On October 18, 1930, at the NHL Board of Governors meeting, Leonard moved the team across Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia, and renamed them the Philadelphia Quakers. However, Leonard’s intention was to return the team to Pittsburgh as soon as a new arena was built. Thirteen players from the Pirates were transferred to the Philadelphia Quakers after Pittsburgh franchise relocated. These players were Cliff Barton, Harold Darragh, Herb Drury, Gord Frasier, Jim Jarvis, Gerry Lowrey, Rennison Manners, Johnny McKinnon, Hib Milks, Joe Miller, Rodger Smith, and Tex White. Frank Fredrickson was also transferred to the Quakers, but he was released by Philadelphia two days later. The Quakers posted a poor 4–36–4 record in 1930 – 1931. The team then received permission from the NHL on September 26, 1931, to temporally cease operations as they sought a new permanent arena, located in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the poor economy was taking a toll on the entire league. The Great Depression devastated the NHL as four teams were forced to fold, leaving behind just six teams. When a new Pittsburgh arena failed to materialize, Leonard surrendered his franchise in 1936. As it turned out, a new arena in Pittsburgh wouldn’t be built until the Pittsburgh Civic Arena opened in 1961. The NHL would play with six teams for 25 years before deciding to expand. The expansion in 1967 brought the Pittsburgh Penguins to the NHL and the city of Pittsburgh and the orange and black uniformed Philadelphia Flyers to Philadelphia. The last active Pirates player was Cliff Barton, who played his last NHL game in 1940.