Saturday, February 27, 2010

Long Island Ducks' Buzz Deschamps a Multiple Hall-of-Famer

February continues to be Long Island Ducks month, as Buzz Deschamps was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.
You can visit the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame here: . However, it looks as if the Suffolk Sports HOF site hasn't been updated since 2007.

In 2002, Buzz was inducted into the Midland Sports Hall of Fame as an athlete. Last year he was made the first honorary member of the MSHF committee.
"Deschamps was the mover and shaker in getting the sports hall of fame and served as the chairman for many years. He spearheaded the creation of Bunn's Kids in the 1990s, which has enabled children to participate in sports and recreation activities in Midland. Most recently, Deschamps was instrumental in starting the annual Trottier 19 Hockey School at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, which features Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Trottier."
The Penetanguishene (ONT) Sports Hall of Fame inducted Buzz as a member in 1989. This past year he was Master of Ceremonies at the inductions. Here are some shots of Buzz along with Johnny Bower and Pierre Pilote:

On October 2, 2009, the street in front of the North Simcoe (ONT) Sports and Recreation Centre be renamed "Buzz and Bunn Deschamps Way"

Article on Buzz taking over as hockey coach at Stony Brook in 2008:〈=

Buzz's Stony Brook bio:
"Canadian born Buzz Deschamps was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1955 and spent a decade playing professional hockey across the United States and Canada. Buzz presence was well known on the ice with teams like the Sudbury Wolves, Indianapolis Chiefs, Long Island Ducks, Baltimore Clippers, St. Paul Rangers and the Providence Reds. Buzz holds the season team goal scoring record of 59 goals with the Long Island Ducks in the American Hockey League (AHL). He finished his strong professional hockey career with the Los Angeles Blades. Following this, Buzz chose retirement after he was drafted by the Los Angels Kings in 1968. Buzz was a scout for the Calgary Flames and the NY Rangers, and he coached the NCAA DIII St. John's University Ice Hockey team for 10 years. Buzz quickly gave back to the hockey community, coaching youth competitive hockey for over 20 years. Buzz currently works with Suffolk PAL Hockey, connecting professional experience with talented athletes. Buzz and his wife Trudy reside in Bay Shore."

Current Teams in EHL Arenas - Part III: The Syracuse Crunch

A quick look at AHL attendance stats a week a go would have shown the Syracuse Crunch to be just above the mid-way point in the league. This all got skewed last week when the Crunch hosted the first ever AHL outdoor game. For news on the game, I turn it over to New10Now correspondent Karen Lee: ...and back to Tom at The EHL Blog.
Thanks, Karen.

The game drew 21,508 fans to the New York State Fairgrounds. More importantly, for EHL fans, it shows the kind of forward thinking marketing that should keep the Syracuse Crunch a viable franchise in the future.

Blog from the game: Lindsay Kramer, Syracuse Post-Standard:
Binghamton Coverage:
Photo by David Lassman, Syracuse Post-Standard

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Knoxville Ice Bears are the Tennessee Pro Sports Team of the Year

Since it's the time of year when minor league hockey teams and leagues start playing muscial chairs, lets keep going with the theme of current teams in old EHL arenas, Part 2: The Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL.

The Ice Bears have just been named 2009 Professional Sports Team of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The award will be presented this Friday, February 19th.

The Ice Bears have also been named Tennessee Sports Franchise of the Decade by Blank Newspaper. The fact that Blank is based in Knoxville and describes its own award as "prestigious" doesn't necessarily make it so. But still it's a nice acknowledgment over such teams as the NHL's Nashville Predators and the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

Knoxville has won the SPHL championship three of the last four seasons including last season. They have been regular season champion 4 of the 5 years of the SPHL. The Ice Bears just played to a sellout crowd of 5,134 this past Saturday night.

One would suspect that the Ice Bears will be in pretty good a shape for years to come.

Johnstown to the Federal Hockey League?

One of the first questions I asked myself when I heard the Johnstown Chiefs were moving to Greenville, SC, was "What other league would be a good fit for Johnstown?" Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking this. Andy Richards, vice-commissioner of the new Federal Hockey League, is talking to key people in Johnstown about the possibilities. Mike Mastovich of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat relates...

Other teams in the FHL are Rome NY, 1000 Islands (Alexandria Bay) NY, Danbury, CT & Ottawa, ON. The league is hoping to expand by 2 more teams by March 15, possibly including Jamestown, NY. Geographically, Johnstown would be a pretty good fit, especially if Jamestown joins also. Ottawa would be the longest road trip for Johnstown at 555 miles, but stops at Rome and 1000 Islands would ease the trip.

Facebook Page: Bring a Federal Hockey League Team to Johnstown, PA

Federal Hockey League site:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Johnstown Chiefs moving to Greenville, SC

From the Johnstown Chiefs website:

From Mike Mastovich at the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat
The Johnstown Chiefs franchise will move to Greenville, S.C., after the current ECHL season concludes, pending approval by a Greenville arena authority and then the league, owner Neil Smith confirmed before Sunday’s game at Cambria County War Memorial Arena...
The Chiefs, playing in the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, are one of only three pro hockey teams that plays in a former Eastern Hockey League. The Syracuse Crunch of the AHL play in the Syracuse Onadaga War Memorial Arena. The Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL, play at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum.

For those of us hoping to get to a game in Johnstown while we still can, their remaining home schedule is:
Fri 02/19/2010 07:05 PM Trenton Devils
Sat 02/20/2010 07:05 PM Trenton Devils
Fri 02/26/2010 07:05 PM Toledo Walleye
Sat 02/27/2010 07:05 PM Cincinnati Cyclones
Wed 03/03/2010 07:05 PM Kalamazoo Wings
Sun 03/07/2010 02:05 PM Elmira Jackals
Fri 03/12/2010 07:05 PM Reading Royals
Sat 03/13/2010 07:05 PM Wheeling Nailers
Fri 03/26/2010 07:05 PM Toledo Walleye
Sun 03/28/2010 02:05 PM Cincinnati Cyclones
Wed 03/31/2010 07:05 PM Toledo Walleye
Sat 04/03/2010 07:05 PM Elmira Jackals

Greenville, SC applied for EHL membership for the 1956-57 season, but the league did not act upon it. That summer, the transfer of the Baltimore Clippers to Charlotte was completed (after the Clippers' home arena in Baltimore burned down) , but also the Washington Lions were transferred to Winston-Salem - a move that fell apart and the Lions stayed in Washington. The Bi-Lo Center in Greenville was built in 1998, so it would not have been the building the team would have played in.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gene Achtymichuk Played on Some Famous NHL lines

Keeping on a New York Rovers/Long Island Ducks/Commack Arena theme today, not to mention the "inventing the slapshot" theme, here is a new blog by Joe Pelletier on his blog about Eastern Hockey League great Gene Achtymichuk. Apparently in his NHL trials, Achtymichuk replaced injured Jean Beliveau in Montreal (on a line with slapshot inventor "Boom Boom" Geoffrion), and played on a line with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio in Detroit. Achtymichuk had at least 30 goals and 80 assists in each of his first four years with the Knoxville Knights and Long Island Ducks.

I had a good laugh at myself the day last year when I realized that Achtymichuk and Don Atamanchuk were actually two different Ducks players.

Gene Achtymichuk stats at
Don Atamanchuk's stats at

Gene Actymichuk at

Donald Rich - First Eastern Hockey League Astronaut

This may be my favorite Eastern Hockey League photo ever. It's of Donald Rich of the New York Rovers (who changed names to the Long Island Ducks 2 years later) from the 1959-60 EHL Yearbook.

It is surprising to see a mask on an EHL goalie in the 1950s. One has to wonder how effective clear plastic in 1959 was against a hard slapshot. Of course, the slapshot was probably pretty new back then, too.

It is also unusual to see a goalie in his mask for his team photo. I can only guess that neither the photographer nor the goaltender knew quite what to do with a masked goaltender, since this would have been one of the first masks ever. Perhaps they thought they could see his face more clearly than you can. Maybe Rich, who only played 5 EHL games, felt he needed to make a statement. Kind of like when I had a miniscule part in a play in college, and I and my cohort came out for the bows "in character", because we got more stage time there than in the actual play.

Rich's competition for starting goalie that initial 1959-60 Rovers season was some 19-year old kid named Ed Giacomen, (This is how the 1959-60 EHL Yearbook spells it. I saw it also spelled this way in a 1959-60 Rovers program on e-Bay recently, plus occasionally in the Utica/Clinton papers in that season, though the Washington Post got it right.) who we know as Ed Giacomin. Unfortunately, the 1959-60 EHL Yearbook says "(No Picture Available)" for Fast Eddie. That would have been one of my other favorite Eastern Hockey League photos.