IHL Champions Have "New Look"
Saturday October 24, 1964
By Bud Gallmeier
For the first time since Don Westbrook slipped the puck in behind a sprawling Chuck Adamson back on April 21, hockey returns to the Memorial Coliseum tonight.
Westbrook was the "villain" who snapped the Komets' reign as Turner Cup champions of the International Hockey League at the minimum range - one year. Westbrook scored at 3:23 of the second sudden-death overtime period to give the Toledo Blades a 3-2 triumph - and the best of seven series, four games to two.
Westbrook won't be in the Blades lineup tonight when they go against the Komets in an exhibition battle first of two between last season's playoff finalists before the IHL begins playing for keeps next week. Westbrook is on the roster of Springfield, an American League club.
A couple of other fellas who played key roles in the Blade success story of last season will be missing tonight also. One is John Gravel, pesky little defenseman who had a great year with Toledo and was especially effective against the Komets in the playoff. Gravel is getting a shot with Minneapolis in the Central Pro League. Larry Mavety, another defenseman, also is still with a pro club.
There will be some familiar faces in the Blades lineup, however. Glenn Ramsey, the stingy goalie, is back. As are Chick Chalmers, Greg Jablonski, Walter Bradley, Moe Benoit and of course, Terry Slater. Slater was another tormentor in the playoffs last season.
The Blades have some newcomers who could make Toledo fans forget the likes of Gravel, Mavety and Westbrook. And if these newcomers make it, the impact of hockey in the United States will be reflected quite heavily. Three of the Blade rookies, are American-born players, still a scarce item in organized hockey today. The three include two college All-Americans: Carl Lackey and Nick Musat, both from Michigan State. The third American-born candidate in the Blade camp is Bobby Brown, A native of Detroit.
The Komets haven't changed much since Westbrook wrote a sad ending to the 1963-64 season. Only regular from last season not back is Roger Maisonneuve. Roger was grabbed up in the draft by Dayton but has decided to hang up his skates rather than play for another city.
Only three rookies are on the Komet roster as of now. The three are John Thompson and Ron Meir, both defensman; and Bill Orban, a left winger. Left wing is one spot that has coach Ken Ullyot concerned. Orban may eliminate this concern. He's reportedly a rugged lad with a good "touch" around the net. But only time will tell. The International League isn't the "soft touch" some of the graduated juniors think it is. A lot have found that out in the past.
Ullyot will use the three rookies a lot tonight as game competition is a much better gauge with which to judge talent than training-camp scrimmages. As the the roster currently contains six defenseman, some of the veterans can be expected to put forth a strong effort, too. There is room for only four defenseman on the roster.
In fact, all the players will probably give it a good shot. That has always been the case with hockey here. Exhibitions have proven that in name only. As far as the Players are concerned, there is only one way to play the game-for keeps. Why not drop out to the coliseum and see what we mean?