Ya Get Whatcha Get: 1970’s Hockey For Late March

It’s been a while since I’ve shown off some 1970’s Hockey Goodness, so here are four more cards I’ve required in the recent-to-semi-recent past…

I’ve never been to Cincinnati and have never seen a WHA game on TV, much less in person, but I’m collecting Cincinnati Stingers.  I really liked the logo and uniforms in my younger days, and something about that stuck with me.  My latest addition to this collection is this 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee Ron Plumb.
1977-78 OPC WHA Ron Plumb
When this card came out, Ron Plumb was fresh off of winning the Dennis A. Murphy Award as the WHA’s top defenseman.  Ron’s career took him on a tour of the WHA, playing for the Philadelphia Blazers, Vancouver Blazers, Stingers, San Diego Mariners and New England Whalers before moving to the NHL with the Whalers.  He was originally property of the Bruins before jumping to the WHA.

A 1970’s Rod Gilbert jersey was recently auctioned off for more than $5,000…  The jersey was very similar to the one on this card, except it didn’t have the Assistant Captan “A” on it.
1975-76 Topps Rod Gilbert
The jersey had blood stains on it, so maybe one could clone Rod Gibert from it… if the blood is Gilbert’s, that is…

Greg Joly was selected 1st overall in the 1974 amateur draft.  Obviously, great things were expected of him, but he may have been hurt by being thrown into the deep end with a very, very bad Capitals team.
1976-77 Topps Greg Joly
He played 2 seasons in Washington before being traded to the Red Wings.  He left the game having been a solid defenseman for 9 NHL seasons.

I bought this last card without hesitation even though I don’t remember Ralph Stewart…. but how could I resist an action shot like this?
1977-78 OPC Ralph Stewart
Besides, it’s a better card of the Ranger’s Ron Greschner than it is of Stewart.

Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

The Kansas City Scouts began as a 1974 NHL expansion team, entering the league along with the Washington Capitals. At the time, the NHL was waging a war with the rival World Hockey Association, and both leagues were eager to get a foothold into new arenas before their rivals did… As a result, the 1970’s involved plenty of expansion and relocation for both leagues.
1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts
The original name of the team was meant to be the Kansas City Mohawks, but the Chicago Black Hawks objected that the name was too similar to theirs. As a result, the name “Scouts” was adopted. The name and the team logo both come from a famous statue called “The Scout”; it depicts a Sioux indian and overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Scouts got off to a slow start in both play and attendance. Season ticket sales were much lower than projected, and the only NHL team with a worse record than the Scouts was the woeful Capitals.
1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Both the team and attendance continued to be bad in the second season. The Scouts had trouble finding financial backing for the team. At one point they were to be bought by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings, their “roommates” in the Kemper Arena, but that deal fell through.
1976-77 Topps Gary Bergman
Problems continued for the Scouts, and the NHL realized that expanding to Kansas City was a mistake. Things got so bad that the league threatened to terminate the franchise if it were not sold. A buyer was found that moved the team to Denver after just two seasons… and no, the Scouts did not become the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll get into that in my next “Forgotten Franchises” post.

Kansas City has not seen major professional hockey since the Scouts left town. Both the Penguins and Islanders were flirting with the idea in recent years (or using KC as a bargaining tool, take your pick), but neither move took place.

I am a “franchise nerd”. For reasons I cannot explain, I am interested in the franchise histories of all sports, even the sports I don’t otherwise care about.

I don’t follow any particular soccer team or player, but I always keep an eye out for news about MLS expansion.

I don’t care for basketball and couldn’t give a damn about the NBA, and yet when I see a basketball card featuring a player for the Memphis Tams, I become intrigued.

When the “AAA” American Hockey League simultaneously shifted five teams to California last  month, it had zero effect on my life… but there I was Googling for more information about it.

I figure there must be others who find this stuff interesting. With that in mind, I’m starting this series on the basic histories of “dearly departed” franchises from most of the major North American sports. If there’s any particular teams you’d like to see covered, or if you have any other suggestions, you know what to do.