Showing posts with label toronto toros. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toronto toros. Show all posts

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bob Leduc: Maine Nordiques

bob leduc rookie card 1972-73 o-pee-chee ottawa nationals
Bob Leduc closed out his professional hockey career in the North American Hockey League. When the Maine Nordiques and the NAHL ceased to exist after the 1976-77 season, so did Leduc’s career. Never did he play in the National Hockey League but Leduc played 158 regular season games in the WHA in the rebel league’s first three seasons.

Bob Leduc – NAHL

Leduc played for the Maine Nordiques in 1975-76 and 1976-77. In his first year, he took on the dual role of player / head coach. Over 67 regular season games, he put in decent numbers with 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points. The Nordiques finished last overall but because the Cape Codders folded mid-season, Maine qualified for the post season. They were an early exit, losing 3-1 to the Beauce Jaros in the opening round.

In 1976-77, Jean-Charles Gravel took over the head coaching duties with the Nordiques and Bob played just 25 regular season games. He contributed four goals and totalled 14 points. Maine was much improved and placed second in the eight team league. In what would be his final year in professional hockey, Leduc added nine points over 12 playoff games. The Nordiques reached the Lockhart Cup finals before being swept in four games by the Syracuse Blazers.

Bob Leduc – Pro Hockey

Between 1964-65 and 1976-77, Bob played in the AHL, EHL, WHA and NAHL. Most of his career was spent in the American Hockey League with the Providence Reds. With Providence, he played 496 regular season games, scoring 129 goals and assisting on 185 for 314 points.

Despite finishing with a below .500 record, in three years Leduc was with the Reds, the team did quite well in the post season. In 1967-68, Providence placed seventh in the eight team league. Yet, they reached the semi-finals before falling to the Quebec Aces, 3-1.

The following year, their regular season status improved to fifth out of eight and the Reds once again advanced to the Calder Cup semi-finals against Quebec. This time, Providence pushed the best of five series to the limit before succumbing to the Aces.

In 1970-71, the AHL was split into two four team divisions. Providence placed first in the Eastern Division, despite having just 69 points over 72 games. The Reds were fourth overall in the league. Once again, they did well in the playoffs, this time advancing all the way to the Calder Cup finals before being swept by the Springfield Kings in four games.

For the World Hockey Association’s inaugural season in 1972-73, Leduc was a member of the Ottawa Nationals. Playing all 78 games, he put in one of best years in pro hockey with 55 points. Bob moved with the Nationals to Toronto for the following season as the franchise became known as the Toros.  Leduc totalled 51 points in just 61 games and the Toros found some success in the playoffs. Toronto reached the semi-finals against the Chicago Cougars and pushed the series to the seven game limit before falling. At one point, Toronto led the series 3-2.

In 1974-75, Leduc took on the dual role of player/head coach with the Toros, although he played in just 19 games during the regular season and none in the playoffs. Toronto placed second in the five team Canadian Division and fifth overall in the 14 team league with 88 points in 78 games. However, the Toros fell in the opening round to the San Diego Mariners in six games.

Bob Leduc – Hockey Card

Bob got his mug on mainstream cardboard just once. The Bob Leduc rookie card appears as number 322 in the 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee set. The last series of that set featured players in their brand new WHA uniforms. Leduc was shown as a member of the Ottawa Nationals.


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.