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During the 1941/42 season, ice hockey club New York Americans were known as the Brooklyn Americans. The team was based at the Madison Square Gardens but held practice sessions at the 2000 seat Brooklyn Ice Palace.
How did the Brooklyn Americans Start up?
The New York Americans had been in existence since 1923, formed as the third NHL expansion team and only the second to play in the United States behind the Boston Bruins. The Hamilton tigers were relocated to New York and became the New York Americans. The Americans were such a hit that the Madison Square Garden admitted a second team, the New York Rangers, which would go on to usurp the Americans. The Americans performed dismally, only posting three winning seasons in 15 years. Fan interest in the team disappeared steadily and in 1941 the team was renamed Brooklyn Americans with the aim of increasing support from the borough. Although officially a Brooklyn team, the Americans continued to play at the Madison Square Gardens because there was no arena big enough in Brooklyn. They however had their practice space moved from New Jersey to the Brooklyn Ice Palace.
The Brooklyn Americans in Competition
The Brooklyn Americans continued where the team had left off during their days as the New York Americans, finishing in last place. Their first game of the season was a 3-3 overtime draw against the Detroit Red Wings on November 2, 1941. Two losses to the Chicago Black Hawks home and away followed in the next two weeks. They then registered their first win of the season, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on November 15, 1941. The following day, they beat the same opponent 3-2 to take their record to 2-2-1. A 2-7 loss to the Boston Bruins and a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers followed before they went on a ten game losing streak that left their season in tatters. At this point, they had a dismal 3-13-1 record.
A stretch of some mixed results saw them reach mid season with a 6-17-1 record. Between January 4 and January 10, 1942, the Americans registered their only three game winning streak of the season, beating the Bruins, the Red Wings and the Canadiens in that order. After that, their form came back to familiar ineptitude, as they strung together a 7-9-2 record that saw them finish the season with a 19-26-3 record. Their last game of the season was an 8-3 humiliation at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
Brooklyn Americans most Notable Moments
Memorable moments were few and far between as the Americans went through a pretty uneventful season in Brooklyn. One of the highlights of the season was beating housemates New York Rangers 4-1 on November 20. The two teams had a fierce rivalry established in previous years as they competed for New York fans. The Rangers were the more successful and popular team and were heavily expected to win over their struggling rivals. However, the Americans pulled off rabbit-out-of-hat moment to get retribution of sorts.
Brooklyn Americans most Notable Players
Tom Anderson was the best player in terms of points scored, amassing 12 goals and 29 assists for a total of 41 points.
Mel Hill had the highest goal tally, 14 for the Americans and added 23 assists to take his total points to 37.
Other important players for the Brooklyn Americans include Bill Benson, Chuck Rayner, Pat Egan and Murray Anderson.
What Happened to the Brooklyn Americans?
Ultimately, the idea of moving to Brooklyn was flawed. Instead of growing the fan base, it is widely widely argued that it alienated Manhattan fans further. The Americans were riddled with debt carried forward from previous ownership by Bill Dwyer. In order to service these debts and stay afloat numerous player sales had to be made. Further, their rosters were depleted by the war as players left for military service. Following the conclusion of their lone season, the Brooklyn Americans were suspended, but with the intention of resuming operation once the war ended.
However, after the war, the NHL reneged on their commitment to reinstate the club instead electing to operate with the remaining six teams. Disappointed and angry, Americans owner Red Dutton directed some sharp words at rivals New York Randers who owned the Madison Square rink and whom he felt had used uncompetitive practices to run his team out of the NHL. He predicted that the Rangers would never win the Stanley Cup in his lifetime, a prophecy that came true as they waited fifty years till 1992 to win their next Stanley Cup, seven years after Dutton had passed. This ‘curse’ was often mentioned jokingly during the Rangers lengthy dry spell. Meanwhile, New York was awarded another expansion franchise in 1972 which became the New York Islanders.