Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Memorial Cup: A history . . . 1962

Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Hamilton Red Wings
at Hamilton (Forum), Guelph (Memorial Gardens) and Kitchener (Auditorium)

The Edmonton Oil Kings took seven games to finish off the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Abbott Cup final.
This was one close series; in fact, the seventh game, in Brandon on April 25, was tied 3-3 in the third period before the Oil Kings pulled out a 5-3 victory.
The Oil Kings then headed east to meet the Hamilton Red Wings -- coached by Eddie Bush and featuring Lowell MacDonald, Bob Wall, Earl Heiskala, Bryan Campbell, Ron Harris, Pit Martin, Paul Henderson, Wayne Rivers, captain Howie Menard and Jimmy Peters.
Edmonton was led by Glen Sather, captain Wayne Muloin, Roger Bourbonnais and Larry Hale.
Both teams were affiliated with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings.
The fighting began before the Oil Kings arrived in Toronto.
Originally scheduled to be played in Maple Leaf Gardens, the CAHA announced the first game would be played in Hamilton, with the next three in Guelph. A fifth game, if needed, would be played in Kitchener.
All this because of a hassle over television rights involving Hamilton and Toronto stations -- the first time in Memorial Cup history that TV had reared its head.
The Oil Kings, by now en route to Toronto, had picked up Brandon defenceman Bob Ash and forward Ted Taylor, along with forward Norm Beaudin from the Regina Pats.
None of the three played in the opener, won 5-2 by the Red Wings before 3,275 fans in the 3,800-seat Hamilton Forum.
MacDonald sparked the Red Wings with three goals, as they jumped out to 1-0 and 4-1 period leads. Heiskala and Wall also scored for Hamilton. Doug Fox and Phil Dutton scored for Edmonton.
Dutton later left the game, blood streaming from his face after being high-sticked by Harris. Dutton needed eight stitches to close a cut over one eye and also had a broken nose.
The Oil Kings were travel-weary and had trouble keeping up with the Red Wings from the outset. The Red Wings had also enjoyed two more days of rest than had the westerners.
Hamilton goaltender Buddy Blom stopped 27 shots, while Edmonton's Harrison Gray stopped 30.
Bush had welcomed Edmonton as "the scruffiest-looking team I've ever seen in a Memorial Cup final.
"They all need haircuts, their uniforms were dirty and full of holes and on top of that they came to the arena in windbreakers.”
Meanwhile, Edmonton manager Leo LeClerc fired back, choosing as his target the 3,800-seat Hamilton Forum: "This place looks like a converted factory chimney.”
LeClerc wanted to play all the games in Maple Leaf Gardens. As he said: "You don't play the Grey Cup in a cow pasture.”
No matter. It was off to Guelph.
Guelph hadn't seen a Memorial Cup game since 1952 so Memorial Gardens was given a real facelift prior to Game 2 on May 1.
Dutton was out with a broken nose; Beaudin took his place.
And Beaudin scored once, but it wasn't enough as the Red Wings posted a 4-2 victory before about 3,000 fans.
The Oil Kings, despite being outshot 40-18, were in the game until the last five minutes when MacDonald scored the game's final goal. It was his fourth goal of the series and came via the power play.
Edmonton's John Lesyshen scored the game's first goal, but John Gofton tied it before the period ended. Martin scored the only goal of the second period.
Beaudin tied it for Edmonton three minutes into the third period. But Hamilton won it with goals from Menard, at 3:34, and MacDonald, at 15:20.
A newly formed line featuring Butch Paul between Marc Dufour, a late addition from Brandon, and Beaudin sparked the Oil Kings to a 5-3 victory in front of 3,175 fans in Game 3 in Guelph.
Beaudin scored twice, with Dufour, Harold Fleming and Bourbonnais adding one each. Harris, Rivers and Martin scored for Hamilton.
The Red Wings scored the game's first two goals, but Edmonton tied it 2-2 before the second period ended.
Hamilton took a 3-2 lead early in the third, only to have Beaudin tie it. Beaudin scored the winner at 1:41 and Bourbonnais iced it with an empty-net goal at 18:52.
"Edmonton played much better and we were due for a letdown,” Bush said. "The whole team had it all at once and I hope they got it out of their system.”
Across the way, Brayshaw felt his club was finally back in gear.
“They played more like the club that won the western championship,” he said. "If we play that well again (in Game 4) this could be a long series yet.”
By now, people were speculating that attendance was down because the game was being televised in the Toronto-Hamilton-Guelph-Kitchener area by CHCH-TV of Hamilton.
On May 5, the Red Wings moved to within one game of the championship, winning 3-0 in Guelph as Blom posted the shutout.
Hamilton scored two power-play goals 36 seconds apart in the third period, at 9:45 and 10:21, to put this one away.
MacDonald had the game's first goal, at 4:38 of the second period. He got his second in the third, with Martin scoring the other.
Hamilton used Peters, Heiskala and Rivers to check Paul, Dufour and Beaudin and the strategy worked as Edmonton was kept off the board.
The series shifted to Kitchener for Game 5 and Brayshaw promised changes -- Beaudin would play with Vince Downey and Bourbonnais; Dufour moved onto a line with Sather and Paul; the third line would feature Fleming, Dutton and Gregg Pilling.
The Red Wings had all but given up on having one of their stars, Larry Ziliotto, in the lineup. He missed the first three games with a foot injury, then tried to play in Game 4. But he collapsed on the bench during the game and again in the dressing room after the game. So Bush was considering dressing Jack Wildfong. In the end, he dressed both and sat out defenceman Bob Hamilton.
By now, the CAHA had gotten around to announcing that Games 6 and 7, if needed, would also be played in Kitchener.
"We played well enough to win (Game 4) but we didn't score,” Brayshaw said. "If we play that way we should take (Game 5). The breaks have got to come our way some time soon.”
Brayshaw also took a shot at the officiating.
"We need men who have refereed this type of hockey before,” he said. "The man we have (Gord Kerr of Winnipeg) is from Manitoba and he just hasn't been handling hockey played this way. We would have been satisfied with an OHA man even before the series started.”
There were 7,071 fans in the Kitchener Arena as Hamilton posted a 7-4 victory to win the championship.
The crowd greeted every score, according to The Canadian Press, "with a barrage of programs and other debris, and on one occasion a bottle of green ink, causing numerous delays in the contest.”
In the end, everyone was left talking about fights among spectators and "a bitter fistic battle involving Hamilton coach Eddie Bush, Howie Young, a former defenceman with the Detroit Red Wings, and Detective Sergeant Charles Bignell of the Kitchener police department.”
The CP report continued: "Young was taken away by police. Bignell, bleeding about the face, was carried on a stretcher to the first aid room and later removed to hospital.”
The game took three hours 15 minutes to play which, at the time, was believed to be a record for a Memorial Cup game that ended in regulation time.
MacDonald and Rivers scored twice for Hamilton, with singles coming from Menard, Martin and Henderson. Dufour, Bourbonnais, Paul and Downey scored for Edmonton.
Henderson and MacDonald gave Hamilton a 2-0 first-period lead. Dufour, Bourbonnais and Paul gave Edmonton a 3-2 edge by 13:22 of the second, only to have Martin tie it before the period ended.
Menard, MacDonald and Rivers struck for consecutive goals when the third period opened, before Downey cut the deficit to 6-4 at 14:55. Rivers wrapped it up with an empty-netter at 19:38.
The Memorial Cup-winning goal was MacDonald's second of the game at 8:40 of the third period.
The gross gate of $16,402 was a record for a single hockey game in the Kitchener Arena.
And now Edmonton had lost in all six of its trips to the Memorial Cup final.

NEXT: 1963 (Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Niagara Falls Flyers)

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