Monday, December 20, 2010

1975-76 Atlanta Flames Bill Clement Jersey

Born on this date in 1960, Bill Clement played his junior hockey with the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. A center, Clement played three seasons for the 67's, including being named team captain for the last two seasons. He scored a high of 19 goals and 36 assists for 55 points in 1969-70, which led to him being drafted 18th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft.

His apprenticeship continued with the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League in 1970-71 where he again posted very similar numbers with 19 goals and 58 points. He began the 1971-72 season with the Richmond Robins of the AHL, where he played in 26 games prior to making his NHL debut with the Flyers. Once called up to the NHL, Clement scored 9 goals and 23 points that season for his first NHL points.

After one more full season with the Flyers, Clement played an abbreviated season with Philadelphia, playing in just 39 games and four of the Flyers 17 playoff games on their way to their first Stanley Cup championship, the first ever won by a 1967 expansion club.

Clement Flyers
Clement while with the Flyers. He apparently went to the same barber as Bobby Clarke.

Clement came back strong in 1974-75, setting personal highs with 21 goals and 37 points. He also played a bigger role in the Flyers second consecutive Stanley Cup championship by not only playing in 12 of the Flyers 17 playoff games, but scoring the cup winning goal in Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres.

That summer Clement was traded to the second year Washington Capitals, immediately going from the penthouse to the outhouse, as he moved from the two-time Stanley Cup champions to the Capitals, who had just concluded the previous season with the fewest number of points in NHL history, 21, from a horrendous 8-67-5 record.

Clement Capitals
Clement during his half a season with the Capitals while serving as team captain

Clement was named the Capitals team captain for the 1975-76 season and appeared in 46 games prior to being traded to the Atlanta Flames halfway through the season. Just as the second year Capitals relied on Clement, so did the fourth year Flames. Despite the mid-season upheaval of being traded, Clement was able to score a combined 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points to set career highs in all three offensive categories. He also made his first of two NHL All-Star Game appearances in 1976.

Clement Flames
Clement as a member of the Flames while they were still in Atlanta

He had his second 50 point season in 1977-78, and appeared in his second All-Star Game, prior to playing two more seasons in Atlanta before following the franchise to it's new home in Calgary, where they retained the Flames name and colors. Clement was the Flames eighth leading scorer during their time in Atlanta, an impressive showing for a two-way forward.

Clement 1978 All-Star
Clement at the 1978 NHL All-Star Game

Clement played two seasons in Calgary to close out his career, finishing with 719 games played, 148 goals and 208 assists for 356 regular season points. He also played in 50 playoff games, which included five goals, one of which was the cup clincher in 1975.

Following his playing career, Clement entered the world of broadcasting, where his charisma and ever-present smile has made him one of the most popular color commentators in the game.

Clement Easter overtime
Color commentator Clement gets silly as the Islanders and Capitals enter the third overtime in their legendary playoff game

Today's featured jersey is a 1975-76 Atlanta Flames Bill Clement jersey as worn during the most productive offensive season of his career, when he scored a combined 54 points with both the Capitals and Flames.

The Flames kept essentially the same jerseys from their inception in 1972 through their move to Calgary in 1980, with only a tweak in striping following their first season and the addition of league mandated names on the back in 1977 worth noting. In fact, the Flames retained the same jersey template following their move to Calgary through 1992, with only the obvious change in crest from a flaming "A" to a flaming "C". To this day, Calgary pays tribute to their Atlanta origins by retaining the flaming "A" to designate their alternate captains.

Atlanta Flames 77-78 jersey

In today's video segment, Clement gets into a scrap with Bobby Orr of the Bruins.

Here, Clement gets silly as the Capitals and Islanders enter the third overtime of their 1987 playoff game, known as "The Easter Epic", which eventually went into a fourth overtime.

Clement, Clement. Hands of cement.

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