Over the years he and his family had been a part of the NAHC, Shamrocks owner Sam Bigsby had never been shy about exercising what he felt was his power in league matters. The year before, Bigsby had been thwarted in his attempt to derail the bailout of the New York Eagles - the Shamrocks' main rival (and tenant) - by Detroit Olympians owner John Connolly Jr. That deal had essentially been a franchise swap, although both Detroit and the Eagles kept their minor league affiliates, every contract held by each club had been swapped in return for Connolly's bailout of the Eagles. 

Both clubs appeared to have benefited from the "franchise trade" as many smirkingly termed it. The Eagles actually bounced back with their roster of former Olympians and finished in a tie atop the American Division with the Boston Bees. Though both clubs had 54 points, league rules named the Eagles the division champs because they had 23 wins against 21 for Boston. Meanwhile, the former Eagles took roost in Detroit and promptly finished second in the Canadian Division behind a resurgent Montreal Valiants club, posting a 21-16-11 mark for 53 points.  

The rise of the Valiants, Eagles and Olympians were all big stories but equally as large was the sudden collapse of the Montreal Nationals. Coming off back-to-back Cup victories and seasons in which they had posted 78 and 74 points respectively, the Nationals had entered the 1937-38 season as the favorites to extend their streak to three titles. Instead, they collapsed. Many players' paychecks were bouncing and it appeared the Nationals had been built on a house of cards. Their cast of unpaid players can be forgiven for not exactly playing up to their potential, but the end result was a 16-23-9 mark, dead-last in the suddenly very competitive Canadian Division.

Enter Sam Bigsby. He had learned his lesson from the Eagles-Olympians deal the year before. But he went a step further - he wasn't a "rising tide lifts all boats" kind of guy. He was cut from the "only the strong survive" cloth that marked his entire family. So he just went out and bought the Montreal Nationals, then suspended the franchise and merged their players in with his Shamrocks, creating what he hoped would be a dominant force for the 1938-39 season and beyond. The disappearance of the Nationals meant the disappearance of divisional play as well - with only seven clubs, the NAHC would play the 1938-39 season as one division.

But all of that happened after the eventful 1937-38 season. The league instituted an All-Star Game for the first time with proceeds benefiting the family of Harvey McLeod. One squad was composed of players from the two Montreal clubs and the other squad comprised of stars from the other six teams. The event raised $20,000 for McLeod's family. Another young star arose in Boston as Waldemar Rupp, who had played sparingly in 10 games (scoring 1 goal) in 1936-37, impressed greatly in a full-time role, scoring 18 goals and adding 13 assists to claim the McLeod Trophy.

The playoffs saw the Bees and Eagles square off in the American and the Valiants and Olympians in the Canadian. The American was a walkover - while the teams posted 54 points apiece and most expected a tightly-fought contest, the Boston Bees easily won, three games to none thanks to some stellar goal-tending by Tommy Kearns who posted a 1.00 GAA in the sweep. The Canadian was a straight-up fight - the Olympians, though big underdogs, fought hard for coach Jack Barrell. In game one Detroit fell 4-3 thanks to a late goal by Doug Lynch. Game two saw them fall again, this time 4-2. Then things turned: game three was a dominant 4-0 shutout before a raucous home crowd at the Thompson Palladium. Game four was a tightly-contested back-and-forth battle won 4-3 by Detroit to force a game five in Montreal. Alas for the underdogs - victory was not to be as the Valiants scored twice early, led 2-0 after one period and held on for a 4-2 win and a berth in the Final.

The Final went six games and perhaps the Valiants' hard-fight in the divisional round left them spent in game one as Boston easily won 4-0 in Montreal. The Valiants bounced back in a defensive struggle in game two, holding on for a 1-0 win to even the series. Boston took advantage of home ice to claim both game three (5-2) and game four (2-0) to put them on the cusp of hoisting the Cup. But Montreal won at home in game five, again by a 1-0 margin. The series went back to Boston for game six and the Bees earned a 4-1 victory to claim the Cup.

North American Hockey Confederation Standings 1937-38

American Division GP W L T PTS GF GA   Canadian Division GP W L T PTS GF GA
New York Eagles 48 23 17 8 54 125 97   Montreal Valiants 48 29 14 5 63 124 90
Boston Bees 48 21 15 12 54 132 106   Detroit Olympians 48 21 16 11 53 105 98
New York Shamrocks 48 16 25 7 39 76 110   Toronto Dukes 48 23 19 6 52 122 109
Chicago Packers 48 11 31 6 28 86 141   Montreal Nationals 48 16 23 9 41 88 107


Eagles v Bees Bees win three games to none
Valiants v Olympians Valiants win three game to two
Challenge Cup Finals
Valiants v Bees Bees win four games to two



Player Goals   Player Assists   Player Points  
Sam Koger 24   Johnny Arthur, NYE 31   Sam Koger, NYE 43  
Leon Simard, VAL 23   Bobbie Sauer, TOR 24   Bobbie Sauer, TOR 42  
Chris Schneider, NYE 23   Ferdinand Markle, NYE 24   Gil Nagle, TOR 42  
Randy Whitt, NYE 21   Fred Beaton, VAL 22   Leon Simard, VAL 42  
Gil Nagle, TOR 21   Gil Nagle, TOR 21   Chris Schneider, NYE 42  
Ivan Popoff, CHI 20   Larry Dees, BOS 20   Ivan Popoff, CHI 38  
Waldemar Rupp, BOS 18   Dave Thomas, TOR 20   Randy Whitt, NYE 37  
Joe Samuels, NYE 18   Four Players Tied 19   Fred Beaton, VAL 36  
Bobbie Sauer, TOR 18         Larry Dees, BOS 36  
Doug Lynch, VAL 17         Two Players Tied 33  



Player GP W L T ShO GAA
Everette McDargh, VAL 48 29 13 5 6 1.83
George Dinsmore, NYE 48 23 17 8 8 1.99
Bip Beauregard, DET 48 21 16 11 9 2.00
Newt McCotter, NAT 48 38 15 2 10 2.17
Tommy Kearns, BOS 48 21 15 12 8 2.16



McDaniels Trophy - Cy Beech, BOS

McLeod Trophy - Waldemar Rupp, BOS

Yeadon Trophy - Gil Nagle, TOR

Juneau Trophy - Everette McDargh, VAL