The 1974-75 Toronto Marlboros were an amazing team coached by hockey legend George Armstrong. It marked an end of an era of junior hockey in Toronto. The Marlboros carried on in the OHL until moving to Hamilton in the late 1980’s but they never again achieved the success they found in 74-75.
The Marlies dominated the OMJHL and were crowned national champions. Four players leading the way offensively for the team all topped 100 points during the regular season. All four went on to play in the National Hockey League but only one came close to achieving the numbers these four did in 1974-75.
Bruce Boudreau was in his third of three years with Toronto in 1974-75. He finished the season with 68 goals and 97 assists for 165 points over 69 regular season games. Bruce tied for first in the goals department with Peter Lee of the Ottawa 67’s. He placed second in assists, behind Tim Young of the 67’s. Boudreau’s 165 points led the league and he was awarded the Eddie Powers Trophy for his efforts.
The Minnesota Fighting Saints took Boudreau fourteenth overall at the 1974 WHA Amateur Draft and the Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the third round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, 42nd overall. Over the first two years out of junior, Bruce played a bit in both leagues. in 1975-76, he played his only 30 WHA games with the Fighting Saints while spending the rest of the year with the Johnstown Jets of the North American Hockey League. In 1976-77, Boudreau played the first 15 games of his NHL career with Toronto and spent the rest of the year in the Central Hockey League with the Dallas Black Hawks.
In total, he played just 141 NHL regular season games, totalling 28 goals and 70 points. All Bruce’s NHL experience fell between 1976-77 and 1985-86 with the Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks. In 1987-88, he regained his scoring touch but in the American Hockey League. Boudreau led the AHL with 116 points over 80 games with the Springfield Indians and was awarded the John B. Sollenberger Trophy.
1974-75 was Tonelli’s second of two years with the Marlboros. He played in all the team’s 70 regular season games, scoring 49 goals and assisting on 86 for 135 points. He finished tied for ninth for goals with teammate John Anderson. John finished fourth in the league for both assists and points.
The New York Islanders selected Tonelli in the second round of the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft, 33rd overall. By that time, he’d already finished his second of three years with the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. John played in the NHL from 1978-79 to 1991-92, appearing in 1,028 regular season games with the Islanders, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and Quebec Nordiques. He scored 325 goals and totalled 835 points while adding another 115 points over 172 Stanley Cup playoff games.
John was a member of four consecutive Stanley Cup champions on Long Island between 1979-80 and 1982-83. He also helped the Calgary Flames reach the finals in 1985-86 before bowing out to the Montreal Canadiens. Tonelli played just the final nine games of the 1985-86 season with Calgary after coming over in a late season trade from the Islanders.
his top offensive season came in 1984-85. Over 80 games with the Islanders, John scored 42 goals and assisted on 58 for an even 100 points. In that highly offensive era in the National Hockey League, Tonelli’s point total was good for third on the Islanders and he did not place in the league’s top ten for goals, assists or points.
Another escapee to the WHA, Napier was in his second of two years with the Marlboros in 1974-75. He scored 66 goals and assisted on 64 for 130 points while playing in just 61 games. Mark tied for third in the league for goals with Dennis Maruk of the London Knights. The two were just two goals behind the leaders and one can only wonder what Napier could have done if he’d played those additional nine games. Mark’s 130 points placed him sixth in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy. However, he was the highest scoring right winger in the league and was honoured with the discriminating Jim Mahon Trophy.
The Montreal Canadiens made Napier the tenth overall pick at the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft. At that point in his hockey career, Mark had just completed his second season in the WHA. He played in the rebel league for three years from 1975-76 to 1977-78 with the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls.
Napier played 767 regular season games in the National Hockey League with the Habs, Minnesota North Stars, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres. He won a Stanley Cup championship with the Canadiens in 1978-79 and another with the Edmonton Oilers in 1984-85.
Anderson was fourth on Toronto with 49 goals and 64 assists for 113 points while playing the full 70 game schedule. He placed tied for ninth in goals with John Tonelli. Unlike the other three, John was not in his final season with the Marlboros. Anderson was in his second of four years with the club and would lead the 1976-77 Marlies with 57 goals and 62 assists for 119 points over 64 games. That year, he finished sixth in the league for goals, tied for tenth for assists and placed seventh in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy.
In 1977, Anderson was taken eleventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. That year, he was also made a second round pick of the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques, 14th overall. He chose the NHL route and played 814 regular season games over a career that spanned from 1977-78 to 1988-89 with the Maple Leafs, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers. Because of the lack of success of those three teams, John played in just 37 Stanley Cup playoff games over his career.
After the NHL was done with him, Anderson carried on in the minors for a few more years. His swan song came in 1991-92 with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL. Over 68 regular season games, he scored 41 goals and assisted on 54 for 95 points. He placed eighth in the league for goals, tied for seventh for assists and fifth for points. He was honoured with the Les Cunningham Award as AHL most valuable player while also serving as assistant coach.
1974-75 Toronto Marlboros
George Armstrong was in his third year as head coach of the Marlboros and won his second national championship in three years. Toronto finished first overall in the eleven team OMJHL with 48 wins and 105 points over the 70 game schedule, earning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy. Noteworthy was the 469 goals for and 303 goals against, numbers usually reserved for the QMJHL in Canadian junior hockey history.
In the playoffs, the Marlboros came up against three teams that pushed them to the limits. In the quarter-finals, the Kingston Canadians fell nine points to seven. In the semi-finals, it was the Sudbury Wolves falling victim again by the nine points to seven count. In the finals, the Hamilton Fincups gave it their best but fell to the Marlies eight points to six.
The 1975 Memorial Cup tournament was held at Kitchener, Ontario. Participating along with the Marlboros were the New Westminster Bruins from the WCHL and the Sherbrooke Castors of the QMJHL. Toronto took out Sherbrooke in the semi-final, 10-4 then soundly beat the Bruins in the final, 7-3. John Smrke of the Marlboros was awarded the George Parsons Trophy for sportsmanship and Toronto’s Gary Carr won the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the top goaltender at the Memorial Cup. Carr was also named the all-star goalie with Toronto’s Mike Kitchen named all-star defenseman and John Anderson all-star right winger.
Toronto Marlboros History
The extreme digest version. The Marlboros were established back in 1904. Over their time in Toronto, they were crowned Memorial Cup champions on seven occasions. For the 1989-90 season, they moved down the QEW to become the Dukes of Hamilton. That stop lasted just two years and in 1991-92, the team moved to Guelph to become the Storm. The Guelph Storm have since played in four Memorial Cup tournaments with no championships, to date.