Sunday, October 31, 2010

EHL Arena Tour - Clinton, Utica, Syracuse, Troy

Hi all,
I'm back from a 3-day Eastern Hockey League tour of central New York. I took hundreds of pictures to share with you. Highlights included...
* Hersey Bears-Syracuse Crunch at Syracuse War Memorial Auditorium. (Syracuse Blazers home rink)
* A visit to the Syracuse State Fairgrounds Arena (where the Blazers played the last half of their dominating championship season of 1972-73, whilst a bowling tourney took over the War Memorial.)
* Several visits to Clinton and the Clinton Arena (home of the Comets).
* A visit to the Clinton Historical Society.
* Lunch at Altieri's (a restaurant/bar in Clinton with lots of Comets history.)
* A failed attempt to visit the Oneida County Historical Society.
* Utica College vs. Franklin Piece at Utica Memorial Auditorium (the weekday home of the Clinton Comets from the 1960-61 season on.)
* A visit to the RPI Field House, was where the Uncle Sam's Trojans of the 1952-53 EAHL played.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll post blogs with lots of photos on each section of the journey. So, stay tuned!
Cheers from The EHL!
Tom T.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Clinton Arena Photos from Utica Observer Dispatch

Here's your link:
Senior Hockey League Keeps Middle-Aged Adults on Ice

This is a photoshoot by Jason Rossi for the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Along with the on-ice shots are photos of the hallway and locker room, which are all part of the whole feel of an arena.

The shoot is dated October 27, 2010, which as of this writing is 6 days in the future. I have wished to go through a time-warp to see hockey at an EHL arena, but I was thinking more like 40 years in the past.

Slapshot Explored in Blake Ball's Hometown

Some Blake Ball mentions in this article from today's Barrie Examiner....

Cult classic explored


Slap Shot, the hockey movie to end all hockey movies, has ties to almost every Canadian town. Barrie is no different.

The late Blake Ball, who suited up for the junior Barrie Flyers in the 1950s and wound down his senior hockey here in 1976-77, played the role of goon Gilmore Tuttle in the 1977 cult classic.

"It's the most real, genuine hockey movie you could ever have," said Jonathon Jackson, author of The Making of Slap Shot : Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made. "Other sports have their movies ... but with hockey, we don't have a whole lot. It's still the benchmark."...

...You could say Ball -- who also played for the Orillia Terriers senior team in 1972-73, and was a defensive end in the CFL -- was type-cast. New Haven Blades fans didn't call him 'Badman' for nothing. The real-life hockey thug, who died in 2006, often collected more than 300 penalty minutes per season.

Statistics like those made the St. Thomas native the PIM king most years in the old Eastern Hockey League, forerunner to the North American Hockey League, which was the basis for the fictional Federal League and the Charlestown Chiefs portrayed in the movie.

"For all intents and purposes, it was a true story," said Jackson, whose research for the book lasted three years. "It documented a lot of events that actually happened in the lives of the Johnstown Jets, which was the real team."

The Pennsylvania steel town's decline in the 1970s made the team's survival tenuous at best. In the end, it folded.

Friday, October 15, 2010

In 1956, Charlotte Discovered Hockey

On the day of the the Charlotte Checkers first game in the AHL, the Charlotte Observer remembered back to the first game ever in Charlotte, back in 1956. Link to Charlotte Observer article.

On January 23, 1956, Carlin's Iceland Arena, home to the EHL Baltimore Clippers, burned to the ground. The Clippers quickly rescheduled five of their remaining "home" games for the new Charlotte Coliseum. Charlotte had applied for membership in the EHL for 1956-57, but were by no means accepted. This gave the league a chance to test-market hockey in the south. The first game was January 30, 1956, with the Baltimore Clippers taking on the New Haven Blades. Needless to say, it was quite the success.

Here are the AP and UP national stories from the first game in Charlotte January 30, 1956...

Pro Ice Hockey Goes Over Big In Charlotte CHARLOTTE -- (AP) --Professional ice hockey came to Charlotte for the first time last night, and it may be-here to stay. Owner Charlie Rock of the Baltimore Clippers surveyed the 10,363 persons jammed into the coliseum here and announced that if interest keeps up he'll urge the Eastern Hockey League transfer his franchise to Charlotte.
The Clippers' lost a 6-2 game to the New Haven Blades. An estimated 3,000 persons were turned away because all available standing and sitting space was taken. Those that did get in saw a jarring, bruising game, complete with fist fights. The big crowd loved it. They shouted their approval, and gave the Clippers the home town treatment throughout the contest. The Baltimore team lost its arena in a fire. It will play at least four more games here this season.

Ice Hockey Lures 10,363 to Coliseum CHARLOTTE -- (UP) -- Residents of Charlotte apparently have taken the northern sport of ice hockey to their hearts. The largest indoor sports crowd in the Queen City's' history, 10,363 fans turned out last night to watch the New Haven Blades down the "homeless" Baltimore Clippers, 6-2, in an Eastern Hockey League game. And officials said another 3,000 persons, were turned away from the city's new multi-million dollar coliseum.

The Charlotte fans may not have picked up the fine points of the game as explained over the public address system, but they quickly learned like hockey fans everywhere that the fights are more interesting than the game. There were two
battles during the contest, a small number considering the highly publicized "Feud" between the two teams.

New Haven, currently leading the six-team Eastern loop, had little trouble with the fifth-place Clippers.
The Blades' top line of John Sherban, Claude Boileau and Yvan Chasle turned in four goals, Sherban providing two. Ron Rohmer and Alf Lewsey also contributed to the scoring. Defensemen Mike Desilets and Ralph De Leo scored for Baltimore both in the final period after New Haven had a comfortable lead. The. game was the first of six to be played here by the Clippers whose home arena in Baltimore was destroyed-by fire last week.
The list of Clippers-in-Charlotte (they were still the Baltimore Clippers until the following season) firsts is a nice Hockey Who's Who.
First Save: Les Binkley.
First Penalty: John Brophy.
First Opposition Penalty: Don Perry.
First Goal: Mike Desilets (okay, maybe not all are household names, but assisted by John Muckler).
Second Clippers Goal: John Muckler.
First Opposition Goal: Johnny Sherban. (Four goals in total by the famed CBS line of Chasle, Boileau and Sherban for New Haven.)

Here's your boxscore...