No National Hockey League games on which to report today, but we do have attendance news concerning the new club, along with a few quick hits.
Campbell: New Teams OK
National Hockey League president Clarence Campbell said yesterday that the new expansion teams have collectively performed “better than expected.” Speaking in New York City yesterday, Campbell gave his views on the progress of the six new franchises, and also divulged attendance figures up to this point in the season.
“The performances of the new teams have been much superior to what was expected.”
Campbell addressed perceived problems with small crowds in the new cities:
“There are a couple of soft ones but their problems will be ironed out. Every one of the new clubs has increased its attendance since November 1.
“Oakland has had some problems arising out of an uncertainty of policy. They started to orient themselves to San Francisco. Then they shifted to California and this was not acceptable to either San Francisco or Oakland.
“I did not expect either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia to do any better at this point because of the basic concentrated interest in high school, college and professional football in those areas.”
Campbell says that the average home attendance in the six new cities is 6,120. Leading the pack is Minnesota, with 11,200. Oakland trails the group, averaging only 3,700 fans per game. Here is how the six new franchises stack up:
Minnesota: 11,200, St. Louis: 6,655, Pittsburgh: 5,605, Philadelphia: 5,494, Los Angeles: 4,649, Oakland: 3,700
As of Thursday night, each of the six established clubs, except for the New York Rangers, has lost at least one game to a new team. Campbell explained the difference in talent between the two divisions:
“The new clubs have many marginal players, those who in previous years moved up and down between the minors and the majors. They also became discouraged, moving their wives and families.
“There were also a high number of one-way contracts. The players said to themselves ‘Why should I work that hard? I can’t get any more money if I stay up there.’ Now they still have the same skills but a different spirit.”
Campbell thinks that the new teams won’t be as effective against the old clubs as they have been earlier in the season. He does think that the expansionists will be on a par with the old section earlier than he initially foresaw:
“I had set the target date for the new clubs to be on a par with the old as 1971. Now I think it’ll be 1970.”
Oakland Seals president Frank Selke Jr. outlined what he feels are the obstacles facing his club as they try to establish themselves in an area that cannot be considered “hockey country.”
“They’ve had minor league hockey here for many years, but it’s still primarily a foreign game that most of the people here will need time to appreciate.
“In our fourth season I expect that tickets will be hard to get, and once it catches on, we have 4,000,000 to draw from.
“Although only about 15 per cent of the 4,000,000 people in this area live on the San Francisco side of the bay, it’s not natural for them to drive to Oakland, whereas the Oakland people are used to driving to San Francisco.”
Sounds like Selke has a case of buyer’s remorse when it comes to the selection of the team’s location. If the Seals had researched this and come up with the conclusion Selke puts forth, it seems strange that efforts to construct a new arena in San Francisco, or at the very least perform some sort of renovation to the Cow Palace wasn’t attempted.
- Minnesota North Stars have called up veteran forward Parker MacDonald from Memphis of the Central Professional Hockey League.
- Both Flyers goalies, Doug Favell and Bernie Parent are itching to play against their former employers, the Boston Bruins on Sunday night. Coach Keith Allen says he might just use both for half the game each.
- Goalies Phil Myre of Niagara Falls and Bruce Mullett of Montreal Junior Canadiens were brilliant as the Flyers and Baby Habs played to a 0-0 tie last night in an Ontario Hockey Association Junior A game in Niagara Falls.
- Toronto Marlboros scored three third period goals to get by Ottawa 67s 4-2 at Hull, Quebec. Terry Caffery, Doug Acomb, Richie Bayes and Frank Hamill scored for Toronto. Jean Potvin and Pierre Jarry replied for Ottawa. 67s goalie Gary Doyle was spectacular with 50 saves for the home side.
- Hamilton Red Wings blasted the Kitchener Rangers 6-1 at Kitchener. The game was closer than the score indicated as Hamilton goalie Gerry Gray was forced to make 43 saves. Eddie Hatoum and Danny Lawson each fired a pair of markers for the Wings, with Ron Climie and Jim Adair adding singles. Lee Inglis connected for Kitchener.
- Jean Paul Parise scored twice to lead Rochester Americans to a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Bisons. Bryan Hextall and Jim McKenny also tallied for the Amerks. Larry Wilson had two goals for the Bisons, with Guy Trottier netting the other.