1919–20 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||December 23, 1919 - March 13, 1920|
|Number of games||24|
|Number of teams||4|
|Top scorer||Joe Malone (Quebec)|
|League champions||Ottawa Senators|
|Runners-up||Montreal Canadiens, Toronto St. Patricks|
The 1919–20 NHL season was the third season of the National Hockey League (NHL). A Quebec team was activated by the NHL, increasing the number of teams to four. The four teams played 24 games in a split-schedule format. The Ottawa Senators won the league championship by winning both halves of the split-season. The Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans three games to two in a best-of-five series.
The NHL approved the name change of Toronto's franchise to Tecumsehs on December 6, 1919, a previous name of a Toronto franchise in the NHA. Several days later the franchise was transferred from the Arena to private investors, which named the club the Toronto St. Patricks. The group paid $5,000 to the NHL for the franchise.
Since the NHL had cancelled the previous Quebec franchise after Percy Quinn tried to use the franchise to resurrect the NHA, Quebec was without a franchise. By agreement with the NHL franchise's previous owners, a new Quebec franchise was approved on December 16, 1919. Quebec, which did not ice teams in the first two seasons of the NHL, finally iced a team, although they were not successful.
The Montreal Canadiens had their home opener January 10 in brand new Mount Royal Arena and Newsy Lalonde used the occasion to celebrate with six goals in a 14–7 drubbing of the Toronto St. Patricks. The combined total of 21 goals by both teams set the NHL record.
Jack Darragh of Ottawa had a chance to play in goal when Toronto defeated Ottawa 5–3 on January 24. He took over when Clint Benedict was penalized. He did not surrender any goals during the two minutes.
Despite a dismal record of 2–10 in both halves of the season, the Quebec Athletics' Joe Malone scored seven goals in one game on January 31, 1920. As of 2012[update], it is still the NHL record for most goals in one game. An eighth goal was disallowed on an off-side call. Malone was later quoted "the thing I recall most vividly is that it was bitterly cold." He nearly equalled the record on March 10 when he scored six goals in a 10–4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Malone led the league in goals with 39. But by surrendering 7.18 goals against per game, a record that stands today, Quebec finished dead last.
With the war now over, players came home and fans were now coming in larger numbers to see games. On February 21, 1920, a record crowd of 8,500 fans came to see Ottawa play Toronto at the Arena Gardens.
|Toronto St. Patricks||12||5||7||0||10||52||62|
|Toronto St. Patricks||12||7||5||0||14||67||44|
 Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
All dates in 1920
Since the Ottawa Senators won both halves of the split regular season, there was no need for an NHL playoff. The Senators were named NHL champions and given a spot in the Stanley Cup championship series. Representing the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) this year was the Seattle Metropolitans, who battled in a very tight PCHA, where two wins separated its three teams. A problem arose as Seattle's green, red, and white uniforms looked almost alike to Ottawa's black, red, and white uniforms. The Senators agreed to play in white sweaters. The previous year saw the championship played out west. This year, it was played in Ottawa, but with unseasonably warm weather, the final two games were played in Toronto's Arena Gardens.
Stanley Cup Final
Seattle Metropolitans vs. Ottawa Senators
|March 22||Seattle Metropolitans||2||Ottawa Senators||3|
|March 24||Seattle Metropolitans||0||Ottawa Senators||3|
|March 27||Ottawa Senators||1||Seattle Metropolitans||3|
|March 30||Ottawa Senators||2||Seattle Metropolitans||5||Played in Toronto|
|April 1||Seattle Metropolitans||1||Ottawa Senators||6||Played in Toronto|
Ottawa wins best-of-five series three games to two to win the Stanley Cup
- NHL champion - Ottawa Senators
The O'Brien Cup, still considered the championship of the NHA, was not actually awarded in 1920. It remained under the care of the Canadiens who had won it in 1917, until the death of their owner, George Kennedy in 1921, when the NHL made arrangements to re-use the trophy. The Hockey Hall of Fame lists Ottawa as the winner for 1919–20.
|Joe Malone||Quebec Athletics||24||39||10||49||12|
|Newsy Lalonde||Montreal Canadiens||23||37||9||46||34|
|Frank Nighbor||Ottawa Senators||23||26||15||41||18|
|Corbett Denneny||Toronto St. Patricks||24||24||12||36||20|
|Jack Darragh||Ottawa Senators||23||22||14||36||22|
|Reg Noble||Toronto St. Patricks||24||24||9||33||52|
|Amos Arbour||Montreal Canadiens||22||21||5||26||13|
|Cully Wilson||Toronto St. Patricks||23||20||6||26||86|
|Didier Pitre||Montreal Canadiens||22||14||12||26||6|
|Punch Broadbent||Ottawa Senators||21||19||6||25||40|
|Clint Benedict||Ottawa Senators||24||1443||19||5||0||64||5||2.66|
|Jake Forbes||Toronto St. Patricks||5||300||2||3||0||21||0||4.2|
|Ivan Mitchell||Toronto St. Patricks||16||830||6||7||0||60||0||4.34|
|Georges Vezina||Montreal Canadiens||24||1456||13||11||0||113||0||4.66|
|Frank Brophy||Quebec Athletics||21||1249||3||18||0||148||0||7.11|
Milestones and records
- January 31 - Quebec Athletics' Joe Malone scores seven goals in one game (record for most goals in one game by a player)
- March 3 - Montreal Canadiens defeat Quebec Athletics 16–3 (record for most goals by one team)
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1919–20 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
|Babe Dye||Toronto St. Patricks||Hockey Hall of Fame (1970)|
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1919–20 (listed with their last team):
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- Wong 2005, p. 78.
- Dryden 2000, p. 22.
- McFarlane 1973, p. 29.
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- "O'Brien Trophy To Be Given To Ottawa". The Morning Leader (Regina, Saskatchewan). November 17, 1921. p. 14. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- "1919-1920 - Regular Season - Skater - Skater Season Stats Leaders - Points". nhl.com. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- "1919-20 Regular Season - Goalie Season Stats Leaders". NHL. Retrieved December 1, 2011.