Monday, August 22, 2016

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.

Sources:
IHL Statistics: 1987-88 (from hockeydb.com)
   

No comments:

Post a Comment