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The St. Louis Eagles was an American ice hockey team that played in the NHL during the 1934/35 season. The team’s home rink was the St. Louis Arena. The Eagles played in white jerseys with three blue stripes and red lettering and numbering. The team logo was a flying eagle holding a hockey stick with its claws.
How did the St. Louis Eagles Start up?
The Eagles came to be when the Ottawa Senators, in deep financial trouble relocated to the city following the 1933/34 season. The Ottawa Senators had been in existence since 1883 and were one of the founding teams of the NHL in 1917. “Eagles” was chosen as the team’s new name in honor of the bald eagle, the national bird of the United States.
The St. Louis Eagles in Competition
Oddly, the team was retained in the NHL’s Canadian Division where the Ottawa senators had played instead of moving to the American Division. Division placement is not all they retained however; like the Senators in the season before, the Eagles could not climb out of the league’s basement. The team’s first game of the 1934/35 season was a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks. They won the next game 4-2 over the New York Rangers but then went on an 8 game losing streak. By their thirteenth game, their record was a dismal 2-11-0, prompting the team to replace player-coach Eddie Gerard with former Senators Coach Buck Boucher. Under Boucher, the team would embark on a 9-20-6 run in the next 35 games of the season to finish with an 11-31-6 record that put them in last place.
St. Louis Eagles most Notable Moments
The Eagles most embarrassing moment came in an 11-2 thrashing on December 13, 1934 by the Detroit Red Wings. The defeat, which was handed out on Bucher’s debut upon his return as coach was the heaviest suffered by any team that season and one of the worst in NHL history.
The Eagles’ first ever game in St. Louis, played on November 9, 1934 was a colorful affair. More than 12,000 excited fans packed the St. Louis Arena in what owners hoped would be a continuing thing over the life of the team. The match was preceded by a ceremonial face-off presided over by Mayor Bernard Dickman. NHL President Frank Calder failed to attend and the Eagles lost 3-1 to the Black Hawks but this did not dampen the funfair. St. Louis had been lobbyingto get an NHL expansion team since 1932 and after getting the next best thing, nothing could take away the excitement.
St. Louis Eagles most Notable Players
Captain Syd Howe led the team in scoring with 14 points and his total tally of 27 points was third during the Eagles’ lone season despite being moved on in the middle of the season to the Red Wings. He went on to become a legendary figure in the game and get nducted to the Hal of Fame.
Center Carl Voss scored 13 goals and 18 assists for a team topping 31 points.
Glenn Brydson was joint top in assists made with 18 in addition to 11 goals for a total point tally of 29.
Other notable players include Bill Cwley, Joe Lamb, Ralph Bowman and Pete Kelly.
What Happened to the St. Louis Eagles?
The Eagles were initially a big hit in St. Louis drawing 12,622 fans for their first game. However fan turnout diminished as they realized they had a struggler in their hands. Financial struggles, many of them inherited from the Senators dogged the team throughout and they had to sell star players to bail themselves out. St. Louis, being located further south than any of the other teams incurred huge travel costs to away games in Canada. By the conclusion of the season, the Eagles were $70,000 in the red. It was obvious to the owners that only a move to anther city could save the team.
However, potential moves to Cleveland and Ottawa fell through. The owners then lodged a petition with the league owners tosuspend operations for one season. After the request was denied, the owners put the team up for sale. After failing to get any acceptable offers, the NHL acquired the team plus player contracts for $40,000 and distributed the players to the other seven teams. The league had hoped to sell the dormant franchise with time but this did not come to be. As a result, the team was unable to ever return into action and was dissolved. It became only the second team -after the Montreal Maroons- with a Stanley Cup win to ever fold.