Monday, June 2, 2008

The Memorial Cup: A history . . . 1964

Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Toronto Marlboros
at Toronto (Maple Leaf Gardens)

When May of 1964 arrived, the Edmonton Oil Kings were in the Memorial Cup final for a fifth consecutive season.
This time, they added centre Fran Huck (Regina Pats) and wingers Larry Mickey (Moose Jaw Canucks) and Ron Boehm (Estevan Bruins) to their roster as they prepared to leave for Toronto where they would face the Marlboros.
The first five games in this series would be played in Maple Leaf Gardens. After that, if the series was still alive, the last two games would be played in London, Ont.
The Marlies advanced with an 11-3 victory over goaltender Rogatien Vachon and the Montreal NDG Monarchs to win the best-of-five eastern final in four games.
Toronto, owned by Harold Ballard and coached by Jim Gregory, featured Gary Smith in goal, Rod Seiling and Jim McKenny on defence and the likes of Peter Stemkowski, Mike Walton, Wayne Carleton, Ron Ellis and Brit Selby up front.
The series opened on May 3 with the Marlies, a bigger team, posting a 5-2 victory.
"This is the first time I've seen (Edmonton) play,” Gregory said. "But from what I've heard about them and what I saw today, I know they can play much better than they did.”
Ellis, with two, Seiling, Gary Dineen and Andre Champagne scored for Toronto, which led 2-1 and 4-2 at the period breaks. Reg Taschuk scored both Edmonton goals.
"We can play better hockey than you saw out there,” Edmonton coach Buster Brayshaw said, "and we'll have to if we want to beat the Marlboros.”
The best of the Edmonton players was Huck, the 18-year-old, 5-foot-6, 155-pound centre from Regina. An 86-goal scorer in 40 SJHL games (he added 22 more in the playoffs), they called him the Golden Hawk and he dazzled everyone with his skating ability.
"Huck is the type of hockey player who has lots of heart,” Brayshaw said. "He isn't big but the kid has a lot of guts. He carried that Regina club all season.”
Only 2,704 fans attended Game 2, won 3-2 by the Marlies, thanks to early third-period goals one minute 31 seconds apart from Walton and Stemkowski.
Stemkowski finished with two goals, his first tying the game 1-1 in the second period after Taschuk opened the scoring in the first. Boehm scored the game's final goal late in the third period.
Huck was sharp again and only superb play by Smith kept him off the scoreboard.
"I think (Game 3) will be a real tough one,” Gregory said. "It will take until tomorrow until the Kings are accustomed to Toronto. The three-hour difference in time can have a big effect on a team.”
Brayshaw felt his club had played better, but knew it still had a ways to go.
"If you don't shoot, how do you expect the puck to go in?” he said. "They just weren't shooting as much as I would have liked them to.”
Despite Huck's superb play, Brayshaw had, so far, declined to use him on the power play.
"He won't pass the puck,” Brayshaw explained. "All season long he was a lone wolf on the Regina team and it's hard to change after six months playing like that. He's a real digger but he won't pass the puck.”
Edmonton's Butch Paul summed it up like this: "We stopped playing hockey for a couple of minutes, they bang in two goals and that's the game.”
By now, the Oil Kings were hurting. Their top line -- Paul, Max Mestinsek and Glen Sather -- was on the limp. All three had leg injuries.
The Marlboros, playing without Seiling who was writing university exams, went up 3-0 on May 7 with a 5-2 victory in front of only 2,204 fans.
Toronto, with Stemkowski and Selby each scoring twice, held period leds of 2-1 and 4-2. Paul Laurent also scored for the Marlies. Paul and Bert Marshall replied for Edmonton.
Edmonton goaltender Russ Kirk faced 36 shots as the Marlies took it right to the Oil Kings.
"They're not giving the puck away like they were in the first games,” Gregory said of his players. "And I thought my penalty killers -- Barry Watson, Nick Harbaruk, Andre Champagne and Brit Selby -- played a great game.
"Everybody played a good game, for that matter.”
Toronto completed the sweep on May 9, whipping the Oil Kings 7-2.
Stemkowski, Grant Moore, Seiling, Harbaruk, Walton, Dineen and Champagne scored for Toronto, which held a 49-28 edge in shots.
Mestinsek scored both Edmonton goals.
It was the Marlies' first Memorial Cup since 1956. The winning goal was scored by Stemkowski at 6:30 of the second period.
"We'll never know how really good they are,” Brayshaw said of the Marlies. "We never pressed them at all. We had enough chances in two periods and all we came up with was two goals.”
Brayshaw praised the Marlies for having "too much quality and too much quantity. Every line they threw at us was as good as the one that went off.
"They're a great hockey club. I don't think they'll ever find another as great.”

NEXT: 1965 (Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Niagara Falls Flyers)

  © Design byThirteen Letter

Back to TOP