The demise of the Montreal Nationals left the NAHC with seven clubs. That what had been the class of the league just a few short years ago was now gone was a tough pill for many to swallow. That the club had been bought, lock, stock and barrel by the New York Shamrocks' owner Sam Bigsby, then cannibalized to support his club was an even more bitter pill. Still, the league soldiered on, and that phrase would take on a whole new meeting just a few months after the Challenge Cup Finals ended when Canada went to war with the German Reich alongside the rest of the British Commonwealth nations.

On the ice the Boston Bees had now firmly stepped into the role of best team in the league. They put up a 34-13-1 mark and their 69 points were seven ahead of the runner-up Detroit Olympians, who themselves barely edged out third-place Toronto. There was a definite divide thereafter, with the top three firmly and obviously superior to the other four clubs. Of those "second division" squads, the Chicago Packers and New York Shamrocks were respectable while the New York Eagles and Montreal Valiants (surprisingly in the latter's case) were terrible.

Boston's run to the top of the league was propelled in part by two very dynamic first year players in goalie Tom Brockers (who won both the McLeod Trophy as top rookie and the Juneau Trophy as top goalie) and winger Joe Morey. If that name is familiar it's because Joe was the youngest brother of both Elmer and Leo Morey. While Elmer had retired at the end of the 1936-37 campaign, Leo was still active and playing for the New York Shamrocks. Brockers posted a 31-12-0 mark and league-best 1.86 GAA in 43 games, taking over for Tommy Kearns after five games - Kearns was subsequently dealt to the Shamrocks. The youngest Morey scored a league-best 25 goals and would have been a shoo-in for the McLeod had his team mate not had an (arguably) better rookie campaign of his own.

As for the Olympians, they were riding a wave of youth as well with young players like C Rupert Mohr (20g, 19a), C Garrett Moran (18g, 18a) and wingers Rosie McInnis (15g, 21a), Miles Barfield (19g, 15a) and Ed Bowlin (23g, 9a) all topping 30 points. They also featured two of New York Eagles' owner Bill Yeadon's sons. Doug, a center, played 35 games and put up 25 points while brother Fred, who played defense like their father, played in all 48 games on Detroit's second defense pairing and acquitted himself quite well. As for the elder Yeadon, his financial problems continued and he had sold the rights to both his boys to Detroit so they could play for coach Jack Barrell on a stable, well-financed team.

The Toronto Dukes, the aforementioned Barrell's former employer, they were a strong third behind the league's second-best defense, allowing 93 goals with hard-hitting defensemen Billy Farmwald (85 PIM) and Phil Denman (54 PIM) providing physical play in front of netminder Gordie Broadway. Meanwhile forwards Bobbie Sauer (16g, 27a) and Gil Nagle (20g, 17a) led the league's third-best offensive unit.

With the league down to seven teams, the Board of Governors acquiesced to a motion by Sam Bigsby to expand the playoffs back to six teams. This meant all but the last place club would qualify, and ensured that Bigsby's club would likely be one of those six who did. The format was an interesting one: the quarterfinals would consist of two matchups: one between the third and fourth place teams and the other between the fifth and sixth place clubs. They would meet in a straight best-of-three series with the winners squaring off in a best-of-three semifinal to make the Finals. Meanwhile, the first and second place teams would meet in a best of seven semifinal that began during the quarterfinals. The winner of that series would go right to the Final.

This meant a matchup between the Eagles and Shamrocks in one quarterfinal and the Packers and Dukes in the other, while the Bees and Olympians would meet in the best-of-seven series between the top two seeds.

The Dukes made short work of Chicago, winning in two straight while the New Yorkers required three games before the Shamrocks emerged victorious. While those series were underway, the Bees and Olympians faced off in their best-of-seven semifinal with the Olympians coming up with a shocking sweep of the top-seeded Boston club. The Dukes made short work of the Shamrocks, sweeping them in two games to set up a final between Toronto and Detroit.

In the first two games, held in Detroit's Thompson Palladium, the Olympians' momentum continued as they won both games (3-2 and 5-0) to stretch their playoff win streak to six games. Things turned around in the Dominion Forum in Toronto where the Dukes eked out a must-win victory in game three by a score of 3-2. Game four saw the Olympians get back to their winning ways, capturing the game by a 3-1 score to move within one win of the Challenge Cup. Back in Detroit, the Olympians won a tightly-contested game five by a 2-1 margin to claim the club's first Cup.

North American Hockey Confederation Standings 1938-39

American Division GP W L T PTS GF GA
Boston Bees 48 34 13 1 69 148 89
Detroit Olympians 48 28 14 6 62 145 103
Toronto Dukes 48 25 13 10 60 124 93
Chicago Packers 48 18 22 8 44 108 121
New York Shamrocks 48 18 24 6 42 115 132
New York Eagles 48 14 30 4 32 113 157
Montreal Valiants 48 11 32 5 27 103 161


Challenge Cup Finals



Player Goals   Player Assists   Player Points  
Joe Morey, BOS 25   Larry Dees, BOS  32   Hans Immelman, CHI  46  
Ed Bowlin, DET 23   Ralph Speyer, NYS  30   Ralph Speyer, NYS  44  
Doug Lynch, VAL  21   Fred Beaton, VAL  30   Bobbie Sauer, TOR 43  
Rupert Mohr, DET  20   Sam Koger, NYE  29   Sam Koger, NYE  42  
Gil Nagle, TOR  20   Hans Immelman, CHI  27   Doug Lynch, VAL  42  
Hans Immelman, CHI  19   Bobbie Sauer, TOR  27   Larry Dees, BOS 41  
Miles Barfield, DET  19   Ferdinand Markle, NYE  26   Rupert Mohr, DET 39  
Joe Samuels, NYE  18   Bernie Dunton, DET  22   Ferdinand Markle, NYE 38  
Garrett Moran, DET  18   Three Players Tied 21   Harry Edgerton, NYS 38  
Harry Edgerton, NYS  17         Gil Nagle, TOR 37  



Player GP W L T ShO GAA
Tom Brockers, BOS 43 31 12 0 7 1.86
Gordie Broadway, TOR 48 25 13 10 11 1.87
George Dinsmore, DET 48 28 14 6 8 2.10
George Dimitrios, CHI 48 18 22 8 6 2.45
Tommy Kearns, NYS 39 16 17 6 4 2.57



McDaniels Trophy - Larry Dees, BOS

McLeod Trophy - Tom Brockers, BOS

Yeadon Trophy - Rupert Mohr, DET

Juneau Trophy - Tom Brockers, BOS