Friday, July 30, 2010

This Week in EHL History - July 20-27

* July 21, 1971 - The St. Petersburg entry in the Eastern Hockey League lacks a name and players but it does have a coach. Lloyd Hinchberger (pictured right), a veteran of 22 years in pro hockey, has signed to coach the team which will be based at the Bayfront Center.

* July 22, 1963 - Don Davidson, 28, of Ottawa Chaudiere, professional hockey player, used power driving and sharp putting to defeat Brian McGuian three and two Sunday and win the Quebec amateur golf championship. Davidson plays centre for Greensboro, N.C., Generals of the Eastern Hockey League.

* July 22, 1970 - Pat Kelly has signed a two-year contract to coach the Clinton, N.Y., Comets in the Eastern Hockey League, the Minnesota North Stars announced Tuesday. Wren Blair, manager of the National Hockey League North Stars, said the working agreement with Clinton was renewed. Kelly has won three straight championships and was the league's coach of the year in 1969-70.

* July 22, 1971 - Johnstown Jets' player-coach Dick Roberge (pictured right) sought, and was granted permission to relinquish his duties as Jets' ice boss. Jets' fans breathed easier July 7 when Roberge signed his 1971-72 player contract. Entering his 17th season as a Jet, Roberge is the all-time scoring champ in the Eastern Hockey League and the United States Amateur Hockey Association. The hunt for a coach to replace Roberge still continues, although Mitchell interviewed one applicant with outstanding credentials over the weekend. He is Eddie Kachur (Catcher), a veteran performer in the American Hockey League. An outstanding right winger, the 37- year-old Kachur scored 47 goals for the Providence Reds of the AHL in 1967-68.In addition to hunting a coach, Mithcell will also be on the lookout for a defenseman to replace Blake Ball, who announced his retirement July 10.

* July 23, 1971 - Jack Bownass (pictured left) was named the new coach of the Jacksonville, Fla., Rockets of the Eastern Hockey League. Last season he coached at Halifax in the Maritime Junior League. The Rockets have a working agreement with Toronto Maple Leafs of the National League. Bownass is 39 years of age and a native of Winnipeg.

* July 24, 1959 - Officials of the Greensboro Generals of the Eastern Hockey League have announced the club has signed a working agreement with the New York' Rangers of the National Hockey League. This marked the first deal, in which, an Eastern League club tied up with a major league hockey organization. Greensboro is making its debut in the Eastern League. The Generals will open their home schedule at the new Greensboro Coliseum on Nov. 11.

* July 25, 1956 - The Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League will play 30 regular season home matches, opening Nov. 8, In their first professional hockey season. Jim Whittington of Charlotte, vice president of the club, also announced today the Clippers' president will be Charles Rock of Baltimore. Rock was president of the Baltimore Clippers last year when the team's home rink burned and it played the rest of its home schedule before enthusiastic Charlotte crowds. Whittington said he will meet this week with the Charlotte Coliseum Authority to sign a lease for use of the building at home games. Other Clippers officers are William O. Allen, a Charlotte accountant, secretary; Joe Small, partner with Rock in his Baltimore contracting business, treasurer. The tentative list of Eastern Hockey League teams includes Clinton, N. Y., New Haven, Conn, Johnrtown, PA., Philadelphia, Washington, and the only other new entry, the New York Rovers of Long Island.

* July 25, 1967 - Syracuse became the 12th member of the Eastern Hockey League Monday when league officials unanimously approved a Syracuse group's bid for a Northern Division franchise. Syracuse joins Long Island, New Haven, Jersey, Clinton and Johnstown in northern play. Jacksonville, Nashville, Knoxville, Charlotte, Greensboro and new addition Salem comprise the Southern Division. There'll be no inter-division competition this year except that between the winners of the respective divisions. It's expected that the Syracuse team will soon sign a working agreement with the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and that the parent club will stock Syracuse's entry with numerous fine, young players. In addition to the Bruin recruits, Syracuse will be allowed to select players from a pool ol EHL competitors at the Aug. 15 draft in Roanoke, Va. Each of the 10 veteran EHL teams will place two players on the draft list for selection by Syracuse and Salem.

* July 26, 1957 - A backer has been found to build an ice plant and Raleigh, North Carolina will have an ice hockey team in the Eastern Hockey League next season, a Charlotte businessman said today. P. G. (Pete) Benard of Charlotte, would-be owner of the Raleigh team, told the Raleigh Times a northern backer would put up money for a plant which would furnish ice for a hockey arena. He did not identify the backer.

* July 26, 1964 - Bernard "Buzzy" Deschamps (pictured left) , who scored 57 goals to lead the Eastern Hockey league as an amateur last season, has signed a professional contract with the Baltimore Clippers of the American Hockey league.

* July 27, 1972 - Jack Wells, 24, was named Wednesday the new coach of the Charlotte Checkers of the Eastern Hockey League. His selection was announced at a news conference by Al Manch, Checkers' president.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Photos of Uline Arena in Washington

The Hidden Side of Washington - SlideShow - Washington Post
David "Deal, a Washington portrait and sports photographer, has recently been braving cobwebs, dark stairs and hardened functionaries to see the cloaked, the abandoned and the restricted spaces of D.C."

If you are an architecture fan at all, or of top-notch b&w photography, you'll enjoy this slideshow from the Washington Post. The Uline Arena shots are #18 & 19. These are the best shots I've seen to get a sense of what the inside of Uline Arena, later known as Washington Coliseum, looked like.

From A Short Pictorial History of Uline Arena: "The story of the building itself begins in of all places, Hershey Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1936, the 7,286-seat Hershey Sports Arena was constructed. It was at the time the largest monolithic structure in the United States in which not a single seat suffered from an obstructed view. Its unparalleled construction was to due to the unique and innovative use of concrete. The Sports Arena is composed of a barrel vault roof, then known as the Zeiss-Dywidag or Z-D type. The concrete shell is only 3 1/2 inches thick at the upper most part, and is stiffened at 39 foot intervals by massive two-hinged arch ribs. The roof crown is 100 feet above the floor, and the shell was constructed as five separate units, with expansion joints between each unit. In 1941 Miguel L. "Uncle Mike" Uline had started a successful ice making business. He had also purchased a hockey team, the Washington Lions, and needed a building for to them to play in. Wanting an arena much like the Hershey structure he contracted with the Lone Star Cement of company of Texas to build a similar facility. When it was done "Uline Arena" could seat close to 7,000 fans."
Here's a shot of a beer-league game courtesy National Brewers Hockey at Uline back in the late 60s. No that's not the historically impossible Knoxville Knights vs. the Washington Lions matchup that one e-Bay seller would have you believe it is.

Further reading: The Story of Uline Arena from Wizards Magazine, which I blogged back in March.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eastern Hockey League Birthdays This Week: July 20-27

Happy EHL Birthdays!

* July 20, 1936 - John Yanchuk, LW, Clinton Comets 1956-57
* July 20, 1943 - Larry Johnston, (pictured left) D, Johnstown Jets 1963-64
* July 20, 1949 - Ian Wilkie, G, Long Island Ducks 1972-73

* July 21, 1943 - Bill Flett, (pictured right) RW, Charlotte Checkers, 1963-64
* July 21, 1945 - Bill Hway, LW, Knoxville Knights, 1966-67

* July 22 - No Birthdays

* July 23, 1925 - Harvey Bennett, G, Washington Presidents, 1958-59
* July 23, 1939 - Stan Konrad, LW, New Haven Blades, 1958-59

* July 24, 1924 - Andy Brown, (pictured left) LW/Coach, Baltimore Clippers, Charlotte Clippers 1954-57
* July 24, 1946 - Bob Whidden, G, Charlotte Checkers, 1967-69

* July 25, 1942 - Claude Ouimet, LW, Charlotte Checkers, 1964-69
* July 25, 1946 - Neil Clark, C, Charlotte Checkers, New Haven Blades, New England Blades 1967-73

* July 27, 1928 - Bill "Red" Johansen, C, Charlotte Checkers, New York Rovers, 1963-65
* July 27, 1930 - Jack Bownass, D/Coach, Jacksonville Rockets 1970-71
* July 27, 1948 - Larry Gibbons, (pictured right) D, Salem Rebels, Greensboro Generals 1968-71
* July 27, 1949 - Jim Whittaker, D, Syracuse Blazers 1968-70

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On This Day in EHL History - July 19

Happy Birthday!
* July 19, 1916 - Morden "Ducky" Skinner, GM & Coach, New Haven Blades
* July 19, 1942 - Pete Shearer, C, Knoxville Knights, Charlotte Checkers, Salem Rebels, Roanoke Valley Rebels
* July 19, 1945 - Len Bazay, RW, Johnstown Jets, Florida Rockets
* July 19, 1947 - Jacques Blain, D, Syracuse Blazers, Long Island Ducks
* July 19, 1948 - Dick McGlynn, D, Rhode Island Eagles

* July 19, 1959 - Greensboro's Generals of the Eastern Hockey League will have a working agreement with the New York Rangers of the National League next year. General Manager Ken Wilson of the Generals Saturday announced completion of details of the agreement. New York will send a number of players to the Greensboro team to supplement those who were with the club last year when it performed at Troy, Ohio. The coming season will be Greensboro's first into hockey.

On This Day in EHL History - July 18

Happy Birthday!
* July 18, 1934 - Jim Mattson, G, Johnstown Jets, Washington Lions, New Haven Blades, Clinton Comets
* July 18, 1936 - Ted Harris, D, Philadelphia Ramblers
* July 18, 1948 - Gerry DeMarco, LW, Clinton Comets
* July 18, 1951 - Ed Sidebottom, D, New Haven Blades, Charlotte Checkers

On This Day in EHL History - July 17

Happy Birthday!
* July 17, 1933 - Alan "Skip" Teal, C, Clinton Comets
* July 17, 1935 - Hank Therrien, RW, Johnstown Jets, Greensboro Generals
* July 17, 1935 - Don Davidson, C, Charlotte Clippers, New Haven Blades, Greensboro Generals, Clinton Comets
* July 17, 1946 - Kevin Smith, D, Nashville Dixie Flyers

* July 17, 1958 - The Eastern Hockey League admitted the New York Rovers as the seventh member. The Rovers are headed by Tom Lockhart, president of the league. Lockhart heads a group which has been building an arena in Commack, LI. He said the building would be ready for use this season. The league is keeping its Washington franchise. There was talk that West Orange, NJ might become the league's eighth member. The Eastern loop also declined Wednesday to absorb or play an interlocking schedule with three clubs of the wavering International League. This was decided at an Eastern-International meeting here under Tom Lockhart, who heads both leagues and the Rovers. Directors planned a post-season playoff between their league champions, the winner challenging Canada's Allen Cup hockey champions. Remaining in the International are Louisville, Ky, Toledo, Ohio, and Fort Wayne. Ind. Arena leasing trouble knocked out Cincinnati and Indianapolis for at least a year, while Troy, Ohio, has heavy financial problems.
An April 18, 1954 article says that Tom Lockhart was building a new arena in Commack, with James Van Alst of Centerport as the architect. The building was scheduled to be completed "by winter". Pretty much every year in the 1950s, the Rovers were admitted to the league, and then had to back out when they realized the arena wouldn't be ready. The Rovers finally made it in for the 1959-60 season, but even then, John Muckler relates that there was still a whole bunch of work to do on the arena. The troubled Troy, Ohio IHL franchise also joined the EHL in 1959-60 as the Greensboro Generals. West Orange, and the South Mountain Arena, finally got an EHL level team when the Jersey Rockhoppers won the 2008-9 championship in the EPHL's only season.

* July 17, 1967 - A local group, formed recently to bring organized hockey to Syracuse has wired officials that it will formally apply for mrmbership in the Eastern Hockey League. According to Frank Barker, spokesperson for the group, a telegram was sent over the weekend to Nathan Podoloff of New Haven, an EHL representative. The league had granted the Syracuse group until July 21 to confirm that formal application will be made at a league meeting July 24 in Pittsburgh.
Barker said financial arrangements were not complete an that their group was negotiating with prospective backers who may be interested in supporting the hockey club. Barker said that plans are progressing well for a working agreement with the Boston Bruins of the NHL.
This Syracuse group was formed earlier in the summer, when the Jersey Devils were on shaky financial ground. A West Palm Beach, Florida group had offered to buy the Devils, but the EHL deemed the travel to be too far. Then the Syracuse group formed quickly to buy the Devils, but new backers jumped in to bail the team out and keep them in Cherry Hill. Without which, I'd have never seen an EHL game and there would be no

* July 17, 1972 - The New York Raiders of the WHA announced the signing of center-right wing Jamie Kennedy of the Eastern Hockey League Jersey Devils.
The Devils' Kennedy, Claude Chartre, Ted Scharf and G Pete Donnelly all signed with the Raiders that summer. The Devils had actually been picked to win their division that year (they were in the newly formed Central Division with the LI Ducks and two expansion teams - the Rhode Island Eagles and the Cape Cod Cubs.) However, the parent Philadelphia Flyers decreed that no player signed by the WHA, which was in its first season, could play for the Devils. The ex-Devils started the season with the Raiders. Not able to send the players to the Devils, the Raiders tried to send the players to the Ducks. The Devils balked, and the EHL intervened. The Devils had to work out a trade with the Ducks, otherwise the Raiders would have sent the players to the IHL. Having no leverage, the Devils received Mel Gushattey and Bill Morris from the Ducks. According to the Hockey News stats issue from that year, neither player ever played for the Devils. Gushattey ended up in Cape Cod shortly thereafter. Morris didn't appear to play again that season. In spite of the added help, the Ducks lost their last 15 games. Still, they ended up one point ahead of the Devils for the last playoff spot. The Ducks tried to fold, and hand the last spot to the Devils, but the league intervened and transferred the Ducks to Cape Cod for the remainder of the playoffs, which turned out to be a four game sweep by the Cubs. More on that:

Friday, July 16, 2010

On This Day in EHL History - July 16

* July 16, 1958 - CHARLOTTE, N. C. -Officials of the Eastern and International Hockey Leagues meet today on whether they can patch the money-troubled circuits together for the coming season. The six-club Eastern loop faces the loss of its Washington club, whose abandoned franchise, might be picked up by Uline Arena in Washington. The club's fate could decide whether three of two International teams, if any, could be taken on. The International is down to three clubs—Louisville, Ky,, Toledo, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Ind. The Eastern includes Charlotte, Johnstown, Pa., Clinton, N.Y., New Haven, Conn., and Philadelphia.

* July 16, 1960 - The Philadelphia Ramblers of the Eastern Hockey League have signed Doug Adam (pictured left), 36, to a one year contract as coach and director of player personnel.

*July 16, 1971 - Although it has not yet been officially announced, the Syracuse Blazers of the Eastern Hockey League will be without the services of coach Phil Watson for the 1971-72 season. Bill Charles, general manager and president of the Blazers, refused to confirm the report that Watson is out, but he did say that he would be meeting with the contriversial coach "in the next day or so." Watson, a former NHL player and coach, took over the reins of the team last season after a front office shakeup and led them to a second place finish in the EHL's Northern Division. They were eliminated by Johnstown in the league playoffs. The 57-year-old veteran of 14 seasons as an NHL player and another eight as a head coach at New York and Boston, signed a one-year contract with the Blazers last fall and it is not expected that another will be proffered when it runs out Sept. 1.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brian Lunney, Goaltender for Knoxville Knights and New Haven Blades

Brian Lunney, goaltender for the Knoxville Knights and New Haven Blades in the 1963-64 season died Tuesday at his home in Green Bay. He was 67.

Lunney was in goal on December 23, 1963 when the Knoxville Knights gained a 4-4 tie with the Soviet National All-Star Team which had blown out EHL teams in four previous games.

Lunney played in 47 games primarily with Knoxville in 1963-64, with 2 shoutouts, 199 Goals Against and a 4.23 Goals Against Average. In mid-February 1964 Lunney went to New Haven to replace netminder Jim Armstrong who was out with a wrenched knee.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, he tried out for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League in 1963. He was offered the job of backup goalie, but turned it down, preferring to play regularly in the Eastern League.

After his year in the EHL, Lunney played goalie for the Marquette Iron Rangers of the USHL for a decade.

Brian Lunney's stats at Hockeydb:

Green Bay Press Gazette Article:

Obit at

Photo: Brian Lunney makes a save for the Marquette Iron Rangers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Artifacts from New Haven Arena Coming Back

Special thanks to Abeetzwmoots for posting this story on The EHL Message Boards:

Artifacts from New Haven Arena Coming Back
By Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register Topics Editor, 7/11/10

NEW HAVEN — Paul Sandella remembers the yellow-brick-lined interior, the smoke filled stands, the fights and just the sheer excitement of the place.

Paul, his brother, Rick, and his dad were among the loyal fans of the New Haven Blades hockey team that played at the New Haven Arena in the early 1970s, with the family heading in from Wallingford for those twice-weekly home games.

After it closed in 1972 and hockey fans had to go to the New Haven Coliseum to get their fix, “the quality of the games went up, but the passion from the crowd diminished. A lot of energy was lost,” Sandella said.
For almost half a century, three concrete cast panels depicting “Lady Victory” and sports figures looked down on Grove Street as thousands of music fans and skating and hockey fanatics passed by below on their way into the New Haven Arena.

Crated and stored away for another three decades, Febo Ferrari’s artwork will soon be on display within the sightline of the original Arena at Grove, State and Orange streets, now the headquarters of the FBI.

Demolished in 1975, the Arena was the largest space of its kind in Connecticut for entertainment and sporting events for some 45 years, a three-story brick building built and operated by the Podoloffs, a prominent Greater New Haven family.
The three 800-pound vertical panels outlasted the Arena and the New Haven Coliseum, where they were stored for the life of that facility, until it was imploded in January 2007. The original plan to place them in the lobby of the Coliseum never materialized.
Dave Hainsworth, the popular goalie for the Blades from 1968-72, remembers the Arena as a “cozy place to play.”

“It was a place where fans hung out after the game,” he said. “It kind of became one big family.”

Hainsworth said the place was always in use. If it wasn’t hockey or ice skating, there were basketball tournaments and organized boxing.

“I remember we came back from being on the road once and the circus was here. The elephants were in the garage. A reminder of them hung in the air for a week and half after they were gone,” Hainsworth said.
From left to right, standing guard over the entrance of the Arena from 1927 until 1975, the three figures depicted were:

- A male figure wearing knickers, a jersey and skates, with a hockey stick and puck, but no protective gear.

- A classically dressed female holding an urn and wearing a laurel wreath to symbolize victory, with the word “Sport” inscribed at the bottom.

- A male boxer, to symbolize a pasttime that was wildly popular at the turn of the 20th century, when immigrants and others would enter the ring to earn some money and local fame.
Nathan Podoloff, an engineer by training, oversaw construction of the Arena and was its day-to-day manager for 45 years, from the time it opened on Jan. 17, 1927, with a Yale hockey team game, to the sellout closing concert by Elton John on Sept. 29, 1972.

He was one of several Podoloff siblings, including brother Morris, who advanced professional sports through their connections to the family-owned Arena.

They were the children of an immigrant couple from a town south of Kiev in Ukraine who fled to the U.S. in 1890 to escape the pogroms aimed at Jews.

Morris Podoloff, in 1920, was part of a group that created the American Hockey League, and was elected its first president, according to a history written by Hilda Myers Podoloff, wife of Nathan and mother of Ann Podoloff Lehman, a metal sculptor and one of the founders of the Creative Arts Workshop.

Morris Podoloff also became the first commissioner of the National Basketball Association and, through the International Association of Auditorium Managers, Nathan Podoloff and his colleagues produced the first Ice Capades.

The Arena is fondly remembered by the thousands of hockey fans who followed the beloved New Haven Blades and before that the New Haven Ramblers and the New Haven Senators, with the New Haven Eagles hitting the ice from 1926-43.
In an interview with the New Haven Register in November 1972, Nathan Podoloff estimated that, statistically, in the Arena’s nearly half-century history, there were “more than 10 million paying customers who saw and heard a tremendous variety of sports, culture, pageantry and entertainment that they otherwise would have been deprived of. Approximately 10,000 days of Arena use were held on time, rain or shine, storms or blizzards.”

New Haven Arena Facebook Page:

Full NH Register Article: