Ottawa Senators Legends Come to life Through Old Photos and Descriptions
By James Hurst for Total Sports Quinte
The Ottawa Senators started out in the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. As an amateur team, they played in the Federal League. They played for the Stanley Cup in a league called the Eastern Canada Hockey Association, with two teams from Montreal, and one from Quebec.
Ottawa was the first team to win the Cup in three consecutive seasons. In 1909, the ECHA was reformed to become the Canadian Hockey Association. When the National Hockey Association gained in popularity, Ottawa joined the league with the Montreal Shamrocks.
The First Cards-1911
One of the first superstars for Ottawa was Marty Walsh. He played for Queen’s University in 1906 when they challenged Ottawa for the Stanley Cup. Because he played so well, Ottawa offered Walsh a contract, which he signed to play in the International League in 1907. He returned to Ottawa in 1908, and captured the scoring title in his first two seasons. He had 37 goals in 16 games in the 1911-1912 season. He helped Ottawa win the Cup in 1909 and 1911. He entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Fred Lake lost an eye in northern Michigan playing in the International League. He continued his career as a deference, often playing beside Sam ‘Ham by” Shore. They were the Senators’ regular defense pairing for four years, helping Ottawa win the Cup in 1912. He hung up the blades in 1915.
The Middle Years
For the 1933-34 season, O-Pee-Chi introduced a series of NHL Cards. There were 72 cards in the set, with players from all of the NHL teams. Ralph “Cooley” Weiland is card # 27 in that set. He played for the Bruins, the Senators and the Red Wings. In the mid 1920s, he joined the Minneapolis Millers of the American Hockey Association. In 1928 he signed with the Bruins, and won the Stanley Cup in his rookie year. He played for the Senators from 1933- 1934. He finished his playing career in 1939. He coached the Bruins for two years, and in 1950, he stepped behind the bench at Harvard University. He coached there for 21 years, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.
Leo Bourgeault, a Sturgeon Falls native, played for four of the NHL teams: The Leafs, starting in 1926, the Rangers, the Canadiens, and the Senators. He won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1928. He is one of six NHL players to wear # 99.
Frank Finnigan is on card # 25 in the O-Pee-Chee set from 33-34. A native of Shawville, Quebec, He played for the University of Ottawa. He said that he was paid to play for the University, and did not have to submit any assignments. He earned the nickname at that time, “The Shawville Express”, as he took the train to Ottawa for his games. He also played for the Ottawa Montagnards before joining the Senators in 1923. He won a Cup with the Senators in 1927.
The Senators suspended operations for the 1931-32 season, and Finnigan played for the Leafs, also winning a cup in Toronto. He returned to Ottawa the next year. That was to be the last for the Senators, and Finnegan scored the his final goal for them on March 15, 1934. Most of the players moved to St. Louis the next year to play for the Eagles.
Des Roche was born in Kemptville, Ontario. He is pictured on card # 70 of the World Wide Gum Company set, also produce for the 1933- 1934 year. He played right wing for the Montreal Maroons, the Canadiens, the Eagles, the Senators and the Red Wings. He also wore # 99! He scored the final franchise goal for the Senators on March 17, 1934. The following year was his best in the NHL, playing alongside his brother Earl. He had 14 goals and 10 assists. In his final year, he played for 3 NHL teams, and 3 minor league teams. He retired in 1939.
The Modern Era
In 1989, the group looking to establish a franchise in Ottawa signed Frank Finnigan to be part of their campaign. The group was successful, and began play in the 1992- 1993 season. There were thousands of different Ottawa Senators cards issued that season. Frank Finnigan was slated to drop the puck for the ceremonial face-off, but passed away before the season began. He was the last surviving member of the Ottawa Senators’ team which won the Cup in 1927.
Many card companies began competing for the collectors’ dollar at that time. The Pinnacle cards featured great shots of the NHL players, including the first Senator cards of Brad Marsh and Peter Sidorkiewicz.
Craig Anderson’s card is included in the 2016-2017 O-Pee-Chee set. Mike Hoffman is shown in his Binghampton Senators uniform in a 2016-2017 American Hockey League set.