1910-11 was the last hurrah for the Silver Skates. Here's a photo of their legendary '09 Cup winners: From L-to-R: Vital LeBlanc, Wee Tommy Jenkins, Hump Mayfield, Gevis Murphy, Al Fleming, George Yeadon, Alan Hemmings, Bill Yeadon

All the drama and machinations that took place at the league meetings had resulted in a vastly different North American Hockey Confederation as the first games of the 1910-11 season approached:

  • League President (and Jack Connolly rubber-stamp) Daniel Connolly was gone (he was now managing the Connolly Brothers Mining Company full-time, leaving Jack to devote his attention to his hockey clubs). The new league president, was ironically, the former treasurer-secretary for the Amateur Alliance of Canadian Hockey Clubs, a fellow by the name of Percy Hopkins. He would go on to lead the NAHC for the next decade-plus and turn out to be a fine administrator and someone able to handle a wild and raucous group of club owners. 
  • The NAHC was down from seven clubs to five. Two clubs folded: Latchford and Long Lake. The Cobalt franchise (without equipment or players) was sold and moved. A fourth, Quebec, was technically saved by a last-minute sale, but had no players and was essentially starting over from ground zero.
  • Cobalt's franchise was relocated to Montreal and rechristened the Valiants. Like Quebec, the club had no players and was starting from scratch.
  • The folded and relocated clubs, plus the folding of the Maritime Hockey Association, resulted in a lot of old (and some new) faces in new places.
  • Jack Connolly owned New Leiskard (the lone remaining "mining" club), Quebec and the Montreal Valiants, but sold the Quebec Champlains on the eve of the season opener.
  • Toronto hotelier and baseball club owner Albert "Bert" Thomas was constructing a brand-new state-of-the-art arena in downtown Toronto, but had no team to play in it.

The season began with a New Year's Eve tilt between the Montreal Nationals and the New Leiskard Silver Skates in the Connolly Arena. The Nationals won by an 8-4 margin. That would be the first of only two losses the Silver Skates would suffer in 1910-11. Connolly had done his best to build his Silver Skates into a powerhouse for the new season, and succeeded in a big way. He spent the six weeks between the end of the league meetings and the sale of the Quebec Champlains crafting the rosters of 60% of the NAHC club membership. New Leiskard was his priority, but he did not (surprisingly) skimp on the Champlains. For the Valiants, he focused on good Francophone players - Connolly was an adept reader of customer markets (surprisingly for a man whose background was in mining) and knew that if the Valiants represented Montreal's Francophone community, that community would support his club. 

New Lesikard finished with a 12-2-2 record. They had top-notch scorers and playmakers led by Wee Tommy Jenkins whose 17 goals and 32 assists placed him second, one point behind Ottawa's Martin Nolan, for the scoring title. They had Al Carson whose 20 goals was second to Quebec's Nap Bertrand (24) on the goal scoring list. They had a hard-hitting defense pair in Al Fleming and Pete Vandenburg and they had a fearless goalie in John Tomlinson. They were all-around terrific. To his credit, Connolly did not scrimp (too much) when it came to stocking the Champlains before their sale either: Quebec finished second with a 7-6-3 record. Nap Bertrand was a magnificent left wing who would have fit quite nicely on the Valiants roster and who led the league in goals scored with 24 and was third in points (48) just two behind the leader. Center Max Thibodeaux was good and right wing Pete Boutet, who was swapped from the Valiants for center Paddy O'Donoghue, was a solid, all-around grinder.

Connolly's third squad, those Valiants of Montreal, finished last at 5-9-2. Granted, there were not a lot of wins left to be gathered with New Leiskard's stellar mark, but for a first-year squad that was hand-crafted more for cultural appeal than hockey skill, the club was still a success. Paul Guimond was the star of the show (for now), scoring 42 points (19 g, 23 a) and working well with the aforementioned O'Donoghue, a powerful and skilled, but raw 20-year-old center who finished second on the team with 35 points (17 g, 18 a). The club also had a very promising young netminder named Albert Juneau, who suffered from an appalling lack of defenseman support in his first season with the Valiants. But better days would be ahead for Paddy, Al and the rest of the Valiants.

The other, non-Connolly-controlled clubs finished third and fourth respectively. The Montreal Nationals, now firmly seen as the "Anglophone" option for Montreal's citizens, finished 6-7-3. The team underachieved badly as the talent was there for them to finish with a better mark, as evidenced by their opening night win in New Leiskard. LW Tip McLeod and RW Francis Craft each posted 31-point seasons; for Craft especially, this represented far less success than they had in 1909-10. Max Dewar played stellar defense, but had little help. Goalie Didier Godin had been generally considered the league's best netminder; now he was just considered to be "good" after a somewhat disappointing season. The Ottawa Athletic Club finished 6-9-1. George Dupree, the star player and coach, had nagging knee problems all season but still posted 34 points (15 g, 19 a) and the team did boast the league's top scorer in do-everything forward Martin Nolan (15g, 35 a, 50 pts). But there was little depth and the defense and goaltending were subpar.

This left some bad feelings among the owners group and they immediately began pressing Connolly for an inkling of what he'd do to live up to his promise to sell either New Leiskard or the Valiants. 

Connolly would say nothing until after his club faced the Champlains for the Challenge Cup. Unfortunately for Connolly, his finely-crafted Silver Skates were upset by Quebec in the Cup challenge. The Champlains won a pair of nail-biters, 7-6 in game one and 8-7 in overtime in game two, to sweep the Silver Skates and pry the Cup away from the Connolly family for the first time in three years.

A week after the loss in the Challenge Cup's second game a newspaper article out of Toronto indicated that Connolly had lost a "veritable mint" that season between the high salaries of the Silver Skates and the lackluster performance of the Valiants. This left a lingering question as the clubs dispersed that spring: what would be the fate of the Silver Skates? Or the Valiants for that matter?