50 Years Ago Today – A Light News Day in Hockey

A light news day in hockey today, but a full slate of three games in the NHL tonight.  The Boston Bruins will be at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, the Detroit Red Wings visit Chicago, and the New York Rangers are at the Forum in Montreal to play the Canadiens.  This will be the first weekend this season that the NHL has the maximum six-games sked.

Three OHA Junior A games last night

In OHA Junior A action last night there were three games on the docket.  In Toronto, the Marlboros doubled the count on the Montreal Junior Canadiens by 4-2 score to remain undefeated.  At Niagara Falls, the Flyers also maintained an umblemished record with a 5-2 win over the Hamilton Red Wings.

In Toronto, the Junior Habs jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Brian O’Byrne and Craig Patrick, who is the son of Bruins’ GM Lynn Patrick.  The Marlboros came back to knot the score at dueces in the sandwich session thanks to goals by Brit Selby and Mike Byers.  Goals less than two minutes apart by Mike Corrigan and Neil Clarke in the third proved to be the margin of victory for the Dukes.

Brit Selby
Brit Selby – his goal got the Marlies rolling

The Flyers received goals from five players to down the Red Wings.  Mike Sherman, Don Marcotte, Jean Pronovost, Garry Cooke and Bryan Bradley netted Niagara’s markers.  Hamilton goals came off the sticks of Peter Mahovlich and Peter Loveless.

In the other OHA game last night St. Catharines edged Kitchener 3-2, thanks to two goals from Mickey Cherevaty.

Bob Pulford, player advocate

In the Toronto Star today, Jim Proudfoot relates a story that is titled “The day Billy Harris quit hockey”, but it’s really about Bob Pulford’s role as a player advocate and generally bright guy.  As the story goes, Harris was having a difficult contract negotiation with Punch Imlach at this fall’s training camp, and took it as a sign that it was time for him to give up on hockey.  He informed Pulford, his room mate, who intervened and got the two sides to find middle ground so that Billy would continue his hockey career.

Billy Harris
Billy Harris – Bob Pulford talked him out of retiring

Proudfoot goes on to say that Pulford found himself in a similar situation shortly thereafter and refused to play in an exhibition game out in Los Angeles without a signed contract.  Imlach suspended Pulford, but the two sides continued to talk and Pully eventually signed his 64-65 deal.  Pulford called it “a matter of principle” and said, “I believe a professional athlete owes it to himself to be firm about such things.”

Pulford is well-known as a player who will speak up if he feels management isn’t being entirely fair to players.  He is developing into a mature professional, and a sound leader and is generally thought to be the heir apparent to the Toronto captaincy once George Armstrong vacates the position.

Some observers feel that Pulford has the stuff to eventually get into a management role after his playing days are over.  One has to wonder what his attitude towards those same professional athletes would be if he were to find himself on the other side of the table.

Notes from around the NHL

Toronto’s Allan Stanley is skating, but won’t play this weekend.  Johnny Bower will be between the pipes for the Leafs tonight against Boston, while Terry Sawchuck gets the nod in New York tomorrow.

Bruins’ General Manager Lynn Patrick is very happy with the play of rookie Ron Schock.  He’s hoping the youngster will get a little more help from his  line mates, veteran Dean Prentice and second year man Gary Dornhoefer.

Quite a number of first-year players have or are making their NHL debuts this week.  Chicago Black Hawks are going with five rookies.  They are Dennis Hull (Bobby’s brother), Freddie Stanfield, Doug Robinson, John Brenneman and Alain Caron.  Brenneman scored the Hawks’ first goal this season the other night. Detroit has three – goalie Roger Crozier, defenceman Gary Bergman and forward Bobby Dillabough.  The four Montreal newcomers are right wings Yvan Cournoyer and Claude Larose, bruising defenceman Ted Harris and Jim Roberts, who can play both forward and defence.  The Rangers also have three first year players, including defencemen Rod Seiling and Arnie Brown, both acquired from Toronto, and forward Jimmy Mikol.  Boston’s lone rookie is the aforementioned Schock, while Ron Ellis is the only first timer in Toronto.

Ron Ellis
Ron Ellis comes to the Leafs straight from junior hockey.

Bisons’ two holdouts sign

In American Hockey League news, the Buffalo Bisons are a happy group again as general manager Fred Hunt signed the team’s two holdouts, Paul Popiel and Art Stratton.  Both players missed the Bisons’ opening night 3-2 win over the Rochester Americans.  Charley Barton of the Buffalo Courier-Express reports that Stratton will be the team’s first-line centre, while Popiel, a converted defenceman, will see time on the left side of the number one unit.  Len Lunde will be the right-winger on that line.  Popiel may be spelled by Larry Wilson and recently acquired Hank Ciesla.  Jerry Melnyk, Pat Hannigan and Billy Dea will form the second line.  Jack Stanfield, Oscar Gaudet and Ray Cullen will make up the third threesome.

Art Stratton
Art Stratton signed his 64-65 contract and rejoins Bisons

The Bisons should have a solid defence corps with Ed Van Impe and Matt Ravlich making up the first pair.  Ian Cushenan and John Miszuk will be the second unit, with Popiel seeing time as the fifth man when not playing up front.

Veteran Ed Chadwick is the goaltender and will provide stability between the pipes.