Reliving yesteryear's hockey glory days.
Regular season play in the 1974-75 season was dominated by the Montreal Eclipse. Guy Lapointe was the team leader garnering the Norris and Hart Trophies. In the Atlantic Conference the Long Island Ducks were fighting for a top spot just above .500 when the front office pulled a coup. The team sent a package of draft picks and middle of the road players to the Cleveland Cobras for the great Bobby Orr. The team immediately became a powerhouse, dominating the conference for the remainder of the season. Then in the finals they upset mighty Montreal in six games to capture the first Legends Cup.
Prior to the start of the 1975-76 season, the two-man Montreal ownership group split. The splinter faction took over the mediocre Motor City franchise and relocated it to St-Basile, Quebec where they became the Patriots. They were the surprise of season two taking the President's Trophy finishing ahead of the powerful Ottawa Dragons and the slumping Montreal team. In the Atlantic Conference the Ducks were back on top with Ken Dryden turning in a Vezina/MVP performance. Rookie senasation Bryan Trottier turned a mediocre Chatham club into overnight contentenders with a 2nd place finish. Long Island reached the finals for the second straight year with a six game win over the cinderella New England Terriers team. In the Canadian Conference finals St-Basile went down 3-1 and looked to be finished against Ottawa. They fought back winning the last three, including two in overtime to win this unbelievable series in seven. The finals were even better going the full seven, with six games decided by one goal. In the end it was Ken Dryden adding to his hardware the Conn Smythe and the Ducks were repeat champions. The season also saw the establishment of several offensive records. Ottawa's Bobby Clarke set marks of 121 assists and 147 points. Montreal's Marc Tardif and New England's Real Cloutier went neck to neck in the goal scoring race. Tardif set the standard winding up with 71 to Cloutier's 68.
For 1976-77 the league expanded to 12 teams with the addition of the Bathurst Bucanneers. Season three was a tale of two seasons. In the regular season the two-time champion Ducks demolished all in their wake. Shattering virtually every team record the Ducks only lost 9 games. Second place New England finished 36 points behind and were winless in 10 matches with Long Island. The Ducks were once again led by Ken Dryden in a record setting campaign with a 2.29 GAA, .920 Save% and 52 victories. Ulf Nilsson paced New England with his own a league record 152 points. It was no surprise when the two teams met in the playoffs for the Conference Championship but the outcome was a shocker. The Terriers rallied from a 3-1 defecit to eliminate the Ducks and injured Ken Dryden in 7 games. New England went on to claim the Championship defeating St-Basile in the finals.
"The Empire Strikes Back"
1977-78 saw the emergence of Bathurst, New Jersey and Chatham as bonevide contenders. The Ducks surprised no one in walking away with the President's trophy as Ken Dryden turned in another record-setting performance. In the American Conference it was sweet revenge as Long Island easily swept aside their 1977 nemesis New England in four straight. In the Canadian Conference, Chatham and Montreal battled head-to-head all season only to find themselves tied for 1st place in the end. Montreal proved to have too much fire power in the playoffs as they advanced to the finals to meet the Ducks in a rematch of the '75 Finals. The Ducks, who carried newspaper clippings telling of the '77 loss, regained the Cup with an impressive 5 game win over the Maroons. They could now be considered the first LHL dynasty.
“Two out of three ain’t bad”
The 1978-79 season saw an outstanding down to the wire race in the American Conference. New England and New Jersey battled the Ducks for 1st place all season with the high scoring Terriers finally taking the top spot on the final game of the season. For the 4th straight year it was a Terriers-Ducks showdown in the Conference Finals. Marcel Dionne followed up a record setting 79 goal season and led the Terriers to a game 7 victory which was the first game to be broadcast “live”. The Canadian Conference was a different story. Chatham easily waltzed to a 1st place finish and captured the President’s Trophy with the all-around best record. The Ottawa Dragons were thought to be a team in decline but grabbed the last playoff spot on the final day of the season. In the first round of the playoffs they pulled off a shocker by sweeping the #1 Ironmen in 4 straight. They next disposed of Shizouka and out of nowhere found themselves matched up against the injury plagued Terriers in the Finals. Ottawa rode red-hot Wayne Thomas all the way to a game 7 but Thomas finally cracked as the Terriers took the finale and the Legend’s Cup for the 2nd time in 3 years. Days after the victory New England’s long time mascot, Gabe the Scottish Terrier passed away after a long bout with cancer. The team voted unanimously to include his name on the cup.
“The Meek Shall Inherit the Ice”
1980-81 saw the rise to dominance of two new teams: the expansion Grand Valley Saints and the perennial doormat Saskatoon Crescents. The Saints were led by Mike Bossy on offense, who netted a league record 80 goals and the top goaltending como of Pete Peeters and Reggie Lemelin. The Crescents were a gritty, team oriented dynamo with only one top ten scorer in Daryl Sittler. While the Crescents breezed to the finals losing only 1 playoff game, their opponents the New Jersey Jackals finally got through the strong American Conference for a finals berth. The Championship was anti-climactic as Saskatoon emerged 4 games to 1 to become the first Canadian team to win the cup.
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The Legend’s Cup Trophies:—>
Bobby Orr landed on Long Island in '75 and took the Ducks to the Cup.
Ken Dryden dominated the league in 1976 as the Ducks took their 2nd Title.
Ulf Nilsson was the engineer of New England's '77 upset win.
The 1977-78 Ducks were a team on a mission: recapture the Cup at all costs.
The Great One takes the stage in 1978-79.