The NAHC was rolling at the conclusion of the 1923 Challenge Cup Finals. The Ottawa Athletics ruled hockey, and an NAHC Club hadn't lost a Cup in years. The NAHC owners felt that they had the sport's best players in the sport's best markets (with the possible exception of Quebec). When the executive board, comprised of the four club owners and the league president, convened in Toronto in November, Toronto owner Bert Thomas opened the meeting by saying, "Let's take charge!"

Thomas went on to explain that with the war, the influenza epidemic and Jack Connolly's disruptive ways behind them, the NAHC was in position to take over the sport. The TCHA, Thomas said, "(was) dying a slow death in the small cities of the far west" and the USHA was "full of hockey neophytes except Connolly, who has stuck himself in the league's worst market." The others - particularly Ottawa owner Martin Delaware (who had a long and bitter relationship with Connolly) listened intently. Andre Gauthier, the Quebec owner who had purchased the club from Auguste Raymond back in 1919, asked what everyone was thinking: "And what do you have in mind?"

Thomas said that they should "move into the United States" as soon as possible. He pointed out that both Detroit and Chicago did not have teams, and the same was true of Pittsburgh and Cleveland as well. Noting that Connolly had done them a favor by proving hockey would work in the U.S., Thomas suggested taking advantage of the two best available markets as soon as possible. As Thomas owned the FABL baseball club the Toronto Wolves, he had contacts in both Chicago and Detroit. And he said, Detroit's Eddie Thompson had already expressed interest in owning a hockey club. As for Chicago, it was a large city with plenty of wealthy people and it "should not be difficult to find the right man" to build a club there.

The discussion moved on to more prosaic matters thereafter, but not before Thomas got permission to quietly explore the possibilities.

Thomas was right about one thing - the TCHA was having financial trouble. The team in the biggest trouble was Portland. Several years of poor performance had worn down public interest and in a smaller city, that was proving fatal. The Yeadons propped up the team, hoping to eke out at least one more season to either drum up new ownership (possibly moving the team to Seattle) or to come up with some other solution. 

That the solution might prove to be making an arrangement with Jack Connolly of all people was not something either George or Bill Yeadon wanted to consider, but consider it they did.

The USHA was relatively healthly. The New York Shamrocks under Sam Bigsby were thriving - the Bigsby Garden was generally considered the best arena in the world and the team was good. Boston was likewise in good shape - Frank Denny was an astute hockey man and his construction company had built a world-class venue in Denny Arena. Philadelphia was a more shaky situation, but Tom Franklin had deep pockets and promised to weather the storm. Connolly's Buffalo club had struggled on the ice in both of its first two seasons, but he had deep pockets and was committed to making things work. Connolly also was keenly aware of what was going on in the TCHA and was waiting for the right moment to suggest that the Yeadon brothers move east - he was thinking Chicago and Detroit...