It would appear that the chances are good for former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Brewer to successfully realize his quest to be reinstated as an amateur. The National Hockey League board of governors, in a meeting in New York City yesterday, came up with a formula by which the recalcitrant blueliner would receive his amateur status. The plan would enable the Toronto Maple Leafs to retain his professional rights. Brewer would then go on to play for Canada’s national team.
Campbell: Amateur Reinstatement Rule Modified
The issue was apparently the subject of a protracted and contentious debate among the governors. At the end of the lengthy discussion, NHL president Clarence Campbell issued what Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Dick Beddoes called a “cautious, vague-sounding statement.”
The NHL has approved modification of rules pertaining to the reinstatement as amateurs of voluntary retired players, and the treatment of voluntarily retired players. These modifications are not being made public, pending approval of the American and Western hockey leagues, who have a right to participate in all reinstatements. We have unanimously taken what steps are necessary to handle cases such as Brewer’s, but these steps are contingent on acceptance by the other two pro leagues.
Brewer quit the Maple Leafs last fall at training camp. Stories which surfaced after the fact suggested that a dressing room row with goalie Johnny Bower that was escalated by Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach after a workout led directly to Brewer’s departure.
Brewer took the opportunity to return to the University of Toronto to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree.
Still Leaf Property
Since that time Imlach has maintained that Brewer will remain the property of the Leafs and that he will not allow him to play anywhere under any circumstances. Imlach also has intimated that Brewer will not play again for Toronto. The only way Brewer could return to the NHL is if the Leafs trade his rights to another NHL team.
Campbell gave no timeline as to how long the reinstatement process could take. The main stumbling block is that even though the NHL governors have agreed to the move, the owners of the two minor professional leagues must also approve it. Eddie Shore, owner of the independent Springfield Indians of the AHL, has gone on record saying he will claim Brewer for his team should his name appear on a waiver list.
Campbell agreed that an independent owner like Shore could claim Brewer, but that it would be a foolish move since the chances of the player actually reporting to the AHL club would be remote. Campbell said that any minor league team blocking the process by claiming Brewer would be “biting the hand that feeds them.” In other words, don’t cross the NHL.
Brewer is being advised by Toronto lawyer Alan Eagleson. Eagleson has hinted that he will take legal action if the reinstatement process is not successful.
Al Leader, president of the Western Hockey League has announced that since Brewer is unlikely to report to a claiming team in his league, the loop will go along with the proposal.
Brewer, however remains in a severely restricted limbo. While he practised with the Canadian nationals earlier, he now will be forbidden to skate with the team until the matter is resolved.
Expansion Plans Full Steam Ahead
The NHL’s plan for expansion in the 1967-68 season is moving moving along as expected. Campbell said that things are looking good:
The whole project is on the rails for 1967-68. We are very happily surprised at the advances we have made with the new teams.
Campbell was specifically referring to the commencement of construction of new arenas in Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Philadelphia. The San Francisco, St. Louis and Pittsburgh clubs will play in existing rinks.
Even though Campbell expressed his satisfaction with the progress made in the expansion process, much work remains to be done. As of now, a formula for stocking the new teams has yet to be agreed upon. The governors are reticent to surrender any significant player to the new franchises.
St. Louis Blues general manager Lynn Patrick says that the established teams should protect their top six players in the expansion draft. However, he went on to say that he was resigned to the fact that they would likely be able to freeze their top nine. (Unfortunately for Patrick and his expansion cousins, the established teams ultimately were allowed to protect their best 11 players).
Aces Prexy Pans Proposed “Amateur Draft”
Gerald Martineau, the president of the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League, has taken issue with the proposed amateur draft that was agreed upon by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and the National Hockey League. Martineau claims the agreement is an “injustice” and a “sellout to the Americans.”
The agreement calls for the 12 NHL teams to be able to choose the top 72 players no longer eligible for Canadian junior hockey. The nine American League teams will be allowed to choose three players each for a total of 27. The Western and Central Professional Leagues will select players after that.
Martineau said that his displeasure with the draft stems from the fact that of the 12 major league teams drafting players, only two, Toronto and Montreal, are in Canada. Martineau said that the agreement benefits only the American clubs, yet the draft will consist of only Canadian talent.
Martineau’s solution is to give the five professional Canadian clubs first choices of Canadian talent. Those five teams would be Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Quebec Aces, Vancouver Canucks and Victoria Maple Leafs.
Quebec had unsuccessfully applied for a NHL expansion franchise.
Bears Goalie May be Done
Claude Dufour, number one goalie with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, is finished for the season because of an injury to his left eye. Dufour suffered a detached retina in a training camp workout on October 3. The damage is so severe, it could keep the veteran netminder from ever returning to the ice.
Dufour was wearing a mask at the time of the incident. The puck apparently struck a glancing blow to the eye, causing the injury.
- The New York Rangers are icing their biggest team ever this season. The Rangers average weight is 186 pounds, with a height of six feet.
- Toronto Maple Leafs have called up D Al Arbour from their Rochester farm club because of a lengthy injury list that includes blueliners Allan Stanley and Marcel Pronovost. Both rearguards have been listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game.
- Leafs Frank Mahovlich and Brit Selby dropped the gloves and exchanged blows yesterday at practice. Mahovlich is doubtful for Saturday’s game because of cracked ribs suffered a week ago.
- Leafs Bob Baun and Bob Pulford still haven’t signed their 66-67 contracts and will not likely play in the Saturday opener.
- Montreal Canadiens LW Gilles Tremblay sustained a shoulder injury in Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Quebec Aces. He’ll miss both Habs games against Detroit this weekend.
- Milt Dunnell of the Toronto Star reports that Willie Norris is the latest Ontario Hockey Association official to turn professional. Pat Shetler has also advised the OHA he will be working the lines in the pros this season.
- Freddie Speck scored his second of the night with less than seven minutes left to give the Hamilton Red Wings a 4-4 tie with Peterborough in OHA Jr. A play. Rene Leclerc and Danny Lawson also counted for the Wings. Mickey Redmond fired a pair of goals for the Petes.
- The St. Louis Braves of the CPHL lost goalie Bob Sneddon for their weekend games with strained stomach muscles.
- Montreal Canadiens have sold F Tom McCarthy to the Cleveland Barons of the AHL.
- The Detroit Red Wings are considering transferring their AHL farm team to Ottawa for next season when the NHL expansion team moves into Pittsburgh.
- Leafs Kent Douglas is the first NHL player to use burnt cork under his eyes to reduce the glare of television lights. Goalie Johnny Bower is also thinking about giving it a try. The practice is common in professional football.