January 13, 1886: He was a fearless and rugged defenseman and never shied away from a fight

Arthur Howey “Art” Ross

By —— Bio and Archives--January 13, 2010

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Arthur Howey “Art” Ross (1886 -1964) was born on this day in 1886. Ross was a Canadian ice hockey executive and defenseman in the National Hockey League and its predecessor, the National Hockey Association.
Born in Naughton, Ont., Ross grew up in Montreal where he played junior hockey. In 1905, he joined the Brandon Elks in Manitoba and in 1907 won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Kenora Thistles. For the next season, he returned to Montreal to play for the Montreal Wanderers and again won the Stanley Cup with his new team in 1908. Ross played in the National Hockey Association in 1910 as a member of the Haileybury Comets.


He returned to the Wanderers for the next four seasons, and then played for the Ottawa Senators in 1914-15 and 1915-16 before returning to the Wanderers to finish his career. When the Wanderers joined the newly-created NHL for the inaugural 1917-18 season, Ross only played three games before a fire destroyed the Wanderers’ arena, forcing the team to fold.

He was a fearless and rugged defenseman and never shied away from a fight. One of his most legendary was with Minnie McGiffen of the Toronto Blueshirts, in which both players were arrested for assault and referee Cooper Smeaton almost got arrested.

He was also a fighter for players’ rights. In 1910, he opposed the NHA’s imposition of a salary cap of $5,000 per team. He did the same thing in 1915 and was banned from the NHA. The league’s owners, though, thought that they had acted too harshly and reinstated Ross.

Following his playing career, Ross became an NHL referee and then coached the Hamilton Tigers for the 1922–23 seasons. He could not get the Tigers out of the cellar, and was let go. When the NHL placed a team in Boston for the 1924–25 NHL season, the new team’s owner, Charles Adams, hired Ross as vice president, general manager and head coach. Adams told Ross that the new team’s nickname must portray an untamed animal displaying speed, agility, and cunning. Ross’ choice was “Bruins,” after the brown bear. He served as the Bruins’ general manager until 1954, helping lead the team to Stanley Cups in 1929, 1939, and 1941. He also coached the Bruins on four separate occasions from 1924 to 1945-including the 1939, 1941 Cup-winning teams.

He had a habit of insulting other governors. In 1936-37, he chose Red Dutton of the New York Americans as his target. Dutton held his anger until James Norris of Detroit interceded to make peace. Unfortunately, Ross was throwing a punch and Norris took it. Dutton then proceeded to pummel Ross until Ross had a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone and had lost some teeth.


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Ronald Wolf wolfthewriter.com is a college graduate of a renowned journalism program at Niagara College in Welland, Ontario Canada. He has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines in three different countries. He is a former newspaper owner who specializes in photography and writing.

He presently resides in northwestern, Ontario Canada where he continues to research and write articles about Canadian history, Canadian paranormal and other interesting articles.

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