Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Toronto Toros vs Los Angeles Sharks, Rare WHA Photos

L to R. Gavin Kirk, Steve King, Steve Cuddie, Alton White, Carl Brewer, Steve Sutherland, Les Binkley, JP LeBlanc
My pal Doug Petepiece has come through once again with some fantastic, never-before-seen old hockey photos. Doug, a photo-journalist since the 1970's sent me a bunch of great pics showing World Hockey Association game action. This batch is from a pre-season game in Ottawa just prior to the 1973/74 season. The Toronto Toros who had just transferred from existing as the Ottawa Nationals are battling the Los Angeles Sharks at the Civic Centre.

I have identified most of the players, some great names from the past. The first one shows ex-Maple Leaf Carl Brewer in one of his first games back after being retired for the 1972/73 campaign. Also pictured is Alton White of the Sharks who was the second ever professional black hockey player after Willie O'Ree. White had tallied 20 goals for Los Angeles the previous year.
Jim Niekamp, Pat Hickey, Gavin Kirk, Paul Hoganson
The above shot shows Pat Hickey in one of his first professional games after being drafted from the junior Hamilton Red Wings. He'd score 26 goals as a 20 year-old rookie. The Shark defender sprawled on the ice is possessor of one of the greatest nicknames in history; Jim "Shitter" Niekamp. I had a quick search to find where it originated to no avail, I'll have to re-visit that one later.
Les Binkley, Steve Sutherland, Wayne Dillon, Tom Serviss
Toros coach Billy Harris is shown behind the bench below. He had coached Ottawa the previous year and would lead the Toros to second place in the East this year. The following year the ex-Maple Leaf coached the WHA's Team Canada as they played the Soviets in the 1974 Summit Series. To the right of the image is another ex-Leaf and Bruin in Wayne Carleton. He had seasons of 42, 37 and 35 goals in the WHA.
Coach Billy Harris, Carl Brewer, Rick Sentes, Wayne Carelton

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