1978–79 OMJHL season

The 1978–79 OMJHL season was the fifth season of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League (OMJHL). The Hamilton Fincups moved to Brantford, Ontario, becoming the Alexanders. Twelve teams each played 68 games. The Peterborough Petes won the J. Ross Robertson Cup, defeating the Niagara Falls Flyers.

League businessEdit

OMJHL commissioner Tubby Schmalz stated in July 1978, that the NHL–WHA merger would be the best situation for junior hockey. He hoped for government intervention to protect the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League after the results of an inquiry into junior hockey were made public. He stated that the National Hockey League had abided by verbal agreement not to sign junior players, but the World Hockey Association (WHA) continued to target juniors for talent, and referred to the recent signing of 16-year-old Wayne Gretzky to a contract.[1] Schmalz contemplated legal action against Alan Eagleson and Birmingham Bulls owner John F. Bassett, for signing of junior-aged players under contract. Bassett felt that since players were 18 years old, they could be signed to a contract under Canadian laws.[2] The lawsuit against Eagleson and the Birmingham Bulls was announced in September 1978, on behalf of the London Knights and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and sued for "inducing breach of contract and wrongfully interfering with contractual relations".[3]

In November 1978, the OMJHL transitioned from a part-time commissioner's role into a full-time position. Schmalz retired as of December 15, 1978, and was succeeded by Bill Beagan who had been commissioner of the International Hockey League. He took over a league whose teams were facing attendance and financial issues. He stated the targeting younger talent by the WHA was a threat to junior ice hockey, and sought to convince professional leagues that they are undermining their own future by signing players too young.[4] In January 1979, Beagan felt the OMJHL would suffer from the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario ruling that breweries could no longer sponsor junior hockey, due to underage athletes on the teams.[5] The OMJHL stood to lose $200,000 combined from Molson Brewery and the Labatt Brewing Company. Beagan petitioned the Government of Ontario to overturn the decision, stating the breweries had been good corporate citizens by supporting sports in Ontario.[6]

Beagan's tenure with the OHL ended after 42 days, and he described his relationship in dealing with contract negotiations as "rocky".[7] He stated, "They hired me to be captain. When I got there, I found out I was to be the second mate". The Canadian Press reported that Beagan claimed he resigned from the OMJHL, whereas the league stated was fired after six weeks on the job. A settlement was subsequently reached out of court.[8] Sherwood Bassin from the Oshawa Generals was named the interim commissioner for the remainder of the season.[9]

Regular seasonEdit

Final standingsEdit

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GF = Goals For; GA = Goals Against; PTS = Points; x = clinched playoff berth; y = clinched first round bye; z = clinched division title & first round bye

Leyden DivisionEdit

Rank Team GP W L T PTS GF GA
1 z-Peterborough Petes 68 46 19 3 95 341 245
2 y-Sudbury Wolves 68 40 27 1 81 397 361
3 y-Oshawa Generals 68 37 30 1 75 367 326
4 x-Ottawa 67's 68 30 38 0 60 319 344
5 x-Kingston Canadians 68 26 38 4 56 265 306
6 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 68 26 42 0 52 317 415

Emms DivisionEdit

Rank Team GP W L T PTS GF GA
1 z-Niagara Falls Flyers 68 43 21 4 90 361 243
2 y-London Knights 68 37 29 2 76 310 287
3 y-Windsor Spitfires 68 32 35 1 65 323 322
4 x-Kitchener Rangers 68 29 35 4 62 316 356
5 x-Toronto Marlboros 68 27 40 1 55 308 351
6 Brantford Alexanders 68 23 42 3 49 281 349

Scoring leadersEdit

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Mike Foligno Sudbury Wolves 68 65 85 150 98
Tom McCarthy Oshawa Generals 63 69 75 144 98
Art Rutland Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 65 59 80 139 82
Brian Gualazzi Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 68 74 60 134 42
Paul Reinhart Kitchener Rangers 66 51 78 129 57
John Goodwin Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 68 43 86 129 20
Dave MacQueen Sudbury Wolves 65 60 66 126 98
Gary Dillon Toronto Marlboros 59 57 63 120 40
Sean Simpson Ottawa 67's 59 42 76 118 12
Blair Barnes Windsor Spitfires 67 42 76 118 195

PlayoffsEdit

First roundEdit

Kitchener Rangers defeat Toronto Marlboros 3–0

Kingston Canadians defeat Ottawa 67's 3–1

Sudbury Wolves defeat Oshawa Generals 4–1

London Knights versus Windsor Spitfires (9 game series; series protested and both teams move on to next round)

Niagara Falls Flyers defeat Kitchener Rangers 4–3

Leyden division quarterfinalsEdit

Peterborough Petes defeat Kingston Canadians 4–2, 1 tie

SemifinalsEdit

Peterborough Petes defeat Sudbury Wolves 4–1

Niagara Falls Flyers (5-1-0) defeat Windsor Spitfires (2-3-1) and London Knights (1-4-1) in round-robin

J. Ross Robertson CupEdit

Peterborough Petes defeat Niagara Falls Flyers 4–3

AwardsEdit

J. Ross Robertson Cup: Peterborough Petes
Hamilton Spectator Trophy: Peterborough Petes
Leyden Trophy: Peterborough Petes
Emms Trophy: Niagara Falls Flyers
Red Tilson Trophy: Mike Foligno, Sudbury Wolves
Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy: Mike Foligno, Sudbury Wolves
Matt Leyden Trophy: Gary Green, Peterborough Petes
Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy: Mike Foligno, Sudbury Wolves
Max Kaminsky Trophy: Greg Theberge, Peterborough Petes
Dave Pinkney Trophy: Nick Ricci and Glen Ernst, Niagara Falls Flyers
Emms Family Award: John Goodwin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
F.W. 'Dinty' Moore Trophy: Nick Ricci, Niagara Falls Flyers
William Hanley Trophy: Sean Simpson, Ottawa 67's

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Demise of WHA 'would aid juniors'". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. July 19, 1978. p. 85. 
  2. ^ "Bassett says he's going to hound junior hockey". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. July 20, 1978. p. 6. 
  3. ^ "Junior owners file suit". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. September 21, 1978. p. 80. 
  4. ^ "Beagan takes on a host of problems". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. November 16, 1978. p. 7. 
  5. ^ "Ontario board has a message for the breweries". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. January 11, 1979. p. 11. 
  6. ^ Coleman, Jim (January 24, 1979). "Jim Coleman". Medicine Hat News. Medicine Hat, Alberta. p. 12. 
  7. ^ Mackinder, Matt (September 22, 2011). "Checking In: Former CCHA commissioner Bill Beagan". U.S. College Hockey Online. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  8. ^ "Beagan wants total control". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba. May 15, 1982. p. 9. 
  9. ^ Bell, Aaron (2007). 2007–08 Information Guide and Player Register. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Hockey League. p. 12.

External linksEdit

Preceded by OHL seasons Succeeded by