Gord Haidy Recalls IHL
- Here's a look back from someone who was there.
IHL folds after 56 seasons; Windsor's Haidy remembers 'fun' of league
with local roots
Publication: Windsor Star
Page: D1 / FRONT
By: Gary Rennie Star Sports Writer
Story Type: Sports
"It was fun," recalled Windsor's Gord Haidy of playing in the first
games of the International Hockey League at Windsor Arena.
And it was fun that lasted, too -- 56 seasons -- but, no longer.
Although the warning signs had been up earlier, the IHL officially
folded Monday, leaving six of its 11 current teams to be absorbed
into the American Hockey League.
It was only a four-team league in Haidy's heyday -- two in Windsor,
two in Detroit.
They called it the International Amateur Hockey League, but it was
actually the rebirth of the old Michigan-Ontario Hockey League that
had begun in the 1930s, but ceased when war broke out.
A three-hour meeting in the long-demolished Norton Palmer Hotel in
Windsor Dec. 5, 1945 set the foundations of the new league.
Among the organizers were Jack Adams, general manager of the Detroit
Red Wings; Lloyd Pollock, manager of the Windsor Junior Spitfires;
Windsor lawyer Gerald McHugh, then president of the Windsor City
Hockey League, who also became first IAHL president and Windsor's Len
Hebert who became its first vice-president. Fred Huber, publicity
director for the Detroit Olympia, became its secretary-treasurer.
The first league games were held Dec. 21, 1945 as a doubleheader at
Windsor Arena that drew 1,700 fans.
The Windsor Junior Spitfires played to a 4-4 tie against the Windsor
Gotfredsons, a local city league team managed by Hebert. Detroit's
Auto Club beat Bright's Goodyears, also from Detroit, 12-9, in the
opener. The Detroit teams also had Windsor players and coaching
talent, like Joe Levine who got a hat trick for the Auto Club.
The Auto Club went on to win the league's first Turner Cup, beating
Bright's. Windsor teams won IAHL championships in 1946-47 and 1948-
Star winger for Spitfires
Suffering from Parkinson's Disease diagnosed last year, the memories
of the first game come slowly for the 72-year-old Haidy.
Memories of goalie Monty Reynolds who kept the Spitfires in the game
long enough for a four-goal outburst in the third period that tied it
up. Haidy had two assists.
Haidy was a star right-winger on the Spitfires, then a junior B team.
The next season, when Pollock got the Spitfires a Junior A franchise,
Haidy was the only player to make the team.
Haidy went on to play in the American Hockey League and was called up
by the injury-riddled Red Wings to play one game in 1950. A refusal
to sign the first contract Adams offered kept Haidy out of the NHL.
Windsor's connection to the IHL continued for several more decades as
the Windsor Bulldogs' senior team competed. In 1964, Haidy came out
of a retirement brought on by knee injuries to score two goals and
two assists as the Bulldogs beat the Des Moines Oak Leafs 5-3 in an
IHL game. That was the last year for a Windsor team in the IHL.
Just a quick note. The one game was in the playoffs.
- --- In hockhist@y..., nieforth@y... wrote:
> Here's a look back from someone who was there.If I remember correctly Windsor played Fort Wayne in the first round
> the Windsor Bulldogs' senior team competed. In 1964, Haidy came out
> of a retirement brought on by knee injuries to score two goals and
> two assists as the Bulldogs beat the Des Moines Oak Leafs 5-3 in an
> IHL game. That was the last year for a Windsor team in the IHL.
> Just a quick note. The one game was in the playoffs.
and was forced to forfit, due to the use of an illegal player.