History of the National Hockey League/1917–1942/Great Depression/Six-team league

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Six-team league[edit]

In financial difficulty, and unable to compete with the Canadiens for fan support in Montreal, the Maroons suspended operations prior to the 1938–39 season after being denied permission to relocate to St. Louis. Six Maroons players were transferred to the Canadiens while three were sold to the Black Hawks. The Americans, also struggling in New York and under the control of the league, were turned over to Red Dutton in 1940 with orders to improve the club's finances. By 1942, 90 players had left the NHL for active duty during World War II. Continuing to struggle financially, and due to a lack of players, the Americans were suspended prior to the 1942–43 season. Thus began what became known as the "Original Six" era of the National Hockey League.