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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Larry Gould: All-Time NAHL Buffalo Norsemen Scoring Leader


larry gould buffalo norsemen nahl
Larry Gould played just one season in the NAHL. It was his fourth year of pro hockey and his was playing with the Buffalo Norsemen. Gould made the most of his one season with 100 points over 71 games. He brought with him to Buffalo a tiny bit of National Hockey League experience. He went on to be a prolific scorer in the IHL for several years.

Larry Gould – NAHL


Gould played for the Buffalo Norsemen for the 1975-76 season. It was the only season the franchise played in the North American Hockey League. Larry’s 32 goals were good for second on the team, four behind player/head coach Guy Trottier. His 68 assists and 100 points led the Norsemen. His 68 assists also placed him eighth in the NAHL.

Larry Gould – Junior


Larry played three years of junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1969-70 to 1971-72. His first two years were spent with the Hamilton Red Wings. The team was full of future NHLers like Rick Kehoe, Pat Hickey, Jim Schoenfeld, Bob Neely and Mike Veisor. Yet, the Red Wings were not successful in the playoffs. That Hamilton franchise is the present day Erie Otters.

His final year in the OHA was spent with the Niagara Falls Flyers. Once again, there were numerous future NHL players including Don Lever, Jim Schoenfeld, Wilf Paiement and Eric Vail. Yet, the Flyers were ousted in the first round of the Robertson Cup playoffs. That version of the Niagara Falls Flyers is now the Sudbury Wolves.

Larry Gould – Pro Hockey


Gould went undrafted but played pro hockey from 1972-73 to 1981-82 in the IHL, NHL, WHL, CHL and NAHL. His two games with the Vancouver Canucks came during the 1973-74 season.

In his rookie pro year, Larry played for the Des Moines Capitols of the IHL. Over 73 regular season games, he scored 30 goals and assisted on 54 for 84 points. He tied for ninth in the league for assists.

After his stint in the NAHL, his scoring numbers continued to rise. In 1976-77 with the Port Huron Flags of the IHL, Gould scored 35 and assisted on 71 for 106 points. He was the bright spot on a team that finished dead last in the nine team league. Larry led the IHL in assists and was fifth for points.

The following year, he scored 36 and assisted on 69 for 105 points over 80 games with Port Huron. Gould placed second in the IHL for assists and third for points. The Flags improved to fourth in the North Division and sixth in the nine team league. In the playoffs, Larry scored 12 and assisted on 12 for 24 points over 17 games. Port Huron reached the finals before falling in seven to the Toledo Goaldiggers.

In 1980-81 and still with Port Huron, Gould placed sixth in the IHL with 63 assists and placed tied for tenth with 93 points. The following year, his last in pro hockey, Larry totalled 33 goals and 60 assists for 93 points. However, the IHL had moved on to a more offensive game and Gould was left out of the top ten in all three categories. He played 15 games with the Muskegon Mohawks and 59 with the Flint Generals. The two were the sixth and seventh place teams in the seven team league.