Showing posts with label qmjhl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label qmjhl. Show all posts

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.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Gilles Bilodeau: NAHL Single Season PIM Record Holder

gilles bilodeau beauce jaros nahl
Perhaps, the North American Hockey League, as shown in the movie ‘Slap Shot’, is best represented by Gilles Bilodeau. Gilles ‘Bad News’ Bilodeau had little to do with hockey and a lot to do with fighting and other violence on the ice.

Gilles played one year of junior hockey in 1974-75 with the Sorel Eperviers (Black Hawks) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The year before, Sorel provided the hockey world with offense like it had never been seen before.

The team in 1973-74, led by Pierre Larouche and his 251 points, had seven players total more than 100 points, two over 200. Three Eperviers scored more than 90 goals during the 72 game regular season. Sorel finished first overall in the 10 team QMJHL but fell in the playoff finals to the Quebec Remparts.

As is often the case in junior hockey, the offensive power moved on to the pro ranks and the 1974-75 Eperviers were left with a group better fit for the boxing ring. Bilodeau sat 377 minutes in the penalty box over 62 games. Although a high total, it was nothing compared to teammate Roger Seguin who accumulated 494 minutes while somehow playing the full 72 game schedule without suspension. The two finished 1-2 in the QMJHL for the PIM category that season.

There were, of course, no National Hockey League takers for Gilobeau at the NHL Amateur Draft. He did, however, fit a certain mold that the World Hockey Association was looking for and the Toronto Toros selected him in the ninth round of the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft, 121st overall. Over his pro hockey career, Gilles played 143 WHA regular season games between 1975-76 and 1978-79 with the Toros, Birmingham Bulls and Quebec Nordiques.

It was in his first year of pro hockey, 1975-76, that Bilodeau made his presence known in the North American Hockey League. Gilles played 58 games with the Beauce Jaros while also playing 14 games for the WHA Toros. In those 58 games, he scored eight goals and assisted on 17 more for 25 points. But, it was his penalty total that gave him ‘fame’.

The Jaros were first overall and had the first player in pro hockey history to total more than 200 points in a season on the roster. Joe Hardy led the league with 208 points. Bilodeau was in the sin bin for 451 minutes, a 7.8 PIM per game pace. He finished first in the NAHL in that category, 140 minutes ahead of the next contender, Dave Hanson of the Johnstown Chiefs. In the playoffs, he added 46 more PIM, playing just five games while the Jaros cruised to the Lockhart Cup finals before losing to the Philadelphia Firebirds.

In his second pro season, Gilles sat 242 PIM in just 28 games for the Charlotte Checkers of the SHL. He played pro from 1975-76 to 1980-81 and had a two game stint with the Birmingham Bulls of the ACHL in 1983-84. Over 374 pro regular season games, Bilodeau sat 1,763 minutes in the box, a 4.7 PIM per game pace.

Bilodeau actually saw action in the NHL. After playing with the Quebec Nordiques in the final year of the World Hockey Association, 1978-79, he moved with the franchise to the NHL for 1979-80. Gilles played a total of nine games in the NHL with the Nordiques. Unfortunately, Gilles Bilodeau passed away in 2008.