Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Art Ross - The Pinnacle
Spotlight
One on One Treasure Chest Pinnacle

Between 1924 and 1954, Art Ross served as either coach or general manager of the Boston Bruins.
Between 1924 and 1954, Art Ross served as either coach or general manager of the Boston Bruins. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
As an executive with the Boston Bruins, Art Ross was the architect behind Stanley Cup wins in 1929, 1939 and 1941. Undoubtedly, those victories were the pinnacle of his professional career, but because Ross was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Players Category, the zenith has been chosen from his sterling playing career.

The Stanley Cup was first presented in 1893, awarded to the Montreal Hockey Club based on their first-place finish in the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA).

Thirteen years later, after spending the 1906-07 season with the Brandon Wheat Cities of the Manitoba Hockey League (MHL), scoring 5 goals in 9 games, Ross was chosen as an add-on to the Kenora Thistles squad that faced the defending Stanley Cup champion Montreal Wanderers. He was paid $1,000 to join the Thistles for the series against Montreal.

The Wanderers were certainly favoured. Kenora was a small town, but iced a team that included future Hall of Famers Si Griffis, Joe Hall, Tom Hooper, Billy McGimsie, Tommy Phillips, Alf Smith and Harry Westwick as well as Art Ross.

Art Ross brought about the replacement of the league's square goal nets with a rounded-back version, complete with superior mesh.
Art Ross brought about the replacement of the league's square goal nets with a rounded-back version, complete with superior mesh. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
The series was a two-game, total goal showdown played at the Westmount Arena in Montreal. Art Ross, having lived in Montreal for several years, was welcomed warmly in spite of playing with the opposition.

The Thistles doubled the Wanderers 4-2 in Game One, played January 17, 1907. Tommy Phillips scored all 4 goals for Kenora.

Four days later, Kenora finished off the reigning champions with an 8-6 win. Tom Hooper and Tommy Phillips both recorded hat-tricks, and Ross played an exceptionally strong game on defence.

The Wanderers submitted a protest, insisting that only bona fide players who had spent the season with the team should be allowed to participate in the Stanley Cup challenge. Art Ross, Alf Smith and Harry Westwick had all been 'borrowed' by Kenora for the series. The protest was largely ignored.

It was a short-lived celebration. The same teams met two months later, this time without Ross, and the wanderers captured the Cup in that two-game total goal series.

In 1945 Art Ross was part of the first group of players elected to the newly founded Hockey Hall of Fame.  Here he receives his Hockey Hall of Fame Induction plaque from Clarence Campbell during a ceremony held in Toronto.
In 1945 Art Ross was part of the first group of players elected to the newly founded Hockey Hall of Fame. Here he receives his Hockey Hall of Fame Induction plaque from Clarence Campbell during a ceremony held in Toronto. (Imperial Oil-Turofsky/HHOF)
Art Ross became just the second players to win the Stanley Cup with two different teams in consecutive years.

In January 1908, the Montreal Wanderers, now including Art Ross, were challenged by the Ottawa Victorias for the bragging rights to the Stanley Cup. The series, played in Montreal, again was a two-game total goal affair.

The series was almost farcical. Montreal dumped the Victorias 9-3 in Game One, played January 9. Ross scored twice in that contest and teammate Ernie Russell picked up 4 goals. In the following game, held four days later, the Wanderers dumped Ottawa 13-1. Ross scored one goal and Russell ran up the score with 6 tallies.

In March, the Wanderers met the Winnipeg Maple Leafs, beating them 11-5 and 9-3.

Finally, the Wanderers faced the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Ontario Professional Hockey League (OPHL), putting them down with a 6-4 win.

In part because of Art Ross, the Stanley Cup trustees ruled that any player who had competed for a team challenging for the Cup could not play for another team challenging for the Cup the following year.

Art Ross, a fine rushing defenceman during an era not used to such activity, later donated the Art Ross Trophy to the NHL, emblematic of the leading point-getter during each NHL regular season.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.