Profiles in Excellence: Pete Muldoon

Linton Muldoon Treacy aka “Pete Muldoon”: Rank #39 – 19

PCHA Coaching Experience: Portland Rosebuds, 1914-15; Seattle Metropolitans, 1915-24
WHL Coaching Experience: Portland Rosebuds, 1925-26
NHL Coaching Experience: Chicago Blackhawks, 1926-27
PCHA Regular Season W-L-T: 155-131-2; PCHA Playoff W-L: 6-13-3
WHL Regular Season W-L-T: 12-16-8
NHL Regular Season W-L-T: 19-22-3; NHL Playoff W-L: 0-1-1
PCHA League Championships: 1917-18, 1920, 1922, 1924
Playoff Appearances: 1917-22, 1924; Stanley Cup Finals Appearances: 1917, 1919-20
Stanley Cup Victory: 1917

Pete Muldoon is remembered mostly for a non-existent curse he placed upon the Chicago Blackhawks after he was fired as their head coach in 1927. Muldoon allegedly claimed that the Hawks would never finish first in the NHL—and for 40 years after Muldoon’s firing they didn’t finish first until 1967 when they won the league championship and put the alleged curse to bed forever.

In truth Pete Muldoon never placed a curse upon the Blackhawks. It was an invention by Toronto named sports writer Jim Coleman who invented the “curse” in 1943 because he was starved for inspiration.

In many ways associating Muldoon’s name with this fictitious curse is a signal dishonor to his memory because Pete Muldoon was one of the finest coaches in hockey from 1917-26. Only Pete Green of the original Ottawa Senators compiled a better record than Muldoon.

Muldoon was also the third best hockey coach of the 1920s, surpassed only by Green and Lester Patrick. Furthermore he and Frank Patrick were the two most successful coaches in the 14-year history of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association—and were the only PCHA coaches ever to win the Stanley Cup.

Muldoon’s teams were unlike those of Frank and Lester Patrick. Frank Patrick won primarily with offense; Lester, with defense and goal-tending. Muldoon’s teams were the most consistently well-balanced in the PCHA.

During the last seven seasons of the league’s existence Seattle finished second in offense to Frank Patrick’s Vancouver teams seven times. Muldoon’s Metropolitans boasted scoring talent like Frank Foyston who was one of the greatest shooters and scorers of the 1910s and 1920s; a perennial PCHA scoring title contender who along with line-mates Jack Walker and Bernie Morris provided the offensive punch for the team.

Muldoon’s defensive talent was provided by goalie Hap Holmes and defenseman Bobby Rowe. Due to their efforts Seattle led the PCHA in defense four times. All of these players were PCHA All-Stars they (with the exception of Morris and Rowe) would all later earn induction into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame.

Not only were his teams well-balanced but they were as pugnacious as he was (Muldoon was a professional boxer before he took up coaching). Although the record is incomplete we do have team penalty minute stats for the PCHA from 1921-24 and in the last two seasons of the league’s existence the Metropolitans led the league in penalty minutes.

Pete Muldoon was born Linton Muldoon Treacy and grew up in Ontario playing local hockey there before journeying to the Pacific Northwest in both Canada and America to pursue a career in professional boxing. It was then he took on the alias Pete Muldoon because during the early 20th century being a professional athlete carried with it certain negative connotations. Muldoon was a versatile athlete excelling in many sports.

It was in the Pacific Northwest he met up with Frank and Lester Patrick and agreed to coach the Portland Rosebuds franchise in the PCHA. After one season with Portland he moved to Seattle to become the head coach of the Metropolitans and would remain there until the league folded in 1924.

By 1917 Muldoon had made the Metropolitans a power to be reckoned with when they challenged the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. It was to be the last time the PCHA would challenge the National Hockey Association for the Cup. After suffering a first game defeat, Muldoon’s Metropolitans swept the next three games to win the Cup—the first time an American hockey team ever did so. Also in the process Muldoon became the youngest man ever to coach a Stanley Cup winner.

Muldoon would make two more Stanley Cup finals appearances in 1919 and 1920 but failed to repeat as champion (In 1919 he was done in by the Spanish Influenza outbreak which forced the cancellation of the remaining games. In 1920 Seattle lost to Pete Green’s original Ottawa Senators dynasty). He remained competitive until the PCHA collapsed in 1924.

Muldoon returned to Portland and in 1925 became head coach of the new Portland Rosebuds franchise in the Western Hockey League but finished a lackluster fourth place. When the WHL folded in 1926 Muldoon and his players moved to Chicago where they became the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL.

Despite having the best offense in the NHL, the Hawks finished in third and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. This led to Muldoon’s ouster as coach.

For the remainder of his life Muldoon returned to the Pacific Northwest in an attempt at establishing a pro hockey team in Seattle. It was there he died of a heart attack in 1929.

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