New York Rangers Tradition

1932-33 New York Rangers

Top Row (Left to Right): Jimmy Arnott, Gord Pettinger, Bill Cook Earl Seibert, Ossie Asmundson, Lester Patrick, Babe Siebert, Ching Johnson, Bun Cook, Butch Keeling, Murray Murdoch, Ott Heller, Doug Brennan. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Wilfie Starr, Carl Voss, Cecil Dillon, Harry Westerby (trainer), Art Somers, Andy Aitkenhead.

STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS
Tie, Third-Place Overall in 9-team NHL
Defeated Toronto Maple Leafs in Cup Finals
23-17-8, 54 points
135 Goals Scored (Tie-1st in NHL)
107 Goals Against (3rd in NHL)

OPENING-NIGHT LINEUP   --   Coach: Lester Patrick
No. Player POS. Previous Team
1 Andy Aitkenhead G Bronx (Can-Am)
3 Ching Johnson D Rangers
4 Babe Siebert LW Montreal Maroons (NHL)
5 Bill Cook RW Rangers
6 Bun Cook LW Rangers
8 Cecil Dillon RW Rangers
9 Murray Murdoch LW Rangers
10 Butch Keeling LW Rangers
11 Carl Voss C Buffalo (IHL)
12 Art Somers LW Rangers
14 Ott Heller D Rangers
15 Doug Brennan D Rangers
16 Ossie Asmundson C Bronx (Can-Am)
Scratched, Injury
7 Frank Boucher C Rangers
Did Not Play, Contract Holdout
2 Earl Seibert D Rangers
MISSED THE CUT
Players at camp in Lake Placid who didn't make opening-night roster:

Vic Desjardins, George Nichols, Norm Gainor, Gord Pettinger, Dinny Moore, Jimmy Arnott, Ossie Gorman, Clint Smith, Larry Molyneaux, Phil Perkins, Russ Blinco, Lude Palm, Wilfie Starr, Bill Regan, George Heard
Affiliate: Springfield Indians (Can-Am)
TRADES OF 1932-33 SEASON

July 20 --
Cash to Montreal Maroons for Babe Siebert

Aug. 22 --
O. Heximer to Boston for cash

Oct. 4 --
Lorne Carr and cash to Buffalo (IHL) for Carl Voss

Oct. 25 --
John Ross Roach to Detroit for cash

Dec. 11 --
Carl Voss to Detroit for cash

Dec. 18 --
Norm Gainor to Ott. for cash

March 9 --
Cash to Vancouver (WCHL) for Jean Pusie

April 8 --
Cash to Buffalo (IHL) for Lorne Carr

PLAYERS KNOWN BY NICKNAMES
Fred Cook -- Bun
Ehrhardt Heller -- Ott
Ivan Johnson -- Ching
Melville Keeling -- Butch
Albert Siebert -- Babe
RANGERS ATTENDANCE IN 1932-33
Largest Attendance at MSG: 16,000
(Jan. 8, 1933: Rangers vs. N.Y. Americans)
Largest Playoff Attendance at MSG: 18,000
(April 4, 1933 Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs)
NHL Average Crowd for 1932-33: 7,204
MSG Average for 1932-33: 11,574 (approx.)

PLAYERS' NEW YORK RANGERS DEBUTS IN 1932-33
(5 players for total of 51 Rangers Debuts through 1932-33 season)
Andy Aitkenhead – Nov. 10, 1932* Carl Voss – Nov. 10, 1932
Ossie Asmundson – Nov. 10, 1932* Gord Pettinger – Dec. 25, 1932*
Babe Siebert – Nov. 10, 1932 1932-33 Final Regular-Season Stats
* -- Denotes NHL Debut
 
Five Things You Should Know About The 1932-33 Season

Economic Woes and a Salary Cap

On May 10, 1932, as they faced the Great Depression head on, NHL owners were willing to do anything to keep costs down. It was a far cry from today’s world of collective bargaining, so six months before the 1932-33 season began, owners unilaterally determined that there would be a $70,000 salary cap for the upcoming season. The maximum salary for any single player would be $7,500. In addition, the league allowed only one of two temporarily suspended franchises, the Ottawa Senators, to return for 1932-33. It also cut the maximum number of skaters in uniform from 14 to 13 per game, and arranged working agreements with the AHL and WPHL to prevent those leagues from threatening to poach its players for higher salaries. These moves were meant to cut potential losses in a miserable economy, but many of the top players didn’t appreciate them.

One outspoken critic of the new policy was Rangers star Frank Boucher, who had held out for more money the year before and was prepared to do it again. By the time training camp opened in Lake Placid, Boucher and teammate Earl Seibert were AWOL. Boucher wanted the maximum salary, and Seibert wanted a substantial raise that was not possible under the new cap. On Oct. 31, with 10 prominent NHL players still holding out and the season less than two weeks away, the league declared it would block any players who refused to report to their teams from playing in any professional league. The following day, Boucher said the Rangers had given him permission to personally work out a deal in which he could be traded to another team, and that he would try to end up in his hometown of Ottawa. Rangers President Col. John S. Hammond denied that Boucher had complete free rein, and a war of words erupted in the newspapers until a one-year deal was agreed to on Nov. 7. Boucher reported to training camp, which was wrapping up in Springfield, Mass., and immediately caught the flu. He would miss the first two games of the season with his illness.

Seibert, on the other hand, missed the first three games simply because he refused to sign the contract offered to him. On Nov. 11, NHL President Frank Calder told Seibert he would be suspended from all professional hockey until he reported to the Rangers. On Nov. 12, Seibert sat out the Rangers opener in Montreal, and was officially suspended. With nowhere else to go, he eventually signed on Nov. 23 and played in a 1-1 tie with Chicago on Nov. 24 at MSG. Players weren't the only ones affected by the economic concerns. League cost-cutting continued even after all the holdouts had signed. Perhaps the most notable midseason change was the NHL’s decision to reduce the number of referees in a game from two to one on Jan. 4, 1933. The second referee became a lower-paid “judge of play”, or what we now know as linesmen. Decades would pass before the NHL returned to a two-referee system.


Goodbye, Springfield Indians
From their inception in 1926 to the start of the 1932-33 season, the Rangers also owned their minor-league affiliate, the Springfield Indians of the Canadian-American Hockey League. Many future Rangers stars had started out in Springfield, and the pipeline was a big part of the Blueshirts’ remarkable early NHL success. On Dec. 18, 1932, however, that all came to an end just 13 games into the Indians’ final season. A combination of factors doomed the Rangers-Springfield relationship. First, the NHL had recognized both the American Hockey League and Western Canada Professional Hockey League as affiliates, enabling NHL teams to send players there on a temporary basis. More important, the Springfield arena owners demanded that Rangers President Col. John S. Hammond pay more for his lease. He wasn’t willing to do that and instead disbanded the team in the middle of the season. The final Springfield game of the early Rangers era took place on Dec. 17, 1932. The Indians said goodbye with a home win over New Haven.

Goodbye, Col. Hammond
Three days after he disbanded the Springfield team, Col John S. Hammond found himself leaving The Garden even though he had been a driving force behind the Rangers for their first six years. Hammond wasn’t actually done as an MSG executive, however, because he would return to his post as Rangers president in 1934. But on Dec. 21, 1932, Hammond resigned as both team president and MSG Vice-President, turning all of his executive responsibilities over to Lester Patrick. The story behind the resignation is long and complicated, and reportedly boiled down to a personality clash between MSG President William Carey and Hammond. An unpleasant federal lawsuit over potential taxes owed on off-site ticketing outlets didn’t help matters, but the final straw was a dispute over MSG’s hockey ticket prices for the 1932-33 season. With the Depression hammering New Yorkers, Carey felt it was important to slash ticket prices to keep hockey a popular sport in the city and enable both the Americans and Rangers to thrive. Carey feared that if ticket prices weren’t lowered, people would stop attending games and forget about hockey altogether.

Declining attendance figures supported Carey’s conclusion, but Hammond apparently worried that lowering prices might cheapen the product, too. Early in the season, Carey cut ticket prices to a range of 40 cents for the least expensive seats and $3 for the most expensive seats. Hammond didn’t like it, but this was consistent with price reductions in other arenas around the league. On Dec. 6, Hammond cut prices again, lowering the most expensive seats to $2.20 with slighter decreases on all other seats. Hammond was upset by the second price cut, and likely resigned as a response to it. The previous season, a capacity crowd was worth $25,000 per game. After the cuts, sellouts were reduced to an $18,000 value. Hockey fans cheered Carey’s moves, and attendance soared at Rangers games for the remainder of the season. One affluent New Yorker who took advantage of the $2.20 seats was Babe Ruth. The Yankees legend attended a Rangers-Senators game at MSG on Dec. 29, 1932. Ruth took part in a ceremonial faceoff before the game, which likely means he didn’t have to pay for his tickets.


Hockey on the Boardwalk
The famous Atlantic City Municipal Auditorium, now known as Boardwalk Hall, opened in 1929. On Dec. 28, 1929, the Rangers played the first hockey game at Boardwalk Hall, drawing 10,000 for a matchup with the Ottawa Senators. The following season, Atlantic City had its own hockey team, an amateur club called the Sea Gulls. The Gulls quickly rose to prominence and were the national amateur champions by 1932. They developed a strong following, and there was talk that they might even be as good as an NHL team. Early in the 1932-33 season, the Sea Gulls challenged the Rangers to an exhibition game, but the Amateur Athletic Union refused to let it happen. As the season went on, the Gulls suggested a not-for-profit game to raise donations for the Atlantic City Red Cross. Anyone who attended the game could enter for free as long as they brought a donation of food or clothing. On Feb. 20, 1933, both the AAU and the Rangers accepted the charity idea, and a game was set up for March 1 during a break in the Rangers’ schedule. As it turned out, the Sea Gulls were no match for the Rangers, who toyed with them in a 6-2 victory featuring two goals by Bill Cook. What made the game special, however, was the turnout. A record 22,157 fans crammed into the arena. At that time, it was the largest crowd that had ever attended a hockey game in North America.

Packing the House for the Cup Finals
The reduction of ticket prices in December 1932 had done a lot to boost attendance at MSG, but the team’s rather improbable run to the 1932 Stanley Cup championship filled the building to the rafters. During the regular season, the Blueshirts’ biggest home crowd was 16,000 for a Jan. 8, 1933, showdown with the Americans. More than 3,000 fans were turned away at the gates that night, and all ticket sales were cut off at 8:25 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. start. This was done at the request of the fire department and to ensure there was no danger of the arena being oversold. Three months later, when Game 1 of the Cup Finals came to MSG, a more orderly procedure was implemented to ensure that every inch of space could be filled. The circus was on its way to New York, and Game 1 would be the only Cup Finals game at MSG that year. All tickets except standing room were sold well in advance of Game 1, bringing the total to roughly 15,500. With all tickets gone, roughly 2,500 standing-room locations were identified and put up for sale on the day of the game.

Because the Cinderella Rangers were looking to become the first third-place team ever to win the Cup, and because the 1933 Finals represented a rematch with Toronto, fans began lining up for the standing-room tickets several hours before the game. In the end, several thousand had to be turned away by a group of 50 policemen brought in to maintain order. The process worked smoothly, and the 18,000 fans lucky enough to be in the building saw the Rangers rout the Leafs 5-1. The Rangers’ success at the gate was typical of hockey fans’ loyalty to the game in the worst economic times. Despite the Great Depression that had made life so hard for so many, hockey managed to thrive. NHL President Frank Calder declared during the 1932-33 season that hockey had suffered less attendance erosion than any other major sport, including baseball.




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