1914 Season in Jeopardy

  • Posted on: 29 December 2014
  • By: lrigby

There was an announcement from Halifax that really put the leagues future in jeopardy in late November.  It was announced that Manager Gordon Isnor of the Socials had not come to terms with the Halifax Arena Company.  Manager Isnor was requesting seventy percent of the gate receipts along with the 100 dollar fee paid to the New Glasgow Cubs when they played in the city.  The Arena Company managed by Brownie Mahar was willing to provide the Halifax teams with sixty percent of the gate revenues.  Isnor in turn threatened to fold the Socials and retire from hockey and the MPHA if demands were not met.  There was also a rumor that the Crescents and their manager J.T. Murphy had not come to terms with the Arena Company but that was denied by Mahar.

On November 27th, it was announced that the Glace Bay contingent was withdrawing their application for acceptance into the MPHA.  The reasons given for the withdrawal was that they believed that their application was not dealt with in a businesslike fashion.  They claimed that the chances of successfully financing a team in time for the 1914 season was rendered impossible by the fact that their application was not dealt with in a timely manner and that the next meeting of the league was not yet fixed.  The Glace Bay contingent was upset that the other teams in the league were going about their business of securing players and they felt that they were falling behind.  They also expressed a concern that they were being used as "a club to bring New Glasgow into line".  One of the Glace Bay contingent expressed his opinion about how he felt they were being used in the following quote "if you don't come in, we can get along without you, for we have Glace Bay to fall back upon".  The Glace Bay group did express their appreciation to the Sydney management stating that they acted in good faith toward the Glace Bay application.

December 3rd saw the second meeting in Halifax of the MPHA.  The first business brought forth by the group was that of the proposed agreement from the NHA.  The group unanimously voted against the pact.  The executive objected to the clause that allowed the NHA to purchase three MPHA players per season at a cost of 200 dollars per player.  The deal between the Pacific Coast League and the NHA had the same provision but it called for 500 dollars per player.  L. McDougall, sent by the New Glasgow team was given time to present the Cubs appeal to the Halifax Arena Company representatives. New Glasgow's proposition was that they would accept either twenty percent of the gate receipts in Halifax or 100 dollars per game.  In turn, the Cubs would provide Halifax with forty percent of the gate receipts when they played in New Glasgow.  The Arena Company managers rejected this offer.  McDougall then released a statement that the Cubs would be obliged to withdraw from the league.  In an interview with the press, McDougall blamed the Arena Company for not being flexible, stating that "Halifax refused to do anything, they would not give a postage stamp to an outside team, it was a case of take it or leave it." After a short adjournment the representatives came back to the meeting and were shocked by a statement from Social's Manager Isnor and Crescent's manager Murphy stating "In so far as the Socials and the Crescents are concerned due to our being unable to come to satisfactory terms with the Arena Company we find it necessary for the time being to withhold our entry for the season of 1914".  After a brief discussion the meeting broke up with only a faint hope remaining for a 1914 professional season.


When news hit the NHA of the likely break up of the MPHA, the Upper Canadian teams began to target some of the desirable players of the Maritime League.  President Quinn of the NHA quickly took action, writing Gordon Isnor  inquiring about what the Maritime League was intending to do with their players. As far as many team NHA managers were concerned, the potential league collapse made their present agreement void and they were able to negotiate with these players.  Harvey Richardson, a local boy from Sydney was contacted by the Quebec Bulldogs and an offer was made for his services.  The Ottawa Senators began negotiating with two New Glasgow players, Allan Wilson and Mike Murphy, both of whom claimed to be free agents.  In response the Cub's management declared that the two players were still considered property of the team and demanded five hundred dollars for each.