Crescent Athletic Club 1905-06
(Public Domain)
Family and Work
Artie Liffiton married Edith Usher of Manhattan Beach, NY, in 1907, and they raised three children, Arthur Edward, Doris, and Donald Usher Liffiton. Edith actually lost her U.S. citizenship by marrying Artie, a Canadian and English subject, but they both became naturalized U.S. citizens following World War I. Artie worked for the Behr-Manning Company in Manhattan and Albany, New York, but later settled in New Jersey, where he died in 1954.

Ernie Fitzsimmons, consulting statistician for Total Hockey, The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey Leage (1999), provided the majority of Artie Liffiton's statistics from his own collected reference materials. Other references used include the following.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1899 - 1916

The Crescent, 1899 - 1916 (Journal of the Crescent Athletic Club of Brooklyn)

Farrington, Jr., S. Kip Skates, Sticks, and Men: The Story of Amateur Hockey in the United States (1972, David McKay Co., New York), 240 pages. (Farrington was associated with The St. Nicholas Hockey Club, and this book focuses on that club with little mention of other early senior level teams. Artie Liffiton is mentioned on page 5 in a quotation from a Januay 7, 1907 New York Sun article.)

Liffiton, Donald Usher, interview of April 26, 1992

The Winged Foot, 1899 - 1916 (Journal of the New York Athletic Club)

New York Times, 1899 - 1916

Artie Liffiton
Detail - Crescents 1905-06
Hero of 1912 Season

One of the most important matches of Artie's hockey career occurred in March of 1912.

The trophy for the league championship would permanently belong to the team which won a third championship, and the Crescents were tied with the New York Athletic Club which had won in 1909 and 1910. The Crescents were strong, but so was another team known as the Wanderers.

Each team had lost one match during the season with the Wanderers losing theirs to the Crescents in overtime 5 to 4. It was thought the deciding match would be between the Crescents and the Wanderers on March 1.

"There was a big crowd in the rink. Seats were selling as high as ten dollars each. There was not an unoccupied inch of space in the big building and men climbed into the girders that supported the roof."

". . . the Wanderers seemed to play . . . (the Crescents) off their feet. One could hear all about him in the audience the remarks that the old veterans, Dobby, Wall and Kennedy, had gone on the ice too often. They outweighed their opponents, but the lighter men seem to entirely outskate them. Liffiton was especially disappointing."

The Wanderers beat the Crescents by a score of 4 -1, but the following week the St. Nicks crushed the Wanderers 7-4 and the Crescents beat the New York Athletic Club 6-5. In that match Liffiton scored four goals, and forced a third and final contest between the Wanderers and the Crescents on March 13th.

The Wanderers, who so many years before had ended the Crescents string of four victories, were heavily favored to win. The newspapers said the Crescents were too old.

"But when the game was well under way it was seen at once that Liffiton was playing in as good as he ever displayed before." He scored three goals as the Crescents won 4 - 1 and claimed permanent ownership of the Amateur American Hockey League trophy.

A few days after Arthur E. Liffiton arrived in New York City from Montreal in December of 1899, he appeared at Brooklyn's Clermont Avenue Ice Rink to try out with the Brooklyn Skating Club Hockey Team. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported the club had found in young Liffiton, the brother of Charlie Liffiton, "one of the most famous Canadian hockey players," a skater of great promise.

Artie played three years with Brooklyn and then the Crescent Athletic Club of Brooklyn recruited him. Both teams were part of the first American hockey league, the American Amateur Hockey League. The AAHL had been established in 1896 after the opening of three artificial ice rinks, two in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, New York.

St. Nicholas Rink (Public Domain)

The teams varied a bit from year to year, but the perennial league members included the New York Athletic Club, St. Nicholas Hockey Club, the Brooklyns, and the Crescents or "New Moons."

Initially the Crescents did so poorly the club did not ice a team in 1898 - 1899. By recruiting Canadian players however, the Crescents became competitive and dominated the league championships for several years.

By the time Artie was on the New Moon team, the club had won three championships. With Artie skating as right wing , the team won in 1905, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1911 and 1912. He was team captain in 1903-04.

The year Artie first played with the Crescents, 1903 - 04, he was second among the league's point leaders. In subsequent years he was second (1905 - 06), sixth (1908 - 09), and second (1911 -12). He was selected for the All New York team at least four times, once to play against his brother Charlie's visiting Montreal team. The Spalding Athletic Library featured photographs of Artie in at least two of the company's hockey guides, in 1909-10 and 1911-12.

Artie retired from ice hockey following an incredible triumph in the the 1911 - 12 season. However he did make at least one subsequent appearance on the ice, scoring a goal in 1915-16.

Artie's son, Donald, said his father claimed his brothers, Charlie and Ernie, were the better skaters, but that all of the Liffiton brothers were fiercely competitive and hated to lose.

Once a reporter described Artie as team captain playing goalie in a practice session. Frustrated with his teammates who could not score a goal, Artie in his goalie gear took control of the puck and skated the length of the rink to put the puck in the net.

The New York Sun described Artie on January 7, 1907. "The Crescent game followed. It was the last of the season for the Wanderers. In the first half Sprague Cleghorn jabbed his stick in Jackson's neck, but he paid for this as Jackson swung at him and cut his head. Later the Cleghorns tried to do up Liffiton and were put out of the game. Liffiton has been playing hockey here for several years and he is noted for his clean play and ability to keep out of any roughness." The Cleghorns, also from Montreal, would eventually play in the National Hockey League and be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

As many clubs did, the Crescents had a lacrosse team which played in the Spring and Summer months. Many of the hockey players, including Artie Liffiton, played lacrosse, and the Crescent team won many amateur national championships and kept in shape for the ice hockey season as well.