Was Gordie Heagle a Hockey Linesman?
Posted by Found this article on November 9, 2021, 6:25 pm
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On March 21, 1972, the New Haven Blades were visiting the Syracuse Blazers for their game 7 of the Eastern Hockey League's playoffs. It would turn out to be the last game ever played in the EHL for New Haven but it would be a game that would never be forgotten.
Before the game even began there was not only a bomb threat that made police check every person that entered the arena, but New Haven's leading scorer, Pierre LeBlanc, had his skates stolen. The New Haven coach called a local store to have another pair brought over. When they arrived at the arena, Syracuse arena management wouldn't let them into the building to deliver the skates. New Haven refused to take the ice until the skates were delivered which delayed the game even more.
During a fight between Blaine Rydman of New Haven and Doug Ferguson of Syracuse, linesman Gordie Heagle stepped in to break up the fight but decided it would be better to help Ferguson by punching Rydman in the side of the head. This prompted New Haven goaltender Jim Armstrong to grab the linesman and take him to the ice where he sat on his chest and wrapped his hands around his neck much to the horror of the crowd.
With the New Haven Blades now down 3 defencemen and a goaltender, Syracuse went on to win the game and close out a storied era of hockey in the EHL. A league that operated from 1933 until 1973 and promoted high scoring, fight filled games. It may be a distant memory to only a few people now, but it's legacy will live on as it became the inspiration for the movie Slapshot.
Anyone else have any stories about the EHL?