Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Garry Peters: Head Coach 1974-75 Syracuse Blazers

garry peters new york rangers 1965-66 topps hockey cards
Garry Peters had the scoring touch in junior with the Regina Pats and had some minor league glory, as well, in the CPHL and AHL. When it came to his respectable 311 games in the National Hockey League, he was anything but an offensive threat.

Peters found his way into NAHL history, taking the head coaching job for the Syracuse Blazers in 1974-75, the year after his final year of pro hockey as a player. It would be his only year as a head coach in pro hockey.

Garry Peters – NAHL


As mentioned, Garry was head coach of the Syracuse Blazers in 1974-75. Peters came into the season with no coaching experience, having retired after playing the previous season in the WHA. The Blazers were first overall in the eight team league during the regular season, finishing 12 points ahead of the second place Philadelphia Firebirds.

Bob Jones led Syracuse offensively, his 76 assists and 114 points leading the entire NAHL. Gary Sittler from the Blazers led the league with 262 penalty minutes. In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Syracuse had a bye through the first round and came up against the Johnstown Jets in the semi-finals. The series was tight with the Jets coming out on top 4-3. Each team scored 26 goals over the seven games and the Blazers at one time held a 3-2 series lead.

Garry Peters – Junior / Minor Pro


Peters spent four years with the Regina Pats of the SJHL from 1959-60 to 1962-63. He was team captain for his final two campaigns. Over his junior career, Garry scored 127 and assisted on 160 for 287 points over 200 regular season games.

In his second year, 1960-61, the Pats swept the Estevan Bruins in four games to capture the SJHL championship. Regina then fell to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Abbott Cup semi-finals.

The following year, Peters led the SJHL with 69 assists and 114 points over 56 games. He was selected as the First Team All-Star Centre. The Pats reached the finals again but this time fell to the Moose Jaw Canucks in seven games.

His final year in Regina saw him selected as a First Team All-Star again. The Pats lost to the Estevan Bruins in the semi-finals. Peters then joined the Bruins for the Abbott Cup playoffs but Estevan fell in six to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the semi-finals. That year, he saw his first pro action, appearing in four regular season and one playoff game in the EPHL with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens.

Peters joined the Omaha Knights in 1963-64 for his first full year of pro hockey. He was named CPHL Rookie Of The Year, scoring 32 and assisting on 49 for 81 points over 72 games. Garry tied for fifth in goal scoring, tied for sixth in assists and placed fifth for points in the league. Alain Caron of the St. Louis Braves ripped apart the CPHL with 77 goals that year.

Teamed with future NHLers Barclay Plager, Claude Larose, Noel Picard and Ernie Wakely, Peters and the Knights finished first overall and won the playoff championship over the St. Paul Rangers. St. Paul managed one win but were outscored by Omaha 28-8 on the series.

In 1966-67, Garry returned to the CPHL with the Houston Apollos, a farm team of the Montreal Canadiens. In 50 games, he contributed 52 points. The team was heavy in future NHLers and even a few future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Regular teammates included Andre Boudrias, Danny Grant, Jacques Lemaire, Serge Savard and Rogie Vachon. Pat Quinn, Carol Vadnais and Mickey Redmond played sparingly with the team.

His one last go in the minors was 1971-72 with the Boston Braves of the American Hockey League. Over 58 games, Peters scored 39 and assisted on 34 for 73 points. He was named a First Team All-Star and was honoured with the Les Cunningham Award as MVP. Garry's 39 goals placed him fourth in the AHL. On that farm team of the Boston Bruins were up and comers Terry O'Reilly and Dan Bouchard.

Garry Peters – Major League


Peters played 311 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 1964-65 and 1971-72 with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. He played sparingly with the Habs and was traded in June, 1965, along with Cesare Maniago, to the New York Rangers for Gord Labossiere, Noel Price, Earl Ingarfield and Dave McComb. He would end up back in Montreal a year later.

At the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers took Garry in the tenth round, 57th overall. It was with the Flyers that he saw the bulk of his NHL action. In 1972, Peters again took part in an NHL Expansion Draft, this time going eleventh overall to the New York Islanders. He would never play for New York.

Garry's time with the Boston Bruins was limited. He played just two regular season games for the club in 1971-72. He also dressed for one playoff game for the Bruins. Boston won the Stanley Cup championship that season, beating out the New York Rangers in the finals.

In the World Hockey Association, Peters appeared in 57 regular season games over the 1972-73 and 1973-74 seasons. In the first year, he played 23 games for the New York Raiders. The following year, he appeared in 34 games for the New York Golden Blades.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Henry Taylor: NAHL Rookie of the Year in 1975-76


henry taylor johnstown jets nahl
After scoring just 12 goals in 102 regular season games over two years as a junior with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Henry Taylor became a pro sniper with the Johnstown Jets in his rookie NAHL season. The U.S. born player from Oakland, California was a deep draft pick by the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA and was undrafted to the NHL. His pro career was successful but fleeting, not lasting a full decade.

Henry Taylor – NAHL


Taylor played two years in the North American Hockey League, 1975-76 and 1976-77. Both years were spent with the Johnstown Jets. His rookie year was exceptional. His numbers dropped in his sophomore season but it was still a respectable year on a depleted Johnstown team.

Over 69 regular season games in 1975-76, Henry scored 50 and assisted on 43 for 93 points. He led the Jets in goals and points and was named NAHL Rookie of the Year. Overall in the league, he tied for sixth in goal scoring with Robbie Neale. Neale split his season between the Cape Codders and Erie Blades.

The Jets places first in the five team West Division and second overall in the ten team league. Johnstown reached the Lockhart Cup semi-finals before falling to the Philadelphia Firebirds in five games. Game five was an offensive affair with the Firebirds winning 14-10.

In his second season with the Jets, Taylor scored 42 and assisted on 25 for 67 points over 73 regular season games. He led the team in goal scoring and tied for sixth for the league in that department with Mike Zuke of the Mohawk Valley Comets. Johnstown finished seventh of eighth in the NAHL, ahead of just the Beauce Jaros. Beauce played just 30 games before folding midseason. The Jets reached the post season but were swept in the opening round by the Maine Nordiques.

Henry Taylor – Hockey Career


Taylor played two years in the WCHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1972-73 and 1973-74. Over those two years, he played 102 regular season games and scored just 12 goals. The Minnesota Fighting Saints drafted Henry in the 14th round of the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft, 173rd overall after a year of junior in the state of Minnesota.

After his two years in the NAHL, Henry continued on in the world of minor pro until the 1982-83 season, appearing in the IHL, CHL, EHL and Switzerland’s National League B.

After the Jets, Taylor spent two years with the Grand Rapids Owls in the IHL. In his first season, he led the Owls with 36 goals. In 1978-79, the numbers were outstanding with 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points over 80 games. He led the team in goals and finished tied for fourth in the IHL with Tom Ross of the Kalamazoo Wings. Not ever high on the helpers, Henry placed third in the IHL for assists. He was second in points behind just Terry McDougall of the Fort Wayne Komets.

The Owls placed first overall in the nine team IHL. Grand Rapids then reached the Turner Cup finals where they fell to the Kalamazoo Wings in seven games.

In 1979-80, Henry had a somewhat slow start with the Oklahoma City Stars of the CHL with eight points in 12 games. He then switched to the Baltimore Clippers of the EHL and the numbers took off. Over 64 regular season games, he scored 49 and assisted on 34 for 83 points. He finished third in the league for goals and seventh for points.

In 1980-81, the numbers dropped considerably. For the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, Taylor moved to Europe to play for Olten in Switzerland’s NLB before retiring from the game.

 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 4 PIM Champs In NAHL History


gilles bilodeau beauce jaros nahl
The NAHL existed for just four years from 1973-74 to 1976-77. The league was the inspiration for the movie ‘Slapshot’, starring Paul Newman. It seems fitting that we look at the penalty minute champs over those four years. Each year brought a different PIM leader. Surprisingly, these four guys contributed with offense, as well.

Nick Fotiu – Cape Cod Cubs


Nick Fotiu led the NAHL in PIM in the league’s inaugural season. Over 72 regular season games with the Cape Cod Cubs, the future NHLer totalled 371 minutes in the sin bin. Suspensions were not readily handed out in the olden days, allowing Nick to play in nearly all of his team’s 74 games.

His PIM total was 55 more than second place Dave Ferguson of the Syracuse Blazers. Nick added 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points. In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Fotiu continued his sinful ways with 80 penalty minutes over 13 games. However, he was also nearly a point per game with eleven on four goals and seven assists.

Fotiu moved on to a fairly lengthy National Hockey League career. Nick played 646 regular season games in the NHL between 1976-77 and 1988-89 with the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers. Over that time, he contributed 137 points and sat 1,362 penalty minutes. Over 38 Stanley Cup playoff game, Fotiu added four assists and 67 PIM.

Nick also played in the World Hockey Association. He appeared with the New England Whalers during the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

Gary Sittler – Syracuse Blazers


With 109 minutes less than Nick Fotiu the year before, Gary Sittler led the NAHL in 1974-75 with 262 penalty minutes over 71 games with the Syracuse Blazers. His lead was just 12 minutes over second place Jeff Carlson of the Johnstown Jets. Gary added nine goals and 37 assists for a respectable 46 points. In the playoffs, he added four more assists over seven games while sitting 14 minutes.

The brother of Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, Gary also played his junior hockey with the London Knights. Sittler played for Syracuse in three of the four NAHL seasons, excluding 1975-76. His major league action was limited to five games with the WHA’s Michigan Stags in 1974-75.

Gilles Bilodeau – Beauce Jaros


In 1975-76, Gilles Bilodeau set the eternal league record with 451 PIM over just 58 games with the Beauce Jaros. His margin of victory was a remarkable 140 minutes more than second place Dave Hanson of the Johnstown Jets. No superstar, Gilles did help out offensively with 25 points on eight goals and 17 assists. In his five playoff games, he assisted on one and sat 46 minutes.

Bilodeau’s lack of regular season games was due to the fact he played 14 games in the World Hockey Association with the Toronto Toros. 1975-76 was his first year of pro hockey and his only year in the NAHL. Gilles was a product of the Sorel Eperviers, a QMJHL team he played for in 1974-75.

Gilles played 143 games in the WHA with the Toros, Birmingham Bulls and Quebec Nordiques. He even got a cup of coffee in the NHL, appearing in nine games with the Nordiques during the 1979-80 season.

Rick Dorman – Erie Blades/Johnstown Jets


Rick Dorman was the final PIM leader in NAHL history and also the leader with the lowest total. Over 61 games, Dorman sat just 238 penalty minutes, just six more that second place Paul Stewart of the Binghamton Dusters.

In his first year of pro hockey after a junior career in the WCHL where he played for the Flin Flon Bombers and Winnipeg Clubs, Rick put up great offensive numbers, as well, with 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points. In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, he added four assists and 48 PIM over nine games. Dorman went on to play minor pro until the 1984-85 season in the IHL and AHL.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bob Jones: NAHL Scoring Leader 1974-75


bob jones syracuse blazers
Bob Jones was a fringe player in the world of professional hockey that found great success over his two years spent in the NAHL. Jones played 1974-75 with the Syracuse Blazers and 1975-76 with the Mohawk Valley Comets. In both seasons, he surpassed the 100 point plateau, leading the league in assists and points while a member of the Blazers.

Bob Jones – NAHL


In 1974-75, Jones played 67 regular season games for the powerhouse Syracuse Blazers. He scored 38 goals and assisted on 76 for 114 points. Bob tied for sixth in goal scoring while leading the NAHL in assists and points. Syracuse finished first overall in the eight team league with a 12 point cushion between themselves and second place. Yet, the Blazers fell in the semi-finals to the fourth seed Johnstown Jets.

The following year with the Mohawk Valley Comets, Jones scored 39 and assisted on 70 for 109 points over 69 regular season games. The league was much more offensive and he placed just sixth for assists and ninth for points. The Comets placed third in the five team East Division and lost in the first round to the Syracuse Blazers.

Bob Jones – Junior


Jones spent four years in the OHA Junior A from 1962-63 to 1965-66. All four years were spent with the same organization but the Guelph Royals became the Kitchener Rangers after the first year. In 1964-65, his 39 goals placed him tenth in the league. Over his OHA career, he totalled 171 points over 209 regular season games.

In 1965-66, Kitchener finished seventh in the nine team league with just 41 points over 48 regular season games. Yet, after knocking off the Niagara Falls Flyers in the opening round and the Toronto Marlboros in the semi-finals, the Rangers earned a berth in the Robertson Cup finals against Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals. Oshawa came out ahead, four games to one. Over 19 playoff games, Jones scored 11 and assisted on 14 for 25 points.

Bob Jones – Minor Pro


From 1966-67 to 1971-72, Bob spent most of his time in the minors, either in the CPHL, WHL and AHL. In 1969-70, he was part of the magical Buffalo Bisons AHL club that exited the league on a high. With the Sabres entering the National Hockey League for the 1970-71 season, it was known that 1969-70 was the last year for the Bisons.

The Fred Shero coached Bisons reached the Calder Cup finals and swept the Springfield Kings in four for the championship. Bob led the team with ten assists and 15 points over 14 playoff games. During the regular season, he scored 25 and assisted on 37 for 62 points over 71 games.

Bob Jones – Major League


His NHL experience was limited to just two games, played with the New York Rangers in 1968-69. However, Jones played 161 games in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1975-76. Bob wore a number of jerseys in the WHA, starting with the Los Angeles Sharks and moving on to the New York Raiders / New York Golden Blades / Jersey Knights mess. He also appeared with the Michigan Stags and Indianapolis Racers.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rejean Giroux: Maine Nordiques and Beauce Jaros


rejean giroux quebec nordiques wha
The hockey career of Rejean Giroux was compact with just eight years from his first year in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts to his final year in the NAHL with the Beauce Jaros. However, Giroux made the best of it, especially with the Maine Nordiques of the NAHL in 1973-74.

Rejean Giroux – NAHL


In 1973-74, Giroux played 68 games for the Maine Nordiques, scoring 64 goals and assisting on 58 for 122 points. He led the Nordiques in goals and points while finishing fourth on the team for assists behind Paul Larose, Michel Rouleau and Michel Archambault. His 64 goals placed him second in the league, three behind Luc Simard of the Cape Cod Cubs. Giroux was ninth in assists and just one point behind Simard for the overall lead in points.

Maine placed second overall but went 1-7 in the opening round round-robin playoff. Over the eight playoff games, Rejean scored three goals and assisted on four. Giroux also played 12 games for the Quebec Nordiques in the World Hockey Association that year.

In 1976-77, he returned to the NAHL to play for the Beauce Jaros. Over 13 games, he scored six and assisted on four. The Jaros folded 30 games into the season and Giroux didn’t catch on with another team.

Rejean Giroux – QMJHL


For three years from 1969-70 to 1971-72, Giroux played in the QMJHL for the Quebec Remparts. In his first year, he scored 38 and assisted on 43 for 81 points over 55 regular season games. His 175 penalty minutes placed him seventh in the league. Rejean was fourth on the team in scoring behind Guy Lafleur, Jacques Richard and Andre Savard. Lafleur had 103 goals and 170 points that year.

Quebec finished first overall and took the President’s Cup championship by sweeping the St. Jerome Alouettes in the finals. Giroux scored 16 and totalled 29 points over 15 playoff games, third on the team behind Lafleur’s 43 points and Paul Larose’s 30. The Remparts lost in the Memorial Cup semi-finals to the Montreal Junior Canadiens.

Giroux took a step back in his second year with the Remparts with 25 goals and 34 assists for 59 points over 50 regular season games. He was fifth on the team in points with Lafleur once again leading the way, this time with a record 130 goals and 209 points.

The Remparts once again finished first overall in the QMJHL, this time 32 points better than the second place Shawinigan Bruins. Quebec and Shawinigan met in the President’s Cup finals and the Remparts won the series in five games. The team then beat out the Edmonton Oil Kings for the Memorial Cup championship.

In 1971-72, Guy Lafleur was gone and it was up to Jacques Richard and Rejean to lead the team. Giroux scored 58 goals and assisted on 51 for 109 points, second on the team in each category to Richard. His 58 goals were also second in the QMJHL behind his teammate while he tied for eighth in points.

Quebec finished third overall and once again reached the President’s Cup finals. This time, the Remparts fell to the Cornwall Royals in six games. Giroux scored 16 and assisted on 15 for 31 points over 15 playoff games.

Rejean Giroux – Pro Hockey


The Chicago Blackhawks selected Giroux in the fifth round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft, 77th overall. He never played in the National Hockey League but did appear in 59 games in the WHA with the Quebec Nordiques in 1972-73 and 12 more with the club in 1973-74.

In 1974-75 and 1975-76, Rejean played for the Dallas Black Hawks of the Central Hockey League. In his first year, he was fourth on the team with 60 points over 68 games. His 27 goals were the second best on the Black Hawks. Dallas reached the finals before falling to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in seven games. The Black Hawks outscored their opponents 28-24 on the series with games 1, 2 and 7 decided in overtime.

Alexandre Giroux


Rejean’s son has enjoyed maybe a bit more success in the world of pro hockey. Alexandre also spent three years in the QMJHL, from 1998-99 to 2000-01 with the Hull Olympiques and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

In the American Hockey League, the younger Giroux led the league in goals scored in consecutive seasons, 2008-09 and 2009-10, earning him the Willie Marshall Award for his efforts. He scored 60 goals the first year and 50 the next, playing for the Hershey Bears in both seasons.

The veteran of 48 NHL games between 2005-06 and 2011-12 with the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets has signed an extension in Switzerland’s National League A. 2014-15 will be his second year with Ambri-Piotta in the NLA.