One significant moment in Indianapolis hockey history today
1979: Indianapolis is granted an expansion franchise in the Central Hockey League, to be named the Checkers. The New York Islanders would own and operate the club, with Jim Devellano being named general manager. The Isles owned and operated the club for five years, in which it won two championships and advanced to the Adams Cup final three times. When the league folded in 1984, the team transferred to the International Hockey League, where it played three more seasons. The Checkers were a direct predecessor of the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL and new CHL, as the team was re-named after being dormant in 1987-88.
And a handful of significant birthdays
Ed Bruneteau: Right wing who played for the Capitals in three different stints spanning the life of the franchise. He played 13 games in 1940-41, the team's second season, and also made his NHL debut with the Red Wings that year. He rejoined the Caps from 1947-49, and again in the 1951-52 season. All told, he played 172 games for the Capitals, tallying 62 goals and 62 assists. He had a 20-goal season in 1948-49, and a 21-goal year in 1951-52. After his first stint with the Caps, he played senior hockey with the Quebec Aces during the early war years, and ended up in the NHL with the Red Wings by 1943-44. Eddie was the younger brother of former Capital and Red Wing Mud Bruneteau, with whom he played in Detroit. Ed also has more family ties to Indianapolis, as his grandson Brett Bruneteau played for the Indiana Ice in 2007-08. Ed won the Allan Cup -- Canada's senior hockey title -- in 1944, and played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1945. He continued with the Wings until splitting the 1947-48 season with Detroit and Indianapolis, and played his final NHL game in 1948-49. He had 40 goals and 42 assists in 181 NHL games. He also made a name for himself in Omaha -- where the Red Wings "AA" affiliate was stationed -- in-between Capitals stints. Playing for a team his brother was coaching, he led the Knights to the 1951 championship in the old USHL, and was an All-Star in that league and in the IHL. He retired as a player in 1954 at age 34. Eddie settled in Omaha. He coached the inaugural Omaha Lancers team in 1986-87 as a midseason replacement. The team went 0-46-2 that year, he coached the team for 21 of those games, all losses. A native of St. Boniface, Manitoba, he was born in 1919. He passed away in 2002.
Harold "Hal" Jackson: A defenseman for the Capitals from 1940-44, he plays a significant role in the development of hockey in Indianapolis. He actually helped knock the Capitals out of the 1940 AHL playoffs as a defenseman with the Providence Reds, scoring a triple-OT goal in Game 1. He was dealt to the Red Wings (and assigned to Indianapolis) in a December 1940 deal for Cecil Dillon and Eddie Bush. Jackson played 145 games on the blueline in Capitals blue, primarily from 1940-43 -- he skated one game in the 1943-44 season. He had 16 goals and 43 assists total, including a 9-16-25 year in 1942-43. He had two goals and five assists in the playoffs to lead the Caps to the 1942 Calder Cup, and also helped the team reach the AHL's championship series the following year. Jackson also got the call to Detroit that year and won the Stanley Cup. His name appears on the Cup twice -- he also won it with Chicago in 1938. Jackson played 219 NHL games for the Blackhawks and Red Wings between 1936-47. Upon his retirement, he settled in Indianapolis and helped found junior hockey in the city, including the Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association. He also served as an official, off-ice official and builder of the game in Indianapolis. A native of Cedar Springs, Ontario, he was born in 1918 and passed away in 1997.
Enio Sclisizzi: One of the highest-scoring players to pull on a Capitals sweater, Sclisizzi played 314 games for the Capitals over six seasons -- from 1946-52. He had 125 goals and 155 assists in the blue and white, second all-time among Caps players in goals, assists, points and games played. He tallied the 20-goal mark four times with the Caps, and had 19 goals in a fifth year. He had 29 goals and 38 assists in 1947-48, his highest-scoring year with the Caps, and therefore spent much of the next year in Detroit. He returned to the Capitals in 1949-50 and tallied 30 goals and 36 assists, helping lead the team to a Calder Cup championship. He was an AHL First-Team All-Star in 1951-52, with 24 goals and 34 assists on a last-place team. He also played briefly for the Red Wings that year, and had his name engraved on the original Stanley Cup, but it was removed when a new Cup was introduced in 1957. He also went by Jim Enio -- a name given to him by Foster Hewitt -- and considered changing his name officially, but reportedly chose to stick with Sclisizzi upon his mother's request. After the Caps folded in 1952, he was traded to the Blackhawks, and continued to play in the AHL and WHL until 1959. A native of Milton, Ontario, he is 86.
Bobby Rivard: Winger who joined the Chiefs partway through the 1960-61 season and played through the club's demise in 1962. He was a high-scoring player who had 40 goals and 51 assists in the 1961-62 season, the second-highest scoring in the Chiefs' seven-year history. After the Chiefs' demise, he moved up State Road 37 to Fort Wayne, where he played four years for the Komets -- including back-to-back 100-point seasons from 1964-66 -- and won the Turner Cup in 1963 and 1965. He was the IHL's top scorer in 1966, moved to the AHL with Quebec the following year -- where he was the league's Rookie of the Year -- and then to the NHL with the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins in 1967-68. He had five goals and 12 assists in 27 games with the Pens. He continued to play, primarily in the AHL with Baltimore, through 1976. In 16 pro seasons, he tallied 20 goals 15 times, 30 goals five times and 40 goals three times. A native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he is 72.
Dan Vincelette: Rugged left wing who played for the Ice from 1989-92. He played 80 games for the Ice -- 49 of which came in the 1989-90 Turner Cup season, in which he had 16 goals, 13 assists and 262 PIMs. He had 26 goals, 19 assists and 397 penalty minutes overall. He did not play in the postseason during the Turner Cup year, but did score two goals in the epic seven-game loss to Fort Wayne in the 1991 IHL quarterfinals. The Blackhawks' fourth-round pick in 1985, he also played 193 NHL games for Chicago and Quebec between 1987-92, with a 20-22-42 line and 351 penalty minutes. He continued to play in the IHL (Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco) in Europe and senior hockey in Quebec before retiring in 1997. A native of Verdun, Quebec, he is 44.