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October 19, 1975 – Beauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques

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Jocelyn Hardy Beauce JarosBeauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques
October 19, 1975
Palais Des Sports
Attendance: ?

North American Hockey League Programs
4 Pages

 

First off, let’s take a moment to marvel at the astonishing coiffure on Beauce Jaros player-coach Jocelyn “Joe” Hardy on the cover of this October 1975 game program from the deeply violent North American Hockey League.  The presumably natural topiary draped over Hardy’s temples rivals any of the artificial creations modeled by Phil Spector during his mid-Seventies Wall of Kelp Phase.

The Jaros, who played in the tiny Palais Des Sports in the city of Saint-Georges Quebec, were expansionists in the winter of 1975-76.  Five games into the season, when this contest was played against the visiting Maine Nordiques, there was little to indicate that Joe Hardy was on his way to one of the greatest offensive campaigns in history of hockey.

The Beauce coach/captain was a 30-year old Quebecois center who played 273 games in the National Hockey League and its rival, the World Hockey Association (WHA), between 1969 and 1975.  Although a solid scorer throughout his career, Hardy had never been notched more than 28 goals in a single campaign.  The previous winter, in his final season at the Major League level, Hardy’s skills seemed to be in decline, at least on paper.  He scored just 5 goals in 61 games split between three WHA clubs.

Through the first four games of the 1975-76 season, Hardy was off to a solid  start in Beauce with 1 goal and two assists, but it was nothing to notify The Hockey News about.  Then he exploded.  Over the next 68 games, Hardy scored 59 times and tallied a mind-blowing 146 assists.  His 148 assists and 208 total points on the season were both all-time pro hockey records.  The NAHL, of course, named Hardy the Most Valuable Player of the 1975-76 season.  More impressive, The Hockey News recognized Hardy as its Minor League Player-of-the-Year, breaking from a habit of only recognizing players in the American and Central leagues, which served the NHL.  (The NAHL was the top minor  league circuit of the rebel WHA).

Jocelyn Hardy became the first player to score 200 points in a pro season.  Wayne Gretzky would become the 2nd, accomplishing the feat four times in the NHL between 1982 and 1986.  To this day, Hardy and Gretzky remain the only professional players to score 200 points in the pros at any level.

 

==Downloads==

October 19, 1975 Beauce Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques Game Program

 

==Links==

Beauce Jaros Home

Maine Nordiques Home

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Written by andycrossley

July 13th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

1975-1976 Beauce Jaros

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Beauce JarosNorth American Hockey League (1975-1976)

Born: 1975
Died:
December 22, 1976 – The Jaros fold in midseason.

Arena: Palais Des Sports

Team Colors:

Owner: Andre Veilleux

 

The Beauce Jaros were a Quebec-based franchise in the North American Hockey League, the mid-1970’s minor league hockey loop that inspired the Paul Newman hockey comedy Slap Shot.  The Jaros played at the tiny Palais Des Sports in the small city of Saint-Georges.

The Jaros player-coach was Jocelyn Hardy, who had a journeyman career in both the NHL and the World Hockey Association during the early 1970’s.  Hardy was never a prolific scorer – his career high was 28 goals with New Haven of the Eastern League back in the 1966-67 season.  But he went wild in Beauce, scoring 60 goals and adding a ridiculous 148 assists in 72 games during the 1975-76 season.  Hardy won the NAHL’s MVP award that year and became the first pro hockey player to score 200 points in a season, six years before Wayne Gretzky accomplished the feat in the NHL.

The 1975-76 Jaros were a juggernaut, featuring four players who scored more than 60 goals.  Hardy (208 pts.), Richard Grenier (160 pts.), Luc Simard (149 pts.) and Alain Caron (137 pts.) were the top four scorers in the league.  Beauce had the best record in the league at 54-18-2 but were upset in the Lockhart Cup championship series by the Philadelphia Firebirds in six games.

The following year was a different story. Grenier, Simard and Caron departed.  Through 30 games, the Jaros were the worst team in the league at 6-22-2.  Attendance was poor in Saint-Georges and by December 1976 Beauce owner Andre Veilleux had lost a reported $300,000 on the team.  On December 22, 1976 the Jaros failed to show up and forfeited a home game against the Mohawk Valley Comets.  Veilleux announced the same night that he was folding his club.

The NAHL itself folded in September 1977.

 

==Beauce Jaros Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1975-76 10/19/1975 vs. Maine Nordiques W 9-2 Program Roster
1975-76 12/8/1975 vs. Johnstown Jets ?? Program
1975-76 12/11/1975 vs. Johnstown Jets ?? Program Roster
1975-76 1/4/1976 vs. Mohawk Valley Comets ?? Program Roster
1975-76 2/15/1976 vs. Syracuse Blazers W 3-1 Program Roster

 

==Downloads==

October 19, 1975 Jaros vs. Maine Nordiques Game Program (complete)

December 11, 1975 Jaros vs. Johnstown Jets Game Program (complete)

January 4, 1976 Jaros vs. Mohawk Valley Comets Game Program (complete)

February 15, 1976 Jaros vs. Syracuse Blazers Game Program (complete)

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

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1973-1977 Mohawk Valley Comets

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North American Hockey League (1973-1977)

Born: 1973 – The Clinton Comets relocate to Utica, NY.
Died: 1977 – The Comets cease operations.

Arena: Utica Memorial Auditorium

Team Colors: Red & Blue

Owner: Victor Ehre et al.

 

The Mohawk Valley Comets were based in Utica, New York and played in the North American Hockey League during the mid-1970’s.  The team originated in nearby Clinton, New York, where the Clinton Comets played pro hockey in the Eastern Hockey League from 1954 until that league’s demise in the spring of 1973.

As the EHL was falling apart, a group led by Utica Mutual Insurance Company CEO Victor Ehre bought the Comets franchise.  A group of former EHL owners who wanted to continue on formed a successor league, the North American Hockey League, to begin play in the fall of 1973.  The Comets joined the NAHL and moved 8 miles northeast to the Utica Memorial Auditorium, dropping “Clinton” in favor of “Mohawk Valley” along the way.

Like most NAHL teams, the Comets served as a farm club to major league teams in the World Hockey Association (1972-1979).  The Comets variously served the Cincinnati Stingers, Indianapolis Racers and Toronto Toros during their four-year run in Utica.  The  rivalry between the WHA and the NHL created an explosion of major league hockey franchises in the 1970’s, where there had been just “The Original Six” only a decade before.  The result was that the top minor leagues were plundered of most of their best talent to feed the rapid expansion of the NHL and the WHA.  The players left behind were often less skilled and more reliant on fighting and intimidation to earn their paychecks.  There was no shortage of goons in the NAHL.

The pugilistic brand of hockey offered by the NAHL served as the direct inspiration for the 1977 Paul Newman hockey comedy Slap Shot.  Although the film became a cult classic, it did little to boost the fortunes of the struggling league upon its release in late February 1977.  Six weeks later Comets owner Victor Ehre announced that his investor group put the Comets up for sale and announced they would not finance another season in the fall of 1977.  There were no buyers and the Comets folded.

The NAHL famously inspired the Paul Newman cult hockey comedy Slap Shot.  The film, while destined to become a classic, did little to revive the fortunes of the rag-tag league. Slap Shot was released on February 25, 1977.  Six weeks later Comets ownership announced the team would not return for a fifth season in the autumn of 1977.  The rest of the NAHL folded a few months later in September 1977.

The Mohawk Valley Comets name has subsequently been revived on two occasions.  An Atlantic Coast Hockey League team used the name for two years from 1985 to 1987.  A semi-pro team in Whitestown, New York briefly took the name in the early 2000’s.

 

==Mohawk Valley Comets Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1975-76 1/4/1976 @ Beauce Jaros ?? Program
1975-76 1/18/1976 @ Broome Dusters ?? Program

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

###

 

Written by andycrossley

December 15th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

1973-1975 Long Island Cougars

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North American Hockey League (1973-1975)

Born: 1973 – NAHL founding franchise.
Died: May 12, 1975 – The Cougars relocate to Erie, PA.

Arena: Long IslandArena (4,000)

Team Colors: Green & Gold

Owner: Benjamin Kasper

 

The Long Island Cougars were a short-lived minor league hockey team that played out of the old Long Island Arena in Commack, New York.  The Cougars replaced the long-running Long Island Ducks operation (1959-1973) who had folded earlier in 1973, along with the rest of the Eastern Hockey League.

Several refugees from the defunct EHL formed the North American Hockey League during the summer of 1973.  Long Island was offered a new franchise to stand in for the Ducks.  The NAHL clubs quickly formed affiliation agreements to serve as farm clubs for teams in the upstart World Hockey Association (1972-1979) which was challenging the NHL for top talent and expansion markets during the 1970’s.  Long Island took both their Cougars nickname and their green & gold color scheme from their parent club, the Chicago Cougars of the WHA.

During the NAHL’s first season, the Cougars advanced to the Lockhart Cup championship series.  Minor league hockey legend John Brophy, a longtime Ducks star and the Eastern League’s all-time penalty minutes leader, was the Cougars’ head coach.  They lost in the finals to the Syracuse Blazers.

The Cougars played one final season on Long Island in the winter of 1974-75, making the playoffs against despite a 29-40-5 record under new coach Ron Racette.  In the spring of 1975 the Chicago Cougars of the WHA went out of business.  In May of that year, Cougars owned Ben Kasper moved the team to Erie, Pennsylvania where they were re-named the Erie Blades.

 

==Long Island Cougars Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1974-75 12/17/1974  @ Philadelphia Firebirds  L 8-1 Program

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

###

Written by andycrossley

December 15th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

1974-1976 Cape Codders

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North American Hockey League (1974-1976)

Born: 1974 – Cape Cod Cubs re-brand as Cape Codders.
Died: February 13, 1976 – The Codders cease operations in midseason.

Arena: Cape Cod Coliseum (5,000)

Team Colors: Cranberry Red, Sandy White & Ocean Blue

Owner: William Harrison

 

Cape Cod is one of the top seaside destinations in the Northeast, a summer home to actors, musicians, authors and Kennedys.  During the winter offseason, though, it’s a sleepy place and tumbleweeds blow through the quiet Main Streets of Hyannis, Chatham and Provincetown.  But for a brief stretch in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, a string of promoters tried to make a go of professional hockey in Cape Cod.

The catalyst for these odd ventures was the construction of the Cape Cod Coliseum in 1972.  The Coliseum played host to same great concerts over the years, including The Grateful Dead, KISS, The Clash, Van Halen and others.  But arenas need anchor tenants to fill dates between concerts and thus the desire for pro hockey.  Four different teams tried to make a go of it at the Coliseum between 1972 and 1983, but none lasted more than two seasons: the Cubs, the Cape Codders, the Freedoms and the Buccaneers.

The Codders were the second effort and were owned by William Harrison, who also owned the financially-troubled Coliseum in the mid-1970’s.  In 1974, the Codders replaced the Cape Cod Cubs in the North American Hockey League, the brawl-crazy minor league organization that inspired the movie Slap Shot.  The Codders served as a farm club for both the Cleveland Crusaders and the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, which was a rival to the NHL during the 1970’s.

The Codders were continually plagued by money problems during their brief existence.  Midway through the Codders’ first season in 1974-75, William Harrison announced he was closing the Cape Cod Coliseum immediately, which would have left the club homeless.  But Harrison subsequently cobbled together some additional financing and kept the place open.  The Codders finished their first season 32-38-4 under Head Coach Larry Kish and made the Lockhart Cup playoffs, getting bounced in Round 1.

The problems continued into the Codders second season in the winter of 1975-76.  The team was briefly shuttered for a few days in December 1975 with both the franchise and the building on the verge of bankruptcy.  Local boosters scraped together enough funding to revive the team a few days later, but it was enough to see out the season.  The Codders staggered through another six weeks before running out of money again in mid-February 1976.  This time the NAHL terminated the franchise for good.  The Codders folded with 22 game remaining on their 1975-76 schedule.

The Coliseum muddled along for another eight years before closing in 1984 and becoming a warehouse for Christmas Tree Shops.

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

December 15th, 2013 at 8:21 pm