The NHL Years
As the NHL continued to try and move south out of Canada, New York presented one of its biggest challenges. Despite being somewhat ridiculously obvious in America as you would guess by being called the New York Americans, the NHL put them in the Canadian division. Why? Well, let’s just say that this was almost 100 years ago and they still use the same kind of logic today. Anyway, this meant a ton of trips north.
With Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto all being in the league and plane travel at the time being less than accessible for the common man, it meant that they would have to travel by train. This made it quite hard on the Amerks in their first season in the big time. It’s part of the reason that a team that had been so successful in Hamilton had 12 wins, 24 losses, and 4 ties in their first season in New York.
Despite the poor showing on the ice, they were a booming success drawing large crowds towards the games at the Garden. New York had been a great success for the hockey world and has been part of the lifeblood of the NHL ever since. It was an awful season for the team, but hockey at the Garden was born. Fans loved the sport so much, that Madison Square Garden itself wanted a team of its own.
While the Americans were using the Garden’s facilities, they were not owned by MSG. It was simply a rental agreement. When they saw how successful this was, the owners wanted a piece. They had inserted a clause into the agreement to rent MSG that said that the Garden could do anything it needed to bring another team. It made the Americans ownership annoyed, but there was nothing to argue about. Thus, the New York Rangers were born.