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.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jim Corsi of the Maine Nordiques

jim corsi quebec nordiques
Since 1998-99, he has been the goaltending coach for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League. Jim Corsi got his start in professional hockey with the Maine Nordiques of the NAHL in the league’s final season, 1976-77.

Jim Corsi – NAHL

In his first year pro, Corsi played in net for 54 of the Nordiques 74 regular season games. He posted a 3.57 goals against average and had one shutout. Backing him up and playing in 28 games was Mario Viens. Viens played pro for just the 1975-76 and 1976-77 season after four years in the QMJHL with the Cornwall Royals. In 1975-76, he split his season between the Toronto Toros in the WHA and the Buffalo Norsemen in the NAHL.

Corsi played in all 12 playoff games for Maine in 1976-77. After finishing second overall in the eight team league, the Nordiques then swept the Johnstown Jets in the opening round and downed the Binghamton Dusters in the semi-finals. In the Lockhart Cup finals, Maine came up against the Syracuse Blazers in the finals and were swept out of NAHL history.

Jim Corsi – Pro Hockey

Out of Concordia University in the CIAU, Corsi played professional hockey from 1976-77 to 1979-80 in North America and from 1980-81 to 1991-92 in Italy. In North America, Jim played in the NAHL, WHA, AHL, NHL and CHL. Over two years in the World Hockey Association, 1977-78 and 1978-79, he played in 63 games for the Quebec Nordiques. In the second year, he split duties with another former NAHL goalie, Richard Brodeur. Behind the bench of that Nordiques team was Jacques Demers.

In 1979-80, Corsi played 26 games with the Edmonton Oilers in their first year in the National Hockey League after the WHA merged. It ended up being Jim’s only NHL action and he shared duties with five other goalies that year. Eddie Mio played the most games with 34. Other notable goaltenders playing for Edmonton that year included Ron Low and Dave Dryden.

During his days in Italy, Jim played for club teams while also appearing with the country’s national team. Corsi appeared at eight IIHF World Championship tournaments for Italy. He was on the roster for the Italian squad at the 1984 Winter Olympic games.

Jim Corsi – Coach

Corsi has been goaltending coach with the Buffalo Sabres since 1998-99. Since, the team has not had a problem keeping pucks out of the net, rather putting them in. His star pupils have been Ryan Miller and Marty Biron.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Maine Nordiques

maine nordiques lewiston nahl franchise
The Maine Nordiques existed for the entire duration of the North American Hockey League, 1973-74 to 1976-77. The team was affiliated with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association. Home games were played at the Central Maine Youth Center, now the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, in Lewiston, Maine. The venue seats 3,677 for hockey and was opened in 1958.


The best regular season performance by the Maine Nordiques was countered by a terrible post season. Maine placed second out of seven teams in the NAHL, 19 points behind the first place Syracuse Blazers and 20 points ahead of the Long Island Cougars. However, in the Lockhart Cup playoffs, the Nordiques won just one of eight games in the opening round, round robin style format.

During the regular season, four players totalled 100 or more points: Rejean Giroux, Paul Larose, Michel Rouleau and Michel Archambault. All four were in the top six for points in the league. Giroux placed second in the NAHL with 64 goals while Larose was third with 53. The two were also 2-3 in the points department with Giroux finishing with 122 and Larose ending up with 119. Michel Rouleau finished sixth in the league for penalty minutes with 173.

Future NHL goalie Richard Brodeur played his only 15 games in the NAHL during the regular season. Brodeur was back with the Quebec Nordiques by playoff time. Michel Harvey took on the dual role of player / head coach.


The Nordiques started 1974-75 with ten consecutive losses and Michel Harvey was relieved of his coaching duties. Jean-Charles Gravel took over as head coach and the team improved somewhat but did not qualify for the post season. Maine finished eighth in the eight team league with just 55 points over 74 games.

Paul Larose led the team with 54 goals and 49 assists for 103 points. He placed second in the league for goals and third for points. The team used six different goaltenders but their number one was Bernie Wolfe. Wolfe would later play four years in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals.


Bob Leduc took over the role of player / head coach and the Nordiques were downright dreadful. Leduc had spent the past three years in the WHA in the Ottawa Nationals / Toronto Toros organization. Maine finished the year with just 18 wins and a tie, along with 55 losses. The Cape Codders played just 52 games before folding and still finished 14 points ahead of the Nordiques. Maine was fifth in the five team East Division and last overall in the ten team league.

Because the Codders folded, Maine actually made it into the playoffs. The Beauce Jaros took out the Nordiques in the opening round but Maine did manage to win one game.

Once again, Paul Larose was the team leader offensively, putting up great numbers on a terrible team. Larose scored 41 and assisted on 73 for 114 points over 71 games. He placed tenth in the NAHL for goals, fifth for assists and eighth for points.


The Nordiques turned it around for their final year in the doomed league with Jean-Charles Gravel returning as head coach. Maine finished second in the eight team league and won their first ever playoff series in the league by sweeping the Johnstown Jets in the opening round. In round 2, the Nordiques took out the Binghamton Dusters in five games. In the Lockhart Cup finals, Maine was swept by the Syracuse Blazers.

Paul Larose Gary Coulter led the team with 31 goals each. John Cunniff was the team leader with 65 assists and 94 points. Jim Corsi was the number one goalie for the Nordiques. Corsi played 26 games in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1979-80 season. John has been goaltending coach for the Buffalo Sabres since 2001-02.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bryan McSheffrey

bryan mcsheffrey vancouver canucks rookie hockey card
Bryan McSheffrey was a player that had a promising junior hockey career in the OHA with the Ottawa 67’s in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. McSheffrey looked to be off and running in the National Hockey League with the Vancouver Canucks, the team that made him a second round pick in 1972. However, by 1975, he was in the North American Hockey League, never to play in the NHL again.

Bryan McSheffrey – NAHL

McSheffrey played two years in the NAHL, 1975-76 and 1976-77. In his first year, he started out with the Guy Trottier coached Buffalo Norsemen. Over 46 games, he scored 27 goals and assisted on 31 for well more than a point per game at 58. Even with only playing 46 of 74 games, Bryan placed fourth on the Norsemen for assists.

Bryan was shipped to the fragile Cape Codders midseason. The Codders had folded before Christmas but were resurrected for a short period of time in the new year. McSheffrey played three games with the club, scoring just a goal. The Cape Codders folded for good on February 18, 1975.

McSheffrey finished off the 1975-76 season with the Mohawk Valley Comets, playing 12 games and adding seven points. The Comets lost in the opening round to the Syracuse Blazers.

In 1976-77, Bryan spent the whole season with the Comets, playing in 63 games and totalling 72 points on 29 goals and 43 assists. He placed third on the team for points. Mohawk Valley lost in the opening round to the Binghamton Dusters, three games to two.

Bryan McSheffrey – Ottawa 67’s

Bryan played four years with the Ottawa 67’s from 1968-69 to 1971-72. He appeared in one game with the Oshawa Generals in 1967-68. He was well over a point per game during his OHA career with 260 in 226 regular season games. He led the 67’s in goals in 1969-70 with 35 and placed second behind Blake Dunlop the following year for goals and points.

In his final year in the league, McSheffrey led Ottawa with 52 goals and 96 points. He placed fifth in the league for goals behind a group of four that went on to play in the NHL, including league leader and Hockey Hall of Fame member Steve Shutt.

Bryan McSheffrey – Pro Hockey

Bryan was a second round pick of the Vancouver Canucks at the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft. He had size and scoring ability and in the beginning the Canucks had big plans for him. McSheffrey played just 90 games in the NHL over his career, all between 1972-73 and 1974-75 with the Canucks and Buffalo Sabres. His time in Buffalo was limited to just three games. Bryan appears on just one hockey card. The Bryan McSheffrey rookie card is part of the 1973-74 O-Pee-Chee set.

McSheffrey finished his pro hockey career in the Netherlands Eredivisie with HYS Den Haag (The Hague). He was the league’s scoring leader, playing in 1978-79 and 1979-80. Over his time in the Netherlands, Bryan produced at over three points per game.

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.