On a light news day, we look at some notes, tidbits and general happenings around the world of hockey.
Jack Adams Wins New Lester Patrick Award
Jack Adams, former general manager and coach of the Detroit Red Wings, and now the president of the Central Professional Hockey League, has been named the first recipient of the Lester Patrick Memorial Trophy.
The award, which will be given annually, recognizes a person who has given long and meritorious service to hockey in the United States. Adams was selected as the first winner by a six-man committee headed by National Hockey League president Clarence Campbell and Bill Jennings, president of the New York Rangers.
Others on the committee include Eddie Shore, former legendary NHL defenseman with the Boston Bruins and present owner of the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League, Red Smith, sports columnist of the New York Herald Tribune, Ben Olan of the Associated Press, and Roone Arledge of the American Broadcasting Company.
Adams joined the Detroit organization in 1927, during their second year in the NHL and spent his entire career with the club. In his 35 years the Red Wings won seven Stanley Cups and 12 regular season championships. Adams served as a player, coach and manager, retiring in 1962. A year later he became the president of the CPHL.
The award is named for Lester Patrick, who was a long-time coach and general manager of the Rangers. Born in Drummondville, Quebec, Patrick had a long and distinguished playing career, first in eastern Canada around the turn of the century, and then more famously in western Canada in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
Patrick is most remembered for his appearance as a goaltender for the Rangers. The incident took place during the Stanley Cup finals of 1928 as the Rangers faced the Montreal Maroons. Patrick, then 44, was coaching the Rangers. In the game of April 8, New York’s goaltender Lorne Chabot suffered an eye injury in the second period and was unable to continue.
When Maroons manager Eddie Gerard refused to give permission for the Rangers to use one of two professional goaltenders who were in the stands at the game, Alex Connell of Ottawa or minor-leaguer Hugh McCormick, Patrick decided to don the pads himself and he entered the game as the Rangers netminder.
Pittsburgh Pirates coach Odie Cleghorn, also at the game, came down from the seats and took over behind the bench for Patrick. This was key for the Rangers. Cleghorn instructed the players to check the Maroons furiously at centre ice, limiting them to mostly long and easy-to-handle shots.
Patrick stopped 18 of the 19 Maroon drives directed his way and the Rangers went on to an overtime victory. And that night, a legend was born.
Larry Hillman – Good Luck Charm, or Just Lucky?
Larry Hillman, the long-time NHL and minor-league defenseman recently called up by the Maple Leafs from Rochester of the American Hockey League, thinks that maybe he might just stick around with the Leafs this season, if superstitious Punch Imlach, Leafs coach and general manager, follows his usual belief in lucky charms.
Hillman, you see, has been nothing but a winner throughout his professional hockey career. In 11 pro seasons, his teams have never missed the playoffs. And it seems, at least as far as the NHL is concerned, if you choose to get rid of Larry, you are in for seven years bad luck, or something like that.
Hillman was with the Detroit Red Wings when they won the Stanley Cup in 1955-56. The next season, the Wings decided to ship Hillman to the minors. They haven’t won the Cup since that time.
In 1958-59, Hillman was a member of the Boston Bruins. He was a regular on the Bruins blue line and helped them make the playoffs that year. Hillman was banished to the minors the next season and the Bruins are still waiting to make their next playoff appearance.
Playing in the Toronto organization, Hillman was called up for the Stanley Cup playoffs in the 1962, 1963 and 1964 playoffs. The Leafs won the Cup in each of those seasons.
Hillman has played well during this most recent call-up, so it would be no surprise if the Leafs’ manager-coach keeps the likeable defenseman around this season just to enhance Toronto’s chances of seeing some success in the postseason.
Tryout for Orr?
Bobby Orr, the 17-year-old wunderkind of the Boston Bruins who currently plays for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A League, almost started a five-game trial with the Bruins this past weekend . Hap Emms, Boston’s first-year general manager, revealed that he gave serious consideration to calling up the defense prodigy for Sunday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The issue in Orr’s case is that NHL rules prevent a player under the age of 18 years taking part in NHL games. In order for Orr to make his NHL debut before the his 18th birthday, which is in March, Emms would have to secure the permission of the other five NHL teams and league president Clarence Campbell.
On Saturday, Emms called Punch Imlach of the Leafs and asked his permission to use Orr against the Toronto club in Sunday night’s game in Boston. Emms commented:
“I am just feeling Punch out. He said it would be all right with him, but I have decided against seeking permission of the other clubs.”
It’s quite likely that since Orr would not be 18 until very late in the season, the Bruins won’t turn him pro at that time. If Orr did move up to the big club, the Bruins would then have to protect him during this summer’s draft.
Campbell: Brawl a Lot of Nonsense.
NHL president Clarence Campbell called Sunday night’s battle royale in New York between the Rangers and Montreal Canadiens “a lot of nonsense.” Campbell said he doesn’t expect to take any further action against the participants other than the automatic fines called for in the rules.
“I have received a telephone report of the affair. Other than the official identification of the players involved, I gather that no further action is warranted.”
Any player leaving the bench to join an altercation, or a player who received a 10-minute or game misconduct is automatically fined by the league. Amounts range from $25-$50.
Peanuts O’Flaherty Named Coach at St. Catharines
The St. Catharines Black Hawks of the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A League have named John (Peanuts) O’Flaherty as their new head coach. He replaced Chirp Brenchley, who was fired by the Hawks two weeks ago.
For the past two seasons, O’Flaherty has been the coach of the Dixie Beehives in the Toronto Metro Junior B League. He is a veteran hockey man, having been connected with the game in one way or another for 46 years. He is the perfect person to take over a St. Catharines franchise that has underperformed and been generally disorganized this season.
St. Catharines general manager Ken Campbell made the announcement yesterday and explained his rationale:
“Why not Peanuts? He took over our Junior B club at Dixie about this time last year and did a good job. Won the first playoff round. Sent three kids up to St. Catharines and they looked well-coached.
“Don’t think he wasn’t chosen carefully. I had more than 40 applications. And the Chicago people feel the guy coaching their juniors is a key man in their set-up.”
O’Flaherty, who has been offered full-time managing and coaching jobs, has preferred in recent years to only have a part-time involvement in the game. He has a lucrative full-time post as a sales representative with a large soft-drink firm and prefers the security of that type of position over the uncertainty of the hockey world. And with nine children, security is very important to Peanuts.
Because of this, O’Flaherty has committed only to finishing this season with St. Catharines. But Campbell would like a more permanent arrangement, adding the management duties to the coaching portfolio in a multi-year contract. O’Flaherty remains non-committal:
“For now, there’s a challenge. We’ll let the future take care of itself. For the present, there’s plenty to do. These kids don’t know me and I don’t know them. I’ll walk in to that dressing room and say ‘we’re all friends, here to do a job and let’s get down to business.’ Then we’ll see.”
The Black Hawks are in eighth place in the OHA league, ahead of only the London Nationals, whom they play tonight. They have won just six games in 21 tries.
O’Flaherty has a different outlook when coaching today’s junior hockey player. With boys of his own involved in the sport, he has seen the changes over the past few years and realizes the modern junior player has a different outlook.
“Junior hockey has changed. Kids look at things differently now. They’re more concerned about education and you’ve got to work hard to focus their attention on hockey. But there’s no reason why you can’t.
“It’s possible to give 100 per cent to hockey and 100 per cent to studies. It’s been done. As a matter of fact, the best players are usually good students.
“At the same time the junior today is a more intelligent kid and that means he’s easier to coach. He learns more. He picks it up more quickly and it stays with him.”
- Frank Boucher, commissioner of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, will meet with striking players from the Saskatoon Blades to try to resolve their differences with team management.
- Detroit Red Wings have lost defenseman Warren Godfrey for up to two months with torn ligaments in his left knee.
- New teams this season at the annual Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament include clubs from Yellowknife and Mexico City.
- Gord Labossiere of the Quebec Aces has taken over first place in the American Hockey League scoring race with 11 points in his last four games.
- Milan Marcetta of the Victoria Maple Leafs is the leading scorer in the Western Hockey League.
- Peterborough Petes’ Andre Lacroix now has an eight-point lead in the OHA Junior A scoring race.