Everett Arena in Buffalo was used as a ploy by Jack Connolly to ensure he was able to place a team in Montreal.

Despite what most observers would have called a rousing success in its first season, the North American Hockey Confederation had a series of seismic upheavals in the aftermath of that first campaign. 

First, and not very long after the season had ended, the stellar brother pair of Bill and George Yeadon walked into Jack Connolly's office in New Leiskard and demanded substantial raises for the 1910-11 season. Naturally, Connolly all but laughed them out of his office. Undeterred, the brothers flatly stated that they would not play for the Silver Skates without those raises. Connolly called their bluff and discovered it was no bluff: the Yeadons walked out on the Silver Skates, and the NAHC. The Yeadons headed west to work in the family import/export business in Vancouver, noting that they could make more money there than playing for Connolly. 

Jack Connolly had another setback, and this one much closer to home, when his brother informed him that he would cease to operate the Cobalt club. Jack offered to purchase the club, and Dan agreed, but informed him that he had already sold off most of his players to other clubs. Enraged, Jack nearly came to blows with his brother (a group of miners had gathered outside the office door, eavesdropping on the argument), but eventually Jack calmed down enough to simply purchase the Cobalt franchise rights. He had plans for the club, even if it had no players.

Things got worse in the fall when the NAHC annual meeting took place for the first time. On November 11, the six remaining owners met, again at the Global Grand Hotel in Toronto, to discuss the upcoming season. Dan Connolly, still in place as League President, opened the meeting and would preside until his successor was elected. Jack Connolly - and several other club owners - were stunned upon learning that both the Latchford and Long Lake clubs would be disbanding as well. "We're just miners at heart, Jack," explained Ed Tanner, who owned the Latchford Locomotives. With Cobalt inactive - for now - that would leave Connolly alone with three other owners who all despised him.

A man with less self-confidence might have thrown in his cards. But Jack Connolly was not discouraged. During a break in the proceedings, Connolly showed the type of shrewd and predatory instincts that had made him wealthy. Knowing that the Champlain club was in dire financial straits, he made a purchase offer to Maurice Flaubert. Flaubert, though he typically sided with Montreal's Albert Trautman and Ottawa's Martin Delaware, had done so mostly out of a spirit of support for his fellow ACHC alumni. He had not lost players in Connolly's raids and though he didn't like the man, he had not been personally offended by him as had both Trautman and Delaware. Plus Connolly made a generous offer. So Flaubert agreed, solely due to financial reasons.

When the meetings resumed, Connolly surprised Trautman and Delaware by explaining that he now owned three of the five NAHC clubs. Trautman and Delaware threatened to leave the league - "We shall see how successful you are playing against yourself!" Trautman shouted. Connolly then put forth what he termed a "reasonable" long-term solution. He would keep the Champlain club in Quebec, though he reserved the right to both move players and change the club's name, and he would immediately seek new ownership for the team. He would also move the Cobalt club, now without players, to Montreal, dub them the Valiants, and cater to the Francophone fans, seeking to put French-Canadian players in the forefront. He then pledged to sell either New Leiskard or Montreal by the start of the 1916-17 season. He explained that he felt this would allow him time to assess which market would be the better in which to maintain his club. Though both Trautman and Delaware knew this was likely just a thinly-veiled ploy for Connolly to place clubs in both Montreal and Toronto (who would want to keep a club in New Leiskard?), they swallowed their pride and agreed.

The remainder of the offseason (the new season would start in late December) was spent juggling players - the brand-new Valiant club needed to be stocked, as did Quebec (the club kept the name Champlains but had retained none of its players after Flaubert neglected to send them their new contracts - his lack of knowledge, or unwillingness to enforce the reserve clause left the club, like Cobalt, player-less). Though he spoke not a lick of French, Connolly (somewhat ironically) became known as the best friend French-speaking hockey players and fans had in those early days as he went out of way, particularly with the Valiants, to employ Francophones. One of the bigger moves he made was signing a center named Paddy O'Donoghue for the Quebec club. He then earned the undying love of many Valiant-fans to be by trading O'Donoghue from Quebec to the Valiants on the eve of the Champlains' being sold.

Connolly had approached Montreal Saints owner Jacques Cartier about purchasing the Champlains. Cartier expressed interest in the Valiants instead, and no deal was worked out (Connolly was indeed determined to keep the Montreal club for himself). Connolly spoke at a Quebec City Chamber of Commerce meeting in late November. There he flatly stated that he was considering moving the team to an "American city" in a bluff designed to flush out a buyer. Rumors started circulating that Connolly had been in discussions with Theodore Everett, who owned the Buffalo Bulldogs (and was a close friend of Toronto's Bert Thomas). Everett also owned an arena in Buffalo that would be suitable for a hockey club, pending installation of an ice plant (the team would play outdoors until such plant was installed). Whether all this was smoke and mirrors orchestrated by Connolly and Thomas is debatable but what is evident is that it worked: Auguste Raymond, a banker, purchased the club (at a tidy profit for Connolly) and took over in mid-December (but not before O'Donoghue had been shipped to Montreal - although, to be fair, Pete Boutet, the player sent to Quebec, was a talented player himself).

All that activity with the NAHC tended to overshadow the goings on among the assorted other pro hockey leagues. The Maritime league ceased operation after five years. Many of its players ended up in either the NAHC or the Ontario Industrial League, which added a fifth club to its membership. Rumors of a western circuit began to make the rounds as well. The Yeadon brothers, who were independently wealthy, were being openly courted by some potential club owners for a league that would openly rival the NAHC and play on the West Coast. For now, the Yeadons demurred.

Some Americans also began taking note of professional hockey: in New York, Samuel Bigsby, nephew of baseball owner Miles Bigsby (and operator of the Bigsby Oval) was quoted in a local newspaper about building a "premier indoor arena, to allow year-round entertainment." When asked if this new arena would contain an ice plant, Bigsby smiled and said, "Yes, of course. As the world's greatest city, New York deserves the world's greatest indoor arena. And the Bigsbys are just the family to provide it." And in Detroit, near the birthplace of the first openly pro hockey league, another baseball owner, Eddie Thompson of the Detroit Dynamos, purchased a tract of land across Third Avenue from his ballpark with the intentions of building an arena and "possibly placing a professional ice hockey team therein." Even William Whitney was asked about hockey; from his winter home in Los Angeles, Whitney was asked if he would consider backing (owning) a hockey club, and though he declined he did add, "I would recommend it to anyone with the will and the means to do so. I believe that the NAHC will be a rousing success." In Boston, someone not affiliated with FABL also chimed in - Francis Denny, whose Denny Engineering Company was the city's largest builder (his company had built the widely lauded Cunningham Field ballpark in 1902), was seeking investors for an indoor arena with ice plant and noted that he himself would "love to be involved with professional hockey." It turned out that Denny's son was a star hockey player for the St. Patrick's Shamrocks collegiate squad (who at that time - like everyone else -  played outdoors).