Sam Lichtenhein

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Samuel "Sam" Edward Lichtenhein (October 24, 1870 – June 21, 1936) was a businessman and sports executive. He was the owner and president of the Montreal Wanderers ice hockey team of the National Hockey Association (NHA), later National Hockey League (NHL) and the owner of the Montreal Royals baseball team.

Personal life[edit]

Lichtenhein was born in Chicago, Illinois one of four children, two boys and two girls. The family moved to Montreal after the Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed his parents' business.[1] He attended Loyola College and later became a successful businessman. He was president of Cotton and Wool Waste of Montreal and International Wool Waste Co. of Boston at his death.[2] He married Huldah Lewin and they had one son, who pre-deceased Lichtenhein in 1930. Lichtenhein died after a six-month illness at this home at 3540 Mountain Street.[2] He was interred at Mount Royal Cemetery.

Sports career[edit]

Lichtenhein was the owner of two Montreal sports teams. He bought the Montreal Royals baseball team in 1910, which upon its revival became the Brooklyn Dodgers' principal farm team. It folded in 1917.[2] He bought the Montreal Wanderers ice hockey team in 1911.[2] When Lichtenhein took over the Wanderers, the team was in financial trouble. He had trouble icing a team, and in 1918, the Montreal Arena, home of Wanderers' and the Montreal Canadiens, burnt down, the team folded. The decision was influenced by Lichtenhein citing losses over $30,000 in 1918 money due to the fire.[3] Lichtenhein was later quoted as stating that he lost over $150,000 in the last five years of owning the Royals and Wanderers.[4]

Lichtenhein was essential in changing ice hockey from a seven-man to a six-man game. The change was proposed at a meeting of the National Hockey Association; to pass, it required the approval of every owner. Initially, Lichtenhein was opposed to the move. He was convinced to agree to change after a fellow owner pointed out that he would have to pay one less salary. He also led the campaign to kick Eddie Livingstone and his Toronto Blueshirts out of the National Hockey Association for "unethical business practices".[3]

Lichtenhein is also known for being unlucky with fires, which destroyed the arenas of two of his sports teams, one of his father's and one of his businesses. One of his father's department stores were destroyed in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, after which the family moved to Montreal.[1] The Wanderers' arena, the Montreal Arena, burnt down in 1918. Twice, fires destroyed ballparks of the Royals[1] and another fire destroyed another one of his businesses.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c MacDonald, D. (June 22, 1936). "Sports on Parade". Montreal Gazette. p. 14. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Sam Lichtenhein, Sportsman, Dead". Montreal Gazette. June 22, 1936. p. 7. 
  3. ^ a b "Montreal Wanderers". sportsecyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  4. ^ "SCHEDULE CHANGES ARE BOON TO REDS; Elimination of Long Journeys Expected to Benefit the Cincinnati Club. TRAVEL IS A HANDICAP Geographical Location of Redland Forced Extended Trips and Fatigued Players Unfairly.". New York Times. January 27, 1918. p. 24. 

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