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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
Folded:
December 22, 1976.

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 Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1975-76

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

1976-77

1976-77 10/24/1976 vs. Maine Nordiques L 7-5 Program

 

==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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Written by andycrossley

March 19th, 2014 at 12:23 am

1973-1980 Broome Dusters

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Broome DustersNorth American Hockey League (1973-1977)
American Hockey League (1977-1980)

Born: 1973 – NAHL founding franchise.
Died: May 1980 – The Dusters re-brand as the Binghamton Whalers.

Arena: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena (4,855)

Team Colors:

Owner: Jim Matthews

 

The Broome Dusters, AKA the Binghamton Dusters, were a hugely popular minor league hockey team during the mid-1970’s in Broome County, New York.  Bobby Orr’s brother, Ron Orr, was the Dusters’ General Manager and Binghamton resident Johnny Hart, who penned the syndicated comic strips B.C. and The Wizard of Id, designed the Dusters’ logo of a caveman with a hockey stick.

The Dusters were founding members of the North American Hockey League in 1973.  The rough-and-tumble NAHL became the inspiration for the 1977 Paul Newman comedy Slap Shot and its member teams served as farm clubs to the World Hockey Association, a 1970’s rival to the National Hockey League.  The Dusters had affiliation deals with both the San Diego Mariners of the WHA and the Boston Bruins of the NHL.

The Dusters were the best gate attraction in the NAHL, regularly selling out the 4,900-seat Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.  Unfortunately, the rest of the NAHL wasn’t so strong and the circuit folded in September 1977, leaving the Dusters without a league to play in just weeks before their fifth season was due to begin.  At the time, the Dusters boasted more than 4,000 season ticket holders, accounting for more than 80% of the capacity of Binghamton’s small arena.

In late September 1977, Dusters owner Jim Matthews partnered with Andre Veilleux, former owner of the NAHL’s Beauce Jaros, to purchase the American Hockey League’s money-losing Providence Reds franchise and move it to Binghamton.  The 51-year old Reds franchise was the oldest continuously operating minor league hockey team in America in 1977, but had fallen on hard times during the mid-1970’s.  The sale was approved, the (new) Dusters were hurriedly admitted to the AHL just days before the 1977-78 season began, and hockey survived in Binghamton.  As part of the transaction, the Dusters became of farm team of the NHL’s doormat Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Dusters era came to an end in May 1980 when the Hartford Whalers of the NHL purchased the club and re-branded it as the Binghamton Whalers (1980-1990).

 

==Broome Dusters Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1975-76

1975-76 10/29/1975 vs. Syracuse Blazers W 4-2 Program
1975-76 1/11/1976 vs. Cape Codders ?? Program
1975-76 1/18/1976 vs. Mohawk Valley Comets ?? Program
1975-76 1/21/1976 vs. Johnstown Jets ?? Program
1975-76 1/27/1976 vs. Syracuse Blazers W 6-2 Program
1975-76 2/2/1976 vs. Philadelphia Firebirds W 5-4 Program
1975-76 2/25/1976 vs. Erie Blades ?? Program
1975-76 3/10/1976 vs. Philadelphia Firebirds W 6-4 Program

1976-77

1976-77 1/19/1977 vs. Johnstown Jets W 6-2 Program

1977-78

1977-78 10/15/1977 @ Maine Mariners L 6-3 Program
1977-78 11/2/1977 vs. Springfield Indians L 5-4 Program

1978-79

1978-79 11/17/1978 @ Philadelphia Firebirds W 8-2 Program

1979-80

1979-80 11/11/1979 vs. Hershey Bears L 6-3 Program
1979-80 11/17/1979 vs. Syracuse Firebirds W 7-4 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Dusters owner Jim Matthews passed away on July 15, 2011 at age 77.

 

==Links==

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

November 21st, 2013 at 3:05 am

1974-1979 Philadelphia Firebirds

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North American Hockey League (1974-1977)
American Hockey League (1977-1979)

Born: 1974 – NAHL expansion franchise.
Died:
April 11, 1979 – The Firebirds relocate to Syracuse, NY.

Arena: Philadelphia Civic Center (8,300)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Philadelphia Firebirds minor league hockey team was owned by Mrs. Paul’s frozen foods magnate Edward Piszek and his son George.  During the team’s first season in the winter of 1974-75, Philadelphia Phillies Hall-of-Fame pitcher Robin Roberts was a co-owner, but he left the team after the Firebirds lost $400,000 their first winter.

Philadelphia was hockey mad.  The NHL’s Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.  The Firebirds enjoyed some of the overflow enthusiasm, playing their games at the old Philadelphia Civic Center.  The Firebirds added a championship of their own, winning the North American Hockey League’s Lockhart Cup in 1976 (see team highlight film in the YouTube section below).

Weeks before the 1977-78 was due to begin the NAHL went out of business.  The Firebirds scrambled to join the American Hockey League, which was also struggling to stay alive at the time and willing to accept both the Firebirds and the NAHL’s Broome (NY) Dusters on the eve of their season.  The Firebirds played two AHL seasons in Philadelphia, but continued to lose money.  An affiliation with the NHL’s lowly Colorado Rockies in 1978-79 left the team with weak players and contributed to declining fan interest.  In April 1979, the Firebirds relocated to Syracuse, New York, where they played one final season under the Piszek family ownership before folding in the spring of 1980.

The Firebirds player who went on to the greatest success was goaltender Rejean “Reggie” Lemelin.  Lemelin joined the Firebirds as a rookie out of junior hockey in 1974 and played for the team during all five of its seasons in Philadelphia.  He made his NHL debut in the 1978-79 season and went on to a 15-year career with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins.

1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team hero Mike Eruzione played six games for the Firebirds during their final season in Philly.

 

==Firebirds Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1974-75 10/18/1974 vs. Syracuse Blazers T 3-3 Program
1974-75 11/10/1974 vs. Cape Cod Cubs W 5-4 Program
1974-75 12/17/1974 vs. Long Island Cougars W 8-1 Program
1975-76 2/2/1976 @ Broome Dusters L 5-4 Program
1975-76 3/10/1976 @ Broome Dusters L 6-4 Program
1977-78 10/23/1977 @ Maine Mariners W 6-3 Program
1977-78 2/20/1978 @ Maine Mariners L 6-3 Program
1978-79 11/17/1978 vs. Binghamton Dusters L 8-2 Program
1978-79 1/31/1979 @ Maine Mariners L 12-2 Program

 

==Key Players==

  • Mike Eruzione
  • Reggie Lemelin

 

==In Memoriam==

Firebirds owner Edward Piszek passed away on March 17, 2004 at age 87.

 

 

==YouTube==

1975-76 NAHL Lockhart Cup champions highlight film:

 

==Links==

Still A Millionaire With Missions” – 1986 Philadelphia Inquirer profile of ex-Firebirds owner Edward Piszek.

North American Hockey League Media Guides

North American Hockey League Programs

American Hockey League Media Guides

American Hockey League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

June 9th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

March 12, 1976 – Buffalo Norsemen vs. Erie Blades

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Buffalo Norsemen vs. Erie (PA) Blades
March 12, 1976
Tonowanda Sports Center
North American Hockey League Programs
12 pages

The Buffalo Norsemen were a one-year wonder in the obscure North American Hockey League of the 1970’s.  This program is from a March 12, 1976 match up against the Erie Blades as the NAHL entered the final week of its regular season.

The Norsemen entered the NAHL playoffs two weeks later despite a losing record for the season.  They faced the Johnstown (PA) Jets in the quarterfinal round.  During an early game in the series in Buffalo, a black player on the Jets roster was subjected to racist taunts and signs by the Norsemen fans.  When the series moved to Johnstown, Jets players retaliated by instigating a full-fledged brawl during the pre-game skate around.  The melee sent Norsemen players Greg Neeld and Charlie Labelle off to the hospital.  After the fight subsided, the Norsemen retreated to their locker room at the Cambria County War Memorial and refused to come back on the ice.  NAHL officials handed the Jets a victory by forfeit…which also gave them the series victory and eliminated the Norsemen from the playoffs!   The incident inspired a pre-game brawl scene in the classic hockey movie Slap Shot, released the following year and based largely on the Johnstown Jets.

“Naturally we took the team off the ice,” Norsemen General Manager Willie Marshall told the press at the time.  “We had two players who couldn’t play.  They beat up a couple of our stars…Hockey is secondary in this league.  I hate to say I’m a part of this league.  The people running the league have lost all touch with reality.  We’re here to develop young hockey players, not goons.”

The Norsemen never played another game.  The club folded following the season.  The Jets went on to win the league championship.

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Written by andycrossley

May 5th, 2012 at 7:37 pm