Saturday, July 25, 2015

Toronto Maple Leafs at Seattle Totems, Oct. 2, 1968

The Seattle Totems in October 1968 were a real good hockey club. They had won back-to-back Western League championships the previous two years. The Totems would prove they were a good team this evening by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs who were only a year removed from a Stanley Cup victory. I recently picked up this program from the game to add to my den collection.
The pre-season game was played in front of 5,262 fans at the Seattle Centre Coliseum. This was Toronto's third visit to Seattle having won 7-4 in 1962 and 7-1 in 1964. Jim Armstrong started in goal for the Totems, Bruce Gamble for Toronto. Leaf rookie Rick Ley opened the scoring at 15:55 of the first period before Totem Don Chiz tied it on a power play early in the second. Halfway through the game, Don Head and Al Smith replaced the goalies for Seattle and Toronto respectively. 

Around two minutes after the goalie change, Bob Courcy put the Totems ahead after a pass from Guyle Fielder. Early in the third, Wayne Carleton tied it off a rebound of a Ley shot. The winner was scored by Marc Boileau off a Ray Larose rebound and Seattle held on for the victory. Afterwards, Leaf coach Punch Imlach said, "We could have jumped into a big lead in the first period and the game would have been over." Totem coach Bill MacFarland was a bit surprised by the outcome himself, saying, "I didn't think we were in that good condition."  

Seattle would go on to finish fourth in the Western League in 68/69 led by Fielder's 94 points and Courcy's 43 goals. They were swept in the playoffs by eventual champion Vancouver Canucks. Toronto would also finish fourth in the NHL's Eastern Division and were also swept by the Boston Bruins. Seattle lost the first two games of their series by scores of 7-1 and 6-0. Toronto's first two playoff losses were even worse, 10-0 and 7-0.

Seattle would not win another championship before the Western League folded after the 1973/74 season. Toronto...also...has not won a championship...since. 

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