ice advantage for their semifinal series.

Finishing third in the West but outside of the playoffs were the Buffalo Colts. They played above 0.500 in the second half, but they just couldn’t find that extra gear to help them leapfrog into the playoffs. They were the only non-playoff team with a positive goal differential, and were in the top 4 in both offense and defense. However, their slow start would be the difference, as they have to wait until 21-22 to make another run at the playoffs.

Finishing fourth and fifth were the Pittsburgh Internationals and Chicago Wildcats. The Ints finished tied with the Colts in points, but lost the tiebreaker on head-to-head record. Meanwhile in Chicago, the Wildcats faltered to a 10-15 record in the second half, which is more of what was expected by the media.

Last in the West were the York Royals, who collapsed in the second half. The jump from amateur to professional was hard on the club, and this resulted in some players not being paid their salaries, and therefore not playing in games. To finish was what will almost certainly be their only season in the league, the Royals had a dismal 8-16 record in the second half.

In the East, it was the Montreal Barons who held on to the top spot, but it was far from a great second half. They went 11-13 in their last 24 games. Their once-tight defence started to be solved by other teams, and their league-best record at the half fell to a record that wasn’t even good enough to have home-ice advantage in the playoffs. However, Robert Courbouche continued his torrid scoring pace, scoring 53 goals and 62 points, both league-highs.

Finishing in second were the Binghamton Bears, who were in a similar situation to Cleveland. There was uncertainly on whether they’d afford another season in the league, so the players were looking to make the most of it. They went 15-9-1 in the second half to leapfrog the Bluebirds for the final playoff spot. Their offense and defense were both excellent, helping them get goals when they needed, or defend when they had a lead. They’re up against the #1 Wolves in the semifinals.
Coming in third were the New York Bluebirds, who had a bit of a fall from grace in the second half. Their second half record of 10-15 was a mirror image of their first half record, 15-10. They weren’t awful, but were just inconsistent. In the end, the B-birds went for #3 seed to 6 points outside the playoffs in just 25 games.

In fourth and fifth in the east were the Montreal Greys and Ottawa Lumbermen. The Greys had a great second half at 14-10-1, but their early struggles were too much to overcome. However, their play did turn some heads. For Ottawa, it was the opposite. They continued to play sub-500 hockey. Their defense was particularly bad, allowing the most goals and shots against in the league. 

Finishing last overall were the Brooklyn Kings. They slightly improved their play in the second half, but were still far and away the worst team in the league. They were the only team to average less than 3 goals per game, and one of two to allow over 4 per game. They’re lucky their ownership has lots of money, otherwise, their time in the MHL would be very short.

League Leaders:

Robert Courbouche (MTL/CAN) (53)
Jacques Julien (BUF/CAN) (50)
Johnny Leblanc (CLE/CAN) (40)
Jean Beauchamp (MTL/CAN) (40)

Edwin Robinson(CLE/CAN) (22)
Denny Knight (MTL/CAN) (17)
Milford Diep (BNG/UK) (16)

Robert Courbouche (MTL/CAN) (62)
Jacques Julien (BUF/CAN) (55)
Jean Beauchamp (MTL/CAN) (47)

Save Percentage:
Frank Clercius (TOR/CAN) (0.899)
Dennis Jones (PIT/CAN) (0.898)
Brenton Fraser (MTG/CAN) (0.891)

Goals Against Average:
Frank Clercius (TOR/CAN) (2.48)
Dennis Jones (PIT/CAN) (2.70)
Kermit Ward (BNG/CAN) (2.75)

Playoff Preview:

1 - Cleveland Wolves vs 4 - Binghamton Bears
The battle of teams with uncertain futures, this is going to be a very interesting matchup. It seems almost guaranteed that the team that loses will either fold or relocate, so there is gonna be a lot on the line in this 3-game set.

In terms of how they stack up, is was actually the Bears that were better head-to-head, winning 3 of 4, and tying the other. However, the Wolves are still the better overall team both offensively and defensively. The winner of this series is going to be the team that wears their heart on their sleeve, fighting for their future.

My pick: Cleveland takes it in 3, winning the decisive game 3 at home.

2 - Toronto Lakers vs 3 - Montreal Barons
A classic battle between Toronto and Montreal, English and French Canada, etc. The one certainty of this series will be that the winner will have bragging rights, and make sure the loser knows about it.

The two teams split the season series at 2 games apiece. Montreal far better offensively, but Toronto is the superior defensive team. These two teams had subpar second halves, and they’re both going to want to get back on track here. Expect a fiery series here.

My pick: Toronto edges out the Barons, winning the series in 3.

     Thread Starter

7/07/2022 2:50 pm  #29

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

Let’s go Wolves! Poke those little Bears in their hiney’s! Sad to see the Royals leave as well.


7/07/2022 8:11 pm  #30

Re: Metropolitan Hockey League: 1930-31 MHL Season

What a disappointing season for Pittsburgh. Gotta get Jones some help!

AHS Admin. Creator of the THLPUCHWHA: Redux and Retroliga.

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