opening bell: no quit in new york’s 1926 debut

New York Rangers captain Bill Cook (right) flanks coach and manager Lester Patrick alongside Frank Boucher on the ice at the Chicago Stadium in November of 1934. It was on a Tuesday night eight years earlier that these three featured in the Rangers’ very first regular-season NHL game at Madison Square Garden as the brand-new home team dispensed with the visiting Montreal Maroons by a score of 1-0 on  the night of November 17, 1926 in front of a crowd of 13,000.

It was Cook who scored the first goal in Rangers’ history 96 years ago, beating Clint Benedict in the Montreal net in the second period for the game’s decisive goal. Hal Winkler recorded the shutout for New York. Referee Lou Marsh wielded a bell on the night, notably, instead of a whistle. He put it to use in the third period when the famously peaceable Boucher got into the only fight of his long career, clashing with Montreal’s Bill Phillips. Both players got major penalties for their troubles, and each was fined $15. Boucher was badly cut on the neck in the melee and had to leave the game for repairs.


(Image: SDN-077304, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, Chicago History Museum)

One thought on “opening bell: no quit in new york’s 1926 debut

  1. See

    Stange the author did not mention that 11-16-2022 was the 96th anniversary of when Taffy Abel became the FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN IN THE NHL on November 16, 1926 with the New York Rangers.

    He also BROKE THE NHL COLOR BARRIER that night in 1926.

    The Black Willie O’Ree did not break the NHL Color Barrier in 1958 as many have proclaimed.

    Like Jackie Robinson in 1947, only one person takes FIRST in breaking a Sports Professional Color Barrier … there’s no 2nd or 3rd or 4th place honors like in kid’s games.

    Yes, Taffy Abel helped beat the Canadian team that night in 1926. He had 4 PIMs and literally beat some Canadians until they bled.

    His motto: “I’m in the business of Winning”

    PS: I stayed in Taffy’s Lodge and drank with him. American made Hiram Walker’s whiskey. None of that inferior Canadian booze.

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