1968–69 WCHL season
1968–69 WCHL season Intro articles: 3
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. 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.
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. 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
1968–69 WCHL season League business articles: 11
The WCHL was split into two four-team divisions with an interlocking season schedule.
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. 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.
|Flin Flon Bombers||60||47||13||0||94||343||159|
|Brandon Wheat Kings||60||18||40||2||38||224||350|
|Edmonton Oil Kings||60||33||25||2||68||229||206|
|Swift Current Broncos||60||14||44||2||30||186||329|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalties in minutes
|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
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. WCHL playoffs were the first team to eight points would win series.
- 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
- Flin Flon defeated Estevan 9 points to 1
- Edmonton defeated Calgary 9 points to 5
- Flin Flon defeated Edmonton 8 points to 4
Overview of "Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League" article
The national final was scheduled to begin April 25 versus the Western Ontario Junior A Hockey League champion. 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.
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.
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. On May 7, Butlin awarded the series and the championship to the Flin Flon Bombers.
1968–69 WCHL season National championship articles: 8
Overview of "Flin Flon, Manitoba" article
|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|
- "West Juniors Change Name". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. June 8, 1968. p. 56.
- "Western Canada League outlines future plans". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. June 10, 1968. p. 7.
- "Kerslake, Club On The Warpath". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. July 20, 1968. p. 10.
- Briscoe, Bob (August 13, 1968). "'Captain' Butlin Can Claim First Round". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 42.
- "Butlin Confident". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. August 20, 1968. p. 6.
- Briscoe, Bob (February 10, 1969). "Legal Battle Over Goring?". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 20.
- Briscoe, Bob (February 11, 1969). "Goring Affair Is THE Topic". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 53.
- "Maverick Ontario League May Expand Next Season". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. December 26, 1968. p. 58.
- "Winnipeg, Flin Flon Open Playoff March 18". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 8, 1969. p. 58.
- "Bombers and Barons in East-West Final". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. April 28, 1969. p. 7.
- "East Quits Hockey Finals". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 6, 1969. p. 1.
- Davis, Reyn (May 6, 1969). "Flin Flon Awarded Game". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 25.
- Davis, Reyn (May 7, 1969). "Barons Get Home On Handouts". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 60.
- "Disgraceful, Says Butlin". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 7, 1969. p. 60.
1967–68 WCJHL season
|WHL seasons||Succeeded by|
1969–70 WCHL season