Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Knoxville Knights (1966-67, EHL)

1966-67 Regular Season--Knights vs. Florida Rockets

     The Knoxville Knights were part of the old Eastern Hockey League from 1961-68. The franchise originally began as the Washington Lions in 1954, heading to Tennessee in 1961 after a one-year stop in New Jersey. The Knights played their home games at the Civic Auditorium-Coliseum, a 7,141 seat arena.
     Doug Bentley, former Red Wings forward, was back behind the bench for the 1966-67 season. The Knights slumped that season to a 27-42-3 record, fourth place in the Southern Division, just a point ahead of last place Florida and two ahead of league-worst New Haven.
     Knoxville scored the third-fewest goals in the league that year, with only 232. Chuck Stuart led the team with 37 goals and 83 points. Five other players reached 20 goals, but most split time between Knoxville and other EHL teams.
     The Knights were middle-of-the-pack on defense, allowing 268 goals. They went with two goaltenders that season, Wayne Doll and Bev Bentley.
     Knoxville faced the Nashville Dixie Flyers in Round One of the playoffs. The Knights didn't last long, as they lost to Nashville in four games (best-of-five), outscored 17-7 in the process. Nashville would go on to win the league championship in five games over the Jersey Devils.
     As you can tell by the record, the Knights were not a very good team that season. One player of note on the roster is Dennis Hextall. Hextall was a rookie in 1966-67, and would go on to a long NHL career, mostly with Minnesota and Detroit.
     This is a pretty small program, just 24 pages, but it does have the usual ads and articles, as well as the rosters for both teams. There's also an ad for an intermission game called "Beat the Goalie". Definitely a random program in my massive collection.

Aftermath: The Knights would last one more season before folding. Knoxville would not return to pro hockey until the Knoxville Cherokees of the ECHL in 1988. Currently, the city is home to the Knoxville Ice Bears of the Single-A SPHL.

Eastern Hockey League Statistics: 1966-67 (from hockeydb.com)

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