Friday, May 22, 2009

Scouts Notes: 1975-76 Preseason

9/25/75 ad for preseason game

Yes, this is an entire post about a preseason from 34 years ago by a defunct team. I'll try to keep it short.

• First off, though, is the below recap of the prior season that Ken Rudnick wrote for the September 21, 1975 Star. The exact average home attendance from year one is revealed to be 8,529, which was second worst in the league to the California Golden Seals (who also played their last year in 75-76). Owner Ed Thompson is quoted as saying, “The first half of last year I don’t think we promoted enough. In the second half we probably promoted too much. This year we’re going to try and find a happy medium. If we do better than 9,000 or 10,000 for this entire season, wed consider it successful.

• On June 3rd was the amateur draft, in which the Scouts selected LW Barry Dean with the second overall pick. However, Dean ended up playing the 75-76 season for the WHA Phoenix Roadrunners. “Size was the determing factor in the Scouts selections. None of the nine players selected are under 6'0" and the lightest is 175 lbs. It left coach Bep Guidolin...grinning at the thought of taking a goon squad into Philadelphia next year, ready to wreak revenge - Jay Greenberg, 6/4/75 Times. The Scouts didnt feel much of an impact from the draft class however, as Don Cairns, Terry McDonald and Bill Oleschuk were the only players to appear in a Scouts uniform, and they combined to play just 16 games during the season.

• Off-season trades: On June 18 Denis Dupere and Craig Patrick were acquired from  St. Louis for Lynn Powis and a No. 2 draft choice. On Aug. 20 the Scouts obtained Gary Bergman, a veteran defenseman, and Bill McKenzie, a promising goalie, for Glen Burdon and Peter McDuffe, a goalie whose work had disappointed the Scouts. - Joe McGuff, 10/7/75 Star (Craig Patrick , who played all 80 games in 75-76, is a member of the famed Patrick hockey family, and achieved success as assistant GM/coach of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team and as an NHL GM, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a builder in 2001.)

• The Scouts returned to Port Huron, Michigan for training camp, and played a six game exhibition schedule, with games in London (Ontario), Port Huron, two in Kansas City, St. Louis and Ames (Iowa) of all places. The two home games drew announced crowds of 4,955 and 4,981. The Scouts fared well in the preseason, compiling a 3-1-2 record, prompting Jean-Guy Lagace to say, Were just going to be a lot better (than last year).

• A Face-Off luncheon was held at Kemper on October 7th to kick off the season. About 800 people paid to attend.

• Only eight players remain from the team that faced Toronto in the opener of the Scouts first season. They are Simon Nolet, Ed Gilbert, Dave Hudson, Robin Burns, Wilf Paiement, Richard Lemieux, Randy Rota and Gary Croteau. - Joe McGuff, 10/7/75 Star

• Season two began at home on October 8th, a 1-1 tie with the Islanders. All interested parties must have been chagrinned when only 6,819 attended.

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