Sydney Millionaires, 1912-14 plus Century long franchise …
When the Sydney Millionaires hockey club was established in 1912, it began the historical franchise name that became synonomous with hockey in Sydney, N.S. The team began play in the Maritime Hockey League, one of the first early recognized professional hockey leagues, with the Millionaires winning the championship in 1913: (11 wins, 5 losses) and 1914: (16 wins, 8 losses).
The 1913 Millionaires challenged the Quebec Bulldogs for the Stanley Cup at a time when the cup was considered a “challenge trophy”, prior to the formation of the NHL in 1917. The two-game total goal series was played at the Quebec Skating Rink with the Quebec team winning both games decisively, although the second game was much closer than the first, as the team had better “legs” after travelling so far.
Of particular note in this challenge series was the scoring exploits of the Bulldogs’ Joe Malone who scored 8 goals in the first game. Malone was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950 after scoring 143 goals in 126 NHL games. He is also a member of the Montreal Canadiens’ Hall of Fame. Ticket prices for the games ranged from .25 cents to $1.50 with “smoking prohibited”.
The Sydney Millionaires, although inducted on the strength of their unique Stanley Cup challenge, this induction into the Maritime Sports Hall of Fame is also a recognition of the Millionaires as a franchise team, being the face of hockey in Sydney and on Cape Breton Island for over 100 years, and having played in several Cape Breton and Maritime leagues, including the Maritime Major/Big Four, from the 1930s to the mid-1960s, placing first nine times and winning nine (9) Cape Breton titles.
The Millionaires also won the Maritime Hockey Championship four times, played for the Alexander Cup once and came close twice in the Allan Cup, losing the Canadian championship to the Regina Rangers in that cup final in 1941 in 6 games (in a 5 game series); and the Eastern Allan Cup finals to the Toronto Marlies in 1948 in five games, with three games played in overtime, with the Marlies outscoring Sydney 19-15 in that 5-game series for the Eastern Alan Cup finals.
A total of 22 Millionaire’s franchise players played in the NHL.