Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters
|Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters|
|League||Ontario Hockey Association|
|Operated||1940-42 & 1947-1960|
|Home arena||Guelph Memorial Gardens|
|Parent club(s)||New York Rangers|
|Championships||1952 Memorial Cup Champions|
|1947-60||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters|
|Previous franchise history|
|1940-42||Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters|
The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters were a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1940 to 1942, and 1947 to 1960. The team was often known as the "Biltmores" and sponsored by the Guelph Biltmore Hat Company, and played home games at the Guelph Memorial Gardens.
The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters were a brief note in junior hockey history, but left an impression on the game during 13 years of operation. The team that was sponsored by a local manufacturer in the Royal City would capture a national championship, several provincial titles, and send four men onto the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The team was founded as the Guelph Indians for the 1936-37 season. After four seasons, the Guelph Biltmore Hat Company became the team's sponsors. After two more seasons of play, the team was put on hiatus for World War II. The team was resurrected in 1947 as a farm team for the New York Rangers of the NHL and coached by former Rangers forward Alf Pike until the end of 1954. Eddie Bush, a former NHL defenceman, would take over the coaching duties from 1954 onwards.
The Biltmore Hat Company rewarded any player scoring three or more goals in one game the choice of hats at their factory, bringing new meaning to the term "hat trick." Some sources credit this as the origin of the term.
After running into financial trouble in 1960, new ownership renamed the team the Guelph Royals, after the city's nickname. Three years later the team moved becoming the Kitchener Rangers, taking the name of the parent club from the NHL.
The Mad Hatters won the Memorial Cup in 1952 as national junior ice hockey champions of Canada, and the George Richardson Memorial Trophy as eastern Canadian champions the same year. Guelph won the J. Ross Robertson Cup three times as OHA champions.
|J. Ross Robertson Cup
|George Richardson Memorial Trophy|
Memorial Cup of 1952
Guelph that year broke the OHA record for single season scoring with 341 goals in a 54 game schedule, which was 34 goals more than the previous mark. Ken Laufman set on OHA record at the time with 139 points. Guelph defeated the Montreal Junior Canadiens in a six game series for the Eastern Canadian final.
The Mad Hatters won the first game on home ice at the Guelph Memorial Gardens by a score of 8 to 2. The rest of the series would be played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Guelph won the next two games 4 to 2 and 8 to 2. The Biltmores completed the series sweep in game four posting a 10 to 2 triumph to win the Memorial Cup.
Four alumni of the Mad Hatters would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. They are Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert, Harry Howell and Jean Ratelle. Players who also had impressive NHL careers are Dean Prentice and Ron Murphy with the New York Rangers.
|Red Tilson Trophy
Most Outstanding Player in the OHA
|Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy
Scoring Champion of the OHA
Played as Guelph Indians, 1936-40.
|1938-39||14||7||5||2||15||0.536||30||38||2nd Group 1|