Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Australian Hockey Star

I recently picked this up at a used book store, it's the International Ice Hockey Guide for 1980/81. It's the same size and style of the old NHL Guides of the same era, loaded with seemingly every country's league stats and every international tournament from the 1979/80 season. Of course the biggest hockey event from that season was the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and Vladislav Tretiak is pictured on the cover battling team USA. There is loads of stats on the Olympic tourney as well as from the 1980 Expolaris Cup in Sweden won by Kladno of the Czech league, the Pondus Cup from Copenhagen, Denmark (featuring national teams of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Denmark and Bulgaria) and the Great Britain Open Challenge Cup in Dundee, Scotland (which saw the Concordia University Stingers beat the Holland B-Team, the Danish Esbjerg IK and the Great Britain national team). Obviously this is a book right up my alley.

Among the interesting stats I have found in the book so far is the fascinating case of the leading scorer in the Queensland (Australia) Amateur Ice Hockey Association. The 1979 version of this league saw four teams each play 17 games, the Mayne Tigers, the Black Hawks, Red Wings and in real Aussie fashion, the Boomerangs. The scoring leader was one Ron Brideaux who played for the 13-2-2 league leading Mayne Tigers. In 17 games Brideaux put up 55 goals and 20 assists for 75 points. This in itself may not be so extraordinary as we have seen numbers like that posted in the British pro league by multiple players often in the same season. What's strange about Brideaux's numbers is his utter dominance over the rest of the league. His 55 goals were more than the total of the league's next three goal scorers combined. Read that last sentence again.... Brideaux's 55 was followed by second place with 20, third with 17 and fourth with 16.
I have been looking at hockey stats for thirty years and have played alot of beer league hockey over the last twenty or so years, and in all my years of hockey I have never seen that kind of dominance over one's peers over an entire season at any level.
In the entire Queensland League in 1979 there were a total of 277 goals scored for an average of 8.15 per match. Out of these 277 total goals Ron Brideaux scored 55 or 19.9% of the entire league's total. In 1944/45, when Montreal's Maurice Richard notched 50 goals in the six team NHL in which there were 1003 total goals scored, he accounted for just under 5% of league scoring.
Even in the NHL's first ever season of 1917/18 when Phantom Joe Malone scored 44 goals in the four team league he was responsible for 12.8 % of league goals. As well, in 1918 Cy Denneny scored 36 and Reg Noble 30. Dominant certainly, but not quite as much so as Brideaux in Australia.
I'm not saying for one second that Ron Brideaux was one of the greats of all-time. In fact, I can find no other record of him other than the book I have. He is not listed on any of the hockey databases and this was most likely the highest level of hockey he played. Even still his dominance over the league is fascinating to me.
Brideaux is currently an assistant coach with the Brisbane Bucaneers of the Australian league.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Geoff Fawke and Mark McCosker, then known as Ricky the Rat started the Boomerang Ice Hockey Club and we were all aussies and at one stage had the 4 Lindsay brothers playing for us. Steve, David, Graham and Bruce

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