I recently picked up a 1966/67 Victoria Maple Leafs program from the Western Hockey League. This one completed the trifecta as I now have a program from each of the three season's the team was in existence. Being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan in Vancouver and learning that one of our top farm teams was just across the water has always been interesting to me.
|Closeup of the logos other Western League squads|
The program is from opening night 1966 against the Portland Buckaroos, a game Victoria would win 5-0. The Leafs were Western League defending champions having finished 40-28-4 and defeating San Francisco and Portland in a pair of seven game series. Despite their terrific game one victory, the 1966/67 campaign would not be as fruitful for Victoria as they finished out of the playoffs, six points behind the fourth place Seals.
The season did however finish on an up note for two Victoria skaters. Leading scorer Milan Marcetta and top scoring defenceman, Aut Erickson were called up to the big club for the NHL playoffs. Erickson got into one game, Marcetta three and both have their name on the last Stanley Cup won by Toronto.
Another name on the lineup page, playing D for Portland is Doug Messier, father of Mark. Doug was a solid defenceman throughout the 60's and would collect 32 points in 66/67 while finishing fourth in the league in PIMs. Below is an interesting set of stats from the program showing the previous years numbers. It seems Victoria was an early user of advanced stats as they have Shot Attempts, Shot Attempts Blocked and Goals Scored in different scenarios. 1967 seems early for these kind of numbers to be in vogue.
Interesting to see the WHL referees listed in the program, many familiar names that either had been or soon would be prominent names in the NHL.