Thursday, May 22, 2014

Canada Games Torch named for the first Greensboro Generals coach, Roly McLenahan

Florence Morning News 09-15-59, p. 10
McLenahan Leads Greensboro Team In Hockey League
Veteran Coach Roly McLenahan will guide the Greensboro Generals in their first season of Eastern
Hockey League play. Ken Wilson, general manager of the new club, announced the 37 year-old Canadian's appointment Thursday. McLenahan a native of St. Catherines, Ontario led the Cincinatti Mohawks of the IHL to four straight championships brfore taking over at Rochester of the AHL in 1957-58. In his playing days, McLenahan defenced for the National Hockey League 's Detroit Red Wings and the AHL's Cleveland, Hershey, Buffalo and Indianapolis cubs.

Bobby Taylor CFL & EHL

Defenseman Bobby Taylor (not to be confused with Jersey Devils goaltender Bobby Taylor) had a 14 year career in the CFL, while playing for EHL New Haven Blades, Jersey Devils, Johnstown Jets, Long Island Ducks and Salem Rebels during that time. The web is strangely silent about his playing both sports. I do have an article that says that "policeman" Bobby Taylor signed with the Jersey Devils in January 19, 1967, after finishing his Toronto Argonauts season, and that he had played with Victoria and Seattle in the WHL previously. That would appear to match him up with this Bobby Taylor at Wikipedia shows this Bobby Taylor playing with Argonauts in 1966 and 1967. His short hockey seasons, and changes of teams (makes sense, since a team might not need a defenseman suddenly in January) seem to bear out that this was the same guy. Still I'm not seeing any mention of this anywhere on the web. I might have a scoop.

Jersey Devils 16 Syracuse Blazers 15 - Highest Scoring EHL Game Ever

On Saturday Night February 24, 1968 at Cherry Hill Arena, the Jersey Devils and Syracuse Blazers combined for an EHL record 31 goals as the Devils beat the Blazers 16-15. Below is more-or-less the Holy Grail of EHL boxscores.

It's possible that 31 goals is a professional hockey record. (Yes, the EHL was technically "amateur", but the players were paid and it was part of the NHL farm system.) I haven't found any larger score in any professional leagues, but minor leagues come and go and records are lost or hard to find. I also believe Tim McCormick's record 12 point night still stands across hockey. It's also possible that Reg Meserve's 4 minor penalties in the third period would at least tie a Devils' team record.

One of the problems of pasting together EHL history is that often hometown newspapers didn't publish on Sunday back then. The Camden Courier-Post, the Jersey Devils home paper was no exception. Since there was usually a Sunday game as well, Saturday's game many times scarcely got a mention and rarely a box score or picture in the Monday paper. In the case of the February 26, 1968 Camden Courier-Post it was also inaccurate as according to the box score, Gordie Stratton had 5 goals and only 1 assist, instead of the 5 goals and 5 asists the article states. Stratton's inaccurate total would have beaten the previous EHL record of 9 points in a game, set by Bill Purcell of the Baltimore Clippers in 1948. Note also that the Devils got shut out by New Haven loaner goalie Roger Wilson 6-0 the next night in spite of 43 shots on goal. Syracuse lost to the Johnstown Jets 11-4 on Sunday.

This game only tied a goal scoring record for Jersey. The Devils also scored 16 goals in a 16-7 victory over Jacksonville on January 19, 1965. The 23 combined goals is the largest previous EHL score I'm aware of.

Here's the scoring breakdown for the 16-15 game...

Fred Bassi 3 4 7 0
Gordie Stratton 5 1 6 0
Lorne O'Donnell 2 4 6 0
Reg Meserve 1 5 6 10
Billy Christodal 2 3 5 0
Bobby Boucher 1 2 3 0
Wayne Kitchen 1 2 3 0
Don Rozich 1 1 2 0
Ray Crew 0 2 2 2
Ted Szydlowski 0 2 2 4
Andre Daoust 0 1 1 0
Bob Peters 0 1 1 4
Ron MacPherson 0 0 0 7

Tim McCormick 5 7 12 2
Ray Adduono 2 5 7 0
Joe Marich 4 2 6 0
John Chapman 2 2 4 15
Ed Skyhar 1 3 4 0
Wayne Caufield 1 2 3 0
Chris Finnerty 0 1 1 0
Bill Lastic 0 1 1 10

The one thing I've gained from trying to write about this amazing game is the need for centralized minor league hockey records. I personally need to create a Team and League Records page at . This also shows that historical record keeping is not static, but ever changing during a league's run. It's just as important to know what the records are for, in this case, February 23, 1968 as they are for after the league has ended.

Discuss the game further with Syracuse forward (and former Devil) Wayne Caufield and other EHL players and fans at the Eastern Hockey League Facebook Group.