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Retro Columns

DID YOU KNOW?   (first posted JANUARY, 2013)
Posted on: 01-13-2013

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SEASON OF 1941-42<<

      Detroit was home to not only the
NHL Cougars/Falcons/Red Wings, but
also to numerous minor pro and semi-
pro/advanced amateur hockey teams
prior to World War II.
      The Red Wings based their top
farm club, the Detroit Olympics of the
IHL, at Olympia Stadium in the 1930s
for easy call-ups and demotions.
      The Michigan-Ontario Hockey
League operated from the 1932-33
through 1941-42 seasons with teams
based mostly in southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario. It was an
advanced senior (20 years old and above) amateur circuit with many
teams sponsored by local businesses.
      Detroit-based teams in the MOHA included the White Stars, Haley AC,
Mundas AC, Farm Crest (bakery), Tool Shop, Chevrolet AC, McLean Pontiacs,
Mansfield's Clothes and Pariscleans.
      Future Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Turk Broda had a short stint in
net for Detroit Farm Crest in the 1935-36 season.
      The Detroit White Stars won the 1933-34 Hamilton B. Willis Trophy
as the United States National Senior Champions in a seven team tournament
in New York City sponsored by National Amateur Athletic Union (NAAU).
      The White Stars beat the Boston All-Stars 5-1 in the third game of the
March 23RD quarter-finals. On March 24TH Detroit edged the Baltimore
Orioles 6-5 in the semis, even though the Baltimore club was well-rested after
drawing a bye in the opening round. The White Stars completed their quest
by besting the host New York Metropolitan All-Stars 5-1 in the March 25TH
      The national championship was a grand finale for the White Stars who
ceased to exist after success in the first two MOHL seasons. The White
Stars finished second in 1932-33 but won the round-robin playoffs with a
5-1-0 record to best the Chatham Maroons 15-13 (three points awarded for
each win). The White Stars earned entry to the national senior tournament
by finishing first in the MOHL in 1933-34 with a regular season record of
18-4-2, yet placed second in the round-robin MOHL playoffs to Windsor Grand
Trunk 15-12.   
      DID YOU KNOW the Detroit Holzbaugh Ford club was the most successful
in MOHL history?
      The Holzbaugh Ford team played in the MOHL from 1934--41 and captured
the regular season title in each of their first six seasons before placing
second in their last season of operation 1940-41.
      The Holzbaugh Ford squad posted records of 25-3-2, 19-1-0, 18-5-3,
18-11-3, 15-9-5 and 27-3-6 in winning their six straight seasonal championships.
      They reached the MOHL playoff finals in six of their seven seasons (excepting
1938-39 when the team was ousted in the semi-finals).
      Holzbaugh Ford won the MOHL playoffs in 1935-36 by sweeping a two game,
total goals semi-final from Detroit Chevrolet and then winning a best-of-3 series
final by sweeping Detroit Tool Shop in two straight games 3-0 and 5-2.
      Holzbaugh made it back-to-back MOHL playoff championships, although it was
a tougher task in 1936-37. Holzbaugh took five games to beat the Windsor Bulldogs
in a best-of-3 semi-final. Windsor won the opener 4-3. A pair of 1-1 ties in games
two and three did not count. Detroit downed Windsor 7-2 to even the series in
game four. Deciding game five was a 1-0 squeaker for Detroit.   Holzbaugh Ford
then went on to sweep the Pontiacs 2-1 and 3-2 in a best-of-3 final round.
      Holzbaugh Ford won its third MOHL playoff title in 1939-40. The Detroit team
tied the Stratford Canadians 1-1 in their semi-final opener, then lost game two
in a 4-0 shutout. Holzbaugh then rallied to win the next two contests in convincing
fashion 7-3 and 5-0 to take the best-of-3 series. In a best-of-5 final Holzbaugh
defeated the London Mohawks 3-1. The Fordmen took the opener 5-3 and the
Mohawks evened the series with a 7-3 decision in game two. Detroit then won
the next two contests 7-3 and 5-2 to wrap up the series.
      With its success in the MOHL the Holzbaugh Ford squad earned four consecutive
invitations to the US National Senior Championship tournament, but were frustrated
in their first three trips when they lost in the finals each time.
      In the 1937 tourney Holzbaugh slaughtered the Lewiston (Maine) St. Doms 13-1 in
the March 27TH semi-finals, but came up empty and lost the March 28TH finals to the
host Boston Olympics 1-0.
      In 1938 Detroit was pitted against the Eastern League Champion Hershey (PA)
Bears in a best-of-5 series. The Bears swept Holzbaugh 3-Zip with 3-2 and 5-2 wins
March 29TH & 30TH in Hershey and a 2-1 clincher at Detroit on April 2ND.
      The 1939 experience was only slightly better. The Eastern League Champion
New York Rovers bested Holzbaugh in another best-of-5 set 3-1. In the New York
City series opener (date unrecorded) the Rovers were 3-0 home ice winners. NY
also took game two on March 27TH in Detroit 4-3. Holzbaugh Ford avoided elimination
with a 7-3 home win on March 29TH. The Rovers won game four 5-3 to clinch the
series in Detroit on March 31ST.
      The fourth time was a charm for Holzbaugh Ford, which finally won the 1940
National Championship vs Eastern League Champ the Baltimore Orioles. After 3-0
and 5-3 road wins at Baltimore on April 7TH & 9TH, the Fordmen returned home
sensing a best-of-5 series sweep. The Orioles avoided ouster in a tight 2-1 game
three decision on April 11TH. Holzbaugh Ford then beat Baltimore by the same 2-1
score in game four to win the title on home ice on April 12TH.
      Holzbaugh Ford followed its most successful season ever with its only non-
championship year in 1940-41. After placing second in the MOHL standings with
a 13-10-4 regular season record, Holzbaugh swept the Toledo Babcocks 6-1 and 4-3
in a best-of-3 playoff semi-final. However, the regular season champion Windsor
Spitfires edged Detroit 3-2 in a best-of-5 final. The Spits won games one, four and
five with all five games decided by identical 4-2 scores.
      In a strange twist, the Ontario-based Spitfires advanced to the 1941 US National
Senior Championship. Windsor was defeated in a best-of-3 series when they were
swept by the host Eastern League Champion Atlantic City Sea Gulls by a pair of 6-3
scores on April 4TH & 5TH.
      With the United States about to enter WWII and the MOHL about to fold, the
Detroit Holzbaugh Ford team ceased operation in the 1941 off-season after seven
exciting years.
      The Windsor Spitfires finished first again in the MOHL's final 1941-42 season.
Two Detroit teams played their only MOHL seasons in the then five team league
in 41-42 as Detroit Pariscleans and Detroit Mansfield's Clothes represented
the Motor City. Pariscleans called Olympia Stadium home and placed second to
Windsor. Although not based in either Michigan or Ontario, the Toledo Babcocks
and Akron Clippers rounded out the 1941-42 MOHL.



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