Showing posts with label dave staffen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dave staffen. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Erie Blades

erie blades north american hockey league logo nahl
The Erie Blades played in the North American Hockey League in the NAHL’s final two years of existence. The team can best be described as mediocre. The Blades are indirectly related to the present day Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. The team played their home games out of the Erie County Field House. The Arena had seating for 3,750 with an overall capacity of 5,250. The building now serves as a warehouse.

In their first year, the Blades were affiliated with the Denver Spurs / Ottawa Civics franchise of the World Hockey Association. In 1976-77, their affiliation switched to the WHA’s Houston Aeros.


The Blades started out their first year with some NAHL big names on the roster. However, during the season, Dave Staffen, Larry Mavety and Bill Goldthorpe moved on. Erie finished third in the West Division with 75 points in 74 games during the regular season. In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, the Blades met up with the Philadelphia Firebirds in the opening round. The Firebirds took the series, three games to two.

Erie was coached in both their NAHL seasons by Nick Polano. Nick was fresh off a pro career that spanned from 1959-60 to 1973-74 in pretty much every North American league except for the NHL. He played 17 games in the WHA with the Philadelphia Blazers in 1972-73. The following year, he appeared in the NAHL with the Cape Cod Cubs before becoming the team’s head coach midway through the season. Polano went on to coach the Detroit Red Wings for three years from 1982-83 to 1984-85.


Robbie Neale led the Blades offensively with 66 points in 56 games. Neale’s contribution was a far cry from league leader Rod Bloomfield who tallied 173 points with the Binghamton Dusters. Eddie Mio played 15 games in net for Erie. Mio went on to play in the National Hockey League from 1979-80 to 1985-86 with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.

Erie finished fifth in the eight team league with 78 points over 74 games. The Blades exacted revenge on the Philadelphia Firebirds in the opening round, downing their rivals, three games to one. In the semi-finals, Erie was taken out by the Syracuse Blazers, four games to one. Syracuse went on to capture the Lockhart Cup championship.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Dave Staffen: NAHL Record for Most Goals in a Season

binghamton dusters north american hockey league

A website called the Encyclopedia of the North American Hockey League cannot be even close to complete without an article on the man with the record for most goals in a single season. Dave Staffen set that mark in the NAHL’s final season of existence, 1976-77, as a member of the Binghamton Dusters.

In tandem with Rod Bloomfield, who recorded 124 assists in 1976-77, Staffen put in an incredible 87 goals over 74 regular season games. Of course, he led the league in goals. With 40 helpers, his 127 points placed him tied for second in the league, behind Bloomfield’s 173.

Dave toned it down in the post season, scoring six goals and assisting on five over ten games. After finishing third overall in the eight team league, the Dusters were swept by the Maine Nordiques in the semi-finals.

The only other year Staffen played in the NAHL was 1975-76. He started the year with the Erie Blades and played 62 games with the club. His final ten games of the season were played with the Syracuse Blazers. Combined, he scored 41 goals and assisted on 27 for 66 points. His goal total played his tenth in the league.

In the 1975-76 post season, Dave scored eight goals in eight games for the Blazers with no assists and a hefty 41 minutes in penalties. Syracuse reached the semi-finals before being swept by the Beauce Jaros.

Junior Hockey

Staffen played three years in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1971-72 to 1973-74. After playing his first year exclusively with the Kitchener Rangers, Dave was traded to the Hamilton Red Wings during the 1972-73 season. The following year, Hamilton traded him mid-season to the Ottawa 67’s.

Pro Hockey

Staffen was drafted into both the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association. At the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, Dave was taken in the ninth round by the Minnesota North Stars, 148th overall. In the 1974 WHA Amateur Draft, it was the New England Whalers that selected him in the 13th round, 211th overall.

Dave played pro hockey from 1974-75 to 1977-78 in the IHL, NAHL and AHL. In his rookie year, split his season between the Lansing Lancers and Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL. He played a combined 74 games, scoring 37 goals and assisting on 27 for 64 points – decent numbers for a first year player.

When the NAHL shut down after the 1976-77 season, the Dusters moved to the American Hockey League. Staffen came with the team to the AHL for the 1977-78 season but played just three games, scoring one goal. He went on to finish the season in the OHA Senior circuit before retiring from the game.