Seattle Ironmen

The Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) was reborn after World War II, and opened up play for the 1945-46 season.  The league was amateur/semi-pro, and was broken down into two divisions – North and South.  The Northern Division featured four clubs in the Northwest US and British Columbia, while the Southern Division included five teams, all in California.  This two division format would continue through the end of the 1950 season.

The PCHL became a professional minor league for the start of the 1948-49 season.  Starting in 1950-51, the Southern Division was dropped and the league consisted of six to eight teams located in the Northwest and B.C.  The league changed it’s name for the start of the 1952-53 season, becoming the Western Hockey League (WHL).

1947-48 Seattle Ironmen

1945-46 – Seattle finished third in the Northern Division with a 29-29-0 record.  They had the best defense in the division, allowing only 214 goals against.  Eddie Dartnell led the way for the offense, scoring 42 goals and 41 assists.

1946-47 – The Northern Division expanded to five teams, and the Ironmen finished the regular season in second place  with a 34-25-1 record.  They again had the best defense in the division, giving up a paltry 195 goals.  Bill Robinson was the team’s leading scorer, with 33 goals and 58 assists. 

1947-48 – Seattle again had the strongest defense in the division, and this time it propelled them to a PCHL leading 42-21-3 records.  Roy McBride led the team in scoring with 44 goals and 49 assists.  Unfortunately the Ironmen faltered in the playoffs, and long time Seattle nemesis Vancouver won the league championship.

1948-49 – The good news at the start of the season is that Seattle again had professional hockey, as the PCHL became a pro league.  The bad news is that by season’s end the Ironmen were in the cellar of the Northern Division, with a 29-36-5 record.  The once vaunted defense was still good, but there was little offensive production.  Rudy Filion, playing in his first of 14 seasons in Seattle (887 games), led the attack with 37 goals and 38 assists.  George Senick led the league in penalty minutes with 166, and defenseman Willie Schmidt was named to the First Team All-Star Team for the Northern Division.

 

 

 

1949-50 – The Ironmen were able to claw their way out of the cellar, to finish fourth in the six team Northern Division with a respectable 32-27-11 mark.  Seattle’s defense was very strong again (second best goals against in the division), but they were hampered by their anemic offense (last in the division).  George Senick was the team’s leading scorer with 31 goals and 31 assists. 

The Ironmen did make the playoffs, but were defeated in first round by New Westminster, three games to one.  Two of the four games went into overtime, but Seattle simply didn’t have the offense to get it done with only 7 goals in the four games.

 



"All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth"
As sung by Ironmen Stan Maxwell, Freckles Little, Jack Jackson and Joe Bell
1951

1950-51 – The PCHL dropped the Southern Division from the league and was left with six teams.  The change didn’t do much to help the Ironmen, as they dropped a spot from the previous season to finish in fifth place (23-36-11).  Seattle’s scoring woes continued, as they had the worst offense in the league for the second season in a row.  Joe Bell led the attack with 46 goals and 32 assists.  He was a First Team All-Star selection, and his 46 goals were good for the league lead.  Rudy Filion was named a Second Team All-Star.

1951-52 – The league expanded to eight teams, losing Portland but picking up Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon.  The Ironmen finished in the middle of the pack at 30-31-9, and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Tacoma, three games to one.  Joe Bell again led the offense with 38 goals and 31 assists, and defenseman Danny Sprout was named a Second Team All-Star.

The season was also notable in a very important way for Seattle fans, as rookie Guyle Fielder made his debut with the New Westminster Royals.  Fielder put up 75 points on the season and was named the PCHL Rookie of the Year.  He would play the 1952-53 season with St. Louis in the American Hockey League, winning Rookie of the Year honors there as well, before returning to the west coast to join the Seattle Bombers and start a long and very successful run in Seattle.

 

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