Friday, May 20, 2016

Indianapolis Checkers (CHL, 1982-83)

1982-83 Regular Season
Opponent Unknown
     The Indianapolis Checkers were in their fourth year in the Central Hockey League by 1982-83. They were the primary farm club of the New York Islanders and played their home games at the 8,421-seat State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Fred Creighton was the Head Coach and General Manager.
     As you can see by the cover, Indy was the defending Adams Cup Champions that year, defeating Dallas in the Finals. In 1982-83, Creighton's bunch had a spectacular season, going 50-28-2, cruising to first place. Their 102 points were 17 points ahead of second-place Colorado.
     The Checkers were tops in the CHL on both sides of the puck. On offense, they piled up 335 goals and were led by Don Laurence, who popped in 43 goals and 98 points. Steve Stoyanovich was the other 40-goal scorer that season, with 41. Five other Checkers had at least 20 goals on the year.
     On defense, Indy allowed just 242 goals. They used just two goaltenders in '82-83: Robert Holland and Kelly Hrudey. Hrudey would go on to a long NHL career, mostly with the Islanders and Kings. This year, he went 26-17-1 with a 3.04 GAA and 2 shutouts. Holland was even better, sporting a 24-11-1 record with a 2.87 GAA and 4 shutouts. Hrudey played in the majority of the postseason games.
Continental Airlines ad, featuring defenseman Darcy Regier
     The Checkers opened the Adams Cup Playoffs against the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. The Eagles were a distant fourth, with a mediocre 41-38-1 mark. Despite being heavy underdogs, Salt Lake gave the Checkers fits. Two games went into overtime, but Indy won the series in six with an 11-4 beatdown at home in the clincher. In the Finals, they would face the Birmingham South Stars. Birmingham was a new addition to the league and finished in third place in Year One. This season's Adams Cup Finals was a strange one: a best-of-nine series instead of the usual best-of-seven! The South Stars dropped Game 1, then took a 2-1 series lead over the defending champs. The Checkers rebounded to sweep the next four games and win their second straight Adams Cup.
     Much like 1981-82, 1982-83 was a "clean sweep" for the Islanders organization. The Isles won their fourth-straight Stanley Cup, the Checkers won their second-straight Adams Cup and the IHL's Toledo Goaldiggers won their second-straight Turner Cup. Hard to top that!
     I bought this program online as part of a lot which included another program and the above advertisement. Pretty decent-sized program too, at 52 pages. Most of the pages are black and white (or black, white and red), though some pages are color. There's a two-page article about the previous season. The article noted that 1981-82 would be "a tough act to follow". Judging by how '82-83 went, I'd say they did just fine. Other articles include one about Kevin Devine, that season's captain. Islanders GM Bill Torrey wrote a letter congratulating the Checkers and their fans. Included is a picture of the 1981-82 Isles, who won the Stanley Cup. The most interesting article was about Indianapolis' rich goaltending tradition, which includes Hall of Famers Terry Sawchuk and Glenn Hall. Local advertisements include The Bedroom, Jack's Pizza, WFMS 95.5, J. Ross Browne's Whaling Station and WIBC 1070 AM.

Central Hockey League Statistics: 1982-83 (from
The Checker Flag: 1982-83 Indianapolis Checkers program

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