History of the Carleton Place Kings/Canadians
The Carleton Place Legion Kings began play as a Jr. C hockey team in 1969 and played two seasons in the Lanark-Renfrew Jr. C league. After two teams from that league ceased operations, causing the league to fold, the Kings no longer had a place to play. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 192 executive, wishing to continue the team, contacted the ODHA and was directed to the former Rideau-St. Lawrence Jr. B league, which accepted the Kings as its newest member team. After two years of competition in that league, the ODHA decided to group all the Jr. B teams under one league, encompassing four separate divisions. Under the new alignment, the Legion Kings were grouped in the Valley division. Later, the Perth Blue Wings and Smiths Falls Settlers joined the division creating some great rivalries. During the 1973-1974 season, the Legion executive decided to discontinue direct sponsorship of the team and sold the franchise to Ron Waugh, owner of Halliday Homes. Waugh sponsored the team for three seasons and then transferred ownership to a group of individuals who were co-holders of the club.
In the late 2000's, Jason Clarke assumed ownership of the team and also as its head coach, he transformed the franchise into a two-time Valley Championship winner with the help of assistants Steve Maxwell and Bob Wilson. Clarke, who grew up in Carleton Place and once starred for the Legion Kings, had a lot of passion for local hockey and was determined to put Carleton Place on the hockey map. In the spring of 2009, Clarke made an application to the Central Junior Hockey League to move the Kings to the Jr. A level. Although the application was granted, the name would have to be changed as there was already a team in the league with the 'Kings' moniker. A new name and logo were unveiled and the Legion Kings would be called the Canadians.
FROM THE ARCHIVES...
Carleton Place's first junior 'B' championships 1978-79
The late 70s were the heyday for Carleton Place junior hockey. The Legion Kings had a powerful team in those days, capturing two North West Division titles between 1979 and 1981, the most successful period in the team's 30 year history.
article courtesy GOALPOST October 2001 - Vol 1 Issue 1
"The chemistry was right," said Bill Griese, General manager and head coach of the Kings from 1974 until 1985. "We had a good mix of veterans and youngsters, and everything just worked out right."
One of the keys to the season was the return of Shawn Gorman to the blueline around Christmas. He was playing with the Jr. Senators at the time. He got cut and came back around Christmas, and we went on a streak of 18 games without a defeat. We went from the bottom of the the division to within a point of second place. It was an impressive turnaround. After starting the season 5-11-3, the Legion Kings caught fire and ended the season with a 21-15-4 record and a first-round playoff sweep over Arnprior.
Following the disposal of of Perth in five games, the Kings faced Richmond having only lost five games since December. The Royals brought them back to earth in a hurry however, trouncing Carleton Place 9-3 in the first game of the final. Showing a resilience that was evident all season, however, the Kings bounced back with three straight wins, including a dramatic 6-5 victory in Game 4 in triple overtime, and won the series in six games to capture their first ever junior 'B' title. The victory helped make up for the disappointment of the previous season, when the Kings finished first during the regular season but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by sixth-place Arnprior.
Politics became an issue in the league final when The Kings' top scorer Donnie Vaughan was suspended for a match penalty he had received during the regular season. Match penalties carry automatic suspensions, but the league oversight was not corrected until the final series. Vaughan's absence quelled any momentum the Kings had received from an opening-game victory in the series, and South Ottawa went on to capture the Ottawa District 'B' Northern championship in five games. While the play of Donnie Vaughan, captain Rusty Knight and blueliner Shawn Gorman was important, the Kings' success stemmed from a total team effort.
The first line was comprised of Vaughn, Knight and Steve Baird, quite possibly the top junior 'B' line in the Valley that season. Vaughan and Knight both finished in the top five in league scoring. "They were a tremendous line," recalled Griese. "Hard to contain. Rusty was all heart. A huge heart." Griese had a soft spot for his second forward unit, consisting of Dave Mills, Geoff Herbst and Dale Carson. "We called them the crash line, because that's exactly what they did," said Griese. "We called them 'Herbie', 'Bam Bam' (Mills), and 'Crash'."
The third line , with Marty Sheehan, Logan Trafford and Doug Riopelle, was the buzz saw unit, creating havoc for opponents. "Marty, he was a little guy with skis for skates, and he and Riopelle used to kill penalties like nobody could," said Griese. "They just had such a tremendous knack of reading the play." It got to the point where Perth GM Jim Buchanan, apparently exasperated over the efficiency of the Kings' penalty killers in the second round of the playoffs, was overheard remarking that "if we get another penalty, I'll decline." The blueline had a good mixture of size and mobility, led in the size department by Gorman and Brian Graham ("The Gentle Giant"), and rounded out by skilled blueliners Ken Code, Steve Bryce and Barry Froats. "The return of Gorman really solidified our defence," said Griese. "He was extremely confident, and I think he brought it out in some of the other guys."
Garth Scully and John Hogg made a solid tandem in nets. "The two of them were exceptionally good together," said Griese. "When one was sitting out, he would cheer for the other guy. They were Kings through and through."
Photo of the 1978-79 Legion Kings
Win Again in 1981
The 1981 Carleton Place Kings followed a familiar story line; struggling at the start of the season; but came together for the second half after a couple of minor adjustments. The Kings were having some problems on the blueline with the graduation of several players the season before, and it wasn't until Griese and his assistant Morley Black discovered that Jimmy Ward had played some defence before the team solidified. "We put Steve with his brother Andy and Terry Mast, and moved Jimmy Ward back to defence," said Griese. "It was about Steve's fourth year with us. Ali that time he was playing defence with us. We moved him up to left wing, and all of a sudden they had a leader on their line. He was a good defenceman, but he was just a little too small. Everything seemed to fall into place after that.
Griese credits his former goalie John Hogg for his selfless dedication that season as the team's goalie coach. "John had graduated; and at the start of the season, I looked up in the stands, and there's John and his parents at the game. John was a real fans' delight; everybody loved John. So I asked him to help out and he said sure. He never got paid either, he attended all of the practices and games." Griese noted that one of the consistencies in his ten years as coach of the Kings was the solid netminding.. "John used to really come out of the net," recalled Griese fondly. "I'd almost have a heart attack; but he was a good skater, and he never once gave up a bad goal doing it. He used to catch lots of teams changing on the fly." Hogg would tutor his students well, and both Phil Powers and Glen Guenette performed admirably in leading Carleton Place to its second division title in three years.
Crowd support was at its peak in those days. "I would venture to say about 5700 people lived in town and more than 800 were in the arena every Friday night. The fans were great. The players just fed off of the crowd." Fan support throughout the Valley up until the mid 198Os was stellar. "We beat out Arnprior On St. Patrick's Day in Arnprior" said Griese. "They had 2,800 people in there with that darn steel floor. What a racket.
Another key to the season was Morley Black's knowledge of Dave Ellet and what he could bring to the team, even at the tender age of 16. "Morley; he wanted to sign him after the first practice. He hadn't really done much, but Morley was doing most of the scouting at the time, and he knew what he could do. Morley said "You sign him; you sign him now." Ellet went on to Bowling Green University and a 16-year career as a steady NHL defenceman. "It wasn't very long that he developed," said Griese. "You just didn't have to tell him a helluva lot. He was just like Donnie Vaughan; open the door and let him go. You could see at that age that he knew the game so well. He could play in his own end and he could play without the puck". Led by Gary Raycroft and Steve McTierman offensively, Carleton Place finished in second place during the regular season, and then swept Richmond in four games in the first round of the playoffs.
The news got even better before the start of the second round, when long-time king Donnie Vaughan returned from Canton College for the rest of the playoffs. Inserted on a line with Gary Raycroft and Andy Brown, Vaughan made his presence felt right away in the opening game of the semi-finals against Arnprior, setting up four goals in a 10-8 shootout. Vaughan ended the series as he started it, notching three goals in a 7-4 win in the series clincher as the Kings won a hard-fought six game series against the Packers.
Next up were the first-place Perth Blue wings, who would prove to be formidable foes, taking 2-1 and 3-2 leads in the series thanks to the' scoring heroics of captain Dave Barr, Joe Gemmil and Dave McNamee. Carleton Place captured the sixth game at home before a packed house 5-1, with goals from Ellet, McTieran, Gary Raycroft flnd Steve and Andy Bryce. Back in Perth for game seven and another packed house, but it was the visitors who gained the early momentum, going up 3-1 after two periods and 4-1 early in the third. Carleton Place goalie Phil Powers was bombarded with 21 shots in the last period as the Blue Wings came on strong with two late goals, but it wasn't enough as Carleton Place hung on for the victory. Gemmil, who had a terrific finals, scored two for the Wings in the losing effort, while Carleton Place had markers from John Stewart, Vaughan, Martin Puckeft and McTieman. "The Gods were with us that night" said Griese. "That was a tough series. Perth was a strong team, and they lost that Barr kid; I don't know if he was league MVP but he was injured in the third game. He was on crutches the rest of the series." 'There was a really good team chemistry," noted Griese. "Everybody played their role, it was a total team effort."
Loss to South Ottawa
For the second time in three seasons the Northwest Division champs would lose to the South Ottawa Canadians in the next round, this time in six games. "I give the guy credit in Renfrew," said Griese, "for being able to win the next round (in 1977). We were just so physically and emotionally drained by the time we reached the next round. We were spent." Griese was especially complimentary of the team's executive during the winning years. "The kids were treated well. We had a great executive that worked well together. There were memories that I will cherish forever."
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