Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas 1960 : No Shortage of Hockey

In an era where hockey operated without a Players Association, club owners ruled the day. The holiday season was no excuse not to schedule games. Teams wisely marketed these contests as being a family event for everyone to enjoy.

As the above ad indicates, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings went to battle on Christmas Eve 1960. A capacity crowd watched the Wings and Leafs skate to a 4-4 tie.

On Christmas Day 1960, Maple Leaf Gardens played host to an OHA Junior "A" doubleheader. The Guelph Royals played the Toronto Marlboros, followed by the Niagara Falls Flyers vs. the St. Michael's Majors.

The Guelph Royals were coached by Emile Francis, who would later lead the New York Rangers in the NHL. Their big line included Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle and Terry Oliver. Going into the Christmas Day game, this trio had accounted for 45% of the Royals goals.

The Marlboros were introducing 3 new players to their fans - Don Westbrooke and Grant Moore (Weston Dukes) and Ian St. Clair (University of Toronto).

The Niagara Falls Flyers featured the Leagues leading goalie, Wayne Rutledge.

The St. Mike's big line was composed of the Draper twins, Dave and Bruce, skating with Larry Keenan. Also, a big deal was being made of coach Father David Bauer moving forward Terry Clancy back to play defence. Of course, this was the same position his famous dad, King Clancy, patrolled in the Gardens for many years.

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