Monday, July 6, 2015

Quebec Nordiques vs Birmingham Bulls, 1977

Matti Hagman, Dale Hoganson, Wayne Wood
Here's some more fantastic old photos from the files of photo-journalist Doug Petepiece. These show World Hockey Association pre-season action between the Toronto Toros and the Quebec Nordiques  from an exhibition game prior to the 1977/78 season. I was able to identify most of the players.

The first and second photos were taken in quick sequence and show Finnish import Matti Hagman battling Dale Hoganson in front of the net. Hagman had topped the Finnish league in goals as a 19-year old and repeated the feat in 1974/75. He was then drafted by the Boston Bruins whom he joined in 76/77 to score 11 goals and 28 points over a full season. After beginning the following campaign even slower, the Bruins sold Hagman to the Nordiques on December 1, 1977. Hagman produced an impressive 56 points in 53 games but would return home to play for Helsinki after the season he'd play the next two there including 79/80 when he scored a fantastic 87 points over 36 games.

The NHL came calling once again for Hagman and he signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 80/81 season. After seasons of 53 and 59 points Hagman returned to Finland one last time. He played 10 more years, leading the circuit in scoring three more times.

In the second photo, Bordeleau and Westrum join the scrum in front of Wood. Bordeleau was a veteran of 205 NHL games and scored 21 goals for the 1970/71 St. Louis Blues.
The next photo, I'm fairly confident of the players I identified, except the #16 Bull behind Wayne Wood's net. I believe it's Gord Gallant as there is a clear "ant" visible at the end of the player's nameplate. Gallant was the only player of the three years the Bulls existed that had a name ending in "ant" and he had played the previous season with the team but would not make the squad in 77/78.

This scenario presents a bit of a problem though. If this is a pre-season game in September of 1977, Hagman would still be with the Bruins as he wouldn't become a Nordique for over two months. This is of course assuming that these photos are from the same game. Either way, it's a tough one to figure out.
Joe Noris, Bob Fitchner, Gord Gallant?, Wayne Wood, Jim Turkiewicz, Curt Brackenbury
The last photo is another slightly puzzling one. It shows Bulls Chris Evans battling #16 of Quebec in front of Wood. The thing is, the only player to don the #16 for the Nords during the 77/78 regular season...the very same Chris Evans. He would be claimed on waivers from the Bulls on Nov. 1, 1977. This further confirms that this pic (and all of them, if indeed they are all from the same game), was a pre-season match. Obviously it is a right-handed shooting #16 who did not make the regular season roster. 

Perhaps it's safe to assume that the first two pics are from after December 1 when Hagman joined Quebec, and the last two are from the pre-season prior to Gallant being cut and Evans being acquired by Quebec.

Chris Evans, Wayne Wood



2 comments:

Finn said...

I'm quite sure that is not Matti Hagman (who incidentally died today at the age of 61) in front of the net. Looks to me more like Peter Driscoll who also used the #10 for the Nordiques during the 1977-78 but was then traded to the Racers. Would love to see a picture of Hagman with the Nordiques, but I'm afraid that is not him.

Finn said...

Looking at this picture (and few others) I'm fairly certain that the #10 is Peter Driscoll
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=1435

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