photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Sunday, July 15, 2012
July by the Numbers returns to Canada for jersey #15.
Founded in 1939-40 in the Alberta Senior Hockey League, the Edmonton Flyers played two seasons before play was suspended because of Canada's entry into World War II. The team remained on hiatus until the end of the hostilities in 1945-46.
When the club was revived, they joined the brand new Western Canada Senior Hockey League. The team finished second out of the four clubs in 1945-46 and second again in the now five team circuit with the addition of Lethbridge in addition to Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon as well as the Flyers.
In 1947-48, the Flyers slipped to third in the standings but defeated Regina in the playoff Semifinals before winning the league championship with a 4 games to 1, plus a tie, victory over the Calgary Stampeders. The next step for the Flyers was the Western Canada Allan Cup playoffs where they swept the Trail Smoke Eaters in four and defeated the Winnipeg Reo Flyers in five games after losing Game 1. They advance to face the eastern representatives, the Ottawa Senators, in the finals, winning Game 1 in Regina, splitting the next two games in Edmonton before moving down the road to win the next two games held in Calgary to win the Allan Cup as champions of Canadian senior hockey.
The 1948 Allan Cup champion Edmonton Flyers
For the next three seasons the Flyers finished second, first (only to lose in the WCSHL playoff finals) and second.
Changes were in store for the Flyers, as the next season saw them graduate from amateur senior hockey to becoming a minor professional club when the WCSHL merged with the Pacific Coast Hockey League, which then changed it's name to the Western Hockey League for the 1952-53 season. With the move to the ranks of minor professional hockey, the Flyers became an affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings and saw such names as Johnny Bucyk, Glenn Hall, Al Arbour and Norm Ullman all don the Flyers sweater in front of standing room only crowds, although all of those players eventually made their names by playing for other NHL clubs!
The Uke Line of Bucyk, Bronco Horvath and Vic Stasiuk
would all go on to play together with the Boston Bruins in the NHL
Glenn Hall receiving his team MVP trophy in 1955
In 1952-53, the Flyers finished second during the regular season and went on to win their first President's Cup as the WHL playoff champions. Two seasons later the Flyers sent a franchise record with a 39-20-11 record for 89 points as they finished first in the WHL regular season and then went on to capture their second President's Cup in three seasons with a roster which all made it to the NHL, with eight of those becoming Hockey Hall of Famers!
The 1955-56 season saw them finish just under .500 at 33-34-3, but they then reeled off four consecutive winning records from 1956-57 to 1959-60. They had a down year in 1960-61, finishing seventh overall, but rebounded with a 39-27-4 record in 1961-62 for a first place finish in the North Division and then went on to win the new renamed Lester Patrick Cup for the third time, led by Doug Messier, father of future NHLer Mark Messier.
The Flyers would play one additional season before the franchise would come to an end in part due to the rise of television and Hockey Night in Canada in particular, which combined with the Flyers ancient arena, caused their attendance to shrink to an level which would no longer sustain the club.
Today's featured jersey is a 1952-53 Edmonton Flyers jersey. This sweater was worn during the Flyers first championship season in the WHL and features a great main crest of a jet fighter over a diamond shape, which gives it a great feeling of speed. The detail of the jet plane shows great care in it's execution and only adds to the quality of the work that went into creating it.
The heavyweight lace used for the collar shows the heavy use a jersey like this was expected to receive, as it was likely used for multiple seasons as evidenced by the many repairs it endured during it's active use.
Overall, an awesome sweater with a great logo and excellent design and colors from a classic era of hockey sweaters.
Today's video segment is a tribute to the 1955 championship Edmonton Flyers team.