1972 Guelph CMCs
The 1971-72 hockey season is one Guelph fans won’t soon forget. The year featured great victories and great tragedy. The CMC’s, coached by Billy Taylor and assembled by John Prigione and Brent Madill, were led on the ice by future NHL stars Doug Risebrough and John Van Boxmeer. The team had a tremendous regular season winning 40 of the 56 games they played. To win the National Championship, they would need to win six grueling playoff series. They defeated the St. Thomas, Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie before meeting the Thunder Bay Vulcans in what would turn out to be a vicious and controversial series. Guelph won the first two games at home before travelling north for the next three. Game three featured an ugly bench clearing brawl, but after losing two in a row, the CMC’s gutted out a win in game five (to take a 3-2 lead) with a chance to win on home ice. However just 90 seconds into the sixth game, several fights erupted and the Vulcans coach was thrown out. He pulled his team off the ice and they forfeited the series. Guelph then swept Charlottetown in Eastern final before beating Red Deer for the Centennial Cup.
However, midway through the final period of that championships series, CMC forward Paul Fendley was knocked off balance and his head struck the ice. A few days later he would die in hospital at the age of 19, turning joy into immense sorrow.
Elected to the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Team category – on April 16, 2002