Fort Pitt Hornets
|Fort Pitt Hornets-Panthers|
|City||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Home arena||Duquesne Gardens|
|General manager||H.N. Forner|
|Head coach||Rennison Manners|
The Pittsburgh Fort Pitt, also simultaneously known as the Fort Pitt Hornets and the Fort Pitt Panthers, was a semi-professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team played primarily in the United States Amateur Hockey Association (USAHA), which was technically a semi-pro league by 1924.
The Hornets were a spin-off of another USAHA club from Pittsburgh, the Yellow Jackets, and played in the league's Eastern Division. During the 1924-25 season, the Hornets finished their season with a 17-7-0 record, for first place in the Eastern Division. However the club was defeated in the USAHA championship series by their cross-town rivials, the Yellow Jackets, four games to none. Former Yellow Jackets player-coach, and future member of the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Quakers, Rennison Manners served as a player-coach for the Hornets.
The USAHA teams were known, at this time, for known for their rough play. During the Hornets' first round of the 1924-25 playoffs, which was against the Boston Athletic Association, Pittsburgh player, Joe Sills reportedly butt-ended Leo Hughes in the face, requiring the removal of one Hughes' eyes, and nearly the other. The Boston AA’s player was a fan favourite and the team's supporters protested the hit. Boston then threatened to quit the league because of the “Unnecessary and willful roughing.” However, Pittsburgh's manager, H.N. Forner, contended that injuries that were inflicted to his players, such as the case with the Hornets' Lorne Armstrong, could have been just as serious. During the series, Armstrong was cut in the back of the neck by the skate of a Boston player. The following night, Armstrong received a cut between his eyes which could have taken one of his eyes, if the cut was an inch away in either direction. As for Joe Sills, he was reportedly kneed by a Boston player and unable to play for an entire week. After Leo Hughes had lost his eye against the Hornets, the USAHA's president stated that “Hockey, you know, is not a parlour game.”
The Hornets-Panthers team featured several future-NHL players such as:
- Spence, Ron (September 10, 2008). "USAHA Hockey: Not a Palour Game". Crashing the Goalie.
- Bouchette, Ed (May 2, 1999). "Ice Age". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Clark, Donald M. (2010). "St. Paul Athletic Club". Vintage Minnesota Hockey. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- "Manager Forner Defends Accused Fort Pitt Hockey Players". Pittsburgh Press. January 21, 1925. p. 23.