My senior year at Tremper High School is quite memorable for a number of reasons. Coming to mind are my various adventures while working at Burger King, my inebriated excursion down the railroad tracks and Kenosha Flyers hockey games. The Burger King escapades and the hapless trip on the tracks have been previously chronicled; so today I thought that I would share some of my memories of the Kenosha Flyers and the Continental Hockey League.
I’m not quite sure why the guys I hung around with starting going to Kenosha Flyer games back in 1974, but I am glad that we did. Our motley group included my brother Mike, Glenn Evenson, Keith Panasewicz, Bill Nicoll, Dave Proeber, Curt Vergenz, Doug Becker and myself. It was at these Flyer games where I met Leon Rosko which was instrumental in getting me involved announcing softball games at historic Finney’s West.
First a little history about the Flyers and the CHL:
The Continental Hockey League was a semi-pro hockey league that was in existence from 1972 until 1986. The league had humble beginnings. It began as almost a recreational league in Chicago and was made up of former youth league players. Initially, the players were not paid, but over time, the talent in the league improved.
The mid to late ‘70s were a time of relative stability for the CHL. A core group of teams – Chicago Wildcats, Chicago Cardinals, Peoria Blades, Kenosha Flyers, and Springfield Kings were the mainstays of the league. Other teams such as Madison Blues, Pekin Stars and Rockton Wheels also came and went. But the teams were relatively stable and the players were the same from year to year.
There were several occasions where teams temporarily moved or disbanded. One season the Kenosha Flyers had to play in Zion because the Kenosha Ice arena was not available. The Chicago Cardinals disbanded because of a lack of availability of a rink. When this happened, most of them went to play for Kenosha.
Some of the team’s rinks were less than desirable. The Logan Ice Dome in Peoria had a ceiling that was held up with air pressure. To make things even more interesting, there was only one shower for both the home and visiting teams!
Some of the more memorable players from the various non-Kenosha teams included: Chicago Cardinals – Ted Kaminski. Madison Blues - Phil Caruso, Cal Harris, Dan Corns and Clarke Blizzard. Chicago Wildcats – Sam Saltzman, Warren Munson, Jerry Kurth, Jim Krein and Bill Possehl. Peoria Blades – Ric Olson and brother Mike Olson.
That inaugural year of attending Kenosha Flyer games was special for many reasons, the biggest being the team winning the Walmar Cup, the CHL’s version of the Stanley Cup. This a list of the more noteworthy players from that team:
1974-1975 Kenosha Flyers
Don Walsh, owner
There are so many vivid recollections from, not only that championship year, but from many other “events” involving the Kenosha Flyers. It should be noted, that while they weren’t a part of that championship team, homegrown talents like Bob Arneson, Rich Rosko, Gene Rosko, and Joe Rosko played for the Flyers.
Man, there are so many memories; I don’t know where to start. Perhaps, I will do a number of short blogs featuring different highlights from my Kenosha Flyers remembrances. Yes, that is what I shall do! You can help me by letting me know which of these occurrences sound the most interesting to you:
• Skipping homecoming to attend a Flyer game with Jean Kuczenski.
• Reg Fleming pissing on a puck during practice.
• Attending a game in Peoria with goaltender Paul Kelly.
• Attending a Flyer Fan Club meeting at the Quonset Hut.
• Being pulled over by an Illinois State trooper with an open 6-pack.
• Joe Rosko knocks the snot out of a referee between periods.
• Madison Blue teammates Cal Harris & Clarke Blizzard go at it.
I know that there are more, but this is a good start. Please leave me your comments here or on Facebook. You can even email me at email@example.com. I will probably do an installment on Sunday. Oh, one last thing, if you haven’t done so already, take a moment to do my new poll question. Thanks.
Until next time…from the booth.