July 9, 2017
The only team to advance to the CCAA championship final in four consecutive years won its first national title 40 years ago.
The Red Deer College Kings were conference finalists in the 1974-75 and 1975-76 only to lose the deciding game in overtime on both occasions. In 1976-77, the Kings edged the Mount Royal College Cougars by one point to place first in the regular season.
In a best of three semi final series, RDC faced The SAIT Trojans. The Trojans, who had lost all six regular season contests to the Kings, netted three goals in the third period en route to a 4-2 win over in the series opener. Red Deer received two goal performances from Ron Joel and Bruce Schmidt to rebound with an 8-3 victory. Ken Hilsenteger of the Kings provided much of the inspiration for his team as a teammate’s stick knocked out three teeth in the first, but that did not deter the Red Deer rearguard who returned to the blueline in second. In the deciding game, the line of Bob Haldane, Ray Hall, and Ron Mykyta accounted for 17 points in a 10-2 Kings triumph.
In the best of three final championship series, the Kings met the Cougars who had swept their semi final series with the NAIT Ooks. Mike McIvor tallied twice as the Cougars clawed past the Kings 6-1 in Red Deer. John Rycroft, Larry Green, and Jim Causgrove each tallied twice as RDC tied the series with a 7-4 win in front of 1,100 fans in Calgary. The Red Deer Arena, with 1300 fans, was the site for the deciding game of the series. Following 60 minutes, the teams were deadlocked at 2-2. On a Mike McIvor breakaway with 18 seconds gone in the second overtime, Red Deer rearguard Larry Green dived and knocked the puck away from the league’s leading scorer. Both players went into the boards and Green’s leg snapped. The injury forced the Kings to go with three defensemen for the duration. At 3:34 of the third overtime, Bob Graham shoveled in a rebound to give the Kings their third conference title and a ticket to Moose Jaw.
At the 4 West Championships, Bob Graham scored three goals in an 8-1 victory over the Kelsey Amaruks of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Gerry Farwell recorded the shutout with 23 saves in a 2-0 blanking of the Cariboo College Chiefs of Kamloops, British Columbia.
Following a two week layoff, the Kings headed to Oakville, Ontario for the 1976-77 CCAA National Championships. In their first game, Red Deer squared off against the defending CCAA national champion St. Clair College Saints of Windsor, Ontario. Gerry Farwell stopped 23 shots in the second while Jim Causgrove completed the hat trick in the third in a 6-2 Kings win. Bruce Schmidt also tallied twice for RDC. Red Deer then faced the host Sheridan College Bruins, Ontario. Ken Klinkhammer notched the winner for the Kings with 12:51 gone in the first as RDC skated to a 5-1 triumph. Ron Joel, Ray Hall, Al Jacobson, and John Rycroft also tallied for the Kings.
Upon arrival back in Red Deer, Larry Green, wearing a Sheridan jersey and his cast, led the Kings off the charter bus holding the CCAA Championship Bowl high.
The Kings would collect three gold medals and three silver medals in six national championship appearances.