Weird Hockey History

It’s Been 75 Years Since St. Louis Won A Pro Hockey Title

St. Louis Flyers logo

Hey Toronto Maple Leafs fans, you think that you’ve been starved for a championship? You ought to talk to the people of St. Louis.

The St. Louis Blues could win their first-ever Stanley Cup as early as Sunday, when they meet the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final at the Enterprise Center.

It’s the first time the Blues have contested a Stanley Cup final series since 1970 but it’s been much longer since the city of St. Louis celebrated a pro hockey championship. In fact, it was so long ago that the United States had yet to become involved in World War II.

The St. Louis Flyers were a powerhouse in the minor-pro American Hockey Association. The Flyers, who joined the league in 1928-29, won AHA championships in 1934-35, 1935-36, 1937-38, 1938-39 and 1940-41.

That 1940-41 title, which came eight months prior to the USA’s declaration following the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was hard fought. The Kansas City Americans grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Facing elimination in Game 3, Fred Hergert scored in the fourth overtime period to give St. Louis a 3-2 win. It was Hergert’s only goal of the playoffs.

Bud Kashner registered a hat-trick in Game 4 as the Flyers drubbed K.C. 7-3. And Cliff (Fido) Purpur, among 14 players on the St. Louis roster who’d skate in the NHL, netted the winner as the Flyers won Game 5 by a 2-1 count before 13,261 at the St. Louis Arena. St. Louis lifted the F. Sinclair Trophy as AHA champions.

The F. Sinclair Trophy, awarded to the AHA champions.

The St. Louis roster included forward Bill Kendall, who’d won a Stanley Cup with the 1933-34 Chicago Blackhawks. Captain Leo Carbol would play six games for the Blackhawks in 1942-43. Coach John McKinnon was a veteran of six NHL seasons who for decades held a share of the NHL record for goals in a game by a defenseman (four).

The AHA folded following the 1941-42 season. The Flyers would be reborn as an AHL team from 1944-45 to 1952-53. St. Louis also would have teams in the Eastern (1962-63) and Central (1963-64 to 1966-67) before the Blues were granted an NHL expansion franchise that began play in 1967.

However, none would be able to emulate the 1940-41 Flyers and win a title.

1940-41 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

An interesting side note – in 1940-41, the Bruins were Stanley Cup champions.

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