Hockey Hits the Big Apple
On an early winter night in 1925, all the big names in New York society, from the Astors and Tiffanys to Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, put on their finery and showed up to Madison Square Garden. They were turning out for the first ever professional hockey match played at the then brand-new MSG. The game, (on Dec. 15) pitted the Howie Morenz-led Montreal Canadiens against the New York Americans, owned by notorious bootlegger, Bill Dwyer. Although the Americans ultimately lost 3-1, forward Shorty Green brought the fans to their feet by scoring the first goal in the famous arena. The fact that Americans were a terrible team didn’t stop them from becoming a major draw at MSG. In fact, their box-office success paved the way for a second team, the New York Rangers. So in 1994, when New York Ranger captain Mark Messier lifted the Stanley Cup to a cheering throng in a later incarnation of Madison Square Garden, he had Bill Dwyer, Shorty Green and a lot of old, forgotten players from that very first game in 1925 to thank.