Showing posts with label nahl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nahl. Show all posts

Monday, January 9, 2017

Gary Kurt: All-Star Goalie For The Syracuse Blazers

gary kurt new york raiders o-pee-chee hockey card
Gary Kurt played in the North American Hockey League for just the league's inaugural 1973-74 season. He lost to Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals in the 1965-66 OHL finals. He won the Harry Hap Holmes Memorial Award in the 1970-71 AHL for the lowest goals against. He played a short time in the NHL and a longer time in the World Hockey Association. Gary Kurt's was a not well known but fairly successful career in hockey.

Gary Kurt – NAHL


Gary Kurt played 24 games between the pipes for the Syracuse Blazers in 1973-74. His 2.94 goals against average and two shutouts earned him First Team All-Star honours. However, Gary did not play for Syracuse in the NAHL post season.

Syracuse finished first overall and were crowned playoff champions with a win over the Long Island Cougars in the finals. The Blazers playoff goaltending was split between Russ Gillow (9 games) and Ted Ouimet (six games).

Kurt ended up that 1973-74 season with 30 games in the World Hockey Association. He played for the nomadic New York Golden Blades, aka Jersey Knights.


Gary Kurt – Junior and Minor Pro


Gary Kurt played four years of major junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers between 1963-64 and 1966-67. In 1965-66, he played in just nine regular season games for the Rangers and the team finished seventh in the eight team league.

When it came to the 1965-66 playoffs, Kurt was in net for all 17 post season games for Kitchener. The Rangers upset the third place Niagara Falls Flyers in the quarter-finals and upset the sixth place Toronto Marlboros in the semi-finals. When it came to the final series, Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals proved too much. Kitchener was led by Walt Tkaczuk, Tim Ecclestone and Don Luce.

From 1967-68 to 1971-72, Kurt played in the Central Hockey League and AHL. In 1970-71 with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, Gary posted a 2.76 GAA and a shutout over 42 games. He earned the Harry Holmes Memorial Award as the goalie for the team with the least goals against.

Parker MacDonald and John Muckler split head coaching duties for the Barons that year. Along with the top goalie honours, Gary Kurt was named a Second Team All-Star goalie.

Gary Kurt – Major League


Gary Kurt made his way to the National Hockey League in 1971-72 after his standout season in the AHL. He would play his only 16 games in the league that year, all with the California Golden Seals. Backing up Gilles Meloche, Kurt recorded a decent 2.94 goals against average, along with two shutouts.

Kurt played in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1976-77 with the New York Raiders/New York Golden Blades/Jersey Knights and the Phoenix Roadrunners. He was picked up by the Phoenix Roadrunners at the 1974 WHA Expansion Draft and didn't go all the way to San Diego with the once again relocated Knights franchise.

Over his WHA career, Kurt played in 176 games and recorded a 4.17 GAA with three shutouts. His best season came in 1974-75 when he appeared in 47 games for the Roadrunners. With Jack Norris backing him up, Gary put up a 3.29 GAA and two of his three career shutouts.

Gary Kurt - Hockey Cards



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.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lorne Rombough: Long Island Cougars 1973-74


lorne rombough long island cougars
1973-74 was a great year for Lorne Rombough. He was a fifty goal scorer in his only year in the North American Hockey League and played his only three games of major league hockey with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association.

Lorne Rombough – NAHL


In 1973-74, Lorne played 68 regular season games for the Long Island Cougars in the inaugural season of the NAHL. Rombough scored 50 goals and assisted on 42 for 92 points on the John Brophy coached team. He led the Cougars in goals and points. Lorne’s 50 goals placed him fourth in the league and he was the last of four players to surpass the 50 goal plateau that season. His 92 points placed him tenth in the league.

As for the Cougars, the team placed third in the seven team league, one point below .500. Yes, just two of seven teams had winning records in the 1973-74 NAHL. This imbalance certainly showed in the playoffs. Long Island reached the Lockhart Cup finals before being swept by the Syracuse Blazers in four games. The Blazers outscored the Cougars 27-5 in the series.

Lorne Rombough – Pro Hockey


 
In 1967-68, Lorne was team captain with the State University of Buffalo in U.S. College Hockey. The team went undefeated during the 15 game regular season but fell to Oswego State in the playoffs, their only loss of the season.

Rombough played pro hockey from 1969-70 to 1979-80 in a handful of leagues that includes the IHL, EHL (2 versions), AHL, NAHL, WHA, SHL, PHL and NEHL. His actual first pro game came in 1968-69 when he appeared in a single game with the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL. Lorne scored a goal in that first taste of pro hockey.

Lorne played for the predecessor of the Cougars, the Long Island Ducks of the EHL. In 1971-72, he placed ninth in the Eastern Hockey League with 42 goals in 75 regular season games. He also assisted on 35 for a total of 77 points that year.

As mentioned, he got his lone shot at major league hockey in 1973-74. Rombough played three games with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association. His short stay was pretty impressive with two goals and an assist for the WHA club.

Perhaps, his best year in pro hockey came in 1974-75 with the Hampton Gulls of the SHL. Lorne scored 56 goals and assisted on 43 for 99 points over 72 regular season games. Rombough placed second in the league for goal, three behind league leader Andre Deschamps of the Charlotte Checkers. The two were the only players that season to surpass the 50 goal mark. Lorne’s 99 points placed him fourth in the SHL.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gerry Pinder: A Short But Productive Stay With The Maine Nordiques


gerry pinder 1972-73 cleveland crusaders hockey card
He spent little time in the North American Hockey League during the league’s final season, just like many filtered through the NAHL in its four years. Gerry Pinder played a total of 21 games in 1976-77 with the Maine Nordiques but certainly made an impact with the club.

Gerry Pinder – NAHL


After starting the 1976-77 season in the World Hockey Association with the San Diego Mariners, playing 44 games, Pinder joined the Nordiques and played in eleven regular season games. Gerry fit right in with six goals and three assists for nine points.

In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Maine came as close to a championship as they would get, reaching the finals. Unfortunately, they were no match for Syracuse Blazers. Pinder played ten playoff games, scoring eight goals and assisting on two for ten points.

Gerry Pinder – Junior



Pinder played two years of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades, 1965-66 and 1966-67. In the first year, the Blades played in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). In the second, Saskatoon played in the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (SMJHL), the direct predecessor to the current WHL.

In 1966-67, Gerry broke loose offensively. In 55 regular season games, he scored an amazing 78 goals and assisted on 62 for 140 points. He led the league in goals and points and placed fourth for assists while being named the league’s player of the year. As for the Blades, they didn’t fare so well. The team placed fifth in the seven team league over the 56 game schedule and were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Estevan Bruins.

Gerry Pinder – Team Canada


Before going pro, Pinder spent a few years with Canada’s national team. He competed in the 1968 Winter Olympic Games and the 1969 IIHF World Hockey Championships.

The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France. Over seven games, Gerry scored one goal. The goal came in a 3-0 win over Sweden. Canada came out of the Olympics with a bronze medal. Joining Pinder on the Canadian team were future major league pros Fran Huck, Brian Glennie and Bill MacMillan.

The following year, Pinder was with Canada when they competed at the World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. In ten games, Gerry scored three and assisted on one. Canada placed fourth in the tournament.

Gerry Pinder – NHL


Pinder played 223 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 1969-70 and 1971-72. His first two years were spent with the Chicago Black Hawks and his final year in the NHL was with the California Golden Seals. Over that time, his numbers were quite respectable with 55 goals and 69 assists for 124 points. He also played 17 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs, all with Chicago.

With the California Golden Seals, Pinder was the offensive leader on the rag-tag team. His 23 goals and 54 points led the team while playing 74 of the team’s 78 games.

Gerry Pinder – WHA


Gerry jumped to the World Hockey Association for the league’s inaugural season in 1972-73. Between 1972-73 and 1977-78, Pinder played 353 regular season games, scoring 93 goals and assisting on 141 for 234 points. He played an additional 18 games in the Avco World Trophy playoffs, adding 15 points.

Over his WHA career, Gerry played for the Cleveland Crusaders, San Diego Mariners and Edmonton Oilers. His time with the Oilers was limited to just four games during the 1977-78 season. His best year was his first, scoring 30 goals for the Crusaders in 1972-73.

 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bob Collyard


bob collyard philadelphia firebirds nahl
Bob Collyard played professional hockey from 1970-71 to 1982-83. Collyard spent three years with the Philadelphia Firebirds of the NAHL from 1974-75 to 1976-77. During his stay in the North American Hockey League, Bob put up great numbers in each season.

NCAA/WCHA


Collyard spent three years playing for Colorado College in the WCHA from 1968-69 to 1970-71. In his first year, he led the league with 31 goals and 48 points over just 25 games. In his first two years, Bob was selected to the NCAA 1st All-American Team.

Pro Hockey


After just his first year at Colorado College, Collyard was picked by the St. Louis Blues in the seventh round of the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft, 73rd overall. Bob went on to play pro hockey from 1970-71 to 1982-83 in the CHL, NHL, WHL, NAHL, AHL, Germany and IHL.
His National Hockey League experience consists of ten games with the Blues during the 1973-74 season. He was picked up by the Washington Capitals in the 1974 NHL Expansion Draft but never played for the Capitals.

Bob showed off his soft hands in 1972-73, leading the Central Hockey League with 50 assists as a member of the Fort Worth Wings. In his first year in the American Hockey League, 1977-78, with the Philadelphia Firebirds, Collyard finished second in the league with 62 assists, just one behind Joe Hardy of the Binghamton Dusters. That year, he finished fourth in points with 90, eight behind league leader and teammate Gord Brooks.

NAHL


Over his three years in the NAHL, Collyard scored 118 goals and assisted on 230 for 348 points over 216 regular season games. His playoff numbers were even more impressive with 18 goals and 30 assists for 48 points in 24 games. Most of those playoff numbers came in 1975-76 when the Firebirds won the Lockhart Cup. Bob scored 12 goals and assisted on 25 for 37 points.

In 1974-75, Collyard scored 42 and assisted on 61 for 103 points. He placed fourth in the league for goals, second for assists and tied for third in points. Bob led the Firebirds in all three categories and was named to the NAHL Second All-Star Team.

The following year, 1975-76, Bob’s numbers increased but so did everyone else’s in the NAHL. His 45 goals placed him eighth, his 84 assists were good for second and his 129 points put him in fifth among NAHL scoring leaders. He led Philadelphia in assists and points. As mentioned, he led the way in the playoffs as the Firebirds captured the Lockhart Cup championship. Once again, Collyard was named a Second Team All-Star.

In his final season, 1976-77, Bob’s goal total dropped to 31 but his assists increased to 85 for a total of 116 points. Collyard led the team in assists and finished second in the NAHL. His point total placed him seventh overall. Once again, Bob was a Second Team All-Star.

Collyard carried on as a member of the Philadelphia Firebirds for two more years in the American Hockey League after the demise of the NAHL.

USA National Team


Twice, Bob was a member of the United States contingent at the IIHF World Hockey Championships. In 1978, he scored a goal and assisted on five for six points over ten games. The tournament was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia and the U.S.A. finished sixth out of eight countries. That year, the Soviet Union won gold, Czechoslovakia won silver and Canada took bronze.

In 1979, Collyard played in eight games and scored two goals. The U.S. fell to seventh out of eight teams. The tournament was hosted in Moscow. Once again, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia took the first two positions with Sweden winning the bronze.

 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dale MacLeish

dale macleish philadelphia firebirds nahl
Like many who played in the North American Hockey League, Dale MacLeish’s stay was relatively short. MacLeish, the older brother of NHL star Rick MacLeish, played for the Philadelphia Firebirds in 1974-75 and nine games into the 1975-76 season.

NAHL


In 1974-75, Dale played 48 games for the Firebirds, scoring 19 goals and adding 18 assists for 37 points. He played in all of Philadelphia’s Lockhart Cup playoff games that year, but contributed no points. The Firebirds bowed out in the opening round to the Long Island Cougars, three games to one. At the same time, in Philadelphia, Rick MacLeish was playing an integral part in the Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup championship.

Nine games into the 1975-76 season, MacLeish moved on to the Roanoke Valley Rebels of the Southern Hockey League. He had previously spent time with the Rebels in the Eastern Hockey League. The Firebirds went on to win the Lockhart Cup that season, beating the Beauce Jaros in the finals, four to two.

Junior Hockey


MacLeish played two years of major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey Association. In 1965-66 and 1966-67, Dale was a member of the Peterborough Petes. Brother Rick would join the club the following season and play three years with Peterborough.

In his second year with the Petes, the legendary Roger Neilson took over as head coach. Peterborough was led by Mickey Redmond, who would go on to injury shortened NHL stardom with the Detroit Red Wings. Mickey’s brother Dick was also on the team. Dick also went on to play in the National Hockey League.

Pro Hockey


Dale was a fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft, 22nd overall. At that time, the draft still didn’t mean anything. MacLeish played pro hockey from 1968-69 to 1975-76 in the Central Hockey League, EHL, SHL and NAHL.

It was in the EHL that MacLeish enjoyed his most success. Between the Jacksonville Rockets and the Roanoke Valley Rebels, he appeared in 270 regular season games, scoring 138 and assisting on 139 for 277 points.

Dale MacLeish played in the last ever Eastern Hockey League final series in 1972-73. Roanoke Valley lost to the Syracuse Blazers in six games. The Blazers outscored the Rebels 51 to 18. The following year, the teams from the EHL split up to create the NAHL in the north and the SHL in the south.

 

 

 

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.

1975-76


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.

1976-77


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.

 

 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Long Island Cougars


long island cougars north american hockey league nahl logo

Long Island Cougars


The Long Island Cougars played in the North American Hockey League for the first two seasons of the league’s existence, 1973-74 and 1974-75. The team was affiliated with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association.

The Long Island hockey franchise originated as the Long Island Ducks in the Eastern Hockey League in 1959-60. With the demise of the EHL after 1972-73, the Ducks carried on in the NAHL. The team played out of the Long Island Arena in Commack, New York. The arena sat 4,000 and was only home the Ducks / Cougars franchise ever knew. Long Island Arena was closed in 1996.

1973-74


The Cougars were coached in their first year by EHL legend and future NHL coach John Brophy. Long Island placed third in the seven team NAHL during the regular season with 73 points over 74 games. The Cougars finished 39 points behind the first place Syracuse Blazers.

In the Lockhart Cup playoffs, Long Island went 4-3 in the opening round, which was played in a round robin format. This set up a semi-final matchup with the Cape Cod Cubs. The Cougars beat the Cubs four games to two to earn a berth in the final series against Syracuse. The Blazers easily handled Brophy’s troops in a four game sweep. Syracuse outscored Long Island 27-5 in the series.

During the regular season, the Cougars were led offensively by Lorne Rombough. Lorne played 68 games, scoring 50 goals and assisting on 42 for 92 points. He was one of just four players with 50 or more goals in the NAHL that season. His 92 points placed him tenth in the league’s scoring race.

1974-75


The Cougars weakened in their second year in the NAHL. Long Island finished seventh in the eight team league with 63 points in 74 games. John Brophy was gone as head coach and in his place was Ron Racette. Racette was an outstanding junior coach in the QMJHL during the 1970’s, taking both the Cornwall Royals and Quebec Remparts to the President’s Cup finals.

Despite their low ranking going into the post-season, Long Island came up big in the quarter-finals with a three to one upset of the Philadelphia Firebirds. In the semi-finals, the Cougars came close to another upset when their series with the Binghamton Dusters went the full seven games. Binghamton came out on top, winning four games. However, the Dusters outscored Long Island by a close margin, 24-22. Two of the games needed overtime to decide a winner.

Offensively, the Cougars were led by Dave Walter. Playing in just 62 games, Walter scored 38 goals and assisted on 42 for 80 points. NAHL superstar Joe Hardy played four games with the club while spending most of his season in the WHA with the Chicago Cougars, Indianapolis Racers and San Diego Mariners. The following year, with the Beauce Jaros, Hardy would set NAHL records with 148 assists and 208 points. He became the first professional hockey player to surpass 200 points in a season.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beauce Jaros


beauce jaros north american hockey league nahl logo
The Beauce Jaros played just one full season in the North American Hockey League. In 1975-76, the Jaros set the NAHL on fire. In 1976-77, the team folded on December 22 after just 30 games. The team played their home games at the Palais des Sports in Saint-Georges, Quebec. The arena currently holds less than 2,500 spectators. Joe Hardy was the only head coach the franchise ever had. Hardy was also the team’s star player.

1975-76


In their only full season, Beauce finished first overall in the ten team league and first in the East Division with 54 wins and 110 points over the 74 game schedule. The Jaros led the league in goals scored with 462, 89 more than the second place Philadelphia Firebirds. Beauce met the Firebirds in the Lockhart Cup finals and lost to Philadelphia in six games.

The offensive explosion was shared by four players with 60 or more goals. All four had more than 130 points. Alain Caron led the way with 78 goals, followed by Richard Grenier with 77, Luc Simard with 65 and Jocelyn ‘Joe’ Hardy with 60. Hardy led the NAHL with 148 assists and 208 points. Both will forever remain as NAHL single season records. The 208 points made Joe Hardy the first professional player to reach 200 points in a season.

Another league leader on the Jaros was Gilles Bilodeau. ‘Bad News’ Bilodeau led the league with 451 penalty minutes.

1976-77


Beauce had won just six games and tied two in their first 30 games of the season when the franchise folded. Joe Hardy was again the player / head coach and was on pace for another great year with 43 points in 22 games. Hardy finished off his NAHL season with the Binghamton Dusters. He would play one more year with the Dusters in the American Hockey League before calling it quits.

The team was led offensively by Norm Dube. Dube had 52 points in 29 games for the Jaros. He also played with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association that year. Over his pro career, Norm played 148 regular season games in the WHA, all with Quebec, and 57 regular season games in the National Hockey League, all with the Kansas City Scouts.

 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Richard Brodeur: Goalie for the Maine Nordiques


richard brodeur quebec nordiques 1977-78 wha o-pee-chee hockey card

NAHL


Richard Brodeur was probably one of the most talented goaltenders to play in the North American Hockey League. Because of that talent, he spent played just 15 games in the NAHL before moving on to bigger, better things.

Brodeur played his 15 games for the Maine Nordiques during 1973-74, the inaugural season for the NAHL. He had played with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association during that league’s inaugural season in 1972-73. He would also return to Quebec in 1973-74 to play 30 games.

The Maine Nordiques finished second in the seven team NAHL and were in total isolation. Maine finished 19 points behind the first place Syracuse Blazers and 20 points ahead of the third place Long Island Cougars. Without Brodeur in the playoffs, the Nordiques won just one of eight games in the opening round round-robin and did not advance.

QMJHL


Richard Brodeur was nothing short of a superstar in his junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He played two years in the league, 1970-71 and 1971-72, with the Cornwall Royals and filled a spot vacated by Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Billy Smith.

In one of the great turnarounds in hockey, the Royals went from dead last in the ten team QMJHL in 1970-71 to first overall in 1971-72. In his rookie season, Richard played 35 of Cornwall’s 62 regular season games with obviously no post season action. In 1971-72, he played in all but four of the team’s regular season games and appeared in each of Cornwall’s playoff games.

Cornwall finished first overall, ten points ahead of the second place Drummondville Rangers, earning the team the Jean Rougeau Trophy. The Royals reached the QMJHL finals and came out victorious with a 4-2 victory over the Quebec Remparts.

At the Memorial Cup, held in Ottawa, Ontario, the Royals met the Peterborough Petes in the final game and won the holy grail of Canadian Major Junior hockey with a 2-1 win. The Edmonton Oil Kings also competed in the tournament and represented the WHL.

The accolades were plenty for Brodeur in 1971-72. He was named the First Team All-Star goalie. He won the Jacques Plante Trophy as the goalie in the QMHL with the lowest goals against average (2.93). He was named the recipient of the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup tournament’s most valuable player.

Pro Hockey


After his performance with the Cornwall Royals in 1971-72, Brodeur was taken by the expansion New York Islanders in the seventh round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft, 97th overall. Richard chose to go to the upstart WHA instead and play his first pro hockey with Quebec. He would return to the Islanders after the WHA ceased to exist but appeared in just two games with the club in 1979-80.

Brodeur played in the WHA from 1972-73 to 1978-79, the entire lifetime of the league. He played exclusively with the Nordiques. In 1976-77, he played 53 games for the team during the regular season and all 17 of Quebec’s playoff games. The team finished first in the Eastern Division and second overall behind just the Houston Aeros.

Quebec met the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco Cup finals in 1976-77 and it was an odd series. The overview makes the series look close with Quebec winning in seven games, while outscoring their opponents by just three goals, 31-28. However, five of the games were decided by a differential of five or more goals. Game six was a blowout with Winnipeg winning 12-3. Game seven was an 8-2 victory for Quebec.

In 1979-80, while playing just two games with the powerhouse Islanders in the NHL, Brodeur spent the rest of the year in the Central Hockey League with the Indianapolis Checkers. Richard played the majority of games for the club and shared the Terry Sawchuk Trophy with teammate Jim Park as the goaltending duo with the lowest goals against average in the league.

While playing in the National Hockey League between 1979-80 and 1987-88, Richard saw most of his action with the Vancouver Canucks. Along with his two games on Long Island, he also played six with the Hartford Whalers at the end of his NHL career.

In 1981-82, Brodeur played the bulk of the regular season games for the Vancouver Canucks. Despite a losing record during the regular season, the Canucks managed to make it through to the Stanley Cup finals with Richard playing all the team’s post season games. The Canucks came up against the New York Islanders and lost the series in a four game sweep.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Les Binkley: Pittsburgh's Original Starting Goalie


les binkley hockey card pittsburgh penguins

NAHL


At 41 years old, Les Binkley played his final season of professional hockey in the North American Hockey League with the Buffalo Norsemen. Binkley appeared in 24 games for Buffalo in the team’s only year in the NAHL. That season, Les also played seven games in the WHA with the Toronto Toros, posting a less than stellar 5.73 goals against average.

Buffalo had Guy Trottier as player / head coach, also in his last year of pro hockey. The Norsemen finished fourth in the West Division and fell to the Johnstown Jets in the opening round of the playoffs.

Pro Hockey


Binkley played three years of junior hockey in the OHA from 1951-52 to 1953-54, all with the Galt Black Hawks. He played pro hockey from 1955-56 to 1975-76 in seven different leagues (IHL, EHL, AHL, WHL, NHL, WHA, NAHL).

At 33 in 1967-68, expansion finally gave Binkley a shot at the National Hockey League. Les was the first player signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins and he played between the pipes for the club from 1967-68 to 1971-72.

With the World Hockey Association starting business for the 1972-73 season, Binkley jumped ship to play for the Ottawa Nationals. He followed the club as they moved to Toronto to become the Toros and, as mentioned above, played his final seven games with the club in 1975-76.

His one and only championship came back in 1956-67 with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League. Binkley played all of the team’s 64 regular season games and helped them to the final series where they downed the Philadelphia Ramblers in seven games.

The following season, he once again played all 64 games for the Clippers and once again led them to the EHL finals. This time, the Clippers fell to the Washington Presidents in seven games

In 1961-62, Les played his first season in the American Hockey League, appearing in 60 of 70 games for the Cleveland Barons. Binkley was honoured with the Dudley ‘Red’ Garrett Memorial Award as the league’s top first year player. The Barons finished first in the four team West Division. Cleveland lost to the Springfield Indians in the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs. In an odd playoff format, the Indians were the top team in the East Division meaning the top two teams in the AHL were pitted against each other in the first round of the playoffs.

In 1965-66, again with the Cleveland Barons, Binkley was the recipient of the Harry ‘Hap’ Holmes Memorial Award as the goaltender with the lowest goals against average in the AHL. He played 66 of Cleveland’s 72 regular season games and all of their 12 playoff games. The Barons finished second in the West Division and reached the Calder Cup finals before bowing out to the Rochester Americans in six games.

 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bob Woytowich: A Pro Hockey Career Wrapped Up in the NAHL


bob woytowich winnipeg jets hockey card 1972-73 o-pee-chee wha

NAHL


Bob Woytowich played part of one season in the North American Hockey League at the tail end of his pro hockey career. Woytowich was a player / head coach of the Mohawk Valley Comets for the first 37 games of the 1976-77 NAHL season, the last year for the league.

In 37 games, the defenseman assisted on ten goals and sat two minor penalties. He was replaced by another player / head coach in Bill Horton. The Comets finished sixth in the eight team league and were ousted in the opening round of the Lockhart Cup playoffs by the Binghamton Dusters. 1976-77 was Woytowich’s final year playing pro hockey.

Pro Hockey Career


Bob played pro from 1960-61 to 1976-77. He appeared in 503 games in the National Hockey League between 1964-65 and 1971-72 with the Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings.

In 1967-68 with the expansion Minnesota North Stars, Bob helped the team reach the Stanley Cup semi-finals against the St. Louis Blues. The North Stars lost the series in seven games but outscored the Blues 22-18. Four of the seven games went into overtime with the seventh game being decided in double overtime.

In 1969-70, Woytowich found himself in another semi-final series against the Blues, this time as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blues won the series in six games. Bob played in the NHL All-Star game in 1970, the only time in his career.

Woytowich also played 242 regular season games in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1975-76. He played for the Winnipeg Jets and Indianapolis Racers but had his most success in Manitoba with the Jets reaching the finals in 1972-73, the inaugural season of the WHA, before bowing out to the New England Whalers in five games.

Bob Woytowich died in 1988 at the young age of 46.

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bill Horton of the NAHL's Mohawk Valley Comets


NAHL


bill horton mohawk valley comets nahl
Bill Horton, the cousin of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Tim Horton, played two years in the North American Hockey League, 1975-76 and 1976-77. Both his years were with the Mohawk Valley Comets. Horton played just ten games in 1975-76 before appearing in a nearly full season of 66 games in 1976-77, the final year of the NAHL.

In 1976-77, Bill Horton was not only the Comets star defenseman. He was also the head coach of the team. Mohawk Valley finished sixth out of eight teams during the regular season. It wasn’t hard to reach the post season that year. The Beauce Jaros dropped out of the league after 30 games and the rest of the seven teams made the playoffs. The Comets lost in the opening round to the Binghamton Dusters, three games to two.

Playing Career


After one year of junior hockey in the OHA with the London Nationals (now the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League) in 1966-67, Horton played for the Dayton Gems in the IHL for the 1967-68 season. It would be the closest he’d come to a championship as a player. The Gems reached the IHL finals before losing to the Muskegon Mohawks in five games.

Bill played pro hockey from 1967-68 to 1981-82 in the IHL, EHL, WHA, SHL, NAHL, PHL and ACHL. He never played in the NHL but played 193 games of major league hockey between 1972-73 and 1974-75 in the World Hockey Association. In the WHA, Horton played for the Cleveland Crusaders, Los Angeles Sharks and Indianapolis Racers.

Horton played his final three years as a player / head coach, with an emphasis on the coaching. In 1980-81 with the Syracuse Hornets of the 2nd generation EHL, Bill played three games and sat 28 minutes in the penalty box. As a coach, he lasted ten games with just a tie to show for it. The following year, he played three games with the Mohawk Valley Stars of the ACHL, along with his coaching duties. Once again, he appeared in three games, this time sitting 43 minutes in the penalty box while assisting on one goal. Despite this ‘goonery’, for most of career, Bill kept his game clean.

Coaching Career


Horton coached in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League from 1981-82 to 1986-87. In his first year, as head coach of the Mohawk Valley Stars, he achieved the championship he could never find as a player. The Stars finished second overall in the six team ACHL. They met the Salem Raiders in the finals and won the series in six games for the title.

The following year, Mohawk Valley once again made it to the final series. Their opponent this time was the Carolina Thunderbirds. Carolina finished the regular season in first place. The Stars finished in third, 47 points behind the Thunderbirds. Carolina swept the final series in four games. The Thunderbirds went 8-0 in the 1982-83 ACHL playoffs.

In order to exact revenge on Carolina, Horton had to switch teams. In 1983-84, he was head coach of the Erie Golden Blades. The team finished second overall in the six team league, one point behind the first place Thunderbirds. The two met in the finals with Erie coming up victorious, winning the series four games to one.

Horton returned to Mohawk Valley to coach in 1985-86. The team was now known as the Comets again. Bill did not find much fortune with the team and was replaced early in the 1986-87 season.

 

 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Larry Mavety: NAHL Bridges the Gap Between Pro Player and OHL Head Coach


larry mavety chicago cougars wha hockey card
Larry Mavety played in the North American Hockey League for parts of three seasons from 1974-75 to 1976-77. The high scoring defenseman got around the league, playing for three different clubs over his three years, intermingled with play in the World Hockey Association.

NAHL


Mavety played just four games in the NAHL during the 1974-75 season with the Long Island Cougars. He spent the bulk of his time with Chicago Cougars in the WHA. In 1975-76, he split his NAHL season between the Erie Blades and Binghamton Dusters. In his, and the league’s, final year, Larry played entirely for the Dusters. In 59 games on the blue line, he scored 16 goals and assisted on 51 for 67 points.

Pro Hockey


Larry Mavety played pro hockey from 1963-64 to 1976-77 in the IHL, WHL, WHA and NAHL. In his rookie year, 1963-64, with the Toledo Blades, he helped win the IHL championship. The Blades finished first out of the league’s seven teams during the regular season. In the post season, Toledo met the Fort Wayne Komets in the finals. Although the Komets outscored the Blades 26-24, Toledo won the series in six games.

Two years later, Mavety won another IHL championship, this time with the Port Huron Flags. During the regular season, Port Huron finished down in third place in the six team league. The Flags met the Dayton Gems in the finals and won four games to one.

Larry’s pinnacle season in the IHL came in 1966-67 when he was awarded the Governor’s Trophy on a less than stellar Port Huron Flags team. The Governor’s Trophy was handed out to the IHL’s top defenseman. Later is was renamed the Larry D. Gordon Trophy. Mavety finished the season with 25 goals and 48 assists for 73 points in 71 games. The Flags did not qualify for the post season, finishing fifth in the seven team league.

Although he never played in the National Hockey League, Mavety played 248 regular season games of major league hockey in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1976-77.  He did a bit of moving around, playing for the Los Angeles Sharks, Philadelphia Blazers, Chicago Cougars, Toronto Toros, Ottawa Civics and Indianapolis Racers. He played 18 playoff games in 1973-74 as the Chicago Cougars reached the Avco Cup finals before being swept by the Houston Aeros.

OHL Coach and Executive


In 1979-80, the OMJHL (now the Ontario Hockey League) expanded to include the Belleville Bulls. Larry Mavety was the franchise’s first head coach. He stood behind the bench in Belleville from 1979-80 to 1996-97, with exception of 1988-89 and 1989-90 when he moved down the road to Kingston. The Bulls achieved playoff success in 1985-86, reaching the Robertson Cup finals before bowing out to the Guelph Platers.

In 1997-98, Larry again made his move to Kingston, this time for good. He was head coach of the Kingston Frontenacs from 1997-98 to 2002-03 before moving to the head office. In 2007-08 and 2008-09, he returned to the bench on an interim basis. Mavety is currently a special advisor to the club.

 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bruce Boudreau: A Pro Career That Started in the NAHL


bruce boudreau toronto maple leafs

NAHL


Bruce Boudreau started his impressive minor pro career in the North American Hockey League with the Johnstown Jets in 1975-76. He played just 34 regular season games with the Jets and nine in the playoffs. Yet, he produced at nearly a point per game with 60 points on 25 goals and 35 assists. Boudreau played 30 games in the World Hockey Association with the Minnesota Fighting Saints, contributing just nine points.

At that pace, playing a full 74 game schedule, Boudreau was on pace for 54 goals and 131 points. Very impressive potential numbers, especially for a rookie, but a far cry from the league leaders that year with Alain Caron scoring 78 and Joe Hardy tallying 208 points. Both played for the Beauce Jaros. Bruce was coming off an Eddie Powers Trophy year in the OMJHL, leading the league with 165 points on 68 goals and 97 assists in 69 games for the Toronto Marlboros. It was his third of three years with Toronto.

Boudreau also appeared in nine games during the Lockhart Cup playoffs. The Jets finished the regular season in first place in the West Division but were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round.

Pro Playing Career


Bruce was taken in both the WHA and NHL Amateur Drafts. In 1974, the Minnesota Fighting Saints chose him in the first round of the WHA Amateur Draft, 14th overall. The following year, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the third round of the NHL Amateur Draft, 42nd overall.

Boudreau played pro hockey from 1975-76 to 1991-92 in the NAHL, WHA, NHL, CHL, AHL and IHL, with also some time spent in Germany. He appeared in 141 NHL regular season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks. In 1987-88, Bruce was awarded the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the American Hockey League’s top scorer, totalling 116 points for the Springfield Indians.

Coaching Career


Boudreau has been coaching since 1990-91 when he was player / assistant coach of the IHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. He has coached in the IHL, ECHL, AHL and is currently a head coach in the National Hockey League.

Although a Stanley Cup has eluded him since his NHL coaching career began in 2007-08, Boudreau won a Kelly Cup in the ECHL in 1998-99 with the Mississippi Sea Wolves and a Calder Cup in the AHL in 2005-06 with the Hershey Bears. Bruce is currently in his second year as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks after four and some years behind the bench for the Washington Capitals.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Syracuse Blazers: 2 Time NAHL Champions


syracuse blazers north american hockey league logo
The Syracuse Blazers were a relative comet crossing the hockey sky. The franchise entered the Eastern Hockey League in 1967-68 and lasted out the final six years of the EHL’s existence. The club then joined the newly formed North American Hockey League in 1973-74 and when the NAHL ceased operations after the 1976-77 season, so did the Syracuse Blazers. However, in that short ten year period, the Blazers achieved greatness.

The first two years in the EHL were rocky, to say the least. Syracuse won just 21 of 144 regular games over the 1967-68 and 1968-69 seasons combined. In 1971-72, the Blazers reached the Walker Cup finals before losing to the Charlotte Checkers.

In 1972-73, the final year of the EHL, the team was nothing short of legendary. Syracuse won 63 of 76 regular season games, losing nine and tying four for a whopping 130 points. The team charged to the finals and took the final Walker Cup with a victory over the Roanoke Valley Rebels.

Blazers in the NAHL

Syracuse played in all four NAHL seasons between 1973-74 and 1976-77. The team won the Lockhart Cup championship in the first and last years.

1973-74

Syracuse finished first overall in the inaugural NAHL season with 54 wins and 112 points, 19 more than the second place Maine Nordiques in the seven team league. The Blazers met the Long Island Cougars in the finals and captured the championship with a four game sweep.

Mike Morton was the team’s offensive leader, finishing the regular season with a modest 95 points. The Blazers were intimidators, to say the least. Syracuse players finished 2-3-4 in the NAHL for penalty minutes. Dave Ferguson sat 371, Gary Sittler (brother of Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler) accumulated 316 while the infamous Bill Goldthorpe sat 285 in just 55 games.

The Blazers were coached by Ron Ingram, his only year as head coach of the team. Ingram played pro hockey from 1955-56 to 1969-70, mostly in the American Hockey League. Ingram did find his way into 114 career NHL games with the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.

1974-75

The Blazers once again finished first overall in 1974-75 but the numbers were not quite as spectacular. Syracuse won 46 games and finished with 95 points, 12 ahead of the second place Philadelphia Firebirds in the eight team league. The team played an incredibly even semi-final series with the Johnstown Jets. Each team scored 26 goals and the series went to the seventh game with the Jets edging out the Blazers 5-4.

Bob Jones was the team’s offensive leader in 1974-75 with 114 points. Garry Peters was behind the bench for his only year as the team’s head coach. In fact, it was his only year of coaching in pro hockey. Peters played pro from 1963-64 to 1973-74. He appeared in 311 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins. He also played 57 World Hockey Association games with the New York Raiders franchise (and its many reincarnations).

1975-76

The NAHL expanded to ten teams and split into the East and West Divisions. Syracuse finished second in the East, 31 points behind the Beauce Jaros. The Blazers and Jaros met in the semi-finals and Beauce swept the series.

Doug Brindley led the team offensively with 101 points. Dan Belisle stepped behind the bench for his first of two years as the head coach. Belisle played pro from 1957-58 to 1970-71 and appeared in four NHL games with the New York Rangers during the 1960-61 season. Dan went on to become the head coach of the Washington Capitals for the 1978-79 season and 16 games into the 1979-80 season.

1976-77

The Blazers went out the way they came in, as champions. The league was down to one group of eight teams and Syracuse finished first overall with 48 wins and 99 points. Like 1973-74, it was the Maine Nordiques finishing second, this time 14 points behind the Blazers. The two teams met in the finals with the Blazers sweeping in four games.

Bernie Johnston set the team’s NAHL high with 124 points. There were three players that reached the 50 goal plateau. Johnston scored 53, Tom Milani led the team with 56 and Jim Cowell scored exactly 50. Belisle once again coached the team.

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bill Goldthorpe: aka Ogie Ogilthorpe


bill goldthorpe syracuse blazers minnesota fighting saints
He was the inspiration for the character Ogie Ogilthorpe in the movie ‘Slapshot’ and he was every bit as fearsome in real life as he was in the movie. Yet, the side of Bill Goldthorpe that wasn’t represented in the 1977 cult classic was his scoring ability.

Goldthorpe played in the North American Hockey League sporadically from 1973-74 to 1975-76. His only season that came close to be considered full was 1973-74 with the Syracuse Blazers. In 55 games, Bill sat 285 minutes in the penalty box, a 5.2 PIM per game average. However, he also scored 20 and assisted on 26 more for 46 points. He also appeared in three playoff games in the World Hockey Association with the Minnesota Fighting Saints.

The Blazers finished first overall, winning 54 of 74 regular season games and totalling 112 points, 19 better than the second place Maine Nordiques. Despite playing just 55 games, Goldthorpe had the fourth highest penalty minute total in the NAHL that season. Nick Fotiu of Cape Cod led with 371 while Bill’s Syracuse teammates Dave Ferguson and Gary Sittler finished 2-3.

That year, the NAHL had a round robin in the opening round of the playoffs with the top five teams playing each other twice in order for one team to be eliminated. Syracuse lost just one game to advance to the semi-finals. They took out the Johnstown Jets 4-1 to reach the finals against the Long Island Cougars. The Blazers easily swept Long Island, outscoring their opponents 27-5 over the four games. Goldthorpe accumulated 50 PIM over 15 playoff games but also scored five and assisted on eight for 13 points.

1974-75 was a bit of a dud for Goldie, playing just two games for the Blazers, his last two with the club. He also appeared in seven WHA games with the Michigan Stags franchise.

Goldthorpe found himself with the Binghamton Dusters for a portion of the 1975-76 nahl season. He started the season with a single game as a member of the Erie Blades. He had no points and earned 22 minutes in the box. With Binghamton, Bill went to the sin bin at an 8.2 PIM per game pace. In 19 games with the Dusters, he sat 156 minutes. However, he also went at nearly a point per game pace with 17. He also played 26 games in the WHA, 12 with the Ottawa Civics franchise and 14 with the San Diego Mariners.

His days in the NAHL and WHA had drawn to an end after 1975-76. Goldthorpe had two more seasons in minor pro hockey that would make Ogie Ogilthorpe proud. In 1976-77, playing for the Richmond Wildcats of the Southern Hockey League, Goldthorpe played 25 games and sat 169 minutes. In usual Goldthorpe fashion, he also scored six and assisted on 12 for 18 points.

1978-79 was Goldie’s last real hurrah. He played 39 games for the San Diego Hawks of the PHL and sat 267 minutes in the box. He hadn’t much lost his offensive touch with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points.

A documentary on Goldthorpe’s life was apparently filmed in early 2012 with the title ‘Ogilthorpe’. The short film got a lot of press before being released but we can’t seem to find much info on it now. There were two websites (www.ogilthorpethemovie.com and www.goldiegoldthorpe.com) but neither are currently operational.

 

Monday, March 25, 2013

John Brophy: A Great Coaching Career Started in the NAHL


john brophy head coach long island cougars nahl
NAHL

John Brophy spent just one year in the North American Hockey League and that came a year after his long playing career was over. Brophy was the head coach of the Long Island Cougars for the 1973-74 inaugural NAHL season.

The Cougars finished third overall in the seven team league, 20 points behind the second place Maine Nordiques and 39 behind the first place Syracuse Blazers.

The opening round of the 1973-74 playoffs featured a round robin with the top five finishing teams. Each team played the other four twice. The Cougars came out with 4-3 record, third among the five. Only one team was eliminated from the group and, ironically, it was the Maine Nordiques. Maine went a dreadful 1-7 after such a great regular season.

In the 1973-74 semi-finals, Long Island took out the Cape Cod Cubs in six games to earn a shot at the Syracuse Blazers in the Lockhart Cup finals. It was no contest. Syracuse swept the Cougars and outscored Long Island 27-5 over the four games.

John Brophy’s NAHL career ended with that series but a lengthy and successful coaching career had begun. It is suggested that his NAHL legacy lives on in theatre. Brophy is reported to be the model for the character Reggie Dunlop, played by Paul Newman, in the movie Slapshot.

Playing Career

John Brophy played 1,142 regular season games in the Eastern Hockey League from 1952-53 to 1972-73. The tough defenseman accumulated and astronomical 3,825 penalty minutes over that time. That number equates to nearly 64 hours or more than two and a half days.

He was EHL PIM leader in the following years:

·         1959-60. 190 PIM with the Charlotte Clippers.

·         1960-61. 290 PIM with the New Haven Blades.

·         1961-62. 281 PIM with the Long Island Ducks.

·         1964-65. 241 PIM with the Long Island Ducks.

Over his EHL career he played for the Troy Uncle Sam Trojans, Baltimore Clippers, Charlotte Rebels, Charlotte Clippers, New Haven Blades, Long Island Ducks, Philadelphia Ramblers and Jersey Devils. He was on one championship team during that time and two other teams that were finalists.

The 1956-57 Charlotte Clippers were first overall with a whopping 30 point lead over the second place Philadelphia Ramblers. In the semi-finals, the Clippers beat the New Haven Blades 4-2 in the semi-finals before facing the Ramblers in the finals. Philadelphia did all they could but fell to Charlotte in seven games.

The Clippers toned it down a bit the following season but still found success. The team finished first overall but just one point ahead of the Washington Presidents. Charlotte once again met New Haven in the semis with the Blades pushing the Clippers to the limit before succumbing. Charlotte then met the Presidents in the final series and fell to Washington in another series that went the limit.

In 1960-61, Brophy was with the New Haven Blades. The team finished first in the Northern Division and third overall. In the first round of the playoffs, New Haven beat the Greensboro Generals 5-4 in an unorthodox nine game series. The Blades earned a bye through the second round and landed directly in the finals against the Johnstown Jets. Johnstown took out the Blades 4-2.

Coaching Career

Brophy found himself behind one hockey bench or another from 1973-74 to 2006-07 and even found himself as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1986-87 to 1988-89.

John coached his first major league hockey in 1978-79 as head of the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association. The ‘Baby Bulls’ had an outstanding lineup of teenagers playing their first professional hockey. Rick Vaive, Michel Goulet, Craig Hartsburg, Rob Ramage, Gaston Gingras and Pat Riggin mixed with former NHL veterans like Paul Henderson and Ernie Wakely. If the WHA had survived past the 1978-79 season, this team had the makings of a powerhouse.

Birmingham finished the regular season sixth in the seven team league and did not qualify for the post season. The seventh team was the Indianapolis Racers, a team that folded after 25 games. Still, Brophy was the final recipient of the Robert Schmertz Memorial Trophy as the WHA’s coach of the year.

His true claim to fame, however, came after the WHA and after his tumultuous times in Toronto under Harold Ballard. John Brophy is an ECHL coaching legend. In the league that began play in 1988-89, no other head coach has won three Kelly Cup championships. All John’s post season success came behind the bench of the Hampton Roads Admirals.

In 1990-91, the Admirals took out the Greensboro Monarchs in five games to win the Kelly Cup. The following year, they swept the Louisville IceHawks for the repeat. In 1997-98, Brophy completed his triple as the Admirals shot down the Pensacola Ice Pilots in six games.

In 2003, the ECHL changed the name of the trophy for coach of the year to the John Brophy Memorial Award. Ironically, Brophy was never name ECHL coach of the year despite all his success. In 2009, he was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame.