Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chicago Black Hawks (NHL, 1976-77)

1976-77 Regular Season
Black Hawks vs. Colorado Rockies
     Despite the picture on the front cover, this is actually a Chicago Black Hawks program from 1976-77. Many teams used Goal Magazine as the team's official program during this time. Tommy Ivan continued his storied career as Hawks GM, dating back to 1954 after coaching in Detroit. The Hawks were part of the Smythe Division in the Campbell Conference, along with the Colorado Rockies, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars. Not the strangest division setup in the league that year, but still rather spread out. By the way, "Black Hawks" was the proper way to write the team's nickname back then. It wasn't until the late 1980s that the Hawks dropped the space in their nickname.
     Chicago had a miserable season in 1976-77, with a 26-43-11 record. However, this would still give them a third place finish in the mediocre Smythe Division, ahead of Vancouver and Colorado. In fact, no team in this division would finish above .500.  After stumbling to a 10-19-5 start, Ivan dropped Head Coach Billy Reay in favor of Bill White.
     Ivan Boldirev lead the Hawks on offense that year, scoring 24 goals and 62 points in 80 games. Dick Redmond and Darcy Rota were the only other 20-goal scorers in Chicago, though veterans Stan Mikita (19) and Pit Martin (17) came close. As a team, Chicago scored 240 goals, sixth-lowest in the league.
     The defense struggled to keep the Hawks afloat that year, surrendering 298 goals, the sixth-most in the NHL. Veteran Tony Esposito did the best he could in front of a porous defense, going 25-36-8 with a 3.45 GAA and 2 shutouts. "Tony O" had a revolving door of backups that year, including former Ranger Gilles Villemeure, Michel Dumas and Mike Veisor. Naturally, Esposito got the nod for the playoffs.
     Despite the lousy record, the Black Hawks qualified for the 1977 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their preliminary round opponent was the New York Islanders, who finished second in the much stronger Patrick Division with a 47-21-12 record. Not surprisingly, the Hawks were broomed in two straight games (best-of-three).
     This program is typical of Goal magazines: part of it is a 41-page Black Hawks program, while the rest is Goal magazine. Overall, it's about 101 pages, many of which are in color. There's an interview with Billy Cunningham, who just recently retired with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. Turns out that Cunningham was a big hockey fan, who admitted to following the Rangers as a kid in Brooklyn. He talked about the similarities between the two sports, what he likes the most about hockey and what players excite him the most. One article is about Sabres goalie Gerry Desjardins, while another is about how hockey teams utilized CB radios, which were all the rage back then. In the Black Hawks section, you have photos of several Hawks and their families, a yearly Hawks regular season record list and both lineups.
     That night's opponent was the Colorado Rockies, who were the Kansas City Scouts the previous season, and would eventually become the New Jersey Devils in 1982. No idea what date this program is from, though. Legendary defenseman Bobby Orr was with the Hawks by now, but was on the downside of his brilliant career, thanks to constant knee problems and would only play in 20 games. Plenty of advertisements as usual, including Hanley Dawson Cadillac, Kosher Zion Beef Franks, First National Bank of Chicago and Mennen Skin Bracer. Car ads include the Jeep Pickup, the 1977 Buick Riviera Coupe and the 1977 Dodge Colt.

Chicago Black Hawks Statistics: 1976-77 (from

Saginaw Gears (IHL, 1975-76)

1975-76 Regular Season
Gears vs. Port Huron Flags
     The Saginaw Gears were in their fourth season of existence and were really starting to get on a roll, on and off the ice. In the previous three seasons, Saginaw reached the Turner Cup Finals, coming within one win of the Cup in 1975. Fans from Saginaw and throughout Mid-Michigan flocked to the Saginaw Civic Center, helping the Gears become one of the hottest tickets not only in the IHL, but in minor-pro hockey. This no doubt pleased President/GM Wren Blair, who retained Head Coach Don Perry
     The Gears built on the momentum from the past two seasons by clinching their first-ever North Division championship, with a sparkling 43-26-9 record. Their 95 points put the Gears 12 points ahead of the second-place Port Huron Flags, and 9 back of the Huber Trophy winning Dayton Gems.
     Saginaw missed having the IHL's most potent offense by a single goal, as they pumped in 339 in 1975-76. They were led on offense by Paul Evans, who had 32 goals and 85 points. The Gears also had a pair of 40-goal scorers: original Gear Dennis Desrosiers and newcomer Dave Westner (from the now-defunct Seattle Totems of the CHL). Marcel Comeau, Stu Irving and D'Arcy Ryan each had at least 30 goals, while Jim McMahon and late-season acquisition Wayne Zuk each had at least 20.
     The Gears had a decent defense that season, allowing 293 goals, fifth-best in the
1975-76 Regular Season
Gears vs. Port Huron Flags.
nine-team IHL. Mario Lessard was back between the pipes, playing in 62 games. His main backup was Harvey Stewart, who made 27 appearances.  Lessard drew the nod for the playoffs.
     The Gears opened the 1976 Turner Cup Playoffs against the Muskegon Mohawks. Muskegon finished a distant fourth place with a 34-31-13 record. Not surprisingly, the Gears downed the Mohawks in five games (best-of-seven), outscoring them 24-11 in the process. In the semifinals, the Gears ran into a buzzsaw called the Port Huron Flags. Despite being 12 points behind the Gears in the regular season, the Flags swept Saginaw aside in four straight, while only allowing 11 goals in the series. Port Huron, in turn, would be crushed by the Dayton Gems in the Finals, being outscored 25-11 in the 4-game sweep.
     Got both of these programs online awhile back. Same format for each, just with different colors and a different cover picture. On December 5th, the Flags blew out the Gears, 7-3. The return match on January 23rd was a bit closer, but Port Huron still prevailed, 4-3. Both programs were 54 pages long, with mostly black-and-white ads and photos. The usual recap of last season is included. There's a very interesting article called "Women and Hockey", which states that "the speed and constant action gratify and appeal to a woman's senses" and declares that hockey is "sensual and sexy". The article also claims that hockey "offers emotional involvement and women need emotional involvement to be happy and satisfied". Again, very...interesting. The Gears were a hot ticket back then, so these programs are loaded with advertisements. Local ads include Larry's Lounge (the "other home" of the Saginaw Gears), Lift Parts Service, INC., Fashion Square Mall, Stardust Lanes, Wolohan Lumber and Stroh's Beer. Car advertisements include Chevrolet's "Starting Lineup for '76", which inludes the Corvette Coupe, the Camaro Type LT and the Impala Custom Coupe, and the Volkswagen Rabbit.

"I.H.L. 1975-76 Regular Season Statistics", Photo Album 1978-79". Saginaw Gears Hockey Club.
IHL Playoff Results: 1975-76 (from

Saginaw Gears (IHL, 1977-78)

1977-78 Regular Season
Gears vs. Fort Wayne Komets
     The Saginaw Gears were the defending Turner Cup Champions heading into the 1977-78 IHL season. Wren Blair continued to run the six-year old franchise as President/GM, while Don Perry was back behind the bench. The Gears were still a secondary affiliate of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings.
     Championship teams often experience numerous call-ups after the season, and the Gears were no different. Coach Perry had to replace players such as leading scorer Paul Evans, future NHL defenseman Greg Hotham and goaltender Mario Lessard. Saginaw also lost forward Wayne Zuk and defenseman Gordie Malinoski to retirement. However, their replacements were more than up to the challenge in 1978. The Gears finished the season with a spectacular 40-28-12 record. Their 92 points clinched the team's third-straight North Division title, 8 points head of the Kalamazoo Wings, and just 5 behind Huber Trophy-winning Fort Wayne. Perry enjoyed coaching the second-best offensive team in the IHL that year, as the Gears lit the lamp 360 times. They were led by the always-dependable Marcel Comeau. The gentlemanly Comeau scored 42 goals to go with 103 points, while only spending 16 minutes in the penalty box. Another Gears original, Dennis Desrosiers, topped the team with 51 goals, along with a not-so-gentlemanly 288 penalty minutes. Newcomer (and Kings prospect) Warren Holmes nearly reached 50 goals himself, tallying 48, to go along with 81 points. Two other Gears scored at least 30 (Stu Irving and Rick Chinnick), while three others had at least 20.
1977-78 Regular Season
Gears vs. Kalamazoo Wings
     Saginaw's defense was the league's best that year, as the Gears allowed just 278. Losing a goalie the calibre of a Mario Lessard can be difficult, but Saginaw enjoyed a strong 1-2 punch in net. Pierre Chagnon, who faced the Gears as a Toledo Goaldigger in the 1977 Turner Cup Finals, came over to Saginaw and made it into 35 games in his final season of hockey. He was joined in net by second-year goalie Lorne Mollekon, a future Goaldigger himself, who was in goal for 39 games. Chagnon got the nod in net for the playoffs.
     Saginaw hockey fans and most hockey experts expected the Gears to make their fourth trip to the Finals in six years. However, those plans were quickly derailed by the upstart Port Huron Flags. The Flags, who finished the season at just 33-32-15, were in fourth place in the North Division in 1977-78. However, they had little difficulty with the Gears in Round One, shoving them aside in 5 games and outscoring them 31-19 in the process. Port Huron would reach the Turner Cup Finals before falling to the Toledo Goaldiggers in a memorable seven-game series.
1977-78 Regular Season
Gears vs. Fort Wayne Komets
     My parents bought several Gears programs from an antique store in Saginaw awhile back. Three of them were from the 1977-78 season, each from different games. All three have the same format, just a different colored cover and picture. Each program is 54 pages long and mostly black-and-white, though there are numerous color advertisements. Each one also has articles about the rest of the league, including one by the Flint Journal's Len Hoyes. Each one also has a profile on a Player of the Week. The red and green programs have inserts with up-to-date statistics, with the Gears Bingo game filled out on each. They also have player posters as well, featuring defenseman John Gravel (green program) and forward Stu Irving (red program). Local advertisements include Big John Steak and Onion (including the one in Caro!), Sid's Clothes Shop, Saginaw Steering Gear, Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn and Peet Packing Company. Car ads include the 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Coupe.

"I.H.L. 1977-78 Regular Season Statistics", 1978-79 Photo Album. Saginaw Gears Hockey Club.
IHL Playoff Results: 1977-78 (from 

Saginaw Gears (IHL, 1973-74)

1973-74 Regular Season
Gears vs. Columbus Owls
     The Saginaw Gears were in their second season of existence in the International Hockey League by 1973-74. The Gears were a secondary affiliate of the Minnesota North Stars and were still owned by former North Stars executive Wren Blair. Former EHL tough-guy Don Perry returned behind the bench, and would remain their through 1981. The Gears played their home games at Wendler Arena (now the Dow Event Center).
     After a dismal inaugural season, the Gears roster got a bit of a makeover. The core of last year's team, including Dennis Desrosiers, Marcel Comeau, Stu Irving, Mike Hornby and Russ Friesen, returned for Year Two. An offseason trade with the Dayton Gems brought in defenseman Gordie Malinoski, who supplied both experience and brawn (333 PIM).
     The Gears  were a much-improved squad in their sophomore season, finishing with a 38-34-4 record. Their 80 point finish was a 17-point improvement over 1972-73 and placed Saginaw comfortably in second place, 14 points behind first-place Muskegon, but 13 ahead of third-place Toledo.
     Don Perry's team scored the second-most goals in the IHL that year, pumping in 310. Leading the way was right winger Marcel Comeau. Comeau, a North Stars prospect in his second year, scored 31 goals and 82 points on the season. Rookie Jim Johnston, fresh from Wisconsin, led the team in goals with 34, while Dave Cressman added 32. Five other Gears scored at least 20. Desrosiers, rejoined the team partway through the season and added 18.
     Team defense was improved in Year Two, as Saginaw allowed 282 goals, down from 304 in Year One. Veteran Jim Armstrong and youngster Sam Clegg shared the netminding chores that year. Clegg started the majority of playoff games that year.
     The Gears qualified for the Turner Cup Playoffs in 1973-74, and made their first trip a memorable one. They opened the playoffs with the Dayton Gems, who sported a nearly identical record (38-35-3). The Gears dropped Game One in Saginaw, then rolled off three straight wins to advance to the semifinals. The Gears then swept aside the Columbus Owls in three straight, allowing only five goals, to advance to the Turner Cup Finals. Unfortunately, Saginaw ran into the Des Moines Capitols, who held the IHL's top record at 45-25-6 as well as it's top offense (316 goals). The Gears were outscored 23-10 and were shutout twice, but stretched the series to six games before falling to the powerful Capitols.
     This is the only program (so far) I have seen from the 1973-74 season. It's in decent shape for it's age, with a little wear around the crease. One page was creased when it was printed. The program is 54 pages long, mostly in black-and-white, but there are quite a few color ads as well. The usual stats and recaps of last season are included. Stories from around "The I" are found throughout, along with pictures of every Gears player. A scorecard is found on page 24, but considering this is from 1973-74, I imagine the penalty section was too small. Local ads include Saginaw Steering Gear (where the team got it's name), Downtown Saginaw Mall (which is a parking lot now), WNEM TV 5 and the Colonial Inn.
     The opponent for that night's game was the Columbus Owls. The Owls were another team having a turnaround season in 1974. The previous year, the franchise was known as the Columbus Golden Seals and were owned by the notorious Charles O. Finley, who also owned the NHL's California Golden Seals and MLB's Oakland A's. California was a bottom-feeder and almost barren of talent, and it showed in Columbus, as the IHL Seals went a miserable 10-62-2, a league record for losses. In 1974, the team was bought by Al Savill, rechristened the Owls, became a farm club of the St. Louis Blues, and went 40-34-2, one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in IHL history.

Aftermath: The Gears would switch affiliates after the 1973-74 season, joining up with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings. The Gears would remain with these two teams for most of their existence.

"I.H.L. 1973-74 Regular Season Statistics", Photo Album: 1978-79. Saginaw Gears Hockey Club. 
IHL Playoff Results: 1973-74 (from

Monday, August 22, 2016

Indianapolis Checkers (IHL, 1985-86)

1985-86 Regular Season
Checkers vs. Flint Spirits
     The Indianapolis Checkers were back for their second season in the IHL after five seasons in the defunct Central Hockey League. The Checkers remained a secondary affiliate of both the New York Islanders and Minnesota North Stars. Larry Woods purchased the Checkers after the 1984-85 season and moved the team to the 15,900-seat Market Square Arena, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers. The team kept their Islanders-styled uniforms, but changed the logo.
     Former Port Huron Flags coach Ron Ullyot was named Coach/GM of the Checkers, and his team greatly improved on their first IHL season. Indy finished with a 41-35-6 mark. They finished last in the very competitive West Division, which had all the teams win at least 40 games. The Checkers' 88 points would have easily taken fourth place in the East.
    Indy scored just 296 goals that year, better than only Flint and Toledo. Longtime minor leaguer Charlie Skojdt led the team with 28 goals and 93 points. Three other Checkers had at least 20 goals, including Bob Lakso with a team-best 41.
     On defense, Indy allowed 303 goals, fifth-fewest in "The I". Checkers CHL holdover Rob Holland and Mike Zanier split the goaltending chores that year, with each winning over 20 games. Both netminders saw action in the playoffs.
     Only the dying Toledo Goaldiggers and hapless Flint Spirits missed the playoffs, so the Checkers made the postseason for the seventh straight year. However, their opponent was the Muskegon Lumberjacks, who ran away with the East title with a 50-27-5 record. Indy put up a fight, but were no match for the high-powered Lumberjacks, who downed the Checkers in five games (best of seven). Muskegon would lose only one other playoff game as they roared to the Turner Cup.
     I have a program from every season of Checkers hockey except the first. This is another nice program. It's 56 pages long, mostly black-and-white, but there are some color ads. Larry Woods's purchase of the team and an interview are featured on a couple pages. Three IHL teams have bios: Saginaw Generals, Toledo Goaldiggers and Flint Spirits. Mayor William Hudnut, Stars GM Lou Nanne and Islanders GM Bill Torrey each wrote letters wishing the team good luck on the upcoming season. Skojdt was a player this year, but also was Head of Corporate Marketing. Odd combination. The previous owner said this is a program from a game between the Checkers and Flint Spirits. No roster sheet, so I guess I'll take his word for it. Local ads include Sharp Ford, Indy Connection Limousines Inc., Warren Tailors and City Taproom Bar and Restaurant.

IHL Regular Season Statistics: 1985-86 (from

Saginaw Hawks (IHL, 1987-88)

1987-88 Turner Cup Playoffs
Hawks vs. Flint Spirits
     1987-88 was a fresh start for the Saginaw Generals. After two seasons in Saginaw (using the nickname and colors of Flint's former team), the franchise was rechristened the Saginaw Hawks. The team became the primary farm team of the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and adopted uniforms virtually identical to the parent club. The lone difference was the shoulder patch, which had an S instead of a C with the interlocking tomahawks. Dr. Eugene Chardoul remained as President of the club, while Dennis Desrosiers returned for his fifth year behind the bench (two in Flint, three in Saginaw). Peter Horachek took off the skates and joined "Rosie" behind the bench as his assistant coach.
     The Hawks had an excellent season in 1987-88, finishing with a 45-30-7 record. Their 97 points would have won the Western Divison crown, but was only good enough for third in the very competitive Eastern Division. The Hawks were four points ahead of Flint, just three behind Fort Wayne, but 29 behind league-best Muskegon.
     The Hawks scored the fourth-fewest goals in "The I" that year, lighting the lamp a respectable 325 times. Leading the way was Generals holdover Jeff Pyle, with 30 goals and 77 points. Glenn Greenough, a Chicago prospect in his final IHL season, scored 35 goals to lead the team. Dave Mackey and Mark LaVarre were the other 20+ goal scorers.
     On defense, the Hawks were much stronger, allowing just 294 goals, topped by only Muskegon and Flint. Saginaw's starting netminder was a rookie signed as a free agent from North Dakota State University. He went 32-20-5 with a 3.19 GAA and 3 shutouts and would share Rookie of the Year honors with Flint's John Cullen. You might have heard of this netminder: Ed Belfour. Belfour would go on to a Hall of Fame career, mostly with Chicago. Other netminders for Saginaw included former Blackhawk Murray Bannerman, Chris Clifford and John Reid. Belfour earned the nod for the postseason.
     A notable player on the blueline was veteran defenseman/enforcer Archie Henderson. A towering defenseman at 6'6", Henderson had previously played in the IHL with the 1977-78 Port Huron Flags. In 1987-88, he was in the final season of his long career, which included stops in the NHL with Washington, Minnesota and Hartford. Archie would chip in 4 goals, 13 points and 231 penalty minutes in 55 games. Dad told me a story about Henderson that year. The Hawks were playing against Milwaukee, and Henderson lined up for the opening faceoff. As soon as the puck was dropped, Henderson dropped the gloves and bludgeoned the nearest Admiral. After the beating, Henderson was thrown out, prompting Dad to tell my uncle, "Well, I guess Archie didn't feel like playing tonight."
     The Hawks had qualified for the playoffs every season since 1970-71, when they were still the Flint Generals. This season was no different, as they opened the playoffs against the Fort Wayne Komets. It was an evenly matched series, and the Hawks advanced in six games. They would face their archrivals, the Flint Spirits, who upset the heavily-favored Lumberjacks in six. This would be the last time Saginaw and Flint faced each other in the Turner Cup Playoffs, and the Spirits would have the last laugh, sweeping the Hawks aside in four straight. Flint would then fall to Salt Lake in the Turner Cup Finals in six games.
     This program is similar to the other Hawks program I own. It's 64 pages thick, full of advertisements, articles and stats. The coaching staff and trainer each have their own bios. The history of the Black Hawks has a full page. This program is from Game 3 of the Eastern Division Finals. The Spirits won, 6-5, in overtime, to go up 3-zip in the series. Ed Belfour is the program's special insert poster player that night. Local advertisements include Pat Curtis Chevrolet of Caro, Bill Carr Signs, Texan Family Restaurant, WSMH FOX 66 and Wohlfeil's. SVSU also had their basketball schedule, but were still known as Saginaw Valley State College then.

IHL Statistics: 1987-88 (from

Flint Generals (IHL, 1984-85)

1984-85 Turner Cup Playoffs
Generals vs. Kalamazoo Wings
     The Flint Generals were in their sixteenth year of existence in 1984-85. The franchise was coming off it's finest hour in the previous year, winning their first-ever Turner Cup championship. The Generals swept aside both Milwaukee and Toledo in four straight, the first team to sweep to the Cup since the 1969 Dayton Gems.
     Dr. Eugene Chardoul led the consortium that had owned the Generals for the past several years. Former Saginaw Gears and Generals forward Dennis Desrosiers returned for his second season as head coach and general manager. The team played their home games at the 4,021-seat IMA Sports Arena.
     Desrosiers' Generals had a fine season in 1984-85, going 43-32-4. Their 93 points placed them in second place in the IHL Eastern Division, ten points behind league-best Muskegon. Flint had the third-most goals scored that season, with 349. Gilles Thibaudeau, a rookie from the Montreal system, led the team in scoring with 52 goals and 97 points. Four other players had at least 35 goals that year, including future (Colonial League) Generals coach Peter Horachek, who had 38.
     Defense seemed to be a bit of a weak spot in the Vehicle City, as the Gens surrendered 340 goals, third-worst in the league. Rick Knickle and Rick Wilson were the two main netminders in Flint, though the Gens used six throughout the season. Knickle was in net for the postseason.
     The Generals opened the Turner Cup Playoffs against a tough opponent, the third-place Kalamazoo Wings. The K-Wings were just four points behind the Gens and allowed about 50 fewer goals. In a back-and-forth series, the Generals fell in Game 7 on IMA ice, 4-3 in overtime. Kalamazoo would be swept aside by Muskegon in the second round, and Peoria would claim the Turner Cup.
     The Generals always had nice-looking programs, and this one is no different. It's 58 pages, black-and-white, and loaded with the usual advertisements. This program is from Game 3 of the series, which the Generals won, 2-1. There's a recap of the 1983-84 playoff run. Nice to see they drew big crowds for their two Finals games. Former Gears forward Dave Westner was not only the broadcast booth, but was also an assistant coach. Len Hoyes offered an article about the Generals' luck in playoff overtime games. A directory of the IHL is included as well. Local advertisements include WCRZ Cars 108 FM, WHNN 96 FM ("Alive and Lite"), Stroh's Beer and James Lumber. The Windmill Place shopping center, one of Flint's attempts to diversify after the auto industry tanked, also had a small ad. Car advertisements included the Buick Somerset and the Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport.

Aftermath: 1984-85 would be the last hurrah for the Flint Generals. Ownership spent the majority of the summer battling with the City of Flint over lease agreement for the IMA. When talks stalled, the Generals moved up I-75 to Saginaw for the 1985-86 season. The Generals would be replaced by the expansion Flint Spirits.

IHL Statistics: 1984-85 (from

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Flint Generals (IHL, 1969-70)

1969-70 Regular Season
Generals vs. Des Moines Oak Leafs
     Flint's long run in professional hockey began in 1969, when a group led by Frank Gallagher purchased an IHL expansion franchise for the Vehicle City. The team was called "Flint Generals" in a nod to the city's close ties to General Motors, which had several factories in town then. Gallagher, a former IHL commissioner as well as former General Manager of the Port Huron Flags, was named GM of the new Generals. He then named Ken Hodge as the team's first head coach. The Generals would play at the similarly new IMA Sports Arena, which held 4.031 with 1,000 standing room.
     The new Generals went through the usual growing pains in Year One. Flint finished the 1969-70 season in last place, with a 21-39-12 record. Their 54 points were six behind the Fort Wayne Komets and 46 behind league-best Muskegon. The Generals were actually strong on defense, allowing 270 goals, fourth-fewest in the IHL. This was thanks to a midseason trade with Muskegon that brought in goaltender Bob Perani. Perani solidified the Gens' netminding and quickly became a fan favorite, playing in 34 games that year.
Generals Roster (as of 3/4/1970)
     It was the offense, or lack thereof, that did the Gens in that season. Flint scored a league-worst 217 goals. Wally Kozak, fresh off a stint with the Canadian National Team, led Flint with 27 goals and 78 points. Ron Ringler, the team's first selection in the expansion draft (from the Port Huron Flags), scored the most goals on the team with 29. Two other Generals had at least 20 goals that year, Doug Abel and Wayne Ego. Randy Prior, the winger on this program's cover, scored 16 goals and 28 points between Port Huron and Flint.
     Thanks to their last-place finish, the 1969-70 Flint Generals did not qualify for the playoffs. This would be the only season in franchise history (including their four-year stint in Saginaw) that the Generals would not qualify for the postseason, a remarkable stretch of consistency. Off the ice, the Generals did quite well, as fans flocked to the IMA to see the new team play. Flint would have strong attendance in the IHL for years, until the recession and plant closings of the early 1980s.

Oak Leafs Roster (as of 3/4/1970)
   This is the first program from the inaugural season I have been able to buy, and it came from the United Kingdom, of all places! It's 24 pages, all black and white, expect for the pink roster sheet. That night's opponent was the Des Moines Oak Leafs. The Leafs were, by far, the western-most team in the Great Lakes-based IHL. The Leafs featured player-coach Bob Perrault, who had a couple stints in the NHL during the Original Six era. Strange to see a goaltender double as head coach. Defenseman Larry Klewchuk and left winger Steve Sutherland would later win Turner Cups with the Port Huron Flags. No idea who won this game.
     As with all programs, this one has it's fair
share of local advertisements. Several of them are General Motors related, which makes sense due to the strong presence the company had in Flint at the time. Car ads include the 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo and the 1970 GS455 Stage 1. Each IHL arena is given it's own page, and several of them also list the attendance numbers. The standard pages of official signals, rules of the game and "hockey facts" are there too. Other local advertisements include Valley Coach Lines, Weinstein Electric Co., Genesee Bank, Heap Big Beef and AC Spark Plugs. WTRX AM 1330 has a full-page ad as well, featuring the "Sports Hotline" with Dick Bing. Interesting that 1330 played music and had news broadcasts as well back then. That station still exists, but is a "Sports Talk" channel affiliated with CBS Sports.

IHL Statistics: 1969-70 (from