Here some humorous stories from the real-life Long Island Ducks of the EHL. The Ducks leader, John Brophy was the inspiration for Paul Newman's Slap Shot character.
With 5:31 to play in the
2nd period, segments of the crowd engaged the New Haven Blades in a can
throwing melee that brought memories of an ugly scene here in 1966, when LI
Ducks fans rioted during a playoff game between Long Island and the Nashville
Dixie Flyers. The melee began with a non-fight between Blake Ball and the Ducks
Herman Karp. The two grappled near the New Haven bench. "I'm not going to
fight a man like Blake Ball, that's for sure." (Ed. note: by the way Karp
was not known as a fighter but you pretty much had to be at times to survive in
But the two were close enough to the sideboards for the fans to get involved. One man emptied a cup of beer over Ball's head. (ed. note: At the Long Island Arena people were allowed to drink cans or cups of beer while standing behind the chicken wire behind the nets and along the boards that didn't have glass.) Ball turned around and knocked another man's beer down to the floor. A can came flying down to the ice and another followed it. The Blades players fired the cans back into the crowd. Then a man came running toward the ice and slammed a can on Ball's forehead. It took an announcement of threatened forfeiture to restore order after a total delay of 18 minutes. "I knew right away that I got the wrong man," Ball admitted. "I was hit with the beer and I turned around. The other guy just happened to be standing there holding a cup." Ball has been a favorite villain of Ducks fans ever since he went to New Haven 5 years ago after a 2-year stint in the Canadian Football League. He also spent 3 years as an officer on the Metro-Toronto police force.This story is nothing. When the Ducks went up to Clinton to play the Comets the fans there would throw folding chairs onto the ice. The Ducks players would leave their bench and gather at center ice to avoid getting hit. But not to be outdone, the Ducks, led usually by John Brophy, would fling the chairs back into the crowd. The LI Arena had the visitors dressing room set up where the players had to walk 500 ft. or so to get to the dressing room, through the corridors and past the concession stands. Tons of fights between Ted McCaskill and the Dixie Flyers would start when fans surrounded the players on the way to the room. It's amazing what fans would do with some beer muscle. Players would many times walk back-to-back so they wouldn't get jumped from behind. Many times the officials and visiting teams had to wait untill the arena cleared out and still received a police escort to the team bus.
That was the way of the EHL.
let's keep the stories going. This game happened on Long Island
during the '68-69 season I believe.Two days before this game against New Haven,
the Ducks boarded a bus in Nashville to get back to Long Island. They arrived
in Washington at 1pm the day before the game. They took a plane from Washington
hoping it would be faster than the bus. The bus continued to Long Island empty.
The plane was diverted to Philly because of bad weather and the players finally
had to hire limos to take them up the NJ Turnpike to LI. The bus beat them to
the Island and the team arrived in cars at 11pm. At 11:36pm the teams lined up
for the anthem. After a slight hesitation the P.A. announcer apologized.
"We have no national anthem so let's start the game."
Now to the game
At 16:10 of the 2nd period, Marty Desmarais of the Blades and Ducks goalie Roger Wilson tangled around the Ducks goal. Within seconds the two were trading punches. Brophy and Blake Ball began a bout of their own. The fans began pouring beer on Ball (like the last game). Someone jabbed Ball with a stick through the screen. One fan jumped on the ice and others threatened Blades coach Don Perry. Then came the beer bottles and cans onto the ice. A bottle hit Duck goalie Wilson on the head. Still the fans weren't satisfied. A hundred or so stood in the corridor outside the Blades dressing room between periods chanting "We want Desmarais" and "Come on out you cowards." When the Blades did come out to resume play, they were given a police escort to the ice. After Wilson was ejected the Ducks were forced to use their trainer Milt Papps in net. The Ducks rallied from a 3-1 deficit to a 3-3 tie with less than 9 minutes remaining. But at 14:58 Mike Rouleau scored on Papps who last played goal two years ago, for the winner. It was 2:30am when the game ended.
Ducks vs Jacksonville Rockets
Jacksonville, Fla.There were 3,018 fans in the 8,000 seat Ice Palace and a few of them got so disgusted in the second period that they triggered a five minute brawl with nearly the entire Ducks club.
The Ducks were leading, 5-2, about midway through the middle session when a couple of fans began throwing debris and shouting insults to some of the Ducks seated on the bench. In a flash, the benches emptied and there was pulling and tugging in the first two rows of spectator seats.
"I saw a fan throw something at John Brophy and when our trainer Bill Lumley told the guy to stop, he comes right at Bill. Then some more fans jumped in and off the bench we came." explained coach Gene Achtymichuk.
It took some half-dozen cops to halt the melee before the Ducks went on to win the game 8-2.2/12/67
Ducks vs Nashville
Commack, LIJohn Brophy and the Dixie Flyer's Brian Crowder squared off on the ice with the fight becoming a battle royale in the penalty box as four policemen and several fans attempted to break it up. While this was going on Tom Burgess of the Ducks and Ted McCaskill (father of ex-MLB pitcher Kirk McCaskill by the way) were going at it on the ice. If this wasn't enough for the fans McCaskill and Wayne Kitchen had a fight in the 3rd period with McCaskill getting thrown out for his second penalty for fighting.
"He tried to gouge my eyes out with his glove," explained Brophy. "I couldn't see for a second and when I turned around he had his other hand in my other eye."
Brophy was ejected by ref Ted Daily who called 30 penalties totaling 120 minutes. There were 6 5-minute fighting majors, 3 10 minute misconducts and 2 game misconducts.
Later in the game Don Perry of the Ducks skated to the Nashville bench and challenged Crowder to come out. When he did Perry knocked him to the ice.
Also during the Brophy/Crowder fight the fans showered the ice with everything they could find. Linseman Bob Smith was hit with an egg and several containers of beer showered the players. When the brew soaked the fans instead of players, the fans who got drenched began fighting the beer throwers. …