Canadiens Ownership Group Eventually Refused Offer

Published on June 2nd, 2024 8:22 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Too Important to Fold - Montreal Canadiens sale was rejected. It was 1935, and the world was still in the grips of the Great Depression.

This impacted the valuations of sports franchises at the time, as most people simply didn't have the money to attend games.

This resulted in most franchises sustaining losses, and the Montreal Canadiens were no different.

At the time, there were two hockey franchises in Montreal - the Canadiens and the Montreal Maroons.

The Canadiens struggled during the 1935 season, and reportedly lost $40,000, which works out to about a million dollars in today's dollars.

This was a heavy loss for a team to sustain back in those days, and the Great Depression didn't seem like it was letting up.

The owners of the Canadiens franchise were seriously considering offers to purchase the team.


One of those offers came from a group based in Cleveland.

According to a March 30th, 1935 article in the New York Herald Tribute, a group from Cleveland offered $200,000 to purchase the Canadiens and move them to Cleveland.

This works out to about $4.5 million in today's dollars.

At the time, Joe Cattarinich, one of the owners of the Canadiens, had this to say:

"Montreal is obviously losing interest in professional hockey. The game here has passed its peak of popularity. The city is too small to support two clubs."


The Cleveland offer would be turned down.

Eventually, an inferior offer - $165,000 - was accepted as losses continued to mount. The Canadiens were sold to a local group of businessmen, who reportedly wanted to fold the Canadiens so that there would be just one franchise in Montreal.

The owner of the Maple Leafs - Conn Smythe - argued passionately that the Canadiens were too important to fold, and the league agreed. It was the Maroons that would end up folding in 1938.

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