Sunday, September 14, 2014

Toledo Goaldiggers (1982-83, IHL)

1982-83 Regular Season--Goaldiggers vs. Saginaw Gears
     After winning the 1977-78 Turner Cup, the Goaldiggers stumbled through a few forgettable seasons. By 1980-81, the team hired Bill Inglis as head coach midway through the season. Inglis built a powerhouse team in 1981-82, which set team records for victories (53), then flattened the Saginaw Gears in five games to win the Turner Cup. 
     Inglis' 1982-83 Diggers were almost as good. They repeated as regular season champions, with an excellent 51-21-10 record, 10 points ahead of second place Fort Wayne. They were 25 points ahead of Western Division champion Milwaukee.
     The Diggers featured the third best offense in the IHL in '82-83, lighting the lamp 362 times. Future NHLer Dirk Graham led the way with 70 goals and 125 points (amazingly, not the league leader in goals!). Dave Falkenberg was next in goal-scoring with 51 goals. Five other players had at least 20 goals on the year for Inglis' squad.
     Toledo was even stronger on defense, allowing a league-low 269 goals during the season. They used five different goaltenders that year. Veteran Lorne Molleken (future Chicago Blackhawks coach) played in 48 games and 10 in the postseason. Paul Billing, acquired from Peoria midseason, made it into 16 games and 2 postseason games.
     As regular season champions, the Goaldiggers earned a first-round bye. In Round Two, they faced the Fort Wayne Komets and quickly knocked them off in five games to advance to the Turner Cup Finals. In the Finals, the Diggers met up with the Milwaukee Admirals. Toledo won their second straight Cup in six games, including a 16-4 slaughter of the Admirals in Game 5 at the Sports Arena. It was the fourth Turner Cup win in Goaldiggers history, and ninth in Toledo hockey history.
     This was the first Goaldiggers program I bought. I got it several years ago at Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens, and I think I paid about $2 for it. It has 46 pages, and almost all of it is black-and-white. There are quite a few pictures from Game 5 of the Diggers-Gears series. There is also a team photo of the 1981-82 Goaldiggers.
     The opponent from this night was the Saginaw Gears on November 21, 1982. The Diggers had tough guy Paul Tantardini back on the roster by then. Paul was a member of all four Goaldigger Turner Cup championship teams, and one of the most popular players to wear that uniform.
     Lots of advertisements, per usual. Some of the local ads include Rax Roast Beef (A Bunful of Savings for You), Tom Clark's Players Club and Nick & Jimmy's Bar and Grill.

International Hockey League Statistics: 1982-83 (from

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