While yesterday was not a headline-grabbing sort of day around the hockey world, there was no shortage of news and notes emanating from NHL training camps. Among the more interesting stories was a statement by the Premier of British Columbia expressing his support for the groups bidding for a NHL expansion franchise. Also, the Canadian National Team made its first foray into the exhibition game sector.
Bennett Backs NHL Bid
British Columbia Premier W.A.C. Bennett has gone on record with his support for groups in Vancouver bidding for a NHL expansion franchise.
Premier Bennett says he does not want the city to “lose out” on an NHL franchise and he had some advice for those submitting applications. Mr. Bennett suggests that those heading the groups seeking a franchise “get a firm commitment from the federal government … to clear it up right away with the hockey people.”
Mr. Bennett was responding to a comment by NHL president Clarence Campbell. Mr. Campbell said Thursday that two Vancouver groups had submitted applications, but that “I doubt if any decision in the case of Vancouver will be made until such time as a building is assured.”
Mr. Bennett has offered $2 million from the province toward the construction of an NHL-quality arena, if the federal government would match that total.
Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson has granted the Pacific National Exhibition corporation $2 million for the construction of a trade centre that would include an arena that will meet NHL standards.
The PNE has said that it expects to build a $6 million arena centre on its grounds that would be open and ready for play in 1967. PNE officials say they have been promised $1 million by the city of Vancouver, and expect to collect the rest of the money from the provincial and federal governments, as well as from private investors.
Campbell went on to say,
“There is perhaps a year of organizational work connected with such a project. And until this work is completed, the NHL is certainly not going to commit itself to a franchise decision. We’d be foolish to do so.”
Nats Drop Dull Blades
Canada’s National Hocky Team played its first exhibition game under rookie coach Jackie McLeod last night at its training centre in Winnipeg Manitoba. The outing was a successful one, as the Nats skated to a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Blades of the Western Hockey League.
The Nats dominated the contest, out shooting Los Angeles by a lopsided 52-16 margin. Scoring for the Nationals were Morris Mott, Ray Cadieux, John Russell, Fran Huck and Jean Cusson. Gord Vejprava and Brian Smith replied for the Blades.
Over 5,600 fans took in the game and were treated to a fine display by the Nats. They appeared to be in far better physical condition than their professional counterparts.
The Blades appeared to grow increasingly weary and frustrated as the game wore on. They took 15 of the 19 penalties that were called. The game was played under international rules.
Los Angeles will now move on to Saskatoon to take on the San Francisco Seals.
Shack Hot for Amerks
Eddie Shack, who 10 days ago was banished to the AHL Rochester Americans by Toronto Maple Leafs coach and general manager Punch Imlach, appears to have his sights firmly set on a promotion back to the big team.
Shack scored three times last night for the Americans as they drubbed their AHL-rival Buffalo Bisons 8-2 in an exhibition game played at St. Catharines, Ontario.
Rochester coach Joe Crozier used Shack at centre last night, instead of his customary left wing slot. Playing with wingers Norm Armstrong and Les Duff, Shack accounted for three goals and one assist. Other Rochester scorers were Duff, Eddie Litzenberger, Bronco Horvath, Stan Smrke and Gerry Ehman. Ken Gustafson and Billy Taylor replied for the Bisons.
Close Call for Chipchase
Young Toronto Maple Leafs defense hopeful Jack Chipchase has had a rough time of it this fall. Yesterday his string of bad luck took a serious turn that was very unsettling to the sturdily built, rough-and-tumble defence candidate.
On the first day of training camp, Chipchase suffered a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for several days. Just as he was getting back to full strength, the big toe on his left foot became infected thanks to an ingrown nail, and he had to have the toenail removed.
On Thursday evening while on the drive home, Chipchase heard a strange noise coming from his car, as it began to shake and wobble. He took it to a nearby garage and upon removing the front hub caps, discovered that someone had loosened three lug nuts from each wheel. Had Chipchase driven a route where he would have reached any speed at all, the consequences could have been very serious.
Abel Has a Nice Problem
Sid Abel says he has a nice problem, one that many coaches wouldn’t mind dealing with. Abel has two top-notch players on his first line in Alex Delvecchio and the great Gordie Howe. He’s looking for the perfect fit to complete the threesome and has several outstanding candidates from whom to choose.
At the beginning of training camp, Abel stated that he was going to switch newly-acquired Andy Bathgate from his natural right wing position over to the left side, with Delvecchio at centre and Howe on the right. In the first intra-squad game, Bathgate lined up at centre, a position with which he is familiar. Delvecchio moved to the left wing, where he has played in the past, and at an all-star level. Howe remained on the right.
That alignment worked well, as Bathgate set up his wingers for a couple of goals.
In yesterday morning’s shinny session, Abel experimented with different setup. Another Maple Leaf expatriate, Billy Harris, took Bathgate’s spot between Delvecchio and Howe.
Harris, a slightly built centre known for his ability to make perfect passes to either side of the ice, meshed with the two Detroit veteran seamlessly. He told Jim Proudfoot of the Toronto Star that he thinks he has a good shot at staying with the two Red Wing stars once camp breaks.
“They’ve been shuffling people around regularly, trying different combinations, so this may not mean anything. But things went quite smoothly and I would hope I have a chance of sticking with these guys. They make it pretty easy for their centre.”
The Red Wings have three solid NHL centres now, in Delvecchio, Norm Ullman and Pit Martin. Abel would rather use Delvecchio at left wing, which open another pivot spot for Harris.
That would enable the Wings to move Bathgate back to his natural right wing slot, forming a pretty potent second line with Ullman and young speedster Paul Henderson.
- Bob Dillabough, acquired from Detroit in the offseason, scored two goals to pace the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 win over their CPHL Oklahoma City farm team in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Murray Oliver and Ron Stewart also scored for Boston. Dallas Smith and Wayne Maxner replied for Oklahoma City.
- Floyd Smith, Gary Bergman and Doug Barkley signed their Detroit Red Wing contracts yesterday. All three received healthy raises over last year’s salaries.
- Bruce Gamble, who had eight teeth removed Tuesday, was doing double shifts at the Maple Leafs camp Thursday in order to catch up. Reports had Gamble reporting to the Leafs at 50 pounds over his playing weight.
- Rangers will use Don Simmons and Cesare Maniago against Toronto in tonight’s exhibition game.
- Toronto Marlboro graduate Wayne Mosdell is joining the Canadian National Team.
- Peter Mahovlich of the Hamilton Red Wings, younger brother of Toronto’s Frank, will miss the start of the OHA Junior A season with torn knee ligaments and a chipped tibia.
- Canadiens sent Joe Szura, Dave McComb, Bob Ellett, Tom McCarthy and Bob Courcy to Cleveland of the AHL.
- Montreal sent Noel Price, Don Johns, Gord Labossiere and Leon Rochefort to Quebec Aces of the AHL. Eleven more players were sent to Houston of the CPHL.
- Jim Roberts signed his 1965-66 contract with Montreal.
- Montreal coach Toe Blake has been impressed by the work of juniors Jacques Lemaire and Billy Plager.
- Quebec Aces have signed goalie Gary Bauman and high-scoring junior grad Andre Lacroix.