Maritime Professional Hockey Association

  • Posted on: 25 December 2014
  • By: lrigby
Rollie Norman

The Maritime Professional Hockey Association was created due to a movement to eliminate professional players from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Amateur Hockey.  Like the other amateur leagues of the time, professional players had began to mix into the maritime amateur league.  In the fall of 1911 it was decided that NSAHL would become a purely amateur organization freezing out players that had been previously been given incentives for playing for certain teams.  This left many  Maritime’s professional players without winter employment.    

The drive for a professional hockey league in the Maritime Provinces was spurred on by a group of professional hockey players and a few prominent citizens.  Rollie Norman, a player out of Moncton, started the process by visiting many of the cities and towns in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Rollie found interest for the league in locales such as Halifax, Amherst, North Sydney, New Glasgow, Truro, Stellarton and Moncton.   However, there were plenty of road blocks in each of these towns, the popular amateur league being the largest. One example of this was Albert “Chummie” Murray’s attempt to get a professional hockey team started in Amherst. Chummie was stifled by the fact that Amherst already had a popular amateur franchise named the Ramblers and the Ramblers owned the Amherst rink.  It was obviously not in the Rambler’s best interest to be competing with a professional team for their hockey fans.

By the late fall of 1910 it looked as if a professional league would be formed with Moncton and Halifax committing teams and New Glasgow sitting on the fence trying to decide between a professional or amateur franchise.  The organizers of this league were hoping to also draw in either Truro, Amherst or North Sydney to round out a four team league. The initial meeting took place at the Queen Hotel located on Hollis street in Halifax.  Present at this meeting were Rollie Norman and A.S. Donald of Moncton, J. Chisholm of New Glasgow, Frank Stewart and Roy Eckersley of the Halifax Crescents. It was decided that the league would play a twelve game season with four games in each city.

On December 16th 1910 it was announced that the Halifax Crescents, Moncton Victorias and The New Glasgow Cubs had formed a professional league. The new league was dubbed the Interprovincial Professional Hockey Association.  The three professional teams had primarily built their rosters from players located in the Maritime Provinces. The first game was to be played in New Glasgow on January 4th, 1911 featuring the New Glasgow Cubs against the Halifax Crescents.  This announcement had come right on the heals of the announcement of the formation of an amateur league that included two teams from Halifax, a team from Truro and a fourth team from Amherst.   There was a lot of speculation around the Maritimes about the fate of the two leagues.  An ardent follower of amateur sports commented “that you can’t ride two horses” and predicted that one of the leagues would go under but the majority of hockey fans were excited to have two leagues and believed that both would be a success.