Windsor Hockey Heritage Society President David Hunter announced Friday that Peter Mahovlich is the latest well known ex-NHL player to agree to attend the Long Pond Hockey Heritage Classic February 8th in Windsor. Mahovlich topped the 100 point plateau twice in his career with the Montreal Canadiens, in both 1974-75 and 1975-76 when he was also part of the league’s top scoring line playing beside Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt. Mahovlich was a first round and second overall draft pick taken by the Detroit Red Wings in June 1963.
Besides his prolific scoring years in Montreal, Mahovlich had his name placed on the Stanley Cup four times. He also played with the Detroit Red Wings during the latter stages of his career recording a 66 point season in 1979-80 and prior to that, he played two seasons in Pittsburgh garnering 114 points on 39 goals and 75 assists.
Hunter said, “Mahovlich was also a key member of Team Canada during the 1972 Summit Series when he played in seven of the eight games.” His lone goal of the tournament coming when he skated around three Soviets and scored short-handed to lead Canada to their only win in four games in Canada. Peter was respected by his National Hockey League peers for his esteemed accuracy in passing and his skill with the puck. He was also quite a prankster in NHL dressing rooms, becoming famous for setting newspapers on fire while they were being read by his teammates and he was also a well-respected plant grower, leaving other players confused as to how he could grow plants in his locker stall. Peter to this day plays an active role in the sport and is currently an advanced professional scout for the vastly improving Florida Panthers.
Mahovlich joins the previously announced Rick Middleton, the 14th overall first-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 1973 before being traded to Boston in the famous Ken Hodge exchange. This deal was described as one trade the New York Rangers have regretted to this day. Middleton went on to accumulate nearly 1,000 points while Hodge only played one more year in the league. Middleton’s career season with Boston was 1981-82 when he scored 51 goals and was named the winner of the NHL’s Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanlike play during an entire season.
Middleton had five straight seasons of 40 goals and 90 points while in Boston while also recording a 105 point season for the Bruins in 1983-84. Middleton also played on a line with Wayne Gretzky and Michel Goulet in the 1984 Canada Cup, scoring four goals and four assists while also playing in the NHL All-Star Game three separate years in 1981, 1982 and 1984. He finished his NHL career in 1988 with 448 goals, 52 short of the magical 500 number.
Gilbert Dionne and brother to Marcel played on the last Canadian team to win a Stanley Cup – the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens and will also be part of the festivities on Long Pond. Dionne played 75 games for the Cup Champs in 92-93, scoring 20 goals and collecting 28 assists before adding 6 goals and 6 assists in the playoffs. Dionne finished his NHL career after being injured following a trade to Philadelphia in the strike-shortened 1994-95 season.
Forbes Kennedy who has appeared in Windsor before at Hockey Heritage Functions is a true entertainer and will always be remembered for being involved in what was called “the mean spirited trade” in July 1957 when Kennedy was dealt with other players from the Chicago Blackhawks to Detroit for the infamous Ted Lindsay. Kennedy also played with Boston for four seasons and two years in Philadelphia after being selected in the original 1967 expansion draft by the Flyers. Kennedy was a consistent checker and penalty killer during his NHL career that lasted more than 600 games. The only thing he never overcame in his hockey career was his fear of mice which other teammates exploited unmercifully. Kennedy finished his playing career with the Toronto Maple leafs under Punch Imlach in 1969-70.
All four of these well-known former NHL players will be around Long Pond all day with action beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning prior to the official opening ceremonies at 12:00 noon. They will also attend the Hockey Heritage Banquet slated to begin at 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening at Kings-Edgehill. Hunter concluded, “with last year’s classic being cancelled because of the major blizzard which befell Windsor-West Hants and all of Nova Scotia the morning of the event, this year’s event is intended to be extra special as the Hockey Heritage Society’s first major fundraising effort of the season, the second one coming in late spring when the annual golf tournament is held. There are only limited openings for players for the Long Pond Classic and Banquet ticket and table sales started slow but have become a hot item in the past few days. Of the 19 tables which can seat ten people each, sales have now exceeded 75%, if you are interested in a ticket or a corporate table of ten, feel free to call Hunter at 798-2025 or Hockey Heritage Director Dan Boyd at 798-2984.