OHL Trivia: Niagara Falls Flyers

niagara falls flyersIn a previous OHL Hockey Trivia article, we featured the Niagara Falls Flyers that played from 1960 to 1972 in the OHA and were Memorial Cup champions in 1964-65 and 1967-68. In this article, the focus will be on version of the Niagara Falls Flyers that played in the league from 1976 to 1982.

Test and expand you knowledge of hockey trivia with these following four trivia questions on the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OMJHL / OHL.

Q. The version of the Niagara Falls Flyers that existed from 1976 to 1982 has moved twice to become what current Ontario Hockey League team?

A. After playing elsewhere from 1982-83 until 2001-02, the franchise once known as the Niagara Falls Flyers is now the Saginaw Spirit. After not qualifying for the Robertson Cup post season in their first three years in Saginaw, the Spirit have reached the post season each year since. However, Saginaw has failed to get past the Western Conference semi-finals, losing to the London Knights in 2008-09 and 2011-12, along with a loss to the Windsor Spitfires in 2010-11.

Q. Immediately upon leaving Niagara Falls after the 1981-82 season, the team became what OHL franchise?

A. The Flyers became the North Bay Centennials for the 1982-83 Ontario Hockey League season. This created a natural rivalry with the Sudbury Wolves. Ironically, the Wolves were at one time also known as the Niagara Falls Flyers.

The Centennials won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy in 1993-94 as the first overall team in the OHL. That year, they won the Robertson Cup for the only time while in North Bay with a win over the Detroit Junior Red Wings in the finals. The Centennials advanced to the Memorial Cup tournament held in Laval, Quebec but finished fourth among the four teams.

Q. Who is the only player from this version of the Niagara Falls Flyers to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?

A. Mike Gartner played two seasons with the Flyers, 1976-77 and 1977-78 while also playing in three games with the St. Catherines Black Hawks in 1975-76. He was the league’s rookie of the year in his first year and scored 41 goals in his second. The Washington Capitals selected Mike fourth overall at the 1979 NHL Entry Draft after a year in the WHA with the Cincinnati Stingers. Ahead of him in the draft were Rob Ramage, Perry Turnbull and Mike Foligno. Gartner entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 after a nineteen year NHL career. Mike is sixth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list with 708.

Q. The franchise that was the Niagara Falls Flyers started out in what nearby city in 1943?

A. The St. Catherines Falcons entered the OHA in 1943. The team would be called the Teepees then the Black Hawks before making the move to Niagara Falls. As the Teepees, the franchise won both the Robertson Cup and Memorial Cup in 1953-54 and 1959-60. From the Teepees, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote all went forth to a Hockey Hall of Fame NHL career.

As the St. Catherines Black Hawks, the franchise was Robertson Cup champions in 1970-71 and 1973-74 but did not advance to win the Memorial Cup. Other than Mike Gartner and his three game stint with the Blackhawks in 1975-76, Marcel Dionne is the only player from this era of the franchise to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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