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After the Reds won the Fontaine Cup in the 1929-30 season, forward Johnny
Gagnon and defenseman Jack McVicar joined the Montreal Canadians, and the Boston Bruins signed
Art Chapman. The result: the Reds faltered to a second-place finish behind Springfield in 1930-31.
But with newcomers Gus Rivers, Art Giroux, Hago Harrington and Sparky Vail in their lineup, the Reds, coached by NHL Hall of Famer Newsy Lalonde, beat back the Bronx Tigers and Boston Cubs and easily won the Can-Am title again in 1931-32.
The stock market crash of 1929 finally caught up with the businessmen who owned R.I. Auditorium in '32 and in October, the bank foreclosed on the mortgage.
But on Nov. 1, 1932, Arnold Jones bought the building for $41,000 at a public auction, and he and the late Lou Pieri, Archie Merchant and Malcolm Chace vowed to keep the Reds in action.
Auditorium crowds were lean during the Depression, but the Reds continued to be one of the dominant powers in the Canadian-American League and won the Fontaine Cup again in 1933-34 with such players as George Nichols, Andy Mulligan and Paddy Byrne in their lineup.
The Can-Am League went bankrupt after the 1935-36 playoffs and was replaced by the American Hockey League. The 1936-37 team included the famed "Kraut Line" of Milt Schmidt, Wood Dumart and Bobby Bauer that would later star with the Bruins. All eventually were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Good as the 1936-37 team was, it finished a disappointing second in its first year in the new circuit and it meant the end of coach Albert "Battleship" Leduc and the introduction of a new mentor, Fred "Bun" Cook.
Cook took over the reins in 1938-39 and led the Reds to their first Calder Cup championship. The Reds had little offensive punch, evidenced by the fact that no Providence player finished among the top ten AHL players in goals, assists or points.
But they did have defensive strength, backed by the brilliant play of rookie goalie Frank Brimsek, who in the entire 48-game season allowed only 86 goals (1.79 per game) and rolled up 5 shutouts. Brimsek later went on to become Boston's "Mr. Zero" and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. His 1.79 GA average is still the lowest ever in the AHL's 68-year history.
The Reds' second Calder Cup came in 1939-40 when Mike Karakas, John Doran, Johnny Chad, Gabby Sherwood and Ab DeMarco joined the team. Pittsburgh was the Providence team's opponent in the final round of the playoffs, as the Reds emerged champions by putting together three straight victories by 4-3 scores.
Next: The 1940s >>
The 1937-38 team, first Calder Cup.
The 1939-40 team, second Calder Cup.