1980 – Cornwall Royals
The 1980 Memorial Cup was split between Brandon and Regina, opening in the Wheat City and closing in the Queen City.
By the time it ended, the CAHA and major junior hockey had egg all over their faces, and egg shells littered the Regina Agridome’s ice surface.
The tournament featured the Cornwall Royals, coached by Doug Carpenter, the Peterborough Petes, with Mike Keenan the head coach, and the Bryan Murray-coached Regina Pats. When it was over everyone was talking about the last round-robin game, one in which Cornwall overcame a three-goal deficit to beat Peterborough, 5-4.
Going into May 9, the Petes (3-0) were guaranteed a spot in the final. A loss to Cornwall (1-2) would eliminate the Pats (1-3).
The Petes, winners of 14 in a row, led 4-1 in the second period before 5,823 fans. Cornwall scored three third-period goals, two on the power play. Rod Willard got the winner at 9:48 as he was left alone in front of goaltender Rick LaFerriere.
The ugliness began with 1:26 to play. Fans, realizing their Pats were done, began chanting “Throw the game” and “Petes, go home.” Then they threw toilet paper, programs and soft drinks at the Petes, resulting in a 15-minute delay.
Dave Senick of the Regina Leader-Post wrote:
“(The Petes) left amidst a shower of drinks and debris and remained locked in their dressing room for an hour. When they left, they walked out single file, stoically looking straight ahead and not stopping to talk to anyone.”
“This is a real disappointing day to be involved in junior hockey,” Murray said. “It wasn’t a hockey game. Peterborough made sure they didn’t win. . . . It was a mistake that Peterborough was ahead by the third period but they soon corrected it.”
Regina GM Bob Strumm was stunned.
“I never expected something like this to happen,” he said. “When I play checkers with my nine-year-old nephew, I play to win.”
Asked if his team had thrown the game, Keenan replied: “I have no comment about tonight’s game. We’re preparing for Sunday’s game.”
Asked about his team’s “third-period collapse,” Keenan replied: “I have no comment about tonight’s game. We’re preparing for Sunday’s game.”
A change aimed at avoiding this situation was implemented before the 1981 tournament. But real change came in 1984 when a host team was introduced to the format.
It was rather anticlimactic when the Royals won the final May 11, beating the Petes, 3-2, before 3,500 fans. The game was interrupted 16 times as fans threw eggs onto the ice. Someone threw a live chicken in the direction of the Petes’ bench.
The game ended when Robert Savard, who had five goals all season, went coast-to-coast to score at 1:28 of overtime.
“This was the most important goal in my life,” he said. “I told everybody back home, wait ’til we get into the championship game, I’ll score the winner. But to actually do it is just incredible.”
1980 Cornwall Royals:
Scott Arniel, Fred Arthur, Fred Boimistruck, Dan Brown, Newell Brown, Mike Corrigan, Marc Crawford, Gilles Crepeau, Dan Daoust, Dave Ezard, Tom Graovac, Craig Halliday, Pat Haramis, Dale Hawerchuk, Pat Heramis, Bobby Hull Jr., Pat O’Kane, Robert Savard, Ron Scott, Ron Willard, Dan Zavarise, Doug Carpenter (coach)
NHL: Hawerchuk earned the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after graduating from the Royals. He scored 1409 points over his NHL career and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. Crawford played parts of six season in the NHL before moving onto become a coach. In 1996 he won the Stanley Cup as Head Coach of the Colorado Avalanche.