North American Hockey League (1973–1977)

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) was a low-level minor professional ice hockey league that existed from 1973 to 1977. Several of the NAHL teams operated as developmental ("farm") teams for World Hockey Association franchises. The NAHL was one of two leagues, along with the Southern Hockey League, that were formed after the Eastern Hockey League ceased operations in 1973. The Lockhart Cup was the league's championship trophy. With the loss of a number of franchises, the NAHL elected to fold in September 1977.[1]

North American Hockey League
Replaced byAmerican Hockey League
No. of teams7 to 10
CountryUnited States & Canada
Most titlesSyracuse Blazers (2)

The league served as the inspiration for the film Slap Shot.[2] Ned Dowd, who played for the Johnstown Jets,[3] was the brother of the film's screenwriter, Nancy Dowd. Ned played for Johnstown during a season where the team was for sale, when his sister came to live in Johnstown and was inspired to write the screenplay. The film contains references to "Syracuse" and "Broome County", which were teams in the NAHL.[4] Some of the incidents depicted actually occurred in actual NAHL games.[2]

Teams edit

Team name Years Seasons City
Beauce Jaros 1975–1976 2 Saint-Georges, Quebec
Broome Dusters 1973–1977 4 Binghamton, New York
Buffalo Norsemen 1975–1976 1 North Tonawanda, New York
Cape Cod Cubs / Cape Codders 1973–1976 3 South Yarmouth, Massachusetts
Erie Blades 1975–1977 2 Erie, Pennsylvania
Johnstown Jets 1973–1977 4 Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Long Island Cougars 1973–1975 2 Commack, New York
Maine Nordiques 1973–1977 4 Lewiston, Maine
Mohawk Valley Comets 1973–1977 4 Utica, New York
Philadelphia Firebirds 1974–1977 3 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Syracuse Blazers 1973–1977 4 Syracuse, New York

Lockhart Cup edit

Gregg Pilling and the Lockhart Cup in 1976

The championship trophy of the North American Hockey League was named the Lockhart Cup in honor of Tommy Lockhart, founder of the Eastern Hockey League. The trophy was last awarded on April 10, 1977, to the Syracuse Blazers, and has since gone missing. The Hockey Hall of Fame stated that the Lockhart Cup is one of "about three historical trophies that have disappeared".[5] Its last known whereabouts was reported to be in the basement of Danny Belisle, the coach of the Blazers in the 1976–77 season.[5]

Season Champion Runner-up
1973–74 Syracuse Blazers Long Island Cougars
1974–75 Johnstown Jets Broome Dusters
1975–76 Philadelphia Firebirds Beauce Jaros
1976–77 Syracuse Blazers Maine Nordiques

References edit

  1. ^ Reading Eagle, 26 September 1977
  2. ^ a b Miller, Chuck. From Atlantic City to Toronto: The Boardwalk Trophy and the Eastern Hockey League. Part 2: The Jets, the Comets, Southern Expansion and Well-Worn Knuckles. Vol. 3 (2 ed.). Fort Wayne, Indiana: Hockey Ink!. pp. 4–6.
  3. ^ "Ned Dowd Hockey Stats and Profile at".
  4. ^ "North American Hockey League [1973-1977] history and statistics".
  5. ^ a b Goulet, Neal (February 3, 2014). "A thirst to find hockey's Lockhart Cup, which honors a pioneer". Goulet Communications. Retrieved July 26, 2020.

External links edit