Monday, December 5, 2011

Eastern Hockey League News - November 2011

Here's your Eastern Hockey League News for November 2011...

Chuck Miller, who helped find the EHL Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy visits the Hockey Hall of Fame and sees the Trophy displayed for the first time.
Anyone who has researched the EHL on-line at all know of Chuck's original article on the Eastern hockey League and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy.

"Between the Nitro Pipes, Ed Babiuk" by Anthony Dransfeld of the Kimberley (BC) Bulletin
Babiuk played for the Eastern Hockey League Jacksonville Rockets, Jersey Devils, Clinton Comets and Long Island Ducks.

A welding accident closed Clinton Arena on November 9.

A Celebration of Life for Charlotte Checkers' and New Haven Blades' Fred Creighton was held on November 11. Gregg Pilling was the MC for the event.

Hamilton College played a home game at Clinton Arena, home to the EHL Clinton Comets on November 22, here's some video...

An article from Chilliwack, BC on Richard Kramp (pictured left) who played for the EHL Charlotte Checkers in 1972-73.

"A True Slapshot Story", by Kirk Penton for the Winnipeg Sun. (A little past the EHL, but the EHL spirit was there.)

A few Nashville Dixie Flyers pics borrowed from around the web.

NEW! EHL Videos are now on-line at

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eastern Hockey League News - October 2011

EHL articles are now being posted on the Eastern Hockey League Facebook group. There are lots of EHL players, families, officials, management, historians and diehard fans in the group, with lots of jerseys (sorry, sweaters), programs, photos, trivia and memories there. Why don't you join in the fun?

For those of you who aren't on Facebook, I plan to post the articles here monthly. Hopefully, this will free me up to get back to actually writing blogs here. I've got at least 10-15 blogs in my head, but never seem to have time to get them typed in, scanned and formatted.

Here's the Eastern Hockey League News for October 2011...

Charlotte Checkers, New Haven Blades, Fred Creighton

Cherry Hill Arena

Hamilton College to play SUNY-Cortland at Clinton Arena Tuesday November 22

EHL Official Jim Galuzzi, and Salem Rebels' Dave Schultz

The Art Dorrington Ice Hockey Foundation "On the Ice - Off the Streets"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EHL Devils' Jamie Kennedy To Be Enshrined in P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame on Friday

It's a big week for the EHL Jersey Devils. This past Saturday, former Devil, Wayne Caufield was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame.

This Friday, September 16, 2011, Devils' fan favorite, Jamie Kennedy will be enshrined in the PEI Sports Hall Of Fame.

Here's an article from yesterday's Charlottetown (PEI) Journal-Pioneer on Kennedy...

Photo: Jamie Kennedy leads the charge for the Jersey Devils at Cherry Hill Arena.
From left to right: Jamie Kennedy, Ed Kea, Gilles Banville, Bob Brown, Larry O'Connor.

Friday, September 2, 2011

EHL Documents Now at

Special thanks to Mike Piskuric, who sent along a stack of EHL documents for your enjoyment. The set includes two sets of 1971 Johnstown Jets incident reports and the 1961 EHL Constitution and Bylaws. The first set is for an incident between Gene Peacosh and Johnstown fans on January 16, 1971. The second set is for a stick swinging incident between Johnstown's Blake Ball, and Syracuse Blazers' coach Phil Watson at Syracuse on February 19, 1971. You can see them now on the "Documents" page at .

Mike Piskuric, who tracked down the documents at the Johnstown Historical Society, is one of the forces behind the Johnstown hockey history book, "Slap Shots and Snapshots: 50 Seasons of Pro Hockey in Johnstown" Mike has been a consistent contributor to Here are some reviews for his book (Which I finally bought this past week from Barnes & Noble. Can't wait to have a good rainy day off to read it. Lots of good pictures and stats.)...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Dave Molinari : Hockey & Johnstown ... it's more than 'slap shot': - Love of the Game Leads to Hockey Book:

Pittsburgh Penguins - New Book Chronicles Johnstown Hockey History:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

EHL Vet Wayne Caufield to Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame

EHL veteran Wayne Caufield will be inducted into the Wisconsin Hall of Fame on September 10, 2011.

Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame

Wayne played left wing for the Eastern Hockey League Philadelphia Ramblers, Jersey Devils, Long Island Ducks, Syracuse Blazers, Greensboro Generals and the Salem Rebels between 1963 and 1970. Caufield was player-coach of the Syracuse Blazers during their first season of 1967-68.

In November of 1972, Wayne, and wife Eileen, moved to Milwaukee, where Wayne became player-coach of the original Milwaukee Admirals. He played the Admirals first 5 seasons.

Continuing on from the Wisconsin Hall of Fame site...
During this period, Caufield became involved with Milwaukee SHAW, where his son began playing in 1973. For the next 16 years, Caufield coached both house and travel teams from mites through high school, and won the State Tournaments in 1984 for high school and 1986 for midgets. During this time, Caufield conducted annual hockey clinics for more than 25 years at State Fair Park and Wilson Park Arenas.

While continuing to play as an adult in the Men’s Metro Milwaukee Hockey Association, Caufield also coached the Milwaukee Flyers Hockey Club in 1988-89. In 1989, he became the association coach for Pius XI High school and continued through the 1992-93 season.

Caufield continues to follow and support youth hockey, and for the past 10 years, he has been an active member of the Greendale Lions Club as a board member and volunteer.

Caufield and his wife Eileen have two sons, Paul (Kelly) and Ryan (Rhiannon), and five grandchildren.

The induction ceremony will take place in Eagle River, WI on Saturday, September 10. The event includes a golf tournament, banquet and the ceremonies. It is open to the public.

Wayne and Eileen still live in Wisconsin. Here's an update from Eileen...

"Our family is still MUCH involved in ice hockey. Our son, Paul, still holds the all time high scoring records at UW-Stevens Point, is in their Hall of Fame, from back in early 90's. Our grandson, Cole Caufield, age 10, just broke the scoring record at The Brick Novice Hockey Tournament held in Edmonton, Alberta each July 4th (it's the only 10 year old tournament in the world and this past July it was in it's 22nd year). So, hockey is still a very big part of the Caufield family and going on 3 generations now..."

Wayne Caufield's stats at

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ken Grabeldinger, 1950s Clinton Comets, Still a Rink Rat in Alabama

Here's an update on Ken Grabeldinger who played center with Clinton Comets, New Haven Blades and Johnstown Jets in the mid 1950s.

Zamboni driver Ken Grabeldinger has cool job on hot days at Pelham ice rink
Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 9:30 AM

PELHAM, Alabama -- Whether it's winter or blazing hot outside, Ken Grabeldinger has one of the coolest jobs around.
The 78-year-old Shelby County man and former professional hockey player drives a Zamboni -- an ice rink resurface machine -- as part of his job as assistant supervisor of the Pelham Civic Complex's two skating rinks.
"What a great place to work," Grabeldinger said with a smile Wednesday.
On an average day Grabeldinger will resurface rink ice four or five times using a Zamboni. The complex has two Zambonis, one for each rink. On a busy day it may take a dozen times.
Grabeldinger has been driving ice resurfacing machines nearly 50 years and has been around ice rinks longer than that.
A native of Saskatoon, a city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, Grabeldinger started playing hockey when he was 5 or 6 years old.
Grabeldinger said that in 1964 he took a job managing the Clinton Arena rink in Clinton, N.Y., where he had spent part of his time with one of the farm teams. He left that job in 1985.
A former hockey player, he says he worked on the 4th Zamboni in the USA which was built on a Jeep frame.
... Read Full Article:
Photo Gallery:
Stats at (though, I'd be a little skeptical about the 24 pts and 6 PIM in 5 games in 1957-58.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Q & A with Neil Moran, EHL Linesman and Referee

Neil Moran was an Eastern Hockey League linesman and referee for most of the league's existence. Based mostly out of NYC/Long Island area, he was a part of many memorable EHL events. For instance, he was one of the linesmen when John Brophy pushed referee Bill Pringle and was suspended for the rest of the season, before being made coach by the Ducks. Neil and his son Chris have been gracious enough to share Neil's experiences through the following Question and Answer session and their photos. I think you'll agree that this is not only a fabulous bit of history here, but very well written by Neil and Chris. Many thanks to them! On with the Q&A...

When did you start officiating?
I started officiating in 1951 doing games at the old Brooklyn Ice Palace with games starting @ 11:00pm in the old Metropolitan Amateur Hockey League with such teams as Brooklyn Torpedoes, Manhattan Arrows, Sand Point Tigers, and Jamaica Hawks. Then in 1958 I started as a linesman for the Philadelphia Ramblers @ the old Philadelphia Arena, then I started doing the NY Rovers/ LI Ducks in 1959 @ the LI Arena up until the end in 1973, the NY Rovers in the 1964-65 season and started referring in the EHL in 1965.

How was your experience working in the EHL?
The league was very tough to work in with very little respect for the officials from the players ( except from are rare few ) to the fans.

Linesman Neil Moran gets an earful from Long Island Ducks' John Muckler during a game at Long Island Arena in 1962 vs. the Philadelphia Ramblers.

What was your favorite and least favorite EHL arena to work in?

The Southern arenas were more modern, clean dressing rooms with showers, the Northern arenas most of them were barns with small dressing room facilities and if you were lucky a running shower. Also th
e ice conditions were better in the South than up in the North. But my favorite arena was the old Madison Sq Garden on 49th st and 8th ave. Our dressing room was the NY Rangers locker room.

How did you respond when people refer to the EHL as a “goon league”, the "Slapshot League"?

For a long time it was considered a ‘goon league” but as the NHL expanded and sending down their prospects the league started cleaning itself up as the NHL didn’t want their prospects getting hurt.
Neil Moran officiates an independent Home Oilers game at Crystal Rink in Norwalk, CT in the mid-sixties. The 1964-65 NY Rovers played several home games here that Neil officiated.

Do you have any EHL stories that you wanted to tell?

Several, but you haven’t got the space for them. But one does come to mind in the early 1960s Schaefer Beer was filming a commercial at the LI Arena with John Brophy as of all people a Referee and he used my refere
es sweater for the commercial.

Do you still have any contact with other EHL people?
I still keep in contact with Referee Bob Anselm but we only exchange Christmas cards every year.

How did the EHL change ( if at all ) from when you started to when the league split in 1973?
It only started to change when the NHL started to send down players to some of the teams in hopes of grooming them.

How would you characterize “ EHL Hockey “?

Rough and Tumble, to do a game
with less than 15 penalties called was considered an “ off night “!!!

In my ( and others ) memory, the NHL was a slower, plodding game compared to the quickness of the EHL . From a fan’s standpoint, part of this can be explained by smaller arenas and closer vantage points in the smaller arenas. What is your take on the speed of the EHL game?

At that time maybe the speed of the game might have been faster due to the smaller arenas and less defensive play, so the turnovers were frequent and more up and down the ice action which speeded up the game some what.

A fan recently wrote “ When I show my scanned pictures to people at work, then tell them that these guys drove around the East in school buses for peanuts, playing 72 games for 4 figure salaries “ they are amazed. So the question is .. Why did you personally, and all of you in the EHL, do this?
Because of OUR DEDICATION to the game. Most of the officials really liked the game, although they had to put up with a lot of abuse from the players and fans.

Linesman Neil Moran tries to break up a brawl between the Long Island Duck and the Clinton Comets. This photo is from a 1969-70 LI Ducks program.

What kind of money did an EHL official make? What was the travel like for an EHL official?
As a linesman I started making $10.00 per game. As the years went on Linesmen were making $17 to $20.00 per game. As a Referee we started at $35.00 a game plus mileage for the car and tolls. At the end of the league we were making $50.00 a game. If you flew your ticket and motel room was picked up by the league, but there was NO MEAL MONEY.

Looking back, would you do it all again? What would you change? Was it all worth it?

Looking back I’d say “yes “ it was worth it!! The experiences that I learned from the EHL would last a lifetime, and it made me be a better official and handle certain players and situations.

Who were the best players you saw play?
John Muckler, Pete Babando ( never forgave him for scoring that 1950 Stanley Cup double overtime goal against my NY Rangers. I always told him that with a laughter), Gilles Villemure , Gene Peacosh , Dick Roberge, Jack Kane to name a few.

What memorable games were you involved in?
The famous TWO MINUTE GAME in 1965 at the LI Arena between New Haven and Long Island which when the we came on the ice Gordie Stratton of the Ducks said to me “ Neil when the puck drops just step aside because it going to be a war out here “ and as soon as Bob Anselm the Referee dropped the puck all hell broke loose.
And the game that I refereed between Johnstown and Syracuse in 1972-73 season were I called over 350 minutes in penalties which we had the Johnstown Jets players up in the stands fighting with the fans.

Who were the most gentlemanly players Who were the other good officials of your time? What owners did you like?
Pete Babando, Reggie Kent, Gordie (Blinkey) Stratton Benny Woit, Len Speck and others. The officials that were good were Ted Dailey, Doug Davies, Ron Telford, Mickey Grasso, Bob Anselm, Bill Pringle, Bob Giovatti,and the McCormick twins Pat and Mike. As for the owners Al Baron of the Ducks was very nice and I always remember John Mitchell owner of the Johnstown Jets and in his office he always said “son have a piece of candy“.

Who were the toughest and meanest players in the league?

John Brophy was a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on and off the ice, tough and mean he could perform open heart surgery on the ice with his stick but when he was coaching very quiet and rarely gave the officials a hard time when coaching.

Pat Kelly always moaned and cried about penalties but a very good stay at home defenseman.

Don Perry, tough as nails when you went into the corner he made sure you were part of the boards but a hard hitting and clean defenseman.

Blake Ball was just plain dirty, and didn’t care who he went after.

Did you associate much with the players?
Not really. We did not associate with the players after the game. We might run into some at a bar or diner after the game but that was about it.

What was the greatest EHL game or series you worked in?
The 1965 Walker Cup Finals between the Nashville Dixie Flyers and the Long Island Ducks which I was the linesman for the games @ the LI Arena. The funny thing about that series all the games but the first one was played in LI because if I remember the Nashville Auditorium had a car show and the rest of the series was played at LI.

Do you have any humorous stories about the EHL you'd like to share?

Three come to mind, the first was a game between New Haven and Long Island @ the LI Arena in the mid 60’s there was a bench clearing brawl the night before @ New Haven and the LI Arena the next night was sold out and the fans were waiting for the Blades, and Blake Ball and the rest of the players came on the ice with paper umbrellas over their heads and the Ducks, and fans were laughing that the game was one of the quietest I ever did between those two teams.

The second was a exhibition game between New Haven and Long Island, the referee was a college referee I cant remember his name but he was the referee in the beginning of the movie Love Story with Ryan O’Neil and doing his first game in the EHL and a bench clearing brawl started and he starts blowing his whistle and I said to him “ this isn’t Yale – Harvard your doing, so stop blowing your whistle or one of these players are going to stuff it were the sun don’t shine!!”

The third was when I was at the old Madison Square Garden. During a NY Rovers game, NHL Referee Art Skov dropped by. I knew him personally he said to me that he filled in as an emergency Referee for one game and said "He’ll never do it again that it was a zoo league" but he also said if you can be an Official in the EHL than you can work any other league!

What would you like people to know and remember about Neil Moran, EHL official?

What I’d like people to remember me by just that we worked games under a lot of stress for little money. It was ours and the players dedication to the game, and it was an experience that I would never forget.

Neil Moran is retired and currently living in Brick Township, NJ. You can check in with his son Chris Moran at the Eastern Hockey League Facebook Group at

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Johnstown's Hockey History - EHL Video

Johnstown Jets fan, Tim Barndt, is at it again.

* First he gave us the Johnstown Jets Photo Album, (go to "Collections" at composed of photos taken by his father, Johnstown Jets and Johnstown Tribune-Democrat photographer, Robert C. Barndt.

* Then he found this Gene Peacosh Retrospective on YouTube.

* And then, last week, while going through some old VHS tapes, Tim found the Johnstown's Hockey History documentary below and uploaded it to YouTube so we can all enjoy. This is a fabulous find. Thanks once again, Tim!

Here's Tim's commentary on the video...
It is a half-hour WJAC video about the history of hockey in Johnstown. I believe it was produced in 1990 or so. I think someone at Channel 6 sent it to my Dad back then, making the tape I have around 20 years old. There are pictures and video of the old Jets, along with the Bluebirds, Wings, and Chiefs. A couple of interesting clips are John Brophy mugging a Jet during play around 6:20 into the video and, probably the most unique footage, I think it is longtime Trainer/Equipment Manager/Backup Goalie Ken "Gunner" Garrett in a suit as some function around 8:53.
Just some fun information I thought you might be interested in. Enjoy!

YouTube link:

EHLer Lorne O'Donnell - Clinton Comets, Jersey Devils, Syracuse Blazers

Lorne O'Donnell played center and left wing in the Eastern Hockey League from 1963 to 1968. Lorne was traded from the Montreal Canadiens organization to Springfield of the AHL in September 1963. O'Donnell played 13 games as a rookie for the EHL champion Clinton Comets in 1963-64. He was in the Springfield training camp in 1964, but returned to Clinton, where he was the Comet's second leading scorer, until he broke his leg in November. Returning in mid-January, Lorne still ended up with 70 points in 47 games for the Comets, his most productive season. Lorne played one more season, 1965-66, with the Comets.
O'Donnell was the player to be named later in the biggest trade in EHL history, which sent Pat Kelly, Ed Babiuk, and Borden Smith to Clinton with Norm Defelice, Hec Lalande, Benny Woit and Orval Tessier (who retired and was replaced by Ted Szydlowski) being sent to Jersey. The Devils with O'Donnell advanced to the 1966-67 EHL Finals, before losing to champion Nashville. That summer O'Donnell was drafted by the expansion Syracuse Blazers and became their first captain, before being traded back to Jersey on November 21st with Bill Horton for Benny Greco and Carlo Longarini. O'Donnell initially returned home after the trade, but finished the season with Jersey. He spent the remainder of his career in the OHA Senior League, mostly with Belleville.

From the Peterbough (ON) Examiner:

Ex-Pete Lorne O'Donnell dies

By Mike DAVIES, Peterborough Examiner, July 8, 2011

Lorne O'Donnell, who made Peterborough his home after coming here to play for the Petes, passed away Wednesday.

Mr. O'Donnell, whose only son Steve once worked for the Petes as their first marketing director, suffered a heart attack.

Petes' executive Pat Casey said Mr. O'Donnell's death was a shock as he was expecting him to be in his foursome Thursday at the inaugural Petes' Alumni Association golf tournament at Baxter Creek Golf Club.

Mr. O'Donnell, 68, grew up in Kingston and came to Peterborough to join the Petes in 1960 playing 106 games over three seasons. A forward, he went on to play pro in the EHL with Clinton, New Jersey and Syracuse. He also played senior hockey in Belleville, Napanee and Lindsay.

He was a catcher in the Peterborough Men's Softball Association city league and played oldtimer's hockey. He retired eight years ago after more than 30 years at Quaker Oats.

"He came back after playing hockey and worked at Quaker Oats for years," said Casey. "We played oldtimer's hockey with the oldtimer's Petes and went on golf trips. He played golf every Monday and Friday with about 24 guys.

"He was a real quiet kind of guy," Casey said, "but real solid. He was a reliable player and person. He always gave his best and was true to his word."

George Godson was Mr. O'Donnell's teammate with the Petes and a golfing buddy.

"He was a good all around athlete," said Godson. "He was a great guy. He was a guy's guy. He enjoyed playing golf and hockey. We played oldtimer's together and we have a group of guys, about 28 of us, who play golf together and he was one of the core guys. It's a sad thing."

From the Peterborough Pete's (OHA) website:

It is with deepest regret that the Peterborough Petes announce the passing of Alumni member Lorne O'Donnell (1960-63). Mr O'Donnell passed away suddenly this week following a work out in Peterborough. Lorne O'Donnell would have turned 69 next month. Lorne O'Donnell was originally from Kingston Ontario before joining the Petes for the 1960-61 season. He played three seasons with the Petes recording 19 goals and 44 points in 129 games. Following his playing career with the Petes Lorne played five seasons of professional hockey in the EHL (Now known as the ECHL) where he recorded 83 goals and 221 points in 258 games. Lorne's son Steve worked as the teams Marketing Manager in the early 1990's.


Lorne O'Donnells stats at hockeydb:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

EHL Jersey Devils' Jamie Kennedy to P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame

Jamie Kennedy, leading goalscorer in EHL Jersey Devils' history and fan favorite will be inducted this year into the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame. Kennedy had 185 goals and 260 assists for 345 points in 282 games with the Devils over 4 seasons. Jamie was a first team Northern Division All-Star in 1970-71, amassing a career high 101 points. The following season he scored 50 goals, before signing with the WHA New York Raiders. Unable to be sent back to Jersey, since the parent Philadelphia Flyers did not allow WHA players on the Devils, Kennedy was traded along with Ted Scharf, Claude Chartre and Pete Donnelly to the Long Island Ducks for Mel Gushattey and Bill Morris. Kennedy played 15 games for the Ducks that final EHL season, scoring 12 goals to go with 11 assists.
P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame announces inductees for 2011
Full Article:
Published on June 27, 2011 by Staff - The PEI Journal Pioneer

CHARLOTTETOWN - The P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame will grow by five new members later this year.

Jamie Kennedy (athlete, hockey), Cathy Dillon (athlete, curling), Sandy Frizzell (builder, hockey), George Morrison (builder, basketball) and Myron Weeks (builder, volleyball) will be the latest inductees to join the 156 individuals and teams who currently comprise the membership of the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame.

Jamie Kennedy

Jamie Kennedy of Charlottetown is one of the most familiar faces in Island hockey. He enjoyed a professional career that included 588 professional games, scoring 321 goals and 630 points.

The feisty Kennedy landed his first professional hockey contract in 1968 with the Jersey Devils of the Eastern Hockey League, netting 40 goals in his first season. His incredible 50-goal tally in 1970-71 made him the first Maritime-born professional to reach that milestone.

His illustrious career included him lacing up the skates for the New York Raiders of the newly-formed World Hockey Association, the Syracuse Blazers of the North American Hockey League and the Winston-Salem Polar Twins of the Southern Hockey League, before returning to P.E.I. to play senior hockey for the Charlottetown Islanders and helping them win a Hardy Cup in 1981.

He has successfully passed on his vast experience and knowledge to many Island teams as a coach while also forging a reputation as an outstanding official, considered by many to be the finest referee ever produced in this province.

Kennedy will join his brother, Forbie (that's Forbes Kennedy to us non-PEI natives) , in the Hall of Fame.

******************* From The PEI Sports Hall of Fame website: **************************
The full article:

PEI SPORTS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES INDUCTEES FOR 2011 The PEI Sports Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2011, and familiar faces from the sports of hockey, curling, basketball and volleyball will be honoured when the ceremonies, sponsored by the PEI Mutual Insurance Company, are held later this year.

Jamie Kennedy (athlete, hockey), Cathy Dillon (athlete, curling) Sandy Frizzell (builder, hockey), George Morrison (builder, basketball) and Myron Weeks (builder, volleyball) will be the latest inductees and will join the 156 individuals and teams who currently make up the membership of the PEI Sports Hall of Fame. Kennedy will join his brother Forbie in the Hall.

Jamie Kennedy of Charlottetown is one of the most familiar faces in Island hockey, having enjoyed a professional career that included 588 professional games with a yield of 321 goals and 630 points.

The feisty Kennedy landed his first professional hockey contract in 1968 with the Jersey Devils of the Eastern Hockey League, where he netted 40 goals in his first season. His incredible 50-goal tally in 1970-71 made him the first Maritime born professional to reach that milestone.

His illustrious career saw him lace up the skates for the New York Raiders of the newly-formed World Hockey Association, the Syracuse Blazers of the North American Hockey League, and the Winston-Salem Polar Twins of the Southern Hockey League, before returning to PEI to play senior hockey for the Charlottetown Islanders, helping them win a Hardy Cup in 1981.

As a coach he has successfully passed on his vast experience and knowledge to many Island teams, and he also forged a reputation as an outstanding official, considered by many to be the finest referee ever produced in this province.

Friday, June 17, 2011

EHL Syracuse Blazers' Brian Elwell to Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame

From this morning's Syracuse Post-Herald, The Eastern Hockey League Syracuse Blazers' Brian Elwell will be inducted into the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. He is the first Blazer to be so honoured. (Photo left is an ad from a 1972-73 Syracuse Blazers Program. Photo Below is Brian on a Program Cover from Groundhog Day 1792 - yes 1792 - read it.)

Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame rewards nine for their work
Published: Friday, June 17, 2011, 5:10 PM Updated: Friday, June 17, 2011, 11:26 PM

The stay was supposed to last 30 days.

Brian Elwell was sent down from Tulsa of the Central Hockey League to the Syracuse Blazers of the Eastern Hockey League in 1969 to rehab from a separated shoulder. Two days before Elwell, a Montreal native, was scheduled to leave the Blazers, he tore up his ankle.

Forty-two years later, Elwell still hasn’t gone anywhere. Friday, he was forever linked to the city with one of its highest sporting honors.

Elwell was announced as one of nine new entrants into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame. One bum wheel turned him to a life centered around helping his new home.

“As soon as I left Montreal, I think I really liked the size of this city more than a big city,” said Elwell, 68. “I knew I wanted to stay here after I spent a couple of summers here.”

Elwell decided he wasn’t going to make the NHL, stuck around three more years to play for the Blazers and then ran the team as general manager. He made the city his full-time home, and two decades later he was the driving force behind bringing the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL to town.

He has also been a member of the Syracuse Sports Committee and currently oversees facility operations at Alliance Bank Stadium.

“I like people,” Elwell said of his efforts. “Somehow, I ended up being captain of the teams I played for. I enjoyed the leadership role.”

This year’s class, the 25th in the history of the hall, brings its total membership to 190. The inductees will be officially installed at a dinner at Drumlins on Oct. 17.

Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame:

The Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy:
Brian was the one who re-discovered the EHL's Atlantic City Boardwalk Trophy at his Tavern. Read all about it, along with a lot of other good EHL history at...

Brian Elwell's Stats at:

The EHL:

Talk about Brian Elwell and the Eastern Hockey League at:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Syracuse Blazers - Charlotte Checkers 1971-72 Game 1 Brawl Video

Here's a YouTube video, courtesy of Kurt Golembrosky, son of Checkers' Frank Golembrosky. It's from Game 1 of the 1971-72 Finals,. The Syracuse Blazers at Charlotte Checkers. There's also a little hockey in there. Thanks, Kurt!

I just realized I have a program from this game. It notes that Charlotte hadn't played in two weeks since beating Greensboro in 5 games in the semi-finals. The Checkers had beaten the Suncoast Suns in 6 games in the opening round. Syracuse hadn't played in a week since beating Johnstown in the semis. Both arenas had scheduling issues. The Checkers had to travel to Salem, VA and Concord, NC to practice. Ironically, it was the Billy Graham Crusade that delayed the brawl below in the Charlotte Coliseum.

Charlotte won the previous year's title, beating the New Haven Blades 4 games to 1. The program says that the three keys to the previous years' team and this years' team were Allie Sutherland, Frank Golembrosky & Mike Rouleau. Syracuse was led by Ray Adduono and Paul Larose.

Greensboro Generals' Roy Pyke Inducted into Brockville Sports Hall of Fame

Roy Pyke, veteran of the 1965-67 Greensboro Generals was inducted Friday into the Brockville (ON) and Area Sports Hall of Fame.

A thrill for new inductees

RON SMITH, Sports Editor, The Recorder & Times, June 11, 2011

It's an amazing wall that just became even more impressive. The Brockville and Area Sports Hall of Fame inducted its five newest members for the lobby wall of the Memorial Centre on Friday afternoon. With the well-deserved addition of Jim Hale, George Hunter (deceased), Steve McAllister, Roy Pyke and Jim Vickery, there are now an even 100 plaques recognizing the sports accomplishments and achievements of Brockville and area.

Pyke, well known as the tough, hard-nosed catcher for the Brockville Commercial Stars fastball team, found it a special wall to see. "It means an awful lot to me. Seventy per cent of the people (on the wall) I know or played against or played with, and it just makes me feel so proud and honoured to know I am going to be joining the people who have become my friends. I am very honoured," said Pyke.

The casual, 60-minute ceremony recognized the returning Hall of Famers along with the newests inductees.

"This is THE highlight of my career and I've had some good ones," said Pyke, who won gold for Canada in playing senior hockey with the Morrisburg Combines. "This is the highlight of my sports career, No. 1."

Pyke played baseball and hockey growing up, and some semi-pro hockey before being one of the final cuts of the St. Louis Blues in 1967.

He joins Hodgkinson, Dixie, Bates and Metcalfe from the Commercial Stars in the Hall of Fame.

"It shows you how talented that team was," said the 65-year-old Pyke of a dominant fastball team from the 1970's to the 1990's.

(I'm pretty sure Roy Pyke is the second from left in the article photo.)

Roy Pyke's Stats courtesy

"The Arena" in Philadelphia - The Last Years as Martin Luther King Arena

For those of you who saw games at The Arena in Philadelphia (and those of us who didn't), follow this link to the "Fun While It Lasted" blog about the last years at the Arena. It's in the early 1980s, way beyond the Philadelphia Ramblers, and the EHL, but interesting history. The team that played there was the CBA Philadelphia Kings, who moved back to Lancaster after one season of averaging about 125 fans a game. The Philadelphia Fox of the Womens Professional Basketball League put up similar attendance numbers at the Philadelphia Civic Center (NAHL's Philadelphia Firebirds played here) the previous season. I had never put 2 and 2 together that Public TV's WHYY studios were at the Arena in the 1970s.

I couldn't help but notice that the guy pictured had a great porn name (Ha, I used the word "porn". That should at least quadruple the number of hits my blog gets. I might hit double figures. But, I digress.) If you're not so much into history, follow the link from whence I borrowed the photo to the Basketbawful Blog . I got a good laugh out of a few of his blogs. You don't need to be a basketball fan (I'm not) to get the humor. That links back to the 10 Dirtiest Names in Sports at the Flumesday blog, although I found that the Sequel - 10 Diritiest Names in Sports to be a better list. Somehow, Dick Duff didn't make either list.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Golf Hole Dedicated to Johnstown Jets' Don Hall

From Mike Mastovich in today's Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.

Sunnehanna notebook: Club honors legendary golfer

JOHNSTOWN — On most days, Don Hall’s number is 9.

His nickname, Jet 9, was given to Hall based on his prolific 11-season hockey career with the Johnstown Jets.

Wearing No. 9, Hall scored 393 goals and 978 points from 1951 to 1962 and is among a group of four players in Johns-town’s lengthy pro hockey history to have his jersey retired.

But 5 also is a special number to Hall.

Sunnehanna Country Club dedicated the par-3 No. 5 hole to Hall during a banquet on Wednesday, the eve of the 58th Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions.

Teeing off

What: 58th Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions.

When: Beginning at 8 a.m. (see tee times on B3).

Where: Sunnehanna Country Club, Westmont.

Field: A record 75 entries will look to win one of amateur golf’s biggest tournaments.

Twitter: @masty81.

Hall’s golfing resume is filled with superlatives, too. In fact, he’s had five career holes-in-one, with four of those aces coming on the fifth hole at Sunnehanna. He even made two holes-in-one on No. 5 in one week during 1983.

“It’s a great honor,” said Hall, 81, who participated in the Roger McManus Amateur Sponsor championship on a hot and humid Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s sweet being the fifth hole because I’ve had four holes-in-one there.

“If you look at the people who have been honored before, it’s a who’s who of golf at Sunnehanna. To be included in that group is certainly a great honor.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photos from Ted Scharf - Jersey Devils & Long Island Ducks

A couple of weeks ago I received a couple of cool photos from former EHLer Ted Scharf.

Ted is currently an executive for the Kitchener Rangers, which he captained back in the early 1970s.

Ted was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers with pick #50 in the 1971 draft, and assigned him to the Jersey Devils for the 1971-72 season. He roomed with John Brophy and Bob Miller, and had his best pro season with 24 goals, 57 points and 221 PIM. In the summer of 1972, Ted signed with the WHA New York Raiders, along with Devils teammates Jamie Kennedy, Claude Chartre and goalie Pete Donnelly. Ted split that last EHL season between the Raiders and the Long Island Ducks. The following year the Raiders became the Golden Blades, and then moved to the former EHL Devils home in Cherry Hill to become the Jersey Knights in 1973-74.

The shot above is Ted at Cherry Hill Arena in 1971-72. #10 on the right is Ted's linemate Wayne Hawrysh. I had personally forgotten the blue seats at Cherry Hill Arena. Alternate sections were blue or orange. They had been all red, before the team color makeover in 1970-71.

In the shot below, Ted is front row center, wearing the "C" as captain of the Kitchener Rangers. On the back row right are Hall-of-Famers Bill Barber and Larry Robinson. Future NHLers Chris Ahrens, Tom Cassidy and Jerry Byers were on the team. Back row left is Phil Iwaskiewicz, who played for the 1972-73 EHL Rhode Island Eagles.

Ted Scharf at :

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An event at Washington's Uline Arena - Swampoodle

Uline Arena in Washington, DC, home of the EHL Washington Lions and Washington Presidents, is back in action. This week you can do more than park your car in it, you can buy tickets to go see...
Swampoodle .

It sounds a bit like Cirque du Soliel meets history of DC's notorious, historic and forgotten Irish neighborhood, which was mostly where Union Station's rail yard is now.

I know I'd go, just to experience an event in the building. I'll be interested to see how they represent hockey, if at all. The video looks to show late sixties hockey, going by the haircuts, well after the EHL was gone from DC.

5/24/11 Update...
Here's a review from Jenn Larsen of We Love DC that makes me wish I could experience it. The building itself is the main event. I guess I'll just have to park my car there sometime...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brian "Butch" MacKay - Greensboro Generals and US National Team

The last few weeks, I've been collecting articles about the 1962 US World Championships. The Canadian team had EHLers Butch Martin (Johnstown), and future EHLer Bobby Brown (Johnstown, Long Island, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Jersey). The US team had EHLers Don Hall & Dick Roberge (Johnstown), Reggie Meserve (Philadelphia), Gord Tottle (Charlotte) and the Greensboro Generals defenseman and captain, Brian "Butch" MacKay. These articles are posted on the EHL Discussion Boards As you read through, you'll see that the EHLers, including MacKay represented the U.S. and Canada well.

Butch MacKay was one of a handful of Troy Bruins (IHL), who stayed with the team when they became the nucleus of the EHL Greensboro Generals in 1959, along with Pat Kelly, Don Carter, and Max Szturm. The first year Kelly was team captain, with MacKay an alternate. The next three years MacKay was team captain, until his retirement after the Generals won the EHL Championship in 1962-63 to work at a meat packing company in Greensboro. MacKay was a high-scoring, yet rugged defenseman, as the article on the right would suggest - and that's before he entered the EHL. He was an EHL 2nd-team All-Star in 1960-61.

The photo below is from a game at Clinton on November 7, 1962. MacKay, #2, has the "C".
The program cover is from the Generals first season, with MacKay wearing the "A".

Butch MacKay's Obituary from the Greensboro News & Record, May 19, 2011

Brian Edward "Butch" MacKay Sr.
Visit Guest Book

GREENSBORO — Brian Edward "Butch" MacKay, Sr., 78, passed away on May 17, 2011 at Moses Cone Hospital.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 2 p.m. at Westminster Gardens Cemetery with Father John Eckert officiating.
A native of Montreal, Canada, Brian was born September 29, 1932 to the late Louis Edward Turner MacKay and Agnus Brady MacKay. He was self-employed and worked in the beverage industry.
Butch MacKay's stats at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rudy Filion - "Ol' Smoother" - Philadelphia Ramblers, Jersey Devils

Over the last few weeks I have been in touch with a member of the Rudy Filion extended family. Rudy was in hospice care. They were on a "jersey quest" to find one of Rudy's jerseys. Probably like a lot of players of that era, he never kept any.

I spent about three days last year trying to track down an EHL photo of Rudy, and it's hard to do that without getting a little attached to the person you're researching. Rudy has one of the best Points Per Game averages in EHL history. First of all he had 55 points in 27 games after arriving for the Ramblers in 1963-64. That's over 2 points a game! The Ramblers moved across the river to Jersey the next season. Rudy played two more seasons with the Devils, before hanging up the skates. He finished with 223 points in 153 EHL games.

Before coming to the EHL, Rudy was a major force in Seattle hockey for 15 years, scoring 869 points in 887 games, second most behind the famed Guyle Fielder. Rudy is a member of the Seattle Hockey Hall Of Fame. has a good PDF page on Rudy's career. It sounds as if he was pretty beloved. You can read about and see more pictures of Rudy in Jeff Obermeyer's book "Hockey in Seattle".

Back to the jerseys, Rudy wore number 9 during his two EHL seasons with the Jersey Devils. We don't know what number he wore with the Philadelphia Ramblers, yet. It wasn't #9, which was Art Hart. It also wasn't #6, which he preferred in Seattle, that was Wayne Caufield. If you happen to have a Filion jersey, let me know, and I can put you in touch with the Filion family. The good news is that they did find a jersey - Rudy's #6 from the Seattle Totems. Rudy had given it to his son, and it was just found, 30 years later.

The photo up top is from a Devils 1965-66 game program. The photo to the left is from the 1963-64 Philadelphia Ramblers Team Photo. Almost every shot I've seen of Rudy, he appears smiling and happy.

Here's Rudy's obituary and Guest Book from the Seattle Times:
Rudy FILION Age 83, born April 3, 1927 in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, died Feb. 25, 2011 following a long, courageous battle with cancer. A very bright student, Rudy graduated from high school early, and at the age of 16 joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After a year of service he left home to begin his hockey career with the Tacoma Rockets. There he met and married the love of his life, his wife of 63 years, Ethel Gunnette.

Over the next 14 years he played for the Seattle Ironmen, Bombers, Americans and finished his playing career with the Seattle Totems. He then went on to scouting and retired from the NHL. During his career, he became known for his incredible sportsmanship, class and tenacity. He was honored on numerous occasions including a 'Rudy Filion Night' where he was recognized by his teammates, fans and the city. He was also a nominee for Man of the Year by the Seattle P.I

He was preceded in death by his wife Ethel. Survived by his son Ron Filion (Cheri), daughters Diane Mitchell and Cindy Burger (JP), 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grand child. Private burial will be held Fri. March 11. Friends of family are invited to attend a celebration of his life on March 12. For Celebration of Life info or to share a memory, please contact:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Proof: Evel Knievel Tried Out With The Charlotte Clippers

Like most of the Eastern hockey League stuff I find, I was looking for something else when I came across the note below in the October 11, 1959 Montana Standard by Frank Quinn.

There are lots of places on the web that mention Evel Kneivel , or "Bob" as he was then known, played for the Charlotte Clippers. But like so many things on the web, it's all from hearsay with no definitive proof. Well, here's step one of the proof.

Here's the October 18, 1959 follow-up by Frank Quinn of the Montana Standard.
So, the world's greatest stunt driver ever, Evel Knievel's Eastern Hockey League career ended because he didn't like to ride the bus. ***Pauses to hold back a giggle at the irony.*** It reminds me of one time when my mom and I were Christmas shopping in Haddonfield, NJ (about a mile from Cherry Hill Arena ***lame EHL connection to justify story***). As the stores were closing and we headed to our cars, Santa Claus came over and confided to my mom and I that the parking lot really should be better lit. In other words, Santa was afraid of the dark. Mom still howls when she remembers that.

Bob Knievel was very influential in developing hockey in Butte, Montana in the late 50s. He coached, managed and played for the Butte Bombers of the American Hockey Association that season. after returning from Charlotte. Could you imagine him and a young John Brophy on the Clippers defensive line? Hmmm, I always thought I'd write a nice dry history of the Eastern Hockey League (once I get more-or-less finished), but maybe I need to write a Slapshot prequel with John Brophy and Evel Knievel, complete with a fear of riding buses, on defense. As my friend Murph says, "Could be hideous."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why EHL Fans Are Better Than IHL Fans

While trolling the web for obscure EHL player pictures, I came across this program with a photo of the 1959-60 Saint Paul Saints. The ad at the bottom answers the question: "Why are Eastern Hockey League fans better than International Hockey League fans?"

Ted Lanyon, John Bailey, Bryan Derrett, Bob Cowan, Hugh Scobie, Lou Crowdis, Joe Woitowich from this team all played in the EHL at one point or another. also includes Don Hart from these Saints as having played for the 1964-65 Jersey Devils, but I'm pretty sure that was actually Art Hart, not Don, on the Devils according to newspaper accounts - though its possible they both could have been on the team.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

35 Years ago Today - ex-EHLers Help Flyers Defeat Russian Red Army 4-1

Okay, it's a lame pretense for an EHL blog, but it was one of the greatest hockey events ever. 35 years ago today, the Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Russian Red Army team 4-1. The Flyers had ex-Salem Rebel Dave Schultz and ex-Jersey Devils Jack McIlhargey and Bobby Taylor on their squad. I'll let the articles and memories speak for themselves...

From Today's Philadelphia Inquirer:
35 years ago today, Broad Street Bullies ran Soviet Red Army out of the Spectrum

PLAYING IT BACK, like a train wreck in slow motion, Ed Van Impe can vividly remember the hit that made the Soviets fold like a tent.

The date: 35 years ago today, at the Spectrum, with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers facing the Red Army team in the final game of the 1976 exhibition Super Series.

Van Impe darted from the penalty box, about midway through the first period, and watched the Soviets' breakout develop as he got a glimpse of his favorite kind of pass.

"It was a sucker pass,'' Van Impe, 70, said yesterday from his home in Vancouver. "I could see the play developing. The winger made a sucker pass and [Valeri] Kharlamov had to turn his head to get it. I remember watching it, almost in slow motion. And the same time the puck connected with Kharlamov, I connected with him and flattened him.

"I just wanted to welcome him to Philadelphia.'' Read More

Great Moments: Flyers Conquer the Red Army
By Bill Meltzer -
Hockey’s version of the Cold War reached a pinnacle in the 1970s. Team Canada’s narrow victory at the legendary Summit Series in 1972 only heightened the animosity and that had been between brewing between the powers-that-be in North American and Soviet hockey.
There was a lot at stake entering the final game. The Flyers were not only defending their status as the NHL’s preeminent team, they also found themselves in the unaccustomed position of representing North American hockey in general and the NHL in particular. Philly was the NHL’s last and best hope for defeating the Red Army.

On the other hand, if CSKA could complete an undefeated gauntlet of games with a win over the Flyers on Spectrum ice (where Philly won a staggering 36 of 40 games in 1975-76, with two ties), the Red Army could rightfully claim to be the best team in any league in the world.

“They didn’t like us and we didn’t like them. So we were ready for a war,” said Flyers Hall of Fame left winger Bill Barber... Read Whole Article

Check out the photos from this article. There's a great shot of Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz crashing Tretiak in the Soviet nets.

and a little video...