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 Renfrew Creamery Kings

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PostSubject: Renfrew Creamery Kings   Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:46 am

In November 1909, industrialist Ambrose O'Brien of Renfrew, Ontario, was in Montreal to purchase supplies for a railway contract. At the request of the Renfrew Creamery Kings hockey team, he attended the Eastern Canada Hockey Association (ECHA) meetings, held at the Windsor Hotel, to represent Renfrew in its application to join the league. At the meeting, the ECHA team owners rejected Renfrew's application.[5] Later that day the ECHA's owners chose to disband their league and form the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) in a bid to exclude the Montreal Wanderers, who had upset the other owners when they moved into a smaller arena that would reduce the visiting team's share of gate receipts.[6] In the lobby of the hotel, O'Brien met Jimmy Gardner, manager of the Wanderers, and discussed forming a new league which would include Renfrew, the Wanderers, and two teams that O'Brien owned in the Ontario mining towns of Cobalt and Haileybury.[7] Gardner suggested that O'Brien start a team of francophone players based in Montreal, forming a rivalry with the Wanderers.[6] As a result, the National Hockey Association (NHA) was founded on December 2, 1909,[8] and Les Canadiens were created two days later, initially financed by O'Brien with the intent of transferring ownership to francophone sportsmen in Montreal as soon as possible.[9]

At the time, francophone teams were not considered to be good enough to play with the top anglophone teams: the Montreal Gazette warned potential fans of the new team not to get too excited, as "French-Canadian players of class are not numerous".[10] The Canadiens stocked their team with francophone stars including Newsy Lalonde, Georges Poulin and Didier Pitre. Before being allowed to play, Pitre had to resolve a lawsuit with the Montreal Nationals, to whom he was already under contract.[11]




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