Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rhode Island Reds (1958-59, AHL)

1958-59 Regular Season
Reds vs. Buffalo Bisons
     The Rhode Island Reds were a storied franchise in the American Hockey League. The franchise was born (or is that "hatched"?) in 1926, and lasted for 51 seasons. They played their home games at the Rhode Island Auditorium, and were affiliated with the Boston Bruins for 1958-59.
     Jack Crawford, longtime Bruins defenseman, was head coach for the Reds that season. Crawford's Reds collapsed to the AHL cellar, going 28-40-2. Their meager 58 points were four points behind fifth-place Springfield and 22 behind league-best Buffalo (the opponent for this program).
     Rhode Island scored 222 goals that year, second-fewest in the AHL. Former Maple Leaf Cal Gardner was tops with 24 goals and 63 points in 68 games. Ray Ross was the only other Red with 20+ goals.
     On defense, the Reds allowed the second-most goals in the AHL, as opponents scored 282 times. Three goaltenders were in the nets for Rhode Island that year. Leading the way was veteran NHLer and future Hall of Famer Harry Lumley. Lumley was the odd man out in the NHL that year--remember, there were only six goaltending jobs in the league back then. Future Port Huron Flag Norm Jacques and Harvey Bennett were the other two goalies. The top defensive scorer that year was Jack Bionda, with 9 goals and 26 points to go with 144 points. Don Cherry's brother Dick Cherry was also on the blue line that season.
     No playoffs for the Reds that year, as the fourth place Hershey Bears skated off with the Calder Cup championship.
     This is one of the smallest programs I own, with only 19 pages. It's all black-and-white, but printed on glossy paper. Each Reds player from that season has their photo and a short bio. There are the usual articles about the front office and the rules of the game too. Local advertisements include Providence Automatic Car Wash, Inc., Autocrat Coffee, Baker Auto Co. (selling Studabakers!), Knickerbocker Beer and Narragansett Lager Beer.

Aftermath: The Reds would stick around for another 18 seasons before relocating to Binghampton, New York, for the 1976-77 season. The franchise still exists as the Hartford Wolf Pack. Providence would return to the AHL with the Providence Bruins in 1992.

References:
American Hockey League Statistics: 1958-59 (from hockeydb.com)

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