1972 – Cornwall Royals

The days of the best-of-seven Memorial Cup final were over.

There now were three major junior leagues in Canada, so the national title would be decided using a three-team round-robin format.

The first of those tournaments, in 1972, was held in the Ottawa Civic Centre and featured the Edmonton Oil Kings, Peterborough Petes and Cornwall Royals.

Originally, this was done in a single round-robin tournament — each team would play the other team once, with the two teams with the best records meeting in the final. If each team finished the round-robin with a 1-1 record, the finalists would be decided using a formula based on the ratio of goals-for to goals-against.

The three coaches who would appear in this Memorial Cup — Edmonton’s Brian Shaw, Peterborough’s Roger Neilson and Cornwall’s Orval Tessier — didn’t like the new format.

According to a Canadian Press report, “They complain of the pressure put on their players in so short a series, the lack of home crowds and other factors.”

Peterborough got great goaltending from Mike Veisor as it opened with a 4-2 victory over Cornwall before 7,893 fans on May 8. Ron Lalonde had two goals for the Petes.

On May 10, the Petes beat Edmonton, 6-4, before about 5,800 fans, clinching a berth in the final in the process. The score was 4-4 going into the third period when Edmonton’s Darcy Rota was fingered for playing with an illegal stick. Peterborough, which got two goals and two assists from Doug Gibson, scored on the ensuing power play.

“They’re sick . . . it’s the cheapest way I know to win a hockey game,” seethed Edmonton general manager ‘Wild’ Bill Hunter. Hunter’s demeanour wasn’t helped any by the fact that Brian Ogilvie was hit with the same penalty later in the third period.

Overall, the Petes outskated, outhit and outclassed the Oil Kings, outshooting them 49-33.

The Oil Kings were eliminated on May 12 as the Royals blanked them 5-0 before 8,408 fans. Richard Brodeur stopped 40 shots for the shutout. Dave Johnson and Gary McGregor had two goals each.

Cornwall, in the Memorial Cup final for the first time, then edged the Petes 2-1 on May 14 in front of 10,155 fans to win the title. McGregor broke a 1-1 tie at 2:01 of the third period on a power play.

It was the second straight year a team from the Quebec Junior Hockey League had won the Memorial Cup.

Governor-General Roland Michener presented the trophy to the Royals.

With this being the first time around for this format, a tournament all-star team was selected — Brodeur, defencemen Colin Campbell of Peterborough and Cornwall’s Bob Murray, Cornwall’s Gerry Teeple at centre, and wingers Bob Smulders of Peterborough and Johnson. Brodeur was named the event’s most outstanding player.

1972 Cornwall Royals:

Robbie Bingley, Yvon Blais, Brian Bowles, Richard Brodeur, Stuart Davison, Robert Geoffrion, Dan Lupinette, Blair MacDonald, Tony McCarthy, Brian McCullough, Dave Johnson, Bob Murray, John Nazar, Michel Renaud, Al SimsRon Smith, Gerry Teeple, Kevin Tracey, Pierre Viau, John Wensink, Tom Wynne, Jim Larin (general manager), Orval Tessier (coach).

NHLMurray had the longest tenure in the NHL playing over 1000 games with the Chicago Blackhawks.