By ScottM, Jun 16, 2015
Last night, the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup. Even though it was the Blackhawks’ third title in six seasons, it was the first time in 77 years that Chicago won the Cup on home ice. The events of this week make a look back at the 1938 Finals seem very appropriate. To say the least, that series was one of the most unusual in history.
The 1937-38 Black Hawks posted a dismal 14-25-9 record in the regular season, the third worst of the eight teams in the league that season. They took third place in the American Division, which, at the time, was good enough to qualify for the playoffs. They scored 97 goals on the season – a league low – and allowed 139 goals – the second worst mark in the league. The Black Hawks edged out the defending champion Red Wings by two points to claim the final American Division playoff slot despite the fact that Detroit’s goal differential was eight goals better.
The Chicago roster was also unusual. There were eight Americans who laced up skates for the Black Hawks over the course of the season, which was more than the combined total of the other seven teams. The Black Hawks even experimented with an all-American roster early in the season. The teams with the next highest total of Americans in their lineup were Detroit and the New York Rangers, who each employed two U.S. natives. In fact, the sport was then so heavily dominated by Canadians that there were a grand total of 22 non-Canadians to play in the NHL in the 1937-38 season.