The Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast
#72 Eddie Westfall: Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion and NY Islanders Hall of Famer.

#72 Eddie Westfall: Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion and NY Islanders Hall of Famer.

May 5, 2020

Eddie was one of the NHL's all-time great defensive forwards

My guest on episode 72 is Eddie Westfall and 18-year NHL veteran and one of the most respected players of his generation.  A four-time NHL All Star and Masterton Trophy winner, Westfall is regarded as one of the greatest defensive forwards the game has ever seen.

Eddie spent the 1960s with the Boston Bruins and was known as  “The Shadow” for his prowess in shutting down the games most prolific forwards such as Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe.  As the Bruins began building a championship team in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Eddie teamed with Derek Sanderson to form the NHL’s premier penalty killing unit as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. 

Eddie became the first captain of the expansion NY Islanders in 1972 and remained with the franchise throughout the decade, providing leadership and mentorship to a group of young players, who would eventually form a hockey dynasty.  He was particularly stellar in the Isles unlikely 1975 playoff run, which saw them come within one game of the Stanley Cup finals.

Post career, Eddie became a highly entertaining color man for Islanders TV broadcasts as he was often paired with Jiggs McDonald. Eddie would eventually be inducted into the NY Islanders Hall of Fame.

Host:  Mark Willand

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#71 Wayne Carleton - 1970 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion

#71 Wayne Carleton - 1970 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion

April 30, 2020

Our guest on episode 71 is Wayne “Swoop” Carleton, who was an important part of the Boston Bruins 1969-70 Stanley Cup championship team. In fact, he was on the ice when Bobby Orr scored his famous Cup-clinching goal in the fourth game of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final.

Carleton played junior hockey for the Toronto Marlboros, from 1961-1966 and he played a starring role in the Marlboros 1964 Memorial Cup championship.  After a brief stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carleton was traded to the Bruins during the 69-70 season.  With Boston he teamed with Derek Sanderson and Eddie Westfall on a productive third line, which played especially well in the post season.

At the conclusion of a 22-goal 70-71 campaign with the Bruins, Carleton was claimed by the California Golden Seals in the intra league draft.  After one season in Oakland, Carleton was one of many Seals players who would jump to the fledgling World Hockey Association.

Carleton became an all star in the WHA topping the 90-point mark in 1972-73 with the Ottawa Nationals and in 1973-74 when that franchise moved to Toronto and became the Toros.  He was later traded to the New England Whalers, where he played in the Whalers first season in Hartford before being traded to Edmonton for Mike Rogers in 1975-76.  Carleton suffered numerous knee injuries throughout his career and after brief stretches in Edmonton and Birmingham, he retired from big league hockey.

Wayne’s got great stories to tell of his interesting career --  and the timing is perfect as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bruins 1970 Stanley Cup championship.

 

Host:  Mark Willand

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#70 A Tribute to Tom Webster, Pat Stapleton and John Hughes

#70 A Tribute to Tom Webster, Pat Stapleton and John Hughes

April 18, 2020

A tribute to departed legends

Episode 70 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast is a tribute to three NHL and WHA players who passed away recently: Tom “Hawkeye” Webster, Pat “Whitey” Stapleton and John “Tank Hughes.

We begin with a look back at the remarkable career of Tom Webster.

Tom was my favorite Whaler in the early days of the franchise. In fact, in my very first trip to Whalers Gift Store in 1975, I purchased a Whalers #8 replica sweater.

Tom was the Whalers first star, scoring 52 goals to lead the Whalers to the WHA championship in 1973. Although Tom had been a 30-goal scorer with the Detroit Red Wings, he was a high-risk signing with New England due to severe back injuries that limited him to just 12 NHL games with the California Golden Seals in 1971-72.

As noted, Tom was beset by back injuries throughout his WHA career but he scored 220 goals in 352 games and added 28 more in 43 playoff games … based on 80 games, Tom averaged over 50 goals per season in the WHA.

Tom went on to enjoy a remarkable coaching career, winning championships in the CHL with Tulsa, the AHL with Adirondack and the OHL with Windsor.  He later became a scout with the Calgary Flames and ended his hockey career as one of the most respected men in the game.

Pat Stapleton played eight seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, and was named Second Team All-Star three times (1966, 1971, and 1972). His highest scoring season was 1969, where his 50 assists set a new NHL record for assists in a season by a defenceman (broken the next year by Bobby Orr).
Stapleton was a member of the Team Canada team at the Summit Series in 1972. During the tournament he was a +6 and was often paired with his Black Hawks teammate Bill White.

In 1973, Stapleton jumped from the NHL and signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association where he became player-coach. He was a WHA first-team all-star in 1974 and won the Dennis A. Murphy Trophy as the league's top defenceman in the 1973–74 season. That year the Cougars stunned the hockey world by reaching the WHA finals before ultimately losing to the Houston Aeros.

Stapleton again represented Canada in the 1974 Summit Series against the national team from the Soviet Union, this time as team captain. He was again player-coach of the Cougars in 1974–75, and the team struggled on the ice and financially. In December 1974, he and teammates Dave Dryden and Ralph Backstrom bought the troubled franchise.

The Cougars folded after the 1974–75 season and Stapleton was claimed by the Indianapolis Racers, where he played for two seasons and was named a second-team all-star in 1976.
When the Racers refused to honour his contract in 1977, Stapleton was transferred to the Cincinnati Stingers, where he played one season before retiring in 1978.

The next year he had the distinction of being Wayne Gretzky’s first pro coach with the Indianapolis Racers where he coached both Gretzky and Mark Messier before the team folded in December 1978.Similar to JC Tremblay, had Pat not jumped to the WHA he may be in the Hockey Hall of Fame today.

Nonetheless, Pat certainly has the respect for all who knew him. He was a player who truly appreciated the history of the game and his place in its legacy.

Hard-Hitting PEI native John Hughes was a member of the powerful Toronto Marlboros teams of the early 70s and went on to an excellent -- and well-traveled -- WHA career with Phoenix, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis and Edmonton. John was chosen to the WHA’s mid-season all star team in 1977 and 1979.

Injuries took their toll on John in his brief NHL stay and he concluded his career, coincidentally, with Tom Webster’s Springfield Indians in 1981-82.

Andre Lacroix, a teammate of John’s in Houston and Jerry Rollins, who played with John in Indianapolis recall the rock solid D-man they call “Tank”

 

 

#69 Andre Lacroix - The Memoir of the WHA Scoring King — “After the Second Snowfall.”

#69 Andre Lacroix - The Memoir of the WHA Scoring King — “After the Second Snowfall.”

April 11, 2020

The "Magician" has written his memoirs.

Episode 69 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features the return of one of our favorite guests -- WHA scoring king Andre Lacroix.  Andre has written his memoir -- After the Second Snowfall”, which details his amazing hockey journey through pro hockey in the 1960s and 1970s and his fascinating life after leaving the game.

Andre, of course, was an original Philadelphia Flyer in the NHL and a WHA pioneer in 1972.  By the mid 70s he had established himself as one of the premier players in either league.

Known as the “Magician” for his superb playmaking and stick handling skills, Andre also proved to be a skillful negotiator, playing for six WHA franchises without ever having been traded.

Post retirement, Andre has used his celebrity to bolster charitable organizations and eventually create his own foundation for those with special needs.

“After the Second Snowfall” is available now on Amazon.com.  The link is in the shownotes. 

In this episode, Andre and I discuss the process of writing this compelling book.  At the conclusion of that discussion, I’ll replay my original and entertaining 2018 interview with Andre from episode #9. 

Host:  Mark Willand

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#68 Tom Fergus 30-Goal Scorer with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs

#68 Tom Fergus 30-Goal Scorer with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs

April 4, 2020

Nobody had a more lethal wrist shot than Tom Fergus.

Episode 68 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features Tom Fergus, who played 726 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s and early 90s..  Fergus was known for his sensational wrist shot, which helped him record back-to-back 30-goal seasons with Boston and Toronto en route to a total of 235 goals for his career.

Tom is entertaining and insightful as he recalls his longshot road to the NHL draft, his junior coach -- Mike Keenan, the much-publicized contract battle and eventual trade from Boston, and he provides great anecdotes about John Brophy, Pat Quinn, Terry O’Reilly, Wendel Clark, Borje Salming and many other great names from that unforgettable era.

Today, Tom is very active with the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni, raising money for various charities throughout Ontario and beyond.

Speaking of charities, just a reminder that we have joined NHL Alumni Tom Laidlaw, Frank Simonetti and Ken Hodge, Jr. in support of the Warrior for Life Fund and the Navy Seal Foundation.  Through the game of hockey, the Warrior for Life Fund supports our soldiers by providing programs and infrastructure that help military families cope with the unique challenges of combat, extended deployments, disabilities and the long lasting effects of war. 

Please visit warriorforlifefund.org for more information.

Remember you can follow us anywhere online @prohockeyalumni -- and as always, we appreciate your outstanding ratings and reviews on ITunes and Apple Podcasts

 

Host:  Mark Willand

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#67 Bob Bourne - New York Islanders Hall of Famer and 4-time Stanley Cup Champion

#67 Bob Bourne - New York Islanders Hall of Famer and 4-time Stanley Cup Champion

March 27, 2020

NY Islanders Legend Bob Bourne: Speed, Skill and Character

Episode 67 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features New York Islanders Hall of Famer Bob Bourne, whose speed, skill and versatility were key components in the Islanders’ four Stanley Cup wins in the 1980s. In his 14-year NHL career, Bob scored 30 goals twice and 20 goals three times, was a member of Team Canada in 1984 and was awarded the Masterton Trophy for dedication to hockey in 1987.

In this discussion, Bob reveals the inside story of his rise to the NHL and delivers great insights on legendary teammates such as Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, John Tonelli, Denis Potvin and many more.

As always I thank you for helping us become the premier classic hockey podcast around the world. We greatly appreciate the kind reviews and awesome ratings you’ve left for us on iTunes and Apple Podcasts.

Now … let’s talk classic hockey with Bob Bourne.

 

Host:  Mark Willand

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#66 3ICE CEO EJ Johnston Discusses New 3v3 Pro League

#66 3ICE CEO EJ Johnston Discusses New 3v3 Pro League

March 20, 2020

As we learned in our recent interview with Steve Baker, an exciting three-on-three professional hockey league is set to debut in North America in 2021

Dubbed 3ICE, the league was founded by today’s guest EJ  Johnston, the son of former NHL goaltender Eddie Johnston and Craig Patrick, the former GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins. EJ Johnston serves as CEO of 3Ice and Patrick is its commissioner.

Inspired by the NHL’s exciting three v three overtime format, the upstart league will emphasize a fast paced style of play and fewer rules than traditional pro hockey. Each game will consist of two eight-minute periods with no stoppages.

3Ice,  of course, will attempt to lure all hockey fans — especially younger viewers — with a streamlined game format.

Let’s learn more about 3ICE and what it was like growing up as the son of a "Big Bad Bruin." …  Here’s my interview with  EJ Johnston.

#65: Danny Gare: Two-Time 50-Goal Scorer and the Captain of the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings

#65: Danny Gare: Two-Time 50-Goal Scorer and the Captain of the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings

January 11, 2020

Danny Gare shared the NHL Goal scoring title in 1980 with 56 goals

Episode 65 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features 14-year NHL pro and captain of the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings Danny Gare.

In this episode Danny takes through his youth in Nelson, B.C. to the rough-and-tumble junior days in Calgary and right through his outstanding NHL career in which he twice scored 50 goals, played in two NHL All Star games and was selected to Team Canada in the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cup tournaments.

An undersized and scrappy winger with a wicked wrist shot, Danny is a member of the Buffalo Sabres and BC Hockey Halls of Fame and his #18 is one of six Sabres numbers to be retired by the team.

Among the players and personalities we discuss are: Gil Perreault, Steve Yzerman, Bobby Orr, Jim Schoenfeld, Gordie Howe, Mike Rogers, Punch Imlach, Dave Schultz, Bernie Parent and many more.

Danny remains an integral part of the Sabres family. And he is also a partner in a revolutionary synthetic ice product — Can Ice.

CAN-ICE® is a synthetic ice surface that looks, feels and performs just like real ice, indoors and out. Endorsed by Hockey Canada, CAN-ICE® synthetic ice is perfect for any hockey player or figure skater looking to be the best they can be, and have fun doing it.

CAN-ICE® gives young skaters a synthetic ice surface on which to play 365 days a year. In these days of expensive and scarce ice-time, CAN-ICE® synthetic ice lets kids kids lace up the skates and go… anytime they want.

More information on Danny Gare and Can Ice can be found in the show notes.

Can Ice

Host:  Mark Willand

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#64 Allan Globensky:  A Feared, but Reluctant WHA and Minor League Enforcer

#64 Allan Globensky: A Feared, but Reluctant WHA and Minor League Enforcer

January 5, 2020

In an era that was as much about violence and mayhem as scoring and finesse,  Allan Globensky's battered fists were more valuable than his hockey stick.

Episode 64 of the Pro Hockey Alumni podcast features Allan Globensky, a feared enforcer with the WHA Quebec Nordiques in the 1970s.

In the early 70s, Globensky was a member of the incomparable Montreal Junior Canadiens, where her served as a popular and self-described goon on a Memorial Cup-winning squad that included Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault and perennial NHL all-star Richard Martin.

Allan was Selected by Minnesota North Stars in the 1971 NHL Draft, and eventually signed with the Nordiques in the fledgling World Hockey Association. Incidentally, Allan’s first coach in Quebec was the legendary Maurice “Rocket” Richard and Allan shares some fascinating insights into this revered hockey legend.

With the Nordiques and their minor league affiliate in Lewiston, Maine, Globensky, was a reluctant gladiator who experienced the seamier side of hockey, a world of mayhem, bloodshed and insanity that made the iconic movie “Slapshot” tame by comparison.

We’ll talk about the wild brawls and the toe-to-toe matches with some of the 70s toughest players like Dave Hutchinson, Paul Stewart, Steve Durbano and many more.

Back then, Globensky fought because that’s what he was told to do, and it was the role the team wanted him to play. Allan is still battling, but now he’s fighting to maintain his quality of life and to encourage former teammates to seek help if they are concerned about their mental and physical health.

Allan’s new book  “A Little Knock Won’t Hurt Ya!” Is, easily, one of the best hockey books I’ve read and I highly recommend it. I call this fast-paced book "Slapshot with a Soul.” In this well-written memoir, Allen is brutally honest and refreshingly candid about the ups and downs of his life as a hockey enforcer and the dark days he experienced thereafter.

And’ I’ll give you a spoiler — this story has a happy ending.

The link to ordering Allan’s book is in the show notes.

So … What happened to Allan Globensky, the former cult hero, after the cheers of bloodthirsty fans faded away? This is his story, and it’s one that is both compelling and cautionary.

Order "A Little Knock Won't Hurt Ya"

Host:  Mark Willand

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#63 KC Scouts History with Troy Treasure and NE Whalers Upset Win over the USSR in 1976.

#63 KC Scouts History with Troy Treasure and NE Whalers Upset Win over the USSR in 1976.

December 28, 2019

The KC Scouts and WHA Whalers?  It's a 70's hockey free for all!

Episode 63 of the Pro Hockey Alumni podcast features a look back at the Kansas City Scouts NHL franchise with author Troy Treasure and my review of the historic New England Whalers upset of the Soviet National team on December 27, 1976.

Troy Treasure’s book “Icing on the Plains” is the story of Kansas City’s attempt to integrate major league hockey into its sports marketplace — only to see it fall through thin ice.

Painstakingly researched, “Icing on the Plains” features great hockey stories and some of the most colorful people in the game. In this interview we recall the triumphs and tragedies of this often forgotten franchise that would go on to become the Colorado Rockies and, eventually, the New Jersey Devils.

In our two pervious episodes, you’ve heard some of the Scouts stories from Denis Herron and Robin Burns and in this episode we complete our KC Scouts trilogy with discussions about Scouts and NHL personalities such as Wilfred Paiement, Steve Durbano, Michel Plasse, Simon Nolet, Sid Abel, Dan Kelly, Peter McDuffe and many more.

Before talking with Troy, I’ll review the New England Whalers improbable WHA win over the touring Soviet National team in 1976 — a game that was easily the top game of the Whalers WHA years in Hartford.

Whalers center Mike Rogers helps us recall this momentous game in Hartford hockey history.

Order Icing on the Plains

 

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* edit note:  Gary MacGregor and the Cornwall Royals played in the QMJHL, not the OHA

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