Saturday, December 21, 2013

Adirondack Red Wings (AHL, 1981-82)

Always wanted a few Adirondack Red Wings programs, but for some reason they were hard to come by. I did end up finding a few. Here's one from 1981-82.





1981-82 Regular Season--Wings vs. Binghamton Whalers
          In 1981-82, the Red Wings were coming off their first Calder Cup Championship. That team received a mid-season dose of veteran talent cast off by the NHL Wings, which helped push the team into the postseason and the championship. This was a format the AHL Wings would use throughout their existence. The team would be made up of a mixture of young prospects and seasoned veterans, in order to keep the team competitive.
     Doug McKay was named head coach for 1981-82, replacing Wayne Maxner. Ned Harkness returned as General Manager. The Wings stumbled to fourth place in the Southern Division, with a mediocre 34-37-9 record. Their 77 points were 21 back of first-place Binghamton, that night's opponent. The offense was eighth-best in the league, scoring 299 goals. Top points producer was Mark Lofthouse, with 33 goals and 71 points. Five other players scored over 20 goals that season, including veteran Dennis Polonich's 30 goals.
     On defense, the Wings were actually pretty good, fifth-best in the AHL with 285 goals allowed. Larry Lozinski and Greg Stefan were the main netminders that season.
     The Wings made the playoffs that season and faced the New Brunswick Hawks in the best-of-five first round. Adirondack put up a fight, but fell to the Hawks in five games. McKay would be replaced by Bill Mahoney for the following season.

Aftermath: The Red Wings would end up staying in the AHL for twenty years, and be one of the more competitive teams in the league during that stretch. They would win three more Calder Cups in their existence and make the playoffs every season but 1984-85. By 1998-99, attendance was starting to decline, and Detroit planned on relocating the AHL Wings to Rossman, Ohio. That move never occurred, and the franchise suspended operations. Glens Falls was home to the UHL's Adirondack Icehawks/Frostbite for several seasons, then the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms.


Sources:
Adirondack Red Wings Statistics: 1981-82 (from HockeyDB.com) 

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