Alfred Edward "Alf" Smith - Born June 3, 1873 in Ottawa, Ontario – Died August 21, 1953 in Ottawa, Ontario was a Canadian ice Hockey right winger, coach, manager and Lacrosse player / coach.
Smith grew up playing Hockey on the Rideau River and the Ottawa River as a boy, and began playing competitive Hockey in his teens, starring with the Ottawa Electrics in the city league before moving up to the Ottawa Capitals, still an amateur team, in 1892.
Smith would then join the Ottawa Hockey Club, playing his first senior Hockey in 1894. The Ottawa HC would play in the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada / AHAC. Smith would learn the game from Philip Dansken Ross (P.D. Ross), a player, coach and executive with the Ottawa HC. P.D. Ross was also the original trustee of the Stanley Cup, and co-founder of the Ontario Hockey Association / OHA in 1890. Smith played 3 seasons with the Ottawa HC from 1894 to 1897.
Smith rejoined the Ottawa Capitals Hockey team for the 1897-8 season, also playing for their Lacrosse team during the 1898 summer. The Capitals lacrosse club was one of the first amateur organizations that gave some of its players small amounts of money, causing a scandal that led to several of their athletes, notably Alf Smith and Rat Westwick being banned from amateur play against other organizations (including Hockey) that frowned on any dilution of the amateur standard.
With his suspension, Smith turned to coaching, and would soon pair with Pete Green, and the two of them would go on to win many championships. Some of the players that Smith and Green developed would be honoured into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Their 1st championship together with the Ottawa Hockey Club, was the Canadian Amateur Hockey League / CAHL Championship for the 1900-01 Season, and known as Champions of Canada.
The 1901-02 season is considered the first season whereby the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League / WPHL and its teams were recognized as professional. Smith was lured to the WPHL with promises of high-paid employment and small cash incentives. The better players received higher cash incentives.
Smith joined the Pittsburgh Athletic Club of the WPHL, a team that had just won 3 straight WPHL championships. He had a solid season as a first year professional, scoring 11 goals, 9 assists in 14 games.
Smith had earned a reputation early on for his rough and tumble style of play, as well as his short-fused temper.
Smith would return to Ottawa for the 1902-03 season. He was now allowed to play again, but would focus on coaching this season. The Ottawa HC travelled to New York City during the spring of 1902 for an exhibition series. Ottawa defeated the Hockey Club of New York 4–3 on March 21, 1902. Ottawa lost to the New York Athletic Club 6–3 on March 23. Both games were at the St. Nicholas Rink with Smith as coach and Green as trainer.
Smith convinced Frank McGee to join the Ottawa HC, where he placed second in league scoring, and Ottawa won the 1903 CAHL championship after defeating the Montreal Victorias in a 2 game playoff on March 7 & 10. With the CAHL championship, Ottawa was awarded the Stanley Cup as league winners, and then had to face a challenge for the Cup from the Rat Portage Thistles on March 12 and 14. Ottawa won both games, and Smith was now a Stanley Cup champion.
Smith decided to return as a player, while also coaching Ottawa during the 1903-04 season. This was a tumultuous year as Ottawa resigned from the CAHL in February. The Quebec Hockey Club placed first to take the league championship. The Stanley Cup did not pass to Quebec based on their league championship. The Cup trustees decided that the Cup went with Ottawa. Quebec refused to make a challenge for the Stanley Cup, arguing that the Cup belonged to the CAHL season winner. Ottawa played 5 Stanley Cup challenge games in January and March 1904, with Smith playing in 4 of those games. He scored in every game for Ottawa, including a 4 goal game on March 11 vs the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Ottawa would join the Federal Amateur Hockey League / FAHL for the 1904-05 season, and Smith would finish forth in league scoring with 13 goals in 8 games, and then had 11 goals in 5 Stanley Cup challenge games. He played in the famous challenge series with the Dawson City Nuggets (7 goals).
Ottawa then moved to the new Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association / ECAHA formed in 1905. Smith scored 13 goals again during the season (10 games), placing 9th in league scoring. Ottawa had brought in Harry and Tommy Smith during the season, brothers of player-coach Alf Smith, and all three would play together on the same line for the 1st time on February 25. Ottawa played 4 Stanley Cup challenge games, the first two against Queen's University, where Alf Smith scored 7 goals, and the another 2 games vs Smiths Falls Hockey Club, with Alf scoring 2 goals, as Ottawa retained the Stanley Cup.
The season produced a tie for the season championship, the defending champion Ottawas and the Montreal Wanderers played a two-game playoff, with the winner being awarded the Stanley Cup. The series took place on March 14 in Montreal and March 17 in Ottawa. The Wanderers would win the total-goal series 9–1, 3–9 (12–10) and the Stanley Cup championship. Alf scored only 1 goal in game 2.
Smith was also coaching the Ottawa Collegiate Hockey Club, who would win the Intermediate Ottawa City Hockey League championship in 1906.
Smith scored 17 goals during 9 games played in the 1906-07 ECAHA season, placing 7th in league scoring. He then joined the Kenora Thistles after the season ended. The Thistles had beaten Montreal in a Stanley Cup challenge in January, and added Alf for their league championship series on March 16 & 18th vs Brandon Wheat Kings. Kenora won the series, and the Manitoba championship. The Wanderers had submitted a challenge to Kenora, and a 2 game total series was played in Winnipeg on March 23 & 25. The presence of Smith along with Harry Westwick caused the series to be played under protest. Smith would score 1 goal in both games (2 goals), but Montreal would regain the Stanley Cup championship.
Smith would play one final season in the ECAHA - 1907-08, finishing in 10th place in scoring with 12 goals in 9 games with Ottawa, and no playoffs. The Ottawa HC had taken on the name Ottawa Senators by seasons end.
Smith was also coaching the Ottawa Seconds (New Edinburgh), who would win the Ottawa City Hockey League / OCHL Championship in 1908.
Smith returned to the WPHL for the 1908-09 season, playing for both the Pittsburgh Duquesne Hockey club and the Pittsburgh Bankers. He would be suspended by both teams for his "Rough Play"
Smith returned to Ottawa after the WPHL suspensions, and the Ottawa Senators, where he would mostly coach the team, now joining the Federal Hockey League / FHL league for the 1909 season - January to February. The Senators did not draw at the box office, as both the Ottawa HC and the Ottawa Cliffsides drew more fans to The Arena in Ottawa, finishing with only 200 fans attending their last game on February 15. Smith played in 1 game during the season, which would be his final official league game. He would later play in some exhibition games with other teams.
Alf had many roots in the Ottawa area with both Hockey and Lacrosse, and he would stay there most of his career and life. He watched and was part of the early years of professional Hockey, and he learned from some of the best Hockeyists.
Coaching had been a strong point in the career of Alf Smith, and he would spend many years after his playing days as a coach. He was part of the coaching staff with the Ottawa Cliffsides, who won the very 1st Allan Cup in March, 1909.
Smith was back coaching the Ottawa Senators for the 1913-14 season, and would win the 1915 championship of the National Hockey Association / NHA, and face the Vancouver Millionaires in the 1915 Stanley Cup final, which Vancouver won in 3 straight games.
Smith coached the Ottawa Senators until the 1918-19 season, when Pete Green took over.
Smith finished his career as a executive with the Ottawa Capitals Lacrosse club.
Alf Smith was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Alfred "Alf" Edward Smith was inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame in 1966.