Monday, December 5, 2011

Today in history: December 5

December 5 in Indianapolis hockey history
1946: Additional seats are added to expand Coliseum capacity to 11,000 to handle huge postwar crowds.
1950: Marcel Pronovost is sent to the Capitals from Detroit, as is Steve Kraftchek. The future Hall of Famer plays 34 games and posts a 9-23-32 line with the Caps. He would become noted for his deft stickhandling ability, wand would be called back up to Detroit for good on Feb. 15. 
1974: Paul Deneau takes control of the Racers in their inaugural season, as the initial ownership group dissolves.
1982: The Checkers' Charlie Skjodt posts a hat trick in a 5-4 victory over Nashville. Mats Hallin pots the game-winner. Skjodt would later coach the Indiana Ice, and currently serves as the team president. 

Les Douglas: A perennial Capital, Douglas played for the Caps from 1939-43 -- splitting three of those seasons with the Red Wings -- and then again after WWII from 1945-47. In all, he played parts of six seasons in Indianapolis, playing 252 games as a Capital. He scored 116 goals and had 187 assists. His highest-scoring years came after WWII, when he had 44 goals and 46 assists in 90 games in 1945-46, and followed that up with a 26-57-83 season in 1946-47, leading the team in scoring both years. He was the AHL's top scorer in 1946 and a First Team All-Star. He was a Second Team All-Star the following year. He was a part of division championship teams in 1940 and 1942 and the 1942 Calder Cup champions. He had eight goals and nine assists in the 1942 Calder Cup playoffs, and nine goals and 14 assists in 20 playoff games as a Capital. He would continue as a high-scoring player for Buffalo and Cleveland, topping the 100-point mark and winning the AHL's MVP award in Cleveland in 1950, a year the Barons lost the Calder Cup finals to Indianapolis. Douglas also played 52 games with the Red Wings and spent the 1943 playoffs in Detroit, where he had three goals in 10 playoff games as the Wings won the Stanley Cup. A native of Perth, Ont., he was born in 1918, and passed away in 2002.
Joe Hardy: "Gypsy Joe" was a center for the Racers for 32 games in 1974-75. He had two goals and 17 assists in the team's maiden voyage in the WHA. In total, he played 273 games in the NHL and WHA, with the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Crusaders, Chicago Cougars, Racers and San Diego Mariners from 1969-75. He had 55 goals and 108 assists as a major pro player. He later became the first professional player to top the 200-point mark in 1975-76 with the NAHL's Beauce Jaros, when he had 60 goals and 148 assists. He was the team's player-coach that year and led them to a 54-18-2 record. Hardy coached in the AHL and also in the QMJHL for several years. A native of Kenogami, Quebec, he is 66.

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