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Historical overtones in Bulldogs outdoor classic

Historical overtones in Bulldogs outdoor classic

Ninety-seven years after the Hamilton Tigers played their final NHL home game at the old Barton Street Arena, their memorable gold and black jerseys with block ‘H’ adorning the front appeared again at Tim Hortons Field Monday night.

The Hamilton Bulldogs donned similar livery for their 3-0 Ontario Hockey League win over the Oshawa Generals in front of a crowd of 12,587 at the home of football’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Youngsters from the Hamilton Bulldogs and Hamilton Huskies organizations formed a guard of honor for the Bulldogs as they took the ice. DENIS GIBBONS photo

Monday’s game followed Sunday’s NHL Winter Classic in which the Buffalo Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 with 26,119 fans looking on in frosty, snowy and windy conditions.

The Tigers played their last home game at the Barton Street barn on March 7, 1925, losing 2-0 to the Boston Bruins. A few days before that , with Shorty Green scoring the winner in the third period, they defeated the Toronto St. Pat’s 3-2.

Green also scored the Tigers last NHL goal in a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the old Mount Royal Arena in Montreal on March 9, 1925. Two hockey legends Howie Morenz and Georges Vezina, both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s first induction class in 1945, were playing that night.

At the end of the 1924-25 season, the Tigers, who were Stanley Cup favorites after finishing first, went on strike for more money and were suspended by the NHL. The following year they became the New York Americans.

Original Hamilton Tigers NHL Jersey DENIS GIBBONS photo

Tim Horton’s Field has had a troubled history, with delays in completing construction, followed by structural problems, but it is finally getting the multiple uses it was designed for and helping put Hamilton on the map.

In less than six months it has hosted the Grey Cup, three significant soccer matches, including a Canada-U.S. World Cup qualifier and a pair of well-attended open air hockey games.

The Bulldogs, who won the OHL championship in the 2017-18 season, are in first place overall this year and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

Bulldogs take the ice in their retro Hamilton Tiger jerseys DENIS GIBBONS photo

They deserve some fan support at their next home game at First Ontario Centre Thursday, March 31 against the same Oshawa Generals and throughout the playoffs.

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