Eddie Shore would be happy to know that his tradition is still alive in pro hockey.
The Hall of Fame defenseman owned and operated the AHL's Springfield Indians for nearly 40 years after he finished playing. Now, another possible Hall of Famer, goaltending great Andy Moog, has put time and money into minor league hockey with his involvement with the Ft. Worth Brahmas of the Western Pro Hockey League.
|Moog made a lot of big saves in his playing career. Now, he's watching from above, as a minor-league executive.|
Moog, who makes his year-round home in nearby Dallas, is not just a name on a letterhead. He is managing general partner and president of the Brahmas -- as well as the goaltending coach for the Canucks organization.
"It's an investment opportunity," is how Moog characterizes his interest in the Brahmas. "I own a small percentage of the team, and it's an opportunity to get a better understanding of hockey on the administrative side," he added.
Moog estimates he makes it to about 25 games a season, and from time to time helps out on the ice, too, although he is careful to make sure players know that coach Terry Menard is the man in charge.
Moog said his involvement with the National Hockey League Players Association sparked his interest in the front-office side of the sport, and what he's seen in Ft. Worth during the Brahmas' two seasons in business he has liked. "It has been a challenge being a start-up organization," he said. "The first year was more about just getting a business off the ground. The second year was more about putting together a hockey team. As things stand now, I probably want to be more involved with the day-to-day hockey part of it."
The view from the owner's box is different than the view from the crease, of course. Moog says there's an emotional involvement in the game, but it's from more of a distance.
The tradition Shore began in Springfield during the Great Depression actually continues there today. The AHL Falcons are owned by two former Springfield players, Bruce Landon and Wayne LaChance, and they are hands-on owners. Also, oddly enough, after World War II ended, Shore also owned the Ft. Worth Rangers of the United States Hockey League.
His tradition seems in capable hands these days.
Notes from the AHLRochester's Craig Fisher announced his retirement from the effects of an early season concussion. Fisher says it takes him three or four tries to even dial a phone, and about all he can do is make a sandwich for himself. He was one of the best minor league players of the '90s, scoring 133 goals in the IHL and 203 in the AHL, including 15 in his first 17 games this season. Fisher played in 12 NHL games without a goal.
Springfield's Brad Tiley was named winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the league's best defenseman and was also a first-team All Star. His defense partner on the All-Star team was Kentucky's Shawn Heins. Portland's Martin Brochu was the top goalie. The forward line was Mike Maneluk (Philadelphia), along with Hershey teammates Serge Aubin and Christian Matte.
Worcester IceCats president Roy Boe is heading up a group that plans to put an expansion franchise in a new arena being built in Bridgeport, Conn. That's about a 12-minute drive from Boe's home in Fairfield County. The team is scheduled to begin play in October of 2001, and Boe will have until July of 2001 to divest himself of his Worcester interests. He said he expects that his role with the IceCats will be assumed by local people and will mean little change in the way the team is run.
Veteran Saint John hockey writer Brad Janes has a hockey fiction book out called "Overtime." It's a realistic look at the life of a minor-league player and available from Dream Catcher Publishing in Saint John, N.B.
Hartford's Dale Purinton was nailed with a two-game suspension, his sixth suspension of the season, after a spearing incident near the end of a game with Worcester on March 25.
Notes from the IHLMichigan goalie Marty Turco broke two long-standing league goalie records with a shutout streak of 282:04. Dave Hainsworth, who played for the Muskegon Mohawks in 1972-73, held the previous record of 264:02. Turco had four consecutive shutouts during his streak. Hainsworth had three in a row twice in 1972-73. Turco blanked Milwaukee, 2-0; lost a 1-0 shootout to Cleveland, but got credit for a shutout; whitewashed Cincinnati, 4-0; and beat Detroit, 2-0. Orlando's Curtis Murphy ended the streak with a goal at 6:35 of the first period in a game eventually won by Turco and the Wings, 3-2.
Turco was even better than Long Beach's Nikolai Khabibulin. The Phoenix holdout started 19 straight games for the IceDogs. He was 9-1-0 in the last 10 with four shutouts, allowing only nine goals during that stretch.
The league scoring race will probably go down to the last shift of the season. Two points separated the top four scorers with a week to go. Chicago's Steve Larouche and Steve Maltais were one-two with 78 and 77 points, respectively. Cincinnati's Gilbert Dionne had 76 as did Jamie Ling of Kansas City.
When defenseman Lorne Knauft skated for Detroit, he became the Vipers' 61st player of the season.
Dieter Kochan was recognized as the first player to jump directly from the United Hockey League to the NHL when Tampa Bay brought up the goalie from the B.C. Icemen, but Kochan had made stops in Grand Rapids and Orlando of the IHL, as well as Springfield of the AHL. In Orlando, Kochan was 4-0 in four starts. Tampa Bay brought him up two games after he made 69 saves for B.C. in a 3-2 victory over Flint.
Bill Ballou covers professional hockey and baseball for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass.