Seattle Metropolitans

The first professional hockey team in Seattle was called the Metropolitans, and they began play in 1915 in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). The PCHA had been founded in 1912 by Frank and Lester Patrick, and the league usually consisted of three teams with cities such as Victoria, Vancouver, New Westminster and Spokane included at various times. The Mets were primarily built by raiding players from the Toronto franchise of the National Hockey Association (NHA) which was operating on the East Coast of Canada.

In 1915 the PCHA reached an agreement with the (NHA) playing in the East to compete annually for the Stanley Cup. The games would be played entirely in the city of one of the league champions, with the host league alternating each year. In addition, because the two leagues played by different rules, the rules by which the games were played would alternate within the series.

1915-16 – The Seattle franchise was approved at the annual PCHA officers meeting on October 12, 1915.  Their home rink, the Ice Arena, seated about 2,500 and opened to the public on November 15, 1915.  In order to find players to stock the team, the league raided the rival NHA’s Toronto Blue Shirts of six players, including future Hall of Famers Frank Foyston (below) and Jack Walker.  For the heady price of $1 per ticket, the team sold out their opening night debut against Victoria, coming away with a 3-2 victory.  The Mets would finish the season in third place, with a 9-9 record.  Bernie Morris would finish second in the league scoring race, with 23 goals and 9 assists.

1916-17 – An early 1-3 start did not bode well for the Mets, but they quickly rebounded to win six of their next eight, to sit at 7-5 at the mid point of the season.  By time the last game of the season rolled around, Seattle needed a win on the road against defending champion Portland to win the title outright.  A train car full of Mets supporters headed down to the Rose City to watch their team come away with a 4-3 to finish the season 16-8.   Bernie Morris led the league in scoring with 37 goals and 17 assists, and Foyston finished third with 36 goals and 12 assists.

The NHA champion Montreal Canadiens made the trip west by train to face Seattle for the Stanley Cup.  The entire series was to be played in Seattle, and the first game sold out in a matter of hours.  Over four thousand fans packed the Ice Arena for game one, but a travel weary Montreal still came away with a 8-4 victory. 

That was Montreal’s only taste of success, however.  Seattle went on to win the next three games, outscoring the NHA champs 19-3  to become the first US team to win the Stanley Cup.  Bernie Morris led the team with 14 goals (including six in game 4) during the  series.

Games 1 and 3 were played using PCHA rules (7 players per side, forward passing in the neutral zone, and no substitution for penalized players) and games 2 and 4 were played using NHA rules (6 players per side, no forward passing, substitutions).



The 1917 Stanley Cup Champs!

Top Row: Harry Holmes, Bobby Rowe, Ed Carpenter, Jack Walker;
Middle: Frank Foyston, Pete Muldoon, mgr.;
Bottom: Bernie Morris, Cully Wilson, Roy Rickey, Jim Riley;

1917-18 – The defending champs had a great season, finishing in first place with an 11-7 record.  The playoffs were a two game, total goals format featuring the Mets and the Vancouver Millionaires.  Vancouver was led by Cyclone Taylor and took the series from Seattle on the strength of a 2-2 tie in Vancouver, followed by a 1-0 win in Seattle.  Bernie Morris was second in the league in scoring with 19 goals and 11 assists.

1918-19 – In a reversal of the previous season, second place Seattle (11-9) defeated first place Vancouver (12-8) in a two game, total goals series by a scoring output of 7-5 (each team won a game).  Bernie Morris led the way for Seattle in the regular season with 22 goals and 7 assists, good enough for the second most points in the league.  For the second time in three years the Montreal Canadiens would travel to Seattle to play for the Stanley Cup.

The Stanley Cup finals were a disaster, as the Spanish Flu epidemic was sweeping across the world.  The series ended tied at 2-2-1 (the one tie a 0-0 OT affair) after the majority of the Montreal team came down with the flu.  There was talk for forfeiting the Cup to Seattle, an offer which was refused by Seattle and the PCHA.  Canadien Joe Hall died in a Seattle hospital, and Montreal manager George Kennedy never fully recovered and died a few years later.  For the only time since it’s inception in 1893, the Stanley Cup was not awarded.

1919-20 – After a first place finish in the regular season (12-10), Seattle once again faced Vancouver in a two game, total goals series.  Frank Foyston led the attack, with 26 goals and 3 assists during the regular season.  The Mets came away with the title, outscoring Vancouver 7-3, and made the long trip east to face Ottowa for the Stanley Cup. 

After falling behind in the best of five series two game to none, Seattle rallied to win games 3 and 4, to force a deciding game five.  Ottowa was too strong and, playing under eastern rules, blew out the Mets by a score 6-1.  It was their last shot at the Stanley Cup.

1920-21 – The Mets finished the regular season in second place with a 12-11-1 record and faced (guess who?) Vancouver in the PCHA playoffs.  The Millionaires beat Seattle 13 goals to 2 in the two game series.  Frank Foyston led the team in scoring for the second straight year, with 26 goals and 5 assists.

1921-22 – This time the Mets 12-11-1 was good enough for a first place finish in league play.  The front line of Bernie Morris, Frank Foyston and Jim Riley accounted for 46 of Seattle’s 65 goals, and Morris would finish fourth in league scoring with 14 goals and 10 assist.  In the league playoffs they were shut down by Vancouver on a pair of 1-0 shutouts.

1922-23 – The PCHA finally abandoned 7 man hockey and went to the 6 man game being played by every other professional league in North America.  The league also entered into an interlocking schedule with Western Canada Hockey League.  Although they finished 15-15, the Mets ended up in last place in the PCHA and were out of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.  Frank Foyston once again led the way offensively with 20 goals and 7 assists.

1923-24 – The last season of the PCHA was plagued by low attendance.  Seattle was only drawing 1,000 fans per game.  Their 14-16 record while not good, was enough to win the PCHA regular season title (due to the interlocking schedule with the WCHL).  Jack Walker led the attack with 18 goals and 5 assists.  The Mets lost the two game playoff to Vancouver, 4 goals to 3, and would never lace up the skates again.  The owners of the Arena did not renew the team’s lease, and the building was torn down to make way for a parking garage.

Bobby Rowe
Seattle Metropolitans 1915-24

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