Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Iowa Stars (CHL, 1969-70)

1969-70 Regular Season--Opponent Unknown
     The Iowa Stars arrived from Memphis after the 1968-69 CHL season. They played their home games at McElroy Auditorium in Waterloo, Iowa. The franchise was still affiliated with the Minnesota North Stars. John Muckler remained with the team as the General Manager, but Parker MacDonald was now Head Coach.
     The Stars had their best season in 1969-70. Iowa went 35-26-11, second place in the league (the CHL had no divisions that year). Their 81 points were just one shy of league-leading Omaha.
     Iowa had the league's top offense that year, scoring 252 goals. They were led by Mike Chernoff, who scored 36 goals and 75 points. Two other players, Bill Orban (31 goals) and Grant Erickson (31) joined Chernoff in the 30-goal club that season. Three other players had at least 20 goals.
     On defense, Iowa was middle of the pack, allowing 232 goals, fourth-highest in the seven-team league. They used three goaltenders that season. The main netminder was Gilles Gilbert, who would go on to a long NHL career with Minnesota, Boston and Detroit. Holdover Fern Rivard and newcomer Ken Broderick served as his backups.
     Qualifying for the Adams Cup Playoffs, Iowa drew the Tulsa Oilers for Round One. Tulsa finished just one point behind Iowa in the regular season. In the best-of-seven series, the Stars downed the Oilers in six games. In the Finals, the Stars drew the Omaha Knights, and were quickly knocked off in five games, outscored 25-18 in the process.
     Program look familiar? That's right, it's pretty much the same as the one from Memphis. Only real difference is this program is green instead of the bright red of the South Stars program. It has the same amount of pages (46) and features pictures of Waterloo Junior Hockey. There are a few players on the Stars roster that went on to the big leagues, including Gilbert, Dick Redmond (Mickey's brother) and Marshall Johnston. Rick Dudley went on to coach in the NHL with Buffalo.

Aftermath: The Iowa Stars continued to struggle at the gate, drawing just 2,229 per game to McElroy Auditorium. The franchise folded following the 1969-70 season. Waterloo later became home to the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, which remain in town to this day. An AHL franchise called the Iowa Stars existed from 2005-08, but that franchise played in Des Moines.

Central Hockey League Statistics: 1969-70 (from hockeydb.com) 

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