Stanley Cup Play in the City by the Bay

After tonight’s game between the Penguins and Sharks, the Stanley Cup scene shifts to San Jose for games three and four on Saturday and Monday nights. While this is the Sharks’ first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final in their 25 seasons in the NHL, this will not be the first time that Stanley Cup-calibre hockey is being played in Northern California.

Ninety-nine years ago, in 1917, just days after the Seattle Metropolitans defeated the Montreal Canadiens to become the first American-based team to win the Stanley Cup, the two teams met again in a best-of-three “World Championship” series in San Francisco.

I wrote about it for The Hockey News in September of 2012 after the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup for the first time. The story works even better now, but rather than write it all again, you can click here to have a look at the original. You can also check out the images below…

(And just to complete the story, it appears that by the fall of 1918 the Winter Garden Ice Rink where these games were played was converted to a dance pavilion, which then disappears from the record around 1927. Winterland, which was an ice rink later converted to a famous concert hall, seems to have been built on or near the same site in 1928.)

Ad for the opening of the Winter Garden Ice Rink,
the San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 1916.

Rink opens

San Francisco Chronicle stories, October 10 and 11, 1916.

Hockey ad
Ad for the first game between Seattle and Montreal,
The San Francisco Chronicle, March 30, 1917.

Hockey headline
Headline and story segment hyping the first game between
Seattle and Montreal, the San Francisco Chronicle, March 30, 1917.

Mets Habs
The Seattle Metropolitans and the Montreal Canadiens on the ice at the Winter Garden.

San Francisco’s Olympic Club was one of many amateur hockey teams to play
at the Winter Garden during the fall and winter of 1916-17.
Note the curving lights that are also visible in the above picture.

Map 2
Depending on traffic, this year’s Stanley Cup games will be
little more than an hour away from the site of the Winter Garden.

Map 1
The Winter Garden was right in the heart of San Francisco,
bordered by Sutter, Post, Pierce and Steiner Streets.

2000 Post
This apartment complex (which appears to have been extensively renovated in recent years) stands today in San Francisco on the site that was once the Winter Garden and Winterland.

5 thoughts on “Stanley Cup Play in the City by the Bay

  1. Another great insight into the history of hockey; I’m always amazed to learn of the amount of exhibition play that was organized right up to through the 1950s; it is a good reflection of how sparse the income was from playing the game professionally for many years.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and research time and time again. It is very much appreciated.

  2. Am I understanding this correctly? The “Finest Ice Rink in America” lasted only two years before it was converted to a dance hall? That’s sad.

  3. Each of your stories lately has been better than the previous one!

    This was outstanding!


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