The Quebec Bulldogs

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The Quebec Athletic Club, also known as the Quebec Bulldogs was an ice hockey team that played in the NHA and its successor, the NHL between 1910 and 1920. During this time, the team was based at the Quebec Arena. They got their nickname when a journalist described their tenacious playing style. Their unofficial name, “Bulldogs” was a reference to their mascot.

How did the Quebec Athletic Club Start up?

The history of the Quebec Athletic Club goes back to 1888 when the team played in various amateur leagues. The team became fully professional in 1908 and was a founding member of the Canadian Hockey Association in 1909. The CHA however folded after one month and teams joined the newly created National Hockey Association. The Bulldogs merged with the Cobalt Silver Kings, a franchise that had just folded.

The Quebec Athletic Club in Competition

1910/11 was the Athletics’ first season in the NHA. They would find the going tough as they finished in last place with a 4-12 record. The following season, they dusted themselves up and had a surprisingly magnificent season, claiming the NHA title with a 16-4 record. They then went on to claim the Stanley Cup as the beat the Moncton Victorias by a combined 17-3 score in the final. The Bulldogs were in great form again during the 1912/13 season as they won another NHA title with a 16-4 record.

In the Stanley Cup Final, they beat the Sydney Millionaires 20-5 on aggregate in two games. They then met the Victoria Aristocrats with whom they drew two and lost one. They however retained the Stanley Cup as that fixture was not recognized by the Stanley Cup Board of Trustees. That was as good as it would ever get for the Bulldogs as they failed to win another league title or Stanley Cup after that. The Bulldogs finished third in three consecutive seasons ending 1915/1916 and then finished second in the 1916/17 season. Between 1917 and 1919, the club, dogged with numerous financial problems suspended operations. They returned from their brief hiatus for the 1919/20 season to play in the NHL which had been founded in 1917. However, they only managed a sorry 4-20 record that saw them rooted at the bottom of the table.

Quebec Athletic Club most Notable Moments

The two Stanley Cup wins between 1910 and 1912 undoubtedly make the sweetest memories for Quebec fans. Inspired by the great form of Joe Malone and Jack McDonald who scored 21 and 18 goals respectively, the bulldogs claimed the 1912 NHA title with a 10-8 record. In the Stanley Cup Final, they doused the Moncton Victorias 9-3 in the first game and then 8-0 in game 2. The following season, a 16-4 record saw them retain the NHA title. In the Stanley cup they thrashed the Sydney Millionaires 20-5 in two games. They then faced the PHCA’s Victoria Aristocrats and were heavy favorites to win. However after splitting the first two games, they were beaten 6-1 in the decisive third. A stroke of luck fortunately landed on the Bulldogs. Stanley Cup trustees disqualified the Aristocrats win because the challenge should have been played in Quebec, meaning the Bulldogs got to retain the cup.

On March 3, 1920, the Athletics had a miserable outing in Montreal. Coming off a two game losing streak, Quebec were in sorry form and the merciless Canadiens did not hold back, pumping 16 goals past the hapless Athletics goalie. The game ended 16-3 making it the highest scoring game by one team in both the NHA and NHL. This was not new to the Athletics as they had four other games where the opponent scored more than 10 goals that season.

Quebec Athletic Club most Notable Players

Center Joe Malone was a perpetual presence in Athletics rosters between 1910 and 1917 and for the 1919/20 season. He was the top scorer for the team on five occasions including both Stanley Cup winning seasons. His best tally was 43 goals in 1912/1913.

Tommy Smith helped carry the team alongside Malone during the difficult seasons of 1913/14 and 1914/15 with 39 goals and 23 goals respectively.

Other notable players include Jack McDonald, Joe Hall, Paddy Moran and Rusty Crawford.

What Happened to the Quebec Athletic Club/Bulldogs?

Following their suspension after the 1916/1917 season, the league sold the team to Percy Quinn with the hope of reviving it to play in the newly formed NHL. However, it was soon discovered that Quinn’s true intention was to resurrect the defunct NHA which NHL owners had abandoned in acrimony. After Quinn refused to give a commitment to return to play for the 1918/19 season in the NHL, the franchise was cancelled but efforts soon restarted to revive it. Mike Quinn, who had coached the Bulldogs before took over principle ownership and his application to join the league was accepted.

The revived club was now mostly known by its official name, Quebec Athletic Club or just Quebec Athletics in most quarters. After a dismal 4-20 season however in 1919/20, the league took over the franchise once again. It was subsequently sold and relocated to Hamilton Ontario where it was renamed Hamilton Tigers. Quebec City would wait till 1972 for a return of professional hockey when the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques came to town.