1956-57 Ottawa Junior Canadiens

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Canadiens1958, Jun 4, 2011.

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  1. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    The 1956-57 Ottawa Junior Canadiens made it to the Memorial Cup Final, losing in seven games to the Flin Flon Bombers. The team was coached by Sam Pollock, assisted by Scotty Bowman. It featured a number of players who went on to solid NHL careers. Ralph Backstrom, Bobby Rousseau and Gilles Tremblay being the most memorable. The team also had two players - Claude Ruel and Gerald Wilson who had extremely promising careers cut short by injury before graduating to the professional level.

    An interesting tidbit is that the team played a hybrid schedule. Part of the OHA but playing a variety of exhibition games including some against NHL teams during the regular season.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...=7264,496223&dq=ottawa-junior-canadiens&hl=en
     
  2. JackFr

    JackFr Registered User

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    ...cool?
     
  3. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Interesting. I think hockeydatabase.com might be confused on the meanderings of the team. They list the Ottawa-Hull Canadiens (56-57) playing in the minor league QHL; the Ottawa Jr. Canadiens (56-57) playing in the OHA Sr. loop. Same personnel on both teams give or take a name or 6, but still, whats that? If playing in the OHA Sr. league & monir pro 'Q', how could they compete for the Memorial Cup?. :help:
     
  4. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy Registered User

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    Thanks for the article. Aren't google news archives a great way to spend a day?

    It seems to imply that Ottawa won against four other NHL squads before being beaten by the Rangers.
     
  5. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Well...

    Not confused but confusing. Hull and Ottawa are cross border communities one in Ontario, one in Quebec.

    You are correct about the two reams being nuanced as to the name under which they played under in each league.

    Basically there are two rosters. The QHL roster that feature the 23 year old goalie and the OHA roster that featured the junior goalie. Each goalie is supported by appropriate players by age group.

    The junior aged goalie helped comprise the junior team while the older juniors - mainly without 16-17 year olds played with a number of pro aged players against QHL.

    Both teams played four point games against the opposition with the
    older team being scheduled for four exhibition games. Believe they only beat the Hawks.

    Gaps, overlapping rules made this possible plus the usual backroom wink nod. agreements.

    Remember that in those days conflict of interest was a very vague concept often seen as a good way of doing business.

    There are many consequences for junior hockey but this is part of the process that started after WWII and continued until the Cornwall Royals left the QMJHL.for Ontario.

    There was a similar juggling of the old OHA circa 1961 - 1963 with a splintered league Toronto area and the rest plus Montreal junior Canadiens. Resolved when the Marlies became the Toronto team with Father David Bauer moved laterally to the National team.

    Given the time lag I doubt if the complete story will come out and no I do not know it but have a rough idea about the Montreal side.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  6. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    No they lost by slightly lower scores to the Bruins and Wings but I believe they beat the Hawks. Give me a bit of time.

    Google is interesting for the various archive sites. The recent Bibliotheque Nationale on Berri across from the Bus Terminal still wins hands down.
     
  7. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    OK, got it, and thanks. Did some research. :D That 23yr old Goalies was Gilles Boisvert yes?. What an interesting concept. They were a throwback to the old "Barnstorming" days, playing 20 games in the OHA Sr.A, 20 in the QHL with interchangeable players, exhibition games against not only NHL teams but so too other minor league & senior teams. Rules of the period permitted them to compete for the Memorial Cup, along with supplementing their roster with the best players from the Regina St. Pats & other Montreal sponsored junior teams player rosters if required, going the distance against the Flin Flon Bombers in 57 that from all reports was a pretty intense series.

    Bottom line; this appears to be a well thought out experiment by Sam Pollock if you ask me. A sort of "University of the Montreal Canadiens'" whereby the Jr. Canadians were exposed to & played Major Juniors, Seniors, Minor Pro's & NHL teams in a kind of "finishing school" with no less than 15-16 of the junior aged players going on to play for the Habs in the 60's & 70's, including Jacques Lapierre among others; the team & system being run through a few more seasons thereafter. Bowman went on to Coach in Peterborough; Claude Ruel taking over the Jr. Canadiens, with another interesting chapter or three that followed in Ontario.......

    Note; Stafford Smythe formed the Metro Junior A League (61-62 & 62-63) to compete against the OHA, however after 2 seasons it was a bust, the Marlies returning to the OHA Jr.A league thereafter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  8. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Yes

    Yes but let's develop this a bit further.. At that time hockey players eligible for the Olympics had to be "pure" amateurs not tainted in any way buy contact with professionals. Bobby Rousseau was playing with and against professionals since the 1956-57 season. How was he eligible? I:sarcasm:f not what happens to the silver medal? Finishing school concept, old cynical me sees the Canadiens finding a way to stock a QHL team without paying a pro level contract to each player. If they were paid like pros see the Bobby Rousseau question.If not the taint is still there.

    Two goalie system. One pro aged, one junior aged. Flash forward from the 1956-57 era to the first three seasons of the Blues and you see similarities with how Bowman managed his goalies especially the Hall / Plante tandem with a young goalie dressing while one of the elders sat upstairs.

    Black aces. Much has been made about Scotty starting the "Black Aces" - extra reserve skaters available at all times either with the expansion Blues, definitely with the dynasty Canadiens. Hello 1956-57 hybrid Jr/Sr Canadiens.

    The Stafford Smythe experiment. Looks like an updated version of an NHL team owning a a junior or developmental league. When an NHL team does so questions should be raised about the integrity of the schedule.Let's face it the Junior elements of the Jr Canadiens could play in the QHL only if there were scheduling from the Senior league accommodationsHow are things juggled if the JR team is Memorial team quality yet on course for the playoffs in the Senior league? :D

    Smythe managed to have his little perk for two seasons thereby having the advantage of a loaded or friendly schedule OHA Memorial Cup contender. The Selke / Pollock Canadiens managed the trick from roughly the 1955-56 season thru the 1968-69 season when they usually had direct control on at least three of MMJHL teams PLUS one usually two OHA JR teams - Peterborough plus the Jr Canadiens. Stafford Smythe may have been slickered here a wee bit.

    Interesting to say the least...............
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  9. bruinsfan46

    bruinsfan46 Registered User

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    Does anybody know if the next year when they actually won the Memorial Cup if they played the same type schedule? Seems like quite a short lived junior hockey powerhouse, runner ups for the Memorial Cup, then win a Memorial Cup, then a loss in the Eastern Canadian finals and then the team gets absorbed by the senior team of the same name with the younger players going to the Brockville Canadiens where they lossed again in the Eastern Canadian finals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_Junior_Canadiens
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Qhl / Ephl / Ahl

    Lost two of their best players to career ending injuries - Claude Ruel - eye and Gerry Wilson - knee.

    The initial post is more of a work in progress approach than definitive.

    The closure of the QHL, formation of the EPHL and distribution of teams amongst the EPHL is part of the study.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011
  11. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Murray Balfour

    The movement of Murray Balfour from Regina while stiil a junior to the hybrid Hull-Ottawa team is another chapter.
     
  12. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Fascinating. So I guess its fair to say there was little altruistic in Pollocks motivations, a sort of circa 1950's Hockey ThinkTank & Finishing School for the Habs brightest & best prospects, but had everything to do with the bottom-line. ;)
     
  13. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Fairer

    Even fairer to say that there was none of the good for the game or league or individual altruism from any of the great builders of the NHL.

    My career, my team thought prevailed. More things change, more they stay the same.
     
  14. Peter9

    Peter9 Registered User

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    I lived in Toronto during the 1956-57 season; I was 13, considered old enough to go to games by myself, and I did. Junior games were a lot cheaper than NHL games and so I went to a lot of OHA games. I well remember seeing the Junior Canadiens play several times at Maple Leaf Gardens. They were a fine team, considerably better than their opposition.

    The Hockey News of the time has all the details about the Junior Canadiens.
     

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