Toronto Huskies

History

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The huskies were founded in the BAA's inaugural season of 1946-1947. On November 1, 1946, they hosted the first game in league history—which the NBA now regards as its first game—losing 68-66 to the New York Knickerbockers before an opening night crowd of 7,090. On that night, anyone taller than George Nostrand, the tallest Husky at 6'8", was given free admission. Attendance quickly dwindled and the Toronto Star published an estimate that team owners Eric Cradock (co-owner of the Montreal Alouettes football team) and Harold Shannon lost $100,000 in one season of operations.

Managing director of the Huskies was Lew Hayman, coach and general manager of the Alouettes and future president of the Toronto Argonauts and the Canadian Football League, who had been a star basketball player at Syracuse University. Charles Watson was team president. Ben Newman and Salter Hayden were the other co-founders. Annis Stukus was also a member of the front office.

Future all-star Ed Sadowski began the season as player-coach and was initially the team's top player. Three weeks into the season, with the team off to a poor start, the Star reported that the players had divided into two or three cliques that rarely spoke to each other. Sadowski's coaching was openly questioned and, just a month after the first game, he quit the team. After four games with interim coaches—Hayman coached one game, and Huskies player Dick Fitzgerald ruled the bench for three games—Hayman hired former Major League Baseball player Red Rolfe, who had also been coach of Yale University's basketball team.

Hayman traded the playing rights to Sadowski to the Cleveland Rebels for Leo Mogus, at the time one of the league's top scorers. Hayman had previously traded Nostrand to the Rebels for another 6'8" giant, Kleggie Hermsen. In February 1947 the Huskies acquired the tallest player in the league, 7'1" Ralph Siewert, from the St. Louis Bombers. Despite his height, Siewert averaged just 1.1 points per game with the Huskies and had the lowest field goal percentage on the team.

The team's leading scorer was Mike McCarron, with 649 points in 60 games. He and Fitzgerald were the only players to appear in every game. Sadowski had the most points per game, averaging 19.1 points over his 10 games with the Huskies. Hank Biasatti and Gino Sovran were the only Canadians on the Huskies, each playing just six games.

Neither of the Huskies' head coaches (or their interim coaches) would coach another game in the BAA/NBA after their time in Toronto. Of the 20 players to make it to the floor for the Huskies, only five would go on to play 10 or more games in the BAA/NBA following the 1946-47 season: Sadowski, Mogus, Hermsen, Nostrand, and Dick Schulz.

Season By Season Breakdown

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Win-Loss %

Season W L % Playoffs Results
Toronto Huskies (BAA)
1946-47 22 38 .367

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