Sunday, September 14, 2014

Toledo Hornets (1972-73, IHL)

1972-73 Regular Season--Hornets vs. Saginaw Gears
      The Hornets had their best season in their four years of existence, but it wasn't anything special. Toledo finished third in the Northern Division, with an ordinary 36-33-5 record. Their 77 points was just one point ahead of fourth place Muskegon and twelve behind division champion Flint. Fred Burchell was behind the bench this season.
     Toledo had the second-worst offense in the IHL that season, scoring just 257 goals. The Hornets were led by Harold White, who scored 27 goals and 63 points. Moe Brunel led the team in goals with 30. Only four other players had at least 20 goals that season.
     The Hornet defense was much better, allowing the fifth-fewest goals in the league, 261. Glenn Ramsay was back for another season in the Toledo net, and had a fine season. Ramsay, one of the iron men of the IHL, played in 70 games, posting 3 shutouts and a 3.21 GAA. Dean Jeffrey was his backup that season, making it into 9 games.
     Barely making it into the postseason, the Hornets drew the defending champion Port Huron Wings in the first round. The Wings made quick work of the Hornets, blasting Toledo in four games (best of 5). Port Huron outscored Toledo 13-5 in the process, including two shutouts in the first two games. The Wings would return to the Turner Cup Finals, but fell to Fort Wayne in four straight.
     This program came with two inserts. One is a poster featuring Hornets defenseman John Gravel. The pic is mostly black-and-white, but Gravel's Hornets uniform is colored in. The other insert is a scorecard. This program is the smallest of the three Hornets programs I own--only 26 pages. Local ads include Captain Bill's Swashbuckler Buffet, 21st Century Health Spa and Papenhagen Oldsmobile ("A Great Place to Buy Your Next Olds"). Small, but nice. I like the team photo on the front.

Aftermath: The Hornets slumped to 33-42-1, but still qualified for the postseason in 1973-74. They were eliminated in Round One by the Flint Generals in 3 games (best of 3). That would be it for the Hornets franchise in Toledo. Attendance continued to be miserable, and rising debt forced owner Paul Bright to abandon Toledo for Lansing, Michigan, for the 1974-75 season. The new Lansing Lancers bombed in their lone season in Michigan's Capital City, folding halfway through the year. Toledo, deserted by the Hornets, gained the last laugh. The IHL awarded an expansion franchise for '74-75: the Toledo Goaldiggers, who went on to win the Turner Cup in their inaugural season.

International Hockey League Statistics: 1972-73 (from

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