T. Franklin Ahearn

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1927 portrait

Thomas Franklin Ahearn, also known as Frank Ahearn (May 10, 1886 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – November 7, 1962) was a Canadian businessman and politician. Ahearn is best known as an owner of the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey club and a Canadian Member of Parliament.

Ahearn was born in Ottawa, the son of Thomas Ahearn and Lilias Fleck.[1] His father was a prominent Ottawa citizen who owned Ottawa Electric and the Ottawa Electric Streetcar Line. He was educated at Kent Street Public School, Ottawa Collegiate and privately tutored. Around 1900, he organized the Buena Vista hockey team which played on an open-air rink at Laurier Avenue and Bronson, with an old streetcar for dressing facilities.[1] In 1909, he married Norah Lewis, granddaughter of John Travers Lewis.[1] He served in World War I, as a captain in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, from 1914 until 1916, when he was injured and returned home.[2]

Mr. Ahearn became involved with the Ottawa Senators in the period when they won three Stanley Cups in four years between 1920 and 1923. In 1924, he bought out majority owner Tommy Gorman. In 1926-27, the Senators won the Cup with one of the most impressive rosters ever assembled. This imposing collection included Jack Adams, King Clancy, Alex Connell, Cy Denneny, Frank Finnigan, Hec Kilrea, Frank Nighbor and Hooley Smith.

Winning the Stanley Cup was the last hurrah for the franchise. Due to a combination of the Great Depression and the smaller population of Ottawa, the club lost money every year after, leading the club to suspend operations for one year, move home games to other cities, and finally move to St. Louis, Missouri to operate as the Eagles, and operated the Senators as an amateur/semi-professional senior club. After one season in St. Louis, the Ottawa owners sought to suspend operations again and were turned down by the league. Finally, on October 15, 1935, the Eagles and their players were bought out by the NHL, dispersing the players to other NHL teams and suspending the franchise, with a promise to pass along the proceeds if the franchise was resold.[3] (The franchise would be reinstated eventually in 1992) In the years of his owning the Ottawa Senators, his losses were over $200,000, a loss he said he never regretted.[citation needed] At the time of the dissolution of the NHL franchise, Ahearn was a minority owner of the consortium which owned the Ottawa Auditorium arena and the Senators.

Like his father, Ahearn was involved in Canadian politics, and was elected to the House of Commons in 1930 and 1935.

Ahearn was a vice-president of the Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company. In 1940, he resigned to become president of the Ottawa Electric Company. He also had his own firm, Rowatt-Ahearn Ltd. and became president of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company in 1938 after his father died. Ahearn also had interests in several other Ottawa businesses including Wallace Realty Company, the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, the Ottawa Gas Company, the Ottawa Investment Company, Ahearn & Soper and other businesses.[1]

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962 as a builder. He was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1966.

Ahearn died in 1962 at his home at 7 Rideau Gate, Ottawa, and was interred in Beechwood Cemetery.[4] He was survived by his wife Norah, son Thomas Trevor, and daughters Joan and Lilias.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Well-known sportsman, T. Franklin Ahearn dies". Ottawa Citizen. November 7, 1962. p. 3. 
  2. ^ "PARLINFO - Parliamentarian File - Military Service - AHEARN, Thomas Franklin". Parl.gc.ca. 1914-01-16. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  3. ^ Coleman, Charles (1969). Trail of the Stanley Cup, vol. 2, 1927-1946 inc[clarification needed]. 
  4. ^ "Past Inductees". Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  5. ^ "Death Notices". Ottawa Citizen. November 8, 1962. p. 42. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Gordon Cameron Edwards
Member of Parliament for Ottawa (City of)
1930–1935
Succeeded by
Electoral district was abolished
Preceded by
None
Member of Parliament for Ottawa West
1935–1940
Succeeded by
George J. McIlraith