Friday, July 8, 2011
July by the Numbers visits Eastern Canada for jersey #8.
The Nova Scotia Voyaguers franchise originated in 1969 as the Montreal Voyageurs, and after two seasons in Montreal, relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 1971-72 season, becoming the first AHL team ever located in the maritime provinces of Canada.
Once in Halifax, they wasted no time and won the AHL championship in their first season following a 41-21-14 regular season record, led by Germain Gagnon's 81 points, to become the first Canadian team to ever win the Calder Cup by cruising through the playoffs with a 12-3 record and outscoring the Springfield Indians 28-6 in Round 1, the Boston Braves 15-5 in Round 2 and the Baltimore Clippers 21-8 in the finals, 64-17 all told.
The Voyaguers posted an even better record during their second season and were led by the dynamic trio of Yvon Lambert (104 points and a league leading 52 goals), Tony Featherstone (103 points and 49 goals) and Morris Stefaniw (101 points and a league leading 71 assists) who finished 1-2-3 in the AHL scoring race! In the postseason, Nova Scotia made it all the way back to the championship finals for a second year in a row.
The Voyageurs continued their winning ways for the next three seasons before returning to the Calder Cup finals in 1975-76 when they defeated the Hershey Bears in five games to win their second championship. Ron Andruff led the club in scoring with 88 points, second overall in the AHL, while leading the league in goals with 42, while teammate Guy Choiunard's 40 was second overall.
The 1975-76 AHL Calder Cup champion Nova Scotia Voyageurs
They backed their title up with the best regular season record in team history in 1976-77 with a 52-22-6 mark and were led in scoring by future Montreal Canadiens Pierre Mondu's league leading 44 goals on his way to a team leading 89 points. After defeating Hershey once again, the Voyaguers downed the Rochester Americans in six games to go back to back as Calder Cup champions, their third title in six seasons.
The 1976-77 AHL Calder Cup champion Nova Scotia Voyageurs
Four more winning seasons would follow, giving the Voyageurs ten consecutive winning seasons, a streak broken in 1981-82 when the club was an even .500 at 35-35-10.
During that time period, Norm Dube led the AHL in scoring in 1979-80 with 101 points.
After one more winning season in 1982-83, Nova Scotia would suffer their first losing season ever at 32-37-11 in what would prove to be the club's final season in Halifax before relocating to Sherbrooke, Quebec where they were once again known as the Canadiens. Subsequent moves would see the club land in Fredericton, New Brunswick before becoming the Quebec Citadelles and finally the Hamilton Bulldogs, where they still play today.
Many well known players skated for "The Vees" during their time in Halifax, including Keith Acton, Guy Carbonneau, Ken Dryden, Brian Engblom, Yvon Lambert, Pierre Mondou, Bill Nyrop and Larry Robinson.
Today's featured jersey is a 1982-83 Nova Scotia Voyageurs John Chabot jersey. This jersey takes the approach of using the main striping template of it's parent club, but adding it's own cresting to make it their own.
It's a common approach, which at times can yield fun and interesting results, but other times jerseys that are predictable and uninspired. It's a fine line between what works and what doesn't, as sometimes having the minor league team create it's own unique identity can be the way to go.
In this particular case the use of the iconic Canadiens jersey makes the unmistakeable connection to the parent club in Montreal, while the Nova Scotia cresting, complete with it's baseball style tail under the name gives it it's own unique twist, although we do have to pause and wonder why the designer did not choose to make the name red for greater contrast against the blue background.
This particular example has had the name on the back removed, a common occurrence of this time period of jersey recycling, so it may have also been worn in 1981-82 by Dan Daoust as well.