St. Louis Eagles Team History
The Senators’ owners decided to move the franchise to St. Louis, Missouri, and the transfer was approved by the league on May 14, 1934. Thomas Franklin Ahearn resigned as president of the Ottawa Auditorium and Redmond Quain became president. Quain transferred the players’ contracts and franchise operations to a new company called the Hockey Association of St. Louis, Inc. Eddie Gerard was hired to coach the new team. The club was renamed the Eagles, inspired by the logo of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, which was founded in St. Louis. The Senators name and logo remained in Ottawa and would be used by a senior amateur team until 1954. At the time, St. Louis was the seventh largest city in the United States, with over 800,000 inhabitants over seven times larger than Ottawa. Despite this, St. Louis had been denied an NHL franchise in 1932 because travel to the Midwest was considered too expensive during the Great Depression.
By season’s end the Eagles ownership had lost $70,000, due primarily to the cost of train travel. In those days, NHL teams traveled primarily by rail. Due to being in the Canadian Division, the Eagles had to make a lot of trips to Montreal and Toronto. An attempt to stabilize the franchise by selling off some of its players netted $58,000. The owners had hoped to move again to save the franchise. There was interest from Cleveland and also in a return to Ottawa, but neither came to fruition.
As a result, the ownership again petitioned the NHL to allow them to suspend operations for a year. This time the NHL refused and the Eagles were put up for sale. After no credible offers surfaced, the NHL bought the franchise and player contracts for $40,000, and opted to play as an eight-team league. If the NHL ever resold the franchise, proceeds were to go to the Ottawa Hockey Association. The NHL distributed the players under contract with St. Louis through a dispersal draft. Teams selected players in an order based on the previous season’s standings. Teams with the lowest point totals selected first. The Chicago Black Hawks did not participate in the draft. Eighteen of the twenty-three players under contract were selected with the remaining players being placed in the minor leagues.
The St. Louis Eagles were a professional ice hockey team that played in the National Hockey League (NHL). Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the Eagles played for only one year, the 1934 – 1935 NHL season.
The team was founded in 1883 as the Ottawa Senators, a successful independent team that joined the NHL as a charter member in 1917. From the mid-1920s onward, they endured financial strain caused, in part, by being in the NHL’s smallest market. The financial problems forced the Senators to suspend operations for the 1931 – 1932 season. Upon their return to play, having sold their better players in an effort to raise funds, the Senators finished in last place for two straight seasons and continued to lose money. Following the repeat last place finish, the team decided that it could not survive in Ottawa and hoped to move to a bigger market.
In an attempt to recoup losses and pay outstanding debts, the Senators moved the NHL franchise to St. Louis, where it was nicknamed the Eagles. However, the team continued to lose money because of its travel expenses, and it was forced to sell players to other teams to meet its financial obligations.
After the season, the owners asked the NHL for a second time for permission to suspend operations. This time, the NHL refused the request. Instead, the league bought back the franchise, halted its operations, and dispersed its players among the remaining teams.
Ottawa – St. Louis
1917 – 1935 National Hockey League
1934 – 1935 St. Louis Eagles
1917 – 1934 Ottawa Senators
Eagles – The club was renamed the Eagles, inspired by the logo of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, which was founded in St. Louis.
Stanley Cup 0
1919 – 1920, 1920 – 1921, 1922 – 1923, 1926 – 1927
1934 – 1935 St. Louis Arena
1923 – 1934 Ottawa Auditorium
1908 – 1923 The Arena
1929 – 1935 Ottawa Auditorium
1925 – 1929 Frank Ahearn
1923 – 1925 Tommy Gorman and Frank Ahearn
1918 – 1923 Tommy Gorman and Ted Dey
1917 – 1918 Tommy Gorman, Ted Dey and Martin Rosenthal