The 1917-18 season was one of transition - things were changing as forces both internal and external exerted influence over the sport and its professional leagues. Military service call-ups continued to draw down the available player pool and though many did remain in Canada, the experience of the 138th club in the NAHC the season before had shown that service teams were not overly reliable during wartime. While the entrance of the United States into the war in April had been a positive shot-in-the-arm for the Allied cause, the Americans would need training and it would be 1918 before the U.S. Army was engaged in combat in Europe. The NAHC would go into the 1917-18 with four clubs as the Quebec Champlains had suspended operations for the duration of the war, as did the TCHA's Victoria club; the TCHA would operate as a three-team circuit. The minors were also affected - the Maritime circuit would also consist of just three clubs and the amateur organizations were mainly limited to city-based leagues in places like Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary.

The Toronto Dukes, the "new" club that essentially replaced the Jack Connolly-owned Silver Skates after Connolly had been forcibly ejected from the NAHC, took the ice for the first time in 1917-18. They debuted an exciting young winger named Jack Barrell in their very first game on December 19th (he went scoreless) - and promptly shipped him back to Montreal where he again played in the city league while he finished high school. But he'd be back (and in a big way).

The NAHC again operated a split-season format. The first half of the season was extremely competitive with Ottawa posting the best mark at 7-5, both Montreal clubs going 6-6 and Toronto posting a 5-7 mark. Things took a different turn in the second half as the Nationals fell apart, going 0-12. The other clubs were still closely packed, but Toronto went 9-3 to claim the second-half title. Ottawa capped an overall successful campaign with an 8-4 mark and the Valiants went 7-5. The results were ironic in that the Valiants were probably the league's best club - they scored the most goals, allowed the least - and posted four shutouts - and somehow managed to finish at just 13-11. Ottawa, on the other hand, had a goal differential of just +10 and went 15-9. So it would be Toronto and Ottawa in the two-game total goals series for the NAHC Cup (Jack Connolly had, not surprisingly, withdrawn the Connolly Cup which had previously been the NAHC championship trophy). Toronto won the first game (in Toronto) by a 6-3 margin while Ottawa won the second, 5-3, giving the title to Toronto as they had 9 goals to Ottawa's 8. 

The TCHA also decided to adopt a two-game, total goals "playoff" between its top two teams, but did not use a split season, electing to just have the first and second place teams meet. This would cause a bit of consternation when the regular season turned out to be a very close-run affair. The Portland Reds went 11-7 to claim the top spot, but the Pacifics and Emeralds both went 8-10 to tie for second. George Yeadon, in his role as league president, and setting aside the fact that he was owner, coach and player for Vancouver, awarded the second spot to Seattle based on a better goal differential (even, versus -8 for Vancouver). So Seattle would face Portland - not that it mattered - the Reds were the league's best club and showed it by winning 4-1 and 3-0. 

Individually, great seasons were turned in by Paddy O'Donoghue, who joined the Valiants and nearly scored 50 goals, finishing with 49 in 24 games. The Valiants were loaded offensively - in addition to O'Donoghue, they had Gevis Murphy (25 goals) and Pete Boutet (19) plus top-notch defenseman Percy McAdam (9g, 8a). Goalie Al Juneau (13-11, 3.68) wasn't really to blame - the Valiants lost a lot of one-goal games. Ottawa's Charlie Oliphant scored 43 goals of his own and was a big reason the Athletics posted the league's best record. Toronto's Ben Scheer continued to build on the promise he'd shown the year before, scoring 34 goals to finish third in the league. And Francis Craft found the form that had made him one of the game's best in the pre-war years, scoring 32 goals for the Nationals. The TCHA's top goal scorer was Al Fleming, who potted 31 for Vancouver. Portland's Peter Norlock and George McIntosh, with 21 each, were the only other players to top 20 goals in the suddenly more defensive oriented TCHA.

George Yeadon's playing career was winding down, and he would announce his retirement after playing just one game for Vancouver. He would continue to serve as TCHA President and both own & coach the Pacifics but aside from a few emergency appearances, was done as a regular player. His brother Bill was also winding down, but did play in 17 games and score 10 points on two goals and eight assists. Bill would hang around for several years (while continuing to coach), but his playing career was also on the wane.

Ottawa Athletics 24 15 9 0 30 122 112   Portland Reds 18 11 7 0 22 69 61
Toronto Dukes 24 14 10 0 28 123 108   Vancouver Pacifics 18 8 10 0 16 68 76
Montreal Valiants 24 13 11 0 26 127 90   Seattle Emeralds 18 8 10 0 16 64 64
Montreal Nationals 24 6 18 0 12 92 154                  

 * The NAHC played a split-schedule in 1917-18 with Ottawa winning the first half and Toronto the second half.

Player Goals   Player Assists   Player Points  
Paddy O'Donoghue, QUE 49   Charlie Oliphant, OTT 12   Charlie Oliphant, OTT 55  
Charlie Oliphant, OTT 43   Ben Scheer, TOR 11   Paddy O'Donoghue, QUE 53  
Ben Scheer, TOR 34   Topper Donahue, NAT 11   Ben Scheer, TOR 45  
Francis Craft, NAT 32   Philippe Boutin, TOR 11   Topper Donahue, NAT 38  
Topper Donahue, NAT 27   Five players tied 10   Francis Craft, NAT 37  


Al Juneau, VAL: 13-11, 3.68 GAA


Player Goals   Player Assists   Player Points  
Al Fleming, VAN 31   Peter Norlock, POR 12   Al Fleming, VAN 42  
George McIntosh, POR 21   Al Fleming, VAN 11   Peter Norlock, POR 33  
Peter Norlock, POR 21   Sibby Danielson, SEA 10   George McIntosh, POR 24  
Max Thibodeau, SEA 14   Malcolm Cummings, VAN 8   Sibby Danielson, SEA 21  
Park Archer, SEA 13   Bill Yeadon, SEA 8   Max Thibodeau, SEA 20  


AL Sutherland, POR: 11-7, 3.39 GAA