Seattle Eskimos & Sea Hawks

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© Jeff Obermeyer 2000-2009

With the demise of the Metropolitans, Seattle was left without an artificial ice rink. That problem was rectified with the construction of the Civic Ice Arena in 1928, a facility that continued to host hockey games from its inception until 1995.

Pete Muldoon, the former manager of the Metropolitans, returned to Seattle as part of a group forming a new league, the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL). Muldoon was one of the owners of the new Seattle franchise, dubbed the Eskimos.

1928-29  – The new team opened its first season with a 4-2 win against Portland, and former Metropolitan Jack Walker ushered in the new era with the teams first goal. The Eskimos finished the season in second place in the four-team league with a 17-17-2 record.

After winning a two-game playoff series against Portland, Seattle lost to Vancouver in the league finals.

One of the more tragic events in Seattle hockey occurred late in the season when long-time hockey fixture Pete Muldoon died of a heart attack in neighboring Tacoma at the age of 47. Muldoon was in Tacoma with his business partners scouting locations for a new ice rink, which he hoped to use to host another PCHL franchise.

1929-30 – The Eskimos finished the season in third at 15-13-8, but did not make the playoffs.

Goals were hard to come by in the PCHL, with Eskimo Cecil Browne leading the league with a paltry 12 goals. In fact, the Portland team averaged less than one goal allowed per game! Eskimo goaltender finished the season with a 1.61 GAA and nine shutouts to win the inaugural Pete Muldoon Trophy, awarded to the most inspirational player as chosen by his teammates.

Even in the late 1920s pretty

women were good for publicity

1930-31 – Much of the season revolved around the exploits of Bobby Connors, a new addition to the Eskimos. Early in the season Connors threatened an official with his stick, and following a number of fights the violence culminated with Connors breaking his stick over the head of Bill Brennan, causing a near riot at the Arena. Connors was suspended for the rest of the season, having earned 88 penalty minutes in 27 games. Sadly he drowned during the off season in Port Arthur, Ontario, at the age of 26.

The Eskimos finished with a 16-9-9 record and fell to Vancouver in the playoffs. Increased costs and declining attendance caused the league to fold following the season, forcing the professional game into a two-year hiatus.

1933-34 – Professional hockey returned to Seattle with the formation of the five-team Northwest Hockey League (NWHL) and the creation of the Sea Hawks. Coached by former Metropolitan Frank Foyston, the new club finished in fourth with a 15-17-2 record. Newcomer Hal Tabor, who would later combine with Sammy McAdam to form the “Goal Dust Twins” combo, led the team with 19 goals and 25 points.

1934-35 – Seattle finished the regular season in first with a 20-9-3 record, six points ahead of Portland. The Sea Hawks had the stingiest defense in the league, allowing only 69 goals against, and featured the second and third leading scorers in Tabor (24-16-40) and Tony Hemmerling (21-12-33). Cam Proudlock (101 PIM) and Dave Gilhooly (80 PIM) kept the opposition honest.

The Sea Hawks got a bye in the first round of the playoffs, but fell to Vancouver in the league finals three games to two.

1935-36 – Foyston was fired as team manager, and the Sea Hawks dropped seven of their first 10 games before the owners brought

the coach back. The club went 17-7-6 over the remainder of the season under their former coach and again earned a berth in the finals. This time the Sea Hawks closed the deal, knocking off Vancouver in four games to take the NWHL championship, the first championship for a Seattle team since 1920.

1936-37 – The Sea Hawks lost the last eight games of the season and finished in the cellar with a 13-21-4 record. They had the lowest scoring offense in the league, and combined it with the worst defense. The result was that once again Foyston lost his coaching job, though this time it was for good.

1937-38 – In a reversal of the previous season, the Sea Hawks had the league’s most potent offense, and their 123 goals were 33 more than their closest rivals. For the third time in four years the Sea Hawks faced Vancouver in the finals, and again they failed to beat their Canadian rivals. The series loss marked the seventh time in the last eight playoff meetings between Seattle and Vancouver that the Seattle club came up short.

1938-39 – The Sea Hawks finished the season in second with a 21-21-6 record, and earned a little redemption by knocking off Vancouver in the opening round of the playoffs. The finals against Portland were marred by a blown call that contributed to a Seattle loss in the third game, and despite the league offering to have the game replayed the Sea Hawks management opted to let the result stand, much to the dismay and resentment of the players. They eventually fell to Portland in five games. Despite four trips to the finals in six seasons, the Sea Hawks had only one championship to show for their efforts.

1939-40 – The Sea Hawks earned only two wins in the last 13 games of the season and finished out of the playoffs at 16-21-3.

1940-41 – The club was sold during the off season, and the new owners gave it a new uniform (right) and a new name – the Seattle Olympics. The season was full of odd incidents, including former Sea Hawk and current league referee Cam Proudluck knocking out former Metropolitan and current Portland owner Bobby Rowe, as well as a player dispute involving accusations of contract interference between Seattle and Vancouver.

The Olympics went 20-21-7 and were eliminated by Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs. The PCHL folded following the season, leaving Seattle with only amateur hockey for the next seven seasons.