Collapse of the MPHA and the Prospect of a Cape Breton Professional League

  • Posted on: 30 December 2014
  • By: lrigby
Jimmy Fraser 1915 Glace Bay Miners

On December 23rd, 1914 there was an announcement out of Halifax that officially declared the collapse of the MPHA.  The two Halifax hockey teams, the Crescents and the Socials were unable to come to terms with the Halifax Arena Company.  According to reports out of Halifax, all possible avenues of saving the teams were looked at and "the Association did not determine to withdraw until every effort had been exhausted".  However, in the end, financial pressures from both parties did not allow them to come to  terms and meant the end of the MPHA.  With the MPHA dead, it looked quite possible there would be an all Cape Breton Professional league with teams in Glace Bay, Sydney and North Sydney.

As quick as the prospect of a Cape Breton Professional League was floated, it came to a halt.  Originally, the organizers decided that Glace Bay and Sydney would help fund the North Sydney team with ten percent of the gate receipts from both larger arenas when the North Sydney team was visiting.  This was a satisfactory agreement until the Glace Bay management decided that each team should get a forty percent share in each other's rink when they were the visiting team.  This proposal did not sit well with the rink management in Sydney who had to pay for a more expensive plant for their arena.  The Sydney squad stated that they were willing to give North Sydney a fair percentage but suggested that Glace Bay was quite able to finance their own team.  The meeting came to an end in a deadlock and it appeared that this was the end of professional hockey in the Maritime Provinces.

 

After several weeks of bickering back and forth among promoters, a three team league was decided upon.  It featured the New Glasgow Cubs, the Sydney Millionaires and a new club from Glace Bay playing in the Alexander Rink.  Present at the initial meeting of the new league was R. J. Macadam representing Sydney, Chester Greggory representing New Glasgow and from Glace Bay there were a number of representatives one of which was  Mayor and future Nova Scotia Premier Gordon S. Harrington.  The representatives of both Glace Bay and New Glasgow were looking for financial assistance from Sydney to enter the league.  Glace Bay dropped their demand and New Glasgow agreed to play if Sydney would pay their expenses when they came to Cape Breton.  J.J. Curry of Sydney was elected president of the new league and it was officially named the Eastern Professional Hockey League. The season would be eight weeks long starting on January 13th 1915 and would consist of three games a week, one in each city.  There would be a game in New Glasgow each Wednesday, a game in Sydney each Friday and a game in Glace Bay on each Saturday.   The Sydney management announced that they had signed returning players Randall and Trenouthe and were looking for more from Upper Canada to add to the list of local players they had already signed.  Glace Bay signed a strong list of MPHA veterans including Andy Kyle, Jack Cross, Jimmy Fraser and Jimmy Wilkie.