Archives: Vancouver Millionaires lose Stanley Cup final

This day in Vancouver history: April 4, 1921

Six years after being swept in three games and humiliated 12-3 in the final by the Vancouver Millionaires, the Ottawa Senators returned to town and avenged the loss in a closely fought five-game series held at Denman Arena.

An estimated 12,000 people packed the rink for the final game and 3,000 more turned away. Al “Dutch” Skinner put the home team on the board midway through the first period but Ottawa’s Jack Darragh potted two in the second.

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With two minutes to left to play, a line-brawl broke out when Ottawa defenceman Sprague Cleghorn punched Lloyd Cook in the face after he retaliated to a hard hit by Eddie Gerard.  Police were finally forced to break up the fight.  All three instigating players were sent out of the game but the Sens held on for the win despite playing one-man short.

Jack Darragh

Darragh led the Senators in scoring with five goals during the series, while goaltender Clint Benedict, who had been badly lit up by the Millionaires in the 1915 final, allowed just 12 goals in the five games. Skinner had the most for Vancouver with four goals while 38-year-old former star Fred “Cyclone” Taylor was held off the scoresheet entirely.

The game also marked the last appearance by the Millionaires in the newly minted National Hockey League’s final tournament. The team changed their name to the Vancouver Maroons the following year and, although the league champions in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association's final two seasons, new regulations meant they also had to defeat the winners of the newly founded Western Canada Hockey League en route to a Cup series against the NHL champions. The Maroons lost to the Edmonton Eskimos in 1923 and the Calgary Tigers the following year. The team was absorbed by the WCHL after the PCHA's demise following the 1923-1924 season, but never achieved the same level of success and eventually folded in 1939.

It was another 59 years before another Vancouver team reached the Stanley Cup finals when the Canucks were swept in four games by the New York Islanders in 1982.

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