👼 Set your curiosity free with rich, wide-ranging, hyper-connected information.

1968–69 WCHL season

The 1968–69 WCHL season was the third season of the Western Canada Hockey League. Eight teams completed a 60-game season, with the Flin Flon Bombers winning the President's Cup.

1968–69 WCHL season Intro articles: 3

League business

The Western Canada Junior Hockey League changed its name to the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) on June 8, 1968, and broke away from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) and affiliated with the new Canadian Hockey Association instead. Ron Butlin was named president of both of the WCHL and the Canadian Hockey Association. The league changed its name since it no longer conformed to the CAHA age limit of 19, but rather raised its age limit to 21. The Regina Pats chose to withdraw from the WCHL, and play in the Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League under the jurisdiction of the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association.[1] Butlin expected the WCHL to go ahead with the remaining ten teams separated into two divisions, but actively searched for prospective owners of a team in Regina, Saskatchewan. The WCHL sought for payments from the National Hockey League (NHL) as per the existing NHL Entry Draft agreement in which CAHA were paid for developing future professional players.[2]

On July 20, 1968, Butlin suspended the Moose Jaw Canucks from the WCHL for failure to fulfill financial obligations to the league. The Canucks then joined then Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League, becoming the second former WCHL team to do so.[3] The Weyburn Red Wings later withdrew from the WCHL due to concerns of increased operating costs, and were the third team to join the Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League. As of August 13, eight of the eleven teams from the WCJHL remained with the WCHL[4]

1968–69 WCHL season League business articles: 11

Regular season

The WCHL was split into two four-team divisions with an interlocking season schedule.[5]

In February 1969, the Dauphin Kings in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League challenged the validity of the Canadian Hockey Association contract when it signed Butch Goring from the Winnipeg Jets.[6] Merv Haney also departed the Jets for the Kings, and Butlin stated that the WCHL would seek a court injunction to prevent both from playing for Dauphin and take legal action to seek damages.[7]

Final standings

East Division GP W L T Pts GF GA
Flin Flon Bombers 60 47 13 0 94 343 159
Estevan Bruins 60 40 20 0 80 294 195
Winnipeg Jets 60 29 31 0 58 290 268
Brandon Wheat Kings 60 18 40 2 38 224 350
West Division GP W L T Pts GF GA
Edmonton Oil Kings 60 33 25 2 68 229 206
Calgary Centennials 60 31 28 1 63 253 236
Saskatoon Blades 60 24 35 1 49 195 271
Swift Current Broncos 60 14 44 2 30 186 329

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bobby Clarke Flin Flon Bombers 58 51 86 137 123
Greg Polis Estevan Bruins 60 40 85 125 94
Tom Serviss Calgary Centennials 60 24 79 103 60
Bob Liddington Calgary Centennials 60 58 33 91 26
Ernie Moser Estevan Bruins 56 46 40 86 41
Brian Marchinko Flin Flon Bombers 60 41 45 86 96
Gregg Sheppard Estevan Bruins 54 42 42 84 33
Doug Smith Winnipeg Jets 47 31 52 83 130
Jim Nichols Saskatoon Blades 60 37 35 72 16
Steve Andrascik Flin Flon Bombers 50 32 36 68 142
Wayne Harwysh Flin Flon Bombers 58 31 37 68 187

1968–69 WCHL season Regular season articles: 21

League playoffs

Butlin arranged for the WCHL to compete in an east-west national championship of the Canadian Hockey Association, against the champions of the Western Ontario Junior A Hockey League.[8] WCHL playoffs were the first team to eight points would win series.[9]

Quarterfinals

  • Calgary defeated Swift Current 8 points to 0
  • Edmonton defeated Saskatoon 8 points to 0
  • Estevan defeated Brandon 8 points to 2
  • Flin Flon defeated Winnipeg 9 points to 5

Semifinals

  • Flin Flon defeated Estevan 9 points to 1
  • Edmonton defeated Calgary 9 points to 5

Finals

  • Flin Flon defeated Edmonton 8 points to 4

Overview of "Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League" article

National championship

The national final was scheduled to begin April 25 versus the Western Ontario Junior A Hockey League champion.[9] The Flin Flon Bombers and St. Thomas Barons played in the CHA east-west national final for the Father Athol Murray Trophy. It was arranged as a best-of-seven series to begin in St. Thomas, Ontario. The series would be the first Canadian national junior ice hockey championship not under the jurisdiction of the CAHA.[10]

The Barons withdrew from the championship series during the fourth game, played at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon on May 5. The team left after an on-ice brawl during the second period. The referee defaulted the game to the Bombers, who were leading by a 4–0 score at the time. The Bombers led the series three games to one after the default win. Game five was scheduled in Flin Flon on May 7, and games six and seven would have been in St. Thomas if necessary.[11]

The Barons were escorted from the arena to their hotel by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and abandoned the series in the interest of player safety. The team departed for St. Thomas on May 6, despite game five being scheduled for the next day. The Canadian Press described the Barons as being over-matched in the series and were not up to the calibre of WCHL teams.[12][13] On May 7, Butlin awarded the series and the championship to the Flin Flon Bombers.[14]

1968–69 WCHL season National championship articles: 8

All-Star game

The 1968–69 WCHL all-star game was held in Flin Flon, Manitoba, with the WCHL All-stars and Flin Flon Bombers ending in a 4–4 draw before a crowd of 2,100.

Overview of "Flin Flon, Manitoba" article

Awards

Most Valuable Player: Bobby Clarke, Flin Flon Bombers
Top Scorer: Bobby Clarke, Flin Flon Bombers
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Bob Liddington, Calgary Centennials
Defenseman of the Year: Dale Hoganson, Estevan Bruins
Rookie of the Year: Ron Williams, Edmonton Oil Kings
Goaltender of the Year: Ray Martyniuk, Flin Flon Bombers
Regular Season Champions: Flin Flon Bombers

See also

References

  1. ^ "West Juniors Change Name". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. June 8, 1968. p. 56.
  2. ^ "Western Canada League outlines future plans". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. June 10, 1968. p. 7.
  3. ^ "Kerslake, Club On The Warpath". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. July 20, 1968. p. 10.
  4. ^ Briscoe, Bob (August 13, 1968). "'Captain' Butlin Can Claim First Round". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 42.
  5. ^ "Butlin Confident". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. August 20, 1968. p. 6.
  6. ^ Briscoe, Bob (February 10, 1969). "Legal Battle Over Goring?". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 20.
  7. ^ Briscoe, Bob (February 11, 1969). "Goring Affair Is THE Topic". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 53.
  8. ^ "Maverick Ontario League May Expand Next Season". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. December 26, 1968. p. 58.
  9. ^ a b "Winnipeg, Flin Flon Open Playoff March 18". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 8, 1969. p. 58.
  10. ^ "Bombers and Barons in East-West Final". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. April 28, 1969. p. 7.
  11. ^ "East Quits Hockey Finals". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 6, 1969. p. 1.
  12. ^ Davis, Reyn (May 6, 1969). "Flin Flon Awarded Game". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 25.
  13. ^ Davis, Reyn (May 7, 1969). "Barons Get Home On Handouts". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 60.
  14. ^ "Disgraceful, Says Butlin". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 7, 1969. p. 60.
Preceded by
1967–68 WCJHL season
WHL seasons Succeeded by
1969–70 WCHL season