1970–71 WCHL season

The 1970–71 WCHL season was the fifth season of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL). Ten teams completed a 66-game season, with the Edmonton Oil Kings winning the President's Cup.

League businessEdit

The Medicine Hat Tigers were approved as an expansion team in January 1970, for the upcoming 1970–71 season.[1] The Regina Pats were accepted into the WCHL, which increased league to ten teams by May 1970.[2] League president Ron Butlin stated that the expansion draft was configured so that new teams would be competitive in their first year. Established teams could protect six players before expansion teams could then start drafting from the rest.[3]

The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) general meeting in May 1970 discussed proposals, in which the WCHL and Butlin were interested as part of rejoining the CAHA and disbanding the Canadian Hockey Association. Proposals included splitting junior ice hockey into two tiers, and readmitting the WCHL into the top tier along with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey Association Major Junior A Series. The top tier teams would be eligible to compete for the Memorial Cup, receive greater development payments from the National Hockey League when players were drafted, and be allowed to select a limited number of players from lower-tier teams.[4]

On May 29, 1970, Justice Lieberman of the Alberta Supreme Court ruled in favour of the WCHL being paid C$13,200 in outstanding development payments from the CAHA for the 1968 NHL draft. Butlin was satisfied with the ruling and considered further court action to receive an additional $40,700 from the 1969 NHL draft.[5]

On June 24, 1970, the WCHL and the CAHA signed a two-year agreement to reunite the organizations. The WCHL was admitted to the top tier of the CAHA, and would receive $100,000 in development grants for the 1970–71 season. The WCHL would pay a flat registration fee per team rather than a percentage of gate receipts, and would have direct representation on the CAHA junior council. The WCHL was expected to abide by any future CAHA-NHL agreements which included the renegotiation of draft payment amounts, and the CAHA agreed to distribute outstanding draft money. League expansion or relocation of teams were subject to CAHA approval, and the WCHL league champion qualified for the Memorial Cup final. The WCHL was allowed four over-age players in the upcoming season, then reduced to two over-age players in the second season onward. The WCHL was allowed to transfer up to six players between provinvces per team from areas west of Ontario, and could draft a maximum of two players from a lower tier team.[6]

In August 1970, Butlin announced an affiliation agreement with the British Columbia Junior Hockey League to develop prospect players for the WCHL.[7]

In October 1970, CAHA president Earl Dawson threatened to have the league expelled from the CAHA due to the use of over-age players who came from Ontario, and disputes with payments to lower tier teams.[8] CAHA secretary Gordon Juckes later clarified that automatic release provisions would not be used in the 1970–71 season, and suggested alternate arrangements be made to settle disputes of roster movements between tiers.[9]

In January 1971, the league set up an $8,000 scholarship for Ernie Heineman due to a career-ending eye injury.[10]

The Edmonton Oil Kings issued a challenge to the Quebec Remparts to play for the 1971 Memorial Cup championship. The CAHA approved a best-of-three final with all three games played at the Quebec Coliseum. Edmonton failed to win a game and the Remparts won the Memorial Cup.[11]

Butlin chose to resign as WCHL president on June 21, 1971, since he was not happy with how some of the team owners did business. He stated that he was cautious about expanding in to British Columbia, and claimed that several team owners had done negotiations without him.[12] Butlin had one year remaining on his contract.[13]

Regular seasonEdit

The Medicine Hat Tigers were added to the West division, and the Regina Pats were added to the East division. The regular season was expanded to 66 games from 60.[citation needed]

Final standingsEdit

East Division GP W L T Pts GF GA
x Estevan Bruins 66 41 20 5 87 283 201
x Flin Flon Bombers 66 41 23 2 84 306 224
x Winnipeg Jets 66 31 32 3 65 278 269
x Regina Pats 66 28 36 2 58 202 246
Brandon Wheat Kings 66 20 46 0 40 247 387
West Division GP W L T Pts GF GA
x Edmonton Oil Kings 66 45 20 1 91 346 258
x Calgary Centennials 66 37 22 7 81 244 175
x Saskatoon Blades 66 29 36 1 59 295 299
x Swift Current Broncos 66 24 40 2 50 229 290
Medicine Hat Tigers 66 22 43 1 45 271 352

Scoring leadersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Chuck Arnason Flin Flon Bombers 66 79 84 163 152
Orest Kindrachuk Saskatoon Blades 61 49 100 149 103
Lorne Henning Estevan Bruins 66 64 66 130 41
Laurie Yaworski Saskatoon Blades 57 73 54 127 104
Wayne Chernecki Winnipeg Jets 65 50 73 123 56
Dan Spring Edmonton Oil Kings 65 43 79 122 44
Don Kozak Edmonton Oil Kings 66 60 61 121 122
Stan Weir Medicine Hat Tigers 66 52 59 111 88
Gene Carr Flin Flon Bombers 62 36 68 104 105
Brian Carlin Medicine Hat Tigers 65 44 56 100 46

1971 WCHL PlayoffsEdit


  • Winnipeg defeated Estevan 4 games to 2 with 1 tie
  • Flin Flon defeated Regina 4 games to 1 with 1 tie
  • Edmonton defeated Saskatoon 4 games to 1
  • Calgary defeated Swift Current 3 games to 0 with 2 ties


  • Flin Flon defeated Winnipeg 5 games to 2
  • Edmonton defeated Calgary 4 games to 2


  • Edmonton defeated Flin Flon 4 games to 1 with 1 tie

All-Star gameEdit

The 1970–71 WCHL All-Star Game was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the WCHL All-stars defeating the Winnipeg Jets 4–3 before a crowd of 3,543.


Most Valuable Player: Ed Dyck, Calgary Centennials
Top Scorer: Chuck Arnason, Flin Flon Bombers
Most Sportsmanlike Player: Lorne Henning, Estevan Bruins
Defenseman of the Year: Ron Jones, Edmonton Oil Kings
Rookie of the Year: Stan Weir, Medicine Hat Tigers
Goaltender of the Year: Ed Dyck, Calgary Centennials
Coach of the Year: Pat Ginnell, Flin Flon Bombers
Regular Season Champions: Edmonton Oil Kings

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "New entry for WCHL". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. January 15, 1970. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "Pats Must Clear Arena". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 21, 1970. p. 59. 
  3. ^ Imlach, Punch (April 16, 1970). "Punch Imlach". Victoria Daily Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. p. 17. 
  4. ^ "Delegates Stomp Out Of CAHA Meeting". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 28, 1970. p. 62. 
  5. ^ "Judge Supports WCHL But Raps The System". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 29, 1970. p. 41. 
  6. ^ O'Shaughnessy, Mike (June 25, 1970). "CAHA And WCHL Sign Two-Year Agreement". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 55. 
  7. ^ "WCHL Joins With B.C." Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. August 21, 1970. p. 27. 
  8. ^ "CAHA–WCHL War Is On Again". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. October 2, 1970. p. 22. 
  9. ^ "Contents Are Released". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. October 14, 1970. p. 13. 
  10. ^ "Scholarship fund set up by WCHL". Medicine Hat News. Medicine Hat, Alberta. January 7, 1971. p. 4. 
  11. ^ Lapp, Richard M.; Macaulay, Alec (1997). The Memorial Cup: Canada's National Junior Hockey Championship. Madeira Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing. pp. 156–160. ISBN 1-55017-170-4.
  12. ^ "Agar Is A Likely Candidate". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. June 21, 1971. p. 40. 
  13. ^ "Would have got vote of confidence says Butlin". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. June 22, 1971. p. 6. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
1969–70 WCHL season
WHL seasons Succeeded by
1971–72 WCHL season