Mar 06, 2012
In December and January fans voted on the “All Decade” team of the 1970’s. The 70’s provided a foundation for the future success of the current UNB program with a change in facilities and the passing of the torch to a full time coaching position. The UNB Red Devils moved from the Lady Beaverbrook Rink to the newly constructed Aitken University Centre (AUC) to begin the 1976-77 season. The AUC has become the dominant home of the current UNB teams and provides the best overall facility in CIS Hockey. The decade also witnessed the transition of the head coach position from the late Bill MacGillivary to Don MacAdam to start the 1977-78 season. Both men had great passion for UNB Hockey and both brought a great deal of passion and pride to the program.
The UNB 1970’s “All-Decade” team includes:
Forwards: George Wood, Bob Keeffe and Brian Craig
Defence: Mike Kohler and Don MacAdam
Goal: Gord Hubley
Forwards: Larry Wood, Phil LePage and Greg Holst
Defence: Dave Neill and Gerry Bell
Goal: Gary Bernard
Forward Phil Handrahan, defenceman Kevin Daley and goalie John McLean
Oromocto’s George Wood led all UNB forwards in the decade, scoring 68 goals and 146 points in 101 games played from 1976-81. Wood was just passed this season by Kyle Bailey for 5th place all-time at UNB in regular season points and 4th place all-time for goals scored. George’s older brother Larry, team captain in ’74 and ’75, scored 33 goals and 71 points in 62 games played in four seasons in the early 70’s.
Brian Craig was the only other forward in the 70’s to crack triple digits in points, 105, playing his four season career as a teammate of George Wood from 1977-81. Bob Keeffe played three seasons starting in 1970 and was a dominant forward notching 59 points in 40 games played for a decade-best 1.48 points per game average. He was also captain his last season. Phil LePage was a linemate of Keeffe’s for two of his three seasons and recorded 46 points in 36 games played from 1969-72.
Greg Holst had 46 points in 37 games with UNB in two seasons from 1971-73 before turning to Junior hockey with Kingston and then being drafted by the New York Rangers in 1974. Holst played 9 games in the NHL with the Rangers and three seasons with their AHL affiliate before moving to Europe where he played his last season of pro hockey in 1992-93.
Mike Kohler led all UNB defencemen in the 70’s offensively with 51 points in 57 games in three seasons from 1972-75. In Kohler’s last season Don MacAdam arrived and became a standout defenceman and later an assistant and head coach. Dave Neill was a physical d-man who racked up 299 penalty minutes and contributed 32 points in 59 games in four seasons from 1975-79. Gerry Bell only played two season at UNB (1972-74) but tallied 40 points in only 35 games played for a decade-best average of 1.1.4 points per game.
In the first four years of the decade Gord Hubley managed a cumulative goals against average of 4.12 to keep his often over-matched team in games. The next four seasons Gary Bernard took over in the UNB nets and wouldn’t have found the going any easier.
According to current UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall, “We are very pleased to recognize the efforts and performance levels of our 1970’s team – it is an established UNB Hockey motto that we play for those who passed through our program – it is very fitting that we can recognize the Best of the 70’s at our upcoming National Championships.”
According to committee chair David Kilfoil, “The 1970’s were definitely some tough sledding for UNB hockey, but we certainly saw some players stand out for UNB. The teams played less games then, 18 to 20 games in a season, so it is not as easy to compare individual stats with more recent players. We appreciate the fans and committee members for their work in compiling the Best of the 70’s”
The members of the UNB Hockey All-Decade Teams will be recognized during the upcoming Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot March 22-25.
Visit http://www.vredshockey.com/vote to review future and past All-Decade Teams