The Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast
#38 Wayne Babych - The 1st St. Louis Blues 50-goal Scorer

#38 Wayne Babych - The 1st St. Louis Blues 50-goal Scorer

June 16, 2019

With the St. Louis Blues winning the Stanley Cup, what better time to talk with Blues legend Wayne Babych — the first 50-goal scorer in franchise history.

A great shooter, who who could mix it up with anyone, Wayne was drafted third overall by the Blues in 1978.  As a rookie in 1978-79, he scored 27 goals in 69 games playing RW on the Blues “Kid Line” with Bernie Federko and Brian Sutter as he finished third in the rookie of the year voting behind.

After scoring 26 goals in just 59 games in the next season, Wayne hit his stride in 1980-81 as the upstart Blues battled for the top overall record in the NHL.  Coach Red Berensen paired Wayne with center Blake Dunlop and LW Jorgen Pettersson and Wayne responded with 54 goals — a league-leading 40 of which were scored even strength — and he played in the 1981 NHL All Star Game.

The following pre-season, however, Wayne suffered a severe shoulder injury that would hamper him for the rest of his career.  After three more solid seasons in St Louis, Wayne joined the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984 and had the distinction of being Mario Lemieux’s first regular RW.

Wayne eventually landed in Hartford, where he joined brother Dave in the Whalers unlikely 1986 playoff run.

In retirement Wayne and Dave Babych have committed much of their time to helping a variety of worthwhile causes and positively impacting lives round the world.

We cover it all  — the Blues, the fights, the fun and the tragedies — in this entertaining conversation with Wayne.

Host: Mark Willand

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#37 John Van Boxmeer: High Scoring D with Montreal, Buffalo and Colorado

#37 John Van Boxmeer: High Scoring D with Montreal, Buffalo and Colorado

June 7, 2019

John Van Boxmeer was a first round draft pick (14th overall) by the Montreal Canadiens in 1972 and went on to an outstanding 10-year NHL career as a high-scoring defenseman with the Habs, Colorado Rockies, Buffalo Sabres and Quebec Nordiques.

John was part of Montreal’s 1975-76 Stanley Cup powerhouse team, playing behind Hall of Fame defensemen  Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe and Serge Savard. In search of consistent playing time, he was dealt to the Colorado Rockies in 1976 and established himself as a solid NHL blueliner with an improving, but struggling franchise.

When Scotty Bowman took over as GM in Buffalo he acquired John in exchange for Rene Robert and John delivered seasons of 51, 68 and 69 points from 1979-80 to 81-82.  By 1984, however, injuries would take their toll and his playing career ended —  but he soon embarked on a successful 25-year coaching career in the NHL, AHL, IHL and Swiss Elite Leagues.  He is now a pro scout with the Sabres.

John has great insights on his career at all levels and excellent stories to tell about hockey legend like Guy Lafleur and Bobby Orr.  He even recalls his infamous TKO loss to Dave “The Hammer” Shultz in 1976.

 

Host:  Mark Willand

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#36 Larry Lund - Houston Aeros WHA Legend

#36 Larry Lund - Houston Aeros WHA Legend

May 25, 2019

WHA legend Larry Lund, the Rebel League’s 12th all-time leading scorer, is our guest on episode 36 of the PHA Podcast. 

Before becoming an original Houston Aero at he age of 32, Lund played 12 outstanding seasons in the minors, mostly in the Western Hockey League with Seattle and Phoenix.

With Gordie Howe and the Aeros, Lund centered the “Go Go Line” with Andre Hinse and Frank Hughes, as the Aeros won the Avco Cup in 1974 and 1975. His best season was 1974–75 when he led the Aeros in points with 108, good fifth overall in the WHA.  He played in the annual WHA All-Star game and was productive in the post season.

In his WHA career, Lund recorded 426 points in 459 regular season games and added 65 points in 59 post-season contests.

In a addition to his stellar playing career, Lund is well-know as the founder of the Okanagan Hockey School, the longest running hockey school in North America.  Larry is a member of the BC (British Columbia) Hockey Hall of Fame.

Larry was great to interview and he takes you behind the scenes of those colorful Houston Aeros teams and his roommate — Gordie Howe.

We greatly appreciate the letters and great reviews.  We do the show for you fans so we appreciate your feedback.  Our  audience has grown tremendously since we began last year and we are grateful for your support.

Now … let’s talk classic hockey with Larry Lund.

Host:  Mark Willand

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#35 Phil Bourque: Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Winner in 1991 and 1992

#35 Phil Bourque: Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Winner in 1991 and 1992

May 17, 2019

“The 'Ol Two-Niner” Phil Bourque is our guest on episode 35 of the PHA Podcast.

Phil played 18 pro seasons and is best known as a key member of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.  The grit, hustle and toughness of foot soldiers like Bourque, Troy Loney and Bob Errey were a crucial elements to success for the star-studded Pens.

Phil recalls his passion for becoming an NHL player and the many obstacles he faced en route to making to the top.  He takes us behind the scenes with revealing stories about Mario Lemieux, Scotty Bowman, Badger Bob Johnson and many others that helped make the early ‘90s Penguins one of hockey’s all-time great franchises.

Phil is also candid about his upbringing in Massachusetts and the complex and rocky relationship he had with his father and the impact it had on his life.

A popular broadcaster with the Penguins and a riveting motivational speaker, Phil Bourque delivers one hour of entertaining and often inspirational recollections of a hard-won and rewarding career.

Host:  Mark Willand

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#34 Geoff Kirbyson (Author) and the 1978-79 WHA Champion Winnipeg Jets

#34 Geoff Kirbyson (Author) and the 1978-79 WHA Champion Winnipeg Jets

May 4, 2019

Winnipeg-based author and journalist Geoff Kirbyson is our guest on episode 34 of the PHA Podcast and we’ll take an in-depth look at the 1978-79 Winnipeg Jets Avco Cup Championship team.  After the interview with Geoff  we’ve included some great insight on that team by Jets center Terry Ruskowski, who was our guest episode 16.

Geoff Kirbyson is a life-long Jets fans, who wrote a fabulous book about the WHA’s greatest line - The Hotline - Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull. When Ulf and Anders left the Jets for the NHL New York Rangers in 1978, all seemed lost for the Jets.  However, the arch-rival Houston Aeros folded in the summer of ’78 and the Jets were able to obtain many of their top players, including Ruskowksi, Rich Preston, Morris Lukowich and Scott Campbell.

How this team overcame their differences to eventually to defeat Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers to become WHA champions is truly an inspirational story.

To celebrate to the 40th anniversary of the 1978-79 Jets, Geoff has organized a reunion and a banquet that fans can attend on June 1, 2019.  Please see the show notes for details or visit Geoff Kirbyson on Twitter.

To learn more about the WHA, visit us at WHA Hockey on Facebook.  This is THE WHA site on the web with 6,000-plus dedicated rebel leaguers sharing WHA memories every day.

We greatly appreciate your feedback and the heartfelt letters we’ve received from fans around the world regarding the podcast. Please contact us via our Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast website or social media with any comments or questions.  Also, we’d appreciate any ratings or reviews you may be inclined to give wherever you listen to podcasts.

Host:  Mark Willand

Geoff is organizing a 40-year reunion of the 1978-79 team at the end of this month, culminating with a banquet on June 1. Players are flying in from four different countries, including Kent Nilsson, Terry Ruskowski, Rich Preston, Willy Lindstrom, Morris Lukowich, Peter Sullivan, Roland Eriksson, Scott Campbell, Kim Clackson, John Gray, Paul MacKinnon, Glenn Hicks, Joe Daley, Markus Mattsson, Bill Lesuk, Lyle Moffat and coach Tommy McVie. https://www.eventbrite.ca/.../40-year-reunion-of-the-1978...

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#33 Tim Sweeney - Anaheim Mighty Ducks Original and 1992 US Olympian

#33 Tim Sweeney - Anaheim Mighty Ducks Original and 1992 US Olympian

April 27, 2019

1992 US Olympian and 10-year pro Tim Sweeney is our guest on episode 33 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast.

A Hall of Fame 4-year player at Boston College, Tim played along side numerous future NHLers such as Craig Janney, Brian Leetch and Doug Brown.  Tim was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1985 and began his pro career in 1989-90 with Salt Lake of the IHL, where he led the team in scoring and was voted as the top US rookie in the league.

While with the parent Flames in 1992, Tim was chosen to play for the United States in the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France.  The unheralded US squad finished fourth in the games and Tim tied for the team lead in points with 7.

After a pair of prolific seasons with Providence in the AHL, Tim was chosen by the expansion Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 1993 expansion draft and enjoyed an excellent season in the Ducks first-ever campaign. 

Eventually, Tim would make his way back to the Boston Bruins and then the New York Rangers and was productive for both teams before retiring in 1999.

In this interview, Tim reveals a lot of interesting anecdotes about people he met along the way including Stu Grimson, Joey Mullen, Raymond Bourque and Wayne Gretzky.

Today, Tim is a successful businessman in Massachusetts and remains a key player for the Boston Bruins Alumni team.

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#32 Rick Smith - Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion, 1970

#32 Rick Smith - Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion, 1970

April 12, 2019

Rick Smith was one of hockey’s steadiest defenseman in the 1970s and he’s our guest on episode 32 of the PHA Podcast.

Rick is a well-spoken and humorous guy and you’ll enjoy his reflections on his fascinating 13-year big league journey.   Rick tells at least 25 great stories, including:  joining Bobby Orr and Boston Bruins on their quest for the Stanley Cup, the shocking trade to the California Golden Seals, his amazing stay with the wild Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA and his return to Boston with Don Cherry’s lunchpail Bruins of the late 1970s.

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#31 Randy Manery - The Flames First All Star

#31 Randy Manery - The Flames First All Star

March 29, 2019

Randy Manery, the Flames Franchise first-ever All Star is our guest on Episode 31 off the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast.

A steady defenseman, who could carry the puck, Randy played 592 NHL games with the Atlanta Flames, Detroit Red Wings and LA Kings.  He was named as the Flames’ representative in the 1973 NHL All Star Game in New York and later was twice voted to be the top defenseman on the LA Kings.

In this interview Randy recalls the early days of hockey in the deep South, colorful personalities like Pat Quinn, Boom Boom Geoffrion and Tom Lysiak, the trade to LA, life on the west coast and the life challenges he faced upon retirement.

Just a reminder to subscribe to the podcast and leave a rating on iTunes because this helps more people find these old time hockey interviews.  You can reach as at prohockeyalumni@gmail.com and you can find as at ProHockeyAlumni anywhere on the web.

Now, let’s talk classic hockey with Randy Manery

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#30 Mike Rogers - 3-Time 100-point Scorer with the New York Rangers and Hartford Whalers

#30 Mike Rogers - 3-Time 100-point Scorer with the New York Rangers and Hartford Whalers

March 10, 2019

Episode 30 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast Features “Mighty” Mike Rogers, the speedy and skilled centerman, who was one of the most productive centers in hockey during the 1970s and 80s.

Mike was the WHA rookie of the Year in 1975 with the Edmonton Oilers, but was soon traded to the New England Whalers, where solidified himself as consistent 70-80 point scorer.

But, when the Whalers joined the NHL in 1979-80, Rogers really took off scoring 105 points and recording a plus 28 plus/minus rating.  The “Stash-Bash and Dash” line with Rogers flanked by Blaine Stoughton and Pat Boutette would become one of the NHL’s most prolific trios.

Mike was named Whalers captain and appeared in the NHL  All Star game as he hit the 100 point level again in 1980-81.  However, prior to the 1981-82 season Rogers was dealt to the New York Rangers, where he didn’t miss a beat scoring 103 points for the Blueshirts.

Mike scored 347 goals and 886 points in the big leagues and went on to a great career as a color commentator for the Calgary Flames.  He was recently inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Always personable, Mike is a great interview and you’ll enjoy his humorous stories about his days in the WHA and NHL

Now … Let’s talk Classic hockey with Mike Rogers!

 

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#29 Don Luce - 1970’s Buffalo Sabres Two-Way Star

#29 Don Luce - 1970’s Buffalo Sabres Two-Way Star

February 28, 2019

Episode 29 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast Features Don Luce, a Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer, who was one of the NHL’s premier two-way players in the 1970s.

Luce teamed with wingers Craig Ramsay and Danny Gare to form one of hockey’s most potent lines. In all, Luce played 894 career NHL games, scoring 225 goals and 329 assists for 554 points. His best statistical season was the 1974–75 season with the Buffalo Sabres, when he set career highs in goals (33), points (76), shorthanded goals (8), and plus minus with a +61 rating.

Don won the Masterton Trophy in 1975 and was and NHL All Star the same year.  He is a member of the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.

Post-career Luce enjoyed great success in player development with the Sabres and Flyers.

In this interview, Don tells hilarious stories about his days with the Rangers, Red Wings and Sabres and also discusses the heartbreaking trade from Buffalo to LA and the tough adjustment he had in the early days of retirement.

Don also discusses his exciting new business, which helps athletes of all ages maximize their mental preparation for competition.

Host:  Mark Willand

 

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