The 1971-2 edition of the Blazers is shown above. First row (l-r): Ted Quimet, Dave Ferguson, Coach Ron Ingram, Brian Elwell, GM Bill Charles, Ray Adduono, Paul LaRose, Pierre Sigman. Standing: Asst. Trainer Red Coughlin, Mike Ruest, Billy Orr, Lee Inglis, Rick Molinaro, Ray Schultz, Blake Ball, Dan Bell, Doug Ferguson, Bobby Pepler, Mike Morton, Stick Boy Bruce Bittel, Trainer Ralph Mitchell. The team finished first in the Northern Division and won the first two rounds of the playoffs before losing to Charlotte in the Walker Cup finals. Ray Adduono led the team with 165 points. Paul LaRose had nine hat tricks--including five goals in one game--and 67 goals for the season.
The 1972-3 Blazers. First row (l-r) Wayne Horne, Billy Orr, Coach Ron Ingram, Ray Adduono, GM Bill Charles, Doug Ferguson, Mike Morton. Second row: Asst. Trainer Red Coughlin, Pierre Sigman, Norm Schmitz, Gary Gresdal, Ray Schultz, Barry Brooks, Ron Morgan, Jacques Lapierre, Yves Belanger, Trainer Ralph Mitchell,. Third row: Rory Kirby, Al Rycroft, Les Calder, Dave Ferguson, Gordie Gallant, Norm Cournoyer, Paul LaRose, Joe Junkin. Ray Adduono led the team with 170 points. The team finished the season with an amazing 63-9-4 record. They scored 453 goals to the opposition's 190, and won the Northern Division title and the Walker Cup playoff championship.
Top row (l-r): Ray Adduono, a native of Thunder Bay, only 5'9" and 160 lb., yet was the Blazer's all-time scoring leader. Ray Schultz, set an all-time Blazer record with 342 penalty mins. in the '71-72 season. Blake Ball, a former end in the CFL was the proverbial bad guy during Syracuse's early years in the EHL but became a local hero when he was traded to the Blazers in 1971. Yves Belanger, a native of Baie Comeau, QP, was an outstanding goalie and eventually made it to the NHL. Bottom row (l-r): Gary Gresdal was among the most personable of the Blazers despite setting an all time record for the most penalty mins. in a season (392) in 1971-2, the year before joining the Blazers. Paul LaRose set the Blazer record for most goals in a season--an incredible 82--and played briefly in the WHA. Ron Ingram spent 18 years in pro hockey, before he became a coach. He made it to the NHL as a defenseman and was a past President of the NHL Players Association. Bill Charles rescued hockey in Syracuse in January, 1970, when he became GM and assumed operation of the Blazers. He established the team as the most successful EHL franchise.
The Blazers were born as an expansion team in the EHL during the 1967-8 season. They were unable to win a single road game during their first season and finished last in the league. Their woes continued the next season when they had a dismal 9-59-4 record. Attendance had always been very poor and the team seemed on the brink of suspending operations when Bill Charles became the GM during the 1969-70 season. The team began to turn things around and made the playoffs for the first time. The next season saw total attendance rise to just over 100,000 and the team began to be consistently successful on the ice, finishing second in their division. During the 1971-2 season, the team won their divisional title and attendance soared to over 205,000. The next season, 1972-3, saw the Blazers easily establish itself as the league's premier team. They had an unbeaten string of 28 games en route to winning their divisional title and the Walker Cup Playoff championship. The EHL suspended operations at the end of the season and the Blazer franchise became a part of the newly formed North American Hockey League for the 1973-4 season.
Some of the Blazers from the earlier teams: Fraser Rice, Paul Lessard, Chuck Charlong, Eddie Skyhar, Bob Jamieson, Ray Crew, Rod Diamond, Carlo Longerini, Chris Finnerty, Bill Yeo, Norm Pepin, Claude Houde, Jim Whittaker, Tim McCormick, Wayne Caulfield, and Jules Marenger.
This site has been prepared by former Syracusan, Edward Hutchison, now of Madison, MS, who asks to be contacted by anyone with current information about any former Blazers. Please take a moment to sign the guest book below. The reader interested in the present whereabouts of a particular player will often find that info in the Guest Book.