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MPHA/NHA Exhibition Games

  • Posted on: 25 December 2014
  • By: lrigby

On February 13, 1911 it was announced that Manager “Brownie” Mahar of the Halifax Rink Arena had completed negotiations with Montreal Canadien's owner George Kennedy to bring them to Halifax to play two exhibition games.  According to the Echo, one of the strong points of the contract is that “the full Canadians team will appear on the ice”.  The Canadians arrived in Halifax in late February to play the two games, the first on Thursday, February 23rd 1911 against the Halifax Crescents and the second on Friday, February 24th against an IPHA all-star team.

The Montreal Canadians in the first contest defeated the Halifax Crescents in front of 3000 Haligonians.  The game was tied after the first period with the teams even at two.  The Canadians took the lead in the second half, outscoring Halifax four to one.  The game finished as a six to three victory for the Montreal Canadiens.  Many of the fans were pleasantly surprised expecting the Upper provinces team to easily walk over the Crescents. The Halifax Echo declared “that the brand of hockey played in the Maritime Provinces is not so very much inferior to that played in the Nation Hockey Association.” 

The fans were in for an even bigger surprise the following night when an IPHA all-star team made up of players from both Halifax and New Glasgow tied the Montreal Canadians in front of thirty-five hundred fans at the Halifax Rink Arena. This game was dubbed by one Montreal newspaper as "a hockey struggle that will go down in the sporting history of the Maritime Provinces".  It was characterized by fast play  with the Maritime players equaling and out playing the Canadiens at times.  The skill and the speed of the Maritime players took the confident Montreal team by surprise as they were considered five to one favorites to win by betting men in both cities. 

A few days later the Canadiens played a 3rd exhibition game in Moncton where they were again surprised by the skill level in the Maritime league.  They were only able to salvage a two-two tie against the Victorians. These three exhibition games went a long way to giving the maritime professionals credibility in the Upper Provinces.

The remainder of the season continued to be very successful for the professional league.  The league completed regular season play in late February and it was decided that the first place Moncton Victorias would play the second place Halifax Crescents in a four game series for the Starr Trophy.  The Starr Trophy was donated by the Starr skate manufacturing company located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  It was previously awarded to the top amateur hockey team in the provinces.