Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kent Douglas 73, Former Leafs and LI Ducks Defenseman

One of the unfortunate realities of a blog about a league that has been out of existence for 36 years, is that a lot of your current news is going to come from obituaries. Today we salute Kent Douglas who, according to played one game for the Long Island Ducks in the EHL's final season 1972-73.

Born Feb.6, 1936, in Cobalt, Ont., Douglas won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year with the Leafs in 1962-63. He won the Stanley Cup with the Leafs that year and assisted on the Cup-winning goal.

Clinton Comets Revisited

Here's a remembrance of the Clinton Comets by Richard L. Williams, Town and Village Historian, for the Clinton Historical Society.

According to Wikipedia, the original Clinton Arena burned down September 11, 1953. The Comets played in both the Western Ontario League and a partial schedule in the EHL for the 1954-55 season. The Comets played a combined 74 games (35-35-4), which at that time was considered a very long season.
This makes me wonder if Clinton had been a new franchise for the 1953-54 EAHL season, and if their arena burning down had an affect on the EAHL not playing that year. After that year off, the EAHL reformed into the "modern" EHL for the 1954-55 season. Ed Later Note: No, Clinton was not in the EHL's plans until September 1954, when a meeting for a New York State league was held at the same time as a meeting for restarting the EHL.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jersey Larks' Gerry Devaney and Bob Bingley in Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame

Here' a nice little excuse to post about the Jersey Larks. Gerry Devaney bio page from the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame...
In 1960 with senior hockey on the skids in Canada Gerry was signed by the Jersey Larks of the Eastern U.S. Hockey League and backstopped the Larks through the 1960 and 1961 season.
Also in the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame, a 1971 inductee, is Devaney's teammate on the Larks, Bob Bingley (pictured left)
bio page from the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame...
He then joined the Washington Presidents in 1959-1960 in the Eastern Hockey League, and the Jersey Larks in 1960-61.
The Larks were only around for the 1960-61 season, playing in The Ice House in what was either Haddonfield or Delaware Township, NJ. The Ice House had attempted to host an EHL team as far back as 1956, but the league denied the application on grounds of being within the territorial rights of the Philadelphia Ramblers. For the 1960-61 season the Washington Presidents were moved to The Ice House and renamed the Jersey Larks. The Larks had an instant rivalry with the Philadelphia Ramblers. They even battled for the "Weber Trophy", which was donated by Delaware Township Mayor Christian Weber. I'm pretty sure that the Ramblers won that. They were up 3-1-1 after 5 games in the 8-game season series. The Larks lasted one season, but in spite of increasing attendance, ownership lost money. The franchise was forfeited when ownership failed to send its required 5% of the gate to the league. A group raised $50,000 to buy the Larks franchise and keep them in Jersey, but backed out when they found out that $25,000 of that would have to go towards paying down debt on the team. The franchise became the essence of the Knoxville Knights for the 1961-62 season. By 1964, Delaware Township had become Cherry Hill and the Ice House had become the Cherry Hill Arena. The Philadelphia Ramblers, after their best financial year in 1962-63, went bankrupt after the 1963-64 season. The team was moved to Cherry Hill Arena and became the Jersey Devils. A couple of years later, Philadelphia was awarded an NHL franchise, the Flyers, and any possibility of reviving the Weber Cup was gone. (Pictured Right: Alex Kuzma in his Jersey Larks jersey)