Today’s hockey news consists mainly of talk of training camp absentees and those who have signed their 1967-68 contracts. We begin our National Hockey League tour today with a trip to Peterborough where the Toronto Maple Leafs are training.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower’s golf round in the club tournament yesterday ended after nine holes after the veteran netminder decided he was too upset to continue play. It wasn’t his difficulty on the front nine that rattled the 42-year-old. Nor was it a problem with a contract or his play in early workouts. Bower became extremely agitated when his attention was drawn to a car in the golf club’s parking lot. Toronto coach and general manager Punch Imlach was the one that prompted Bower to look at the car.
What Bower spied was a 1964 Mustang convertible that belongs to his wife. The vehicle, which was originally white, now was painted in every colour of the rainbow. Red, green, blue, black, fuschia, yellow and pink stripes covered the entire body of the automobile. Maple Leaf decals were on the doors, trunk and hood.
The vehicle had been painted, allegedly, by Imlach and Rochester Americans general manager-coach Joe Crozier. The prank originated when Bower had asked Imlach where he could get a paint job for his wife’s Mustang at a reasonable price. Bower wanted some scratches and dents removed, and the colour to be changed to black.
Imlach told Bower he could get him a wonderful paint job for $50. Bower, ever the frugal one, eagerly coughed up the money while Imlach and Crozier took the car for the “paint job.”
Upon seeing the mess that the car had become, Bower was unable to continue golfing.
“What’ll my wife say? This is her car” moaned Bower to anyone who would listen. “I can’t drive it back to Toronto like that, I’ll cause an accident. When we drive down town they’ll think the Chief (George Armstrong) and I are a couple of hippies!”
The story will have a somewhat happy ending, but won’t come without some embarrassment for Bower. Imlach has promised to pay to have the bumps and scratches removed, and for a class A paint job. All Johnny has to do is drive the car back to Toronto to show his wife.
Entire Team Punished
Five Maple Leaf players misbehaved last night, and today the entire team is suffering. The five, who remain unnamed, apparently didn’t get back to the Empress Hotel in Peterborough until well past curfew.
This morning, general manager-coach Punch Imlach decided to teach the entire team a lesson and sentenced them all to 90 minutes of all-out skating an stops-and-starts drills.
Golfer Moe Norman gave Jim Pappin, a pretty good man on the links himself, a new driver at yesterday’s Leaf golf tournament. He also provided some lessons for Frank Mahovlich. Dave Keon won the tourney shooting a 79. Pappin won low net with a 72… Brian Conacher passed on the golf tournament to visit his uncle Charlie Conacher, in a Toronto hospital for treatment of throat cancer…Forwards showing the best in early workouts are Keon, Mahovlich, Ron Ellis, George Armstrong and Milan Marcetta… Best blueliners have been Duane Rupp and Darryl Sly.
The Detroit Red Wings finally have star centre Norm Ullman under contract. The 29-year-old ended his four-day hold out signed a two-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.
Ullman led the Red Wings in scoring last season with 70 points, made up of 26 goals and 44 assists. This will be his 13th NHL season.
Three other Red Wings remain unsigned but are taking part in workouts. They are forwards Floyd Smith and Gary Jarrett and goalie George Gardner.
Captain Pete Signs
Defenceman Pierre Pilote, captain of the Chicago Black Hawks, signed his 1967-68 contract yesterday. Pilote, who is now 36 and entering his 13th NHL season, is also the Chicago player representative. He was participating in the Black Hawk training camp. In fact, he signed his contract right after yesterday’s drills. The Hawks did not disclose salary figures.
Last year Pilote played all 70 games for the Black Hawks, scoring six goals and adding an amazing 46 assists. He was named to the NHL First All-star Team.
Chicago still has four players who are unsigned and have declined to participate in workouts. Goalkeeper Denis DeJordy is the biggest worry for general manager Tommy Ivan. With the great Glenn Hall departed to the expansion St. Louis Blues, DeJordy is the clear number one netminder. Ivan spoke to him today.
Others with whom negotiations continue are Pat Stapleton, Ken Wharram and Pit Martin. Martin, acquired in the big trade with the Boston Bruins in May, is being counted on to replace Phil Esposito as the Hawks number two pivot, behind Stan Mikita.
Superstar left wing Bobby Hull is expected to join the team over the weekend. He’s presently involved in cattle auctions at his Ontario farm. Both Hull and Mikita are on the last year of multi-year contracts.
Best looking rookies at Chicago’s training camp thus are centre Geoff Powis, left wing Wayne Maki (Chico’s younger brother) and defenceman Wayne Smith. Another rookie forward, Doug Shelton, got off to a slow start but is now rounding into form. He was with St. Louis of the Central Professional Hockey League last season, scoring 11 goals and adding 23 assists for the Braves.
All players passed their physicals with no problem. Heaviest player at camp is defenceman Doug Jarrett, who weighed in at 209 pounds. Eric Nesterenko came in at a svelte 180, about 10 pounds under his normal playing weight.
Will Sanderson Make It?
The former bad boy of the Ontario Hockey League, 21-year-old Derek Sanderson is a supremely confident young man. Many would say that the exaggerated swagger he shows off around the Boston Bruins training camp borders more on arrogance. Love him or hate him, once you speak with him you are left with little doubt that he expects to be a regular in the National Hockey League in this, his first professional season.
Sanderson’s exploits in Junior hockey are already legendary. He’s been involved in fights and near-riots in nearly every city he visited. He was even jumped by a group of Edmonton fans and beaten up during the 1966 Memorial Cup.
Despite all the attention Sanderson’s nasty streak gets, he is a pretty fair country hockey player as well. Last season, the six-footer led the Ontario Hockey Association Junior A Series with 101 points, made up of 41 goals and a league-leading 60 assists. He followed that up with eight goals and 17 assists in only 13 Memorial Cup playoff games. He’s a swift skater and extremely smart on the ice. He is just as comfortable in a defensive role as he is on the attack, and the Bruins thought highly enough of him that they traded Murray Oliver to Toronto.
Sanderson says that he really isn’t the ogre that his statistics and the stories suggest he is:
“I played four years of junior. I wasn’t very big starting out so I had to be a little tough. After I had a few fights it got so other guys were having a run at me. It’s hard to stop.
“Another thing – I have this big mouth usually and I guess nine or 10 misconducts add a lot of minutes. This I have to stop.”
Hockey writer Tom Fitzgerald of the Boston Globe describes Sanderson as a “lively kid” and that would be an understatement. But he hasn’t looked out of place in early scrimmages and has backed down from no one. Coach Harry Sinden says he may just have to find a place for the precocious rookie sooner than anticipated.
Thirty-year-old winger Myron Stankiewicz has also caught Sinden’s eye early in camp. He’s been with Hershey of the American Hockey League for the past several years and is in London on a tryout basis…Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge, picked up from the Chicago in that big off-season trade, have been working well together on a line…Gerry Cheevers and Ed Johnston appear to have the inside track on the goaltending spots…Sanderson signed his contract yesterday…Bobby Orr will be in camp tomorrow, but he won’t be on skates for a while.
Penguins Plagued By Holdouts
As the second day of the Pittsburgh Penguins training camp dawned, it became apparent that the team’s two holdouts are adamant they are not going to report until they receive satisfactory contracts. And these players aren’t just anyone, they are the Penguins two top selections in the June Expansion Draft.
Earl Ingarfield and Al MacNeil both absented themselves from camp opening yesterday. The former New York Ranger team mates have not communicated with coach Red Sullivan or general manager Jack Riley. Riley says he’s in no hurry to talk to either man:
“I haven’t heard from either of them recently, and don’t intend to contact them, at least not for several days.
“I can’t understand why Ingarfield didn’t show up today. I offered him a contract calling for 20 per cent more than he received from the Rangers last year.”
Ingarfield, 33, has been with the Rangers for the past nine seasons. Last season he had 12 goals and 22 assists in 67 games.
For the 32-year-old MacNeil, last season was his first with the Rangers. He played 58 games, notching four assists while failing to score a goal. He previously was with Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. MacNeil has taken a different approach than most players to negotiating his contract, and Riley isn’t impressed:
“He told me I would have to deal for his services directly through his attorney. I told him I wouldn’t deal through any attorney. I don’t know who the attorney is. I think it is safe to say he is hardly capable of judging hockey talent. He probably hasn’t seen MacNeil play more than two or three professional games.”
It’s not known for sure if Toronto lawyer Alan Eagleson is handling MacNeil’s affairs.
Two other players were missing the first day, but they weren’t any big worry for Riley. Goalie Hank Bassen, recently acquired from Detroit for Roy Edwards, the Pens second goalie pick, reported from his Calgary home that he would be a couple of days late. Steve Rexe, a 20-year-old amateur from Peterborough, Ontario, is trying to make up his mind whether he wants to turn pro with the Penguins or remain an amateur and try for Canada’s national team.
Rangers Hand Out Fines
New York Rangers general manager-coach Emile Francis took the bull by the horns yesterday and fined three players missing from training camp $500 each. Rod Gilbert, Arnie Brown and Orland Kurtenbach were docked the money for what the club called “contract-breaking.”
Two other players, goalkeeper Don Simmons and forward Wayne Hall, were fined $300. Their amount was less because, according to the Rangers, they are minor leaguers.
This is the first time in Rangers history that fines have been levied against players who reported late for training camp. Emile Francis didn’t mince words:
“These guys were nailed to the cross from the first day they didn’t show here.”
Francis says the players were still under obligation to the team under the terms of their contract, which runs from October 1 to October 1. Contracts contain a clause that says players must report to camp “30 days prior to the start of the championship season and be available to play in exhibition games.”
Brown is being advised by National Hockey League players’ association executive director Alan Eagleson, a Toronto lawyer. Eagleson is in Kitchener with Brown, and was in his hotel room fielding calls from other players around the league who were seeking advice.
- Detroit Red Wings have hired Mike Daski of Winnipeg, who will scout European hockey talent.
- Los Angeles Kings wore their new uniforms for the first time yesterday as owner Jack Kent Cooke arrived at training camp.
- A small fire at Maple Leaf Gardens last night caused about $5500 in damage to a locker room. Careless smoking is blamed.
- Philadelphia Flyers have signed Gary Dornhoefer, Larry Wright, Jim Johnson and Forbes Kennedy.
- Flyers general manager Bud Poile says Guy Gendron will report to camp on Monday, but will have to pay a $50 per day fine until then.
- Detroit Red Wings expect to top 8,000 season tickets for the second year in a row.
- US college hockey star Doug Volmar has left the Red Wings camp to join the USA Olympic team.
- Gary Bauman has been outstanding at the Minnesota North Stars camp and could win the #1 goaltending job.
- North Stars defenceman Elmer Vasko missed yesterday’s scrimmages while getting an injured knee looked at.