The cities of Vancouver and Quebec City are aiming for admission to the National Hockey League as the league readies itself for expansion. The league recently announced that six new franchises will be added in a separate division that will play an interlocking schedule against the six established clubs.
In Quebec, Premier Jean Lesage has come out in favour of Quebec City applying for a franchise. Lesage has gone so far as to talk to Senator Hartland Molson of the Montreal Canadiens, presumably to gain support and learn more about the inner workings of the NHL.
Premier Lesage said that Senator Molson had expressed concern over the seating capacity of Le Colisee, Quebec’s arena. The Coliseum seats about 10,500 but officials say that could easily be increased to 12,000 for the NHL. As many as 17,000 fans have jammed into the building on several occasions. It is presently home to the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League.
Lesage said, “I reassured him on the question of seating and told him the coliseum could meet the requirements. I added that I have been assured that an NHL club at Quebec could pay its way.”
Earlier this week, the mayor of Quebec City proclaimed that his municipality would be applying for a franchise as soon as possible.
In Vancouver, city officials there have refused to build an arena until a commitment from the NHL to expand to the west coast city is received. NHL president Clarence Campbell has said that no such commitment will be made.
Lawyer John Taylor, who acts for the Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League, said yesterday that he is confident that an arrangement can be made with the NHL so that the Pacific National Exhibition can get the go-ahead on the construction of a 14,000-seat arena to house an NHL team.
The city of Vancouver earlier voted not to put any public money into a downtown arena. The PNE people then said they could not build a $4.5M stadium on their property unless the NHL would commit to the city.
Earlier, Vancouver turned down an offer from Toronto Maple Leaf executives Stafford Smythe and Harold Ballard to build a 20,000 seat arena on a two-acre site in the downtown area. Smythe offered to construct the rink if the city would gift him the parcel of land. The matter was put to a taxpayer vote and was turned down.
It is thought that Vancouver’s rejection of the Smythe plan will damage their chances of being granted a franchise by the NHL when it eventually does expand.
Horvath hits 100
Veteran center Bronco Horvath, now playing with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, scored four goals and added two assists to reach the 100-point plateau for this season as the Amerks demolished the Hershey Bears 10-2. Horvath is now one point behind scoring leader Art Stratton of the Buffalo Bisons.
Other Rochester scorers were Dick Gamble, with his 48th and 49th goals, Stan Smrke, Gerry Ehman, Wally Boyer and Eddie Litzenberger. Danny Poliziani and Mike Nykoluk had the Hershey goals.
Red Wings name award winners
The Detroit Red Wings have announced their end-of-season award winners, and Norm Ullman will be taking home most of the silverware.
Ullman, who is enjoying one of his finest campaigns, will supplant Gordie Howe this year as the big winner. Ullman will receive the Harry Gormley Trophy for most points, the Detroit Hockey Writers Association Award for most valuable player, the Frank Murphy Memorial Trophy for most goals and the third-place award in the Three-Star Selection Competition.
Howe, who has won the above awards numerous times, will receive the second place cup in the Three Star awards.
Rookie goalie Roger Crozier will win the first-place cup for the Three Stars. He has also been selected rookie-of-the-year.
The Air Canada Trophy for best defenceman goes to Marcel Pronovost. Alex Delvecchio will receive the Stew Evans Trophy for sportsmanlike excellence.
The Unsung Hero Award goes to Floyd Smith.
- Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake says he is toying with the idea of alternating goaltenders Charlie Hodge and Gump Worsley every 30 minutes during the playoffs.
- Canadiens expect to have winger Dave Balon back in the lineup this weekend. They also will use rookie defenceman Noel Picard while resting one or two veteran defencemen.
- Terry Sawchuk of the Toronto Maple Leafs has said that should the Leafs finish with the best goals-against average, he will refuse the Vezina Trophy unless Johnny Bower’s name is included. Sawchuk and Bower have split the games almost down the middle this season.
- Detroit has called up goalie George Gardner from Memphis of the CPHL. He will play this weekend in order to rest Roger Crozier. It had been thought that veteran Hank Bassen would be recalled from Pittsburgh. Gardner was the goalie drafted from Boston last summer, a move that resulted in Sawchuk being left unprotected.
- Detroit also recalled defencemen Bob Wall and Ron Harris from Memphis. Doug Barkley will miss weekend action with a groin injury.
- The Rangers have returned winger Dick Meissner to Baltimore of the AHL.
- Hap Emms has been offered the position of general manager of the Boston Bruins.