Showing posts with label philadelphia blazers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label philadelphia blazers. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Philadelphia Civic Center: Home of the Firebirds

philadelphia civic center
When the Philadelphia Firebirds played in the North American Hockey League for three years from 1974-75 to 1976-77, the team played their home games at the Philadelphia Civic Center. The full name was Philadelphia Convention Hall and Civic Center.

The Firebirds won a Lockhart Cup championship at the Civic Center in 1975-76. When the NAHL disbanded after the 1976-77 season, the Firebirds joined the American Hockey League and played out of the Civic Center for the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons before leaving town.

The Philadelphia Civic Center was opened in 1931. The arena held a capacity of around 9,000 for hockey. The venue was closed in 1996 and demolished in 2005.

The Civic Center was also home to a handful of other professional sports teams. In pro hockey, the Philadelphia Blazers of the World Hockey Association played at the arena for the 1972-73 season. It was the first year of WHA hockey and the only year that Philadelphia had a franchise. The team was meant to start as the Miami Screaming Eagles but had to move to Philly because of arena issues.

The Blazers were hyped by the signings of goaltender Bernie Parent and NHL budding superstar Derek Sanderson. Both soon after returned to the National Hockey League. The Blazers were relocated to Vancouver for the 1973-74 season.

Professional basketball in Philadelphia was rooted in the Civic Center. The Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA played their home games at the venue from 1952-53 to 1961-62. The team won a NBA title in 1955-56 with a victory over the Fort Wayne Pistons. For the 1962-63 season, the Warriors moved to San Francisco and are the present day Golden State Warriors.

The Philadelphia 76ers also called the Civic Center home from 1963-64 to 1966-67. The 76ers were relocated from Syracuse, New York after 1962-63. They were originally known as the Syracuse Nationals. The 76ers moved into the Spectrum for 1967-68, the same year the NHL’s Flyers moved in.

As for the Spectrum, it seated 17,380 for hockey. It closed in 2009 and was demolished in 2011.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Michel Plante of the Philadelphia Firebirds

michel plante philadelphia firebirds nahl
Michel Plante along with Bob Collyard and Gord Brooks led the Philadelphia Firebirds to the 1975-76 Lockhart Cup championship in the North American Hockey League. Plante played the final three years of the NAHL’s existence followed by one more year in pro hockey before retiring.

Michel Plante – NAHL

Plante played with the Philadelphia Firebirds for three years from 1974-75 to 1976-77. He appeared in 213 regular season games, scoring 102 goals and assisted on 140 for 242 points. Like the rest of the Firebirds, Michel really shone in 1975-76.

Over 73 regular season games in 1975-76, Plante scored 52 and assisted on 66 for 118 points. He placed fifth in the NAHL for goals, ninth for assists and seventh for points. In the playoffs, he added another 27 points over 16 games as the Firebirds captured the Lockhart Cup championship with a victory of the Beauce Jaros in six in the finals.

Michel Plante – QMJHL

Michel played for the Drummondville Rangers in the first three years of existence for the QMJHL, 1969-70 to 1971-72. Plante’s hometown Rangers ceased operations after the 1973-74 QMJHL season. In his final two years with Drummondville, Plante wore the ‘A’ on his jersey. In 1970-71, he led the team offensively with 39 goals and 54 assists for 93 points over 61 games.

Michel Plante – Pro Hockey

Plante was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft, 75th overall. He played pro from 1972-73 to 1977-78 in the WHA, SHL, NAHL and IHL. Michel appeared in 92 regular season and four playoff games in the World Hockey Association with the Philadelphia Blazers in 1972-73 and 1973-74.

In his final year of pro, Michel almost had his second championship. He played for the Port Huron Flags in the International Hockey League. The Flags did not excel during the regular season, finishing fourth out of five teams in the IHL North Division with just the sixth best record in the nine team IHL.

However, the Flags knocked off the division leading Saginaw Gears in the opening round, four games to one. It then took just another five games to take out the second seed Kalamazoo Wings to earn a berth in the finals. Port Huron came up against the Toledo Goaldiggers and stretched the series to the full seven games before bowing out. Plante contributed 15 points over 17 playoff games to push the Flags to the finals.