Flashback Friday: The 1947 Toronto Huskies: For one year in the 1940s, there was professional basketball in Toronto. And it was not quite what you see from basketball there in the modern-day. The original team lasted just one year and played in the Basketball Association of America, rather than the newly formed NBA.
The Toronto Huskies are credited now with playing the first game in NBA history against the New York Knickerbockers, despite the fact they were playing in the BAA. The organization had four coaches during that one season, winding up a meager 22-38. They folded after just one year.
So, why exactly am I writing about the Huskies and their one year of existence? Because the Raptors have worn a few jerseys in the last decade to honor that season. The origin of the Huskies jersey had to be written about so everybody could be informed like myself.
Where the Huskies Played
Unfortunately, attendance was never very good for the Huskies during the 1946-47 season, as they just could not put cheeks in seats. It’s always hard with an expansion team, and this was no different. The team played their games at Maple Leaf Gardens, which also housed the NHL’s Maple Leafs from 1931-1999.
Opening night for the team in their game against the Knickerbockers did feature a crowd of 7,090, with the most expensive ticket costing $2.50. It dwindled pretty quickly, though, as the team failed to win a ton while going through a number of coaching changes. Only the basketball diehards were still attending games, it seemed.
Meet the Players
The offense in pro basketball was not the same in 1946-47 as it is today. Now, three-point shots rule the world, and scoring over 100 is the norm. Back then, it was more about playing enough defense to win and holding the ball if you had the lead, as there wasn’t a shot clock. Let’s look at some of the top Huskies players that did guide them to 22 wins.
Twenty different individuals suited up for the Huskies that year, with two players logging minutes in all 60 contests. The first was Mike McCarron, who averaged nearly 11 points per game. The other was Dick Fitzgerald, who averaged around five points per game, shooting just 23.8% from the floor. Ed Sadowski, who coached 12 games for the Huskies, averaged 19 points in 10 appearances, far and away from the top scorer.
Leo Mogus averaged 13 points per game for the team, which was unable to garner continuity at any point. They were dead last in the BAA in field-goal percentage, shooting a horrid 26.7% from the floor as a team. Their 66.6 points per game ranked seventh out of 11 teams.
On the bright side, the team had been expected to finish 17-43, so the 22 wins were a step up in that regard. It was an interesting year, for sure. Not a good one, but an interesting one. Good for the players in the area who got their first taste at the pro ball as a Toronto Huskies member. But for ownership and finances, yikes.
When the folks running the team know very little about basketball, losing will happen. That was one of many issues. Regardless, it’s pretty cool that the modern-era Raptors have worn jerseys to honor them.
Raptors Rocked the Throwback Unis in 2016
After 70 years had gone by, Toronto decided to finally wear the Huskies jerseys again as a tribute to their first year of basketball, though more than 45 years came between the Huskies and Raptors debuts.
And not only did they rock blue jerseys to match the originals, but they did the court to match. Click here and be wowed. And of course, what better team to wear the jerseys against than the New York Knicks. The name now shortened from the original Knickerbockers; they were the team that Toronto played their first game against.
Everybody that attended the game on November 12, 2016, also got Toronto Huskies t-shirts. Best of all, the Raptors defeated the Knicks 118-107 behind 33 points from DeMar DeRozan and ten rebounds & five blocks from Lucas Nogueira.
The Huskies era was not a good one in the ’40s. But it was fun to relive in the modern age for those involved with the Raptors organization.
Thank You for Reading
Well, you’ve made it to the end! Thank you for reading. I’ve been enjoying putting these Flashback Friday pieces together in recent weeks as a nice form reminiscing.
I hope that the nostalgia you were craving could be met by reading this. Plenty more to come. I’m just getting started.