1971 Hockey Inductees

For us, the 1971 is a little bit controversial. Despite the very warranted induction of the legendary goalie, Terry Sawchuk, the group featured a man whose entry was delayed (we believe) due to character issues (Busher Jackson), a man who had one very good season due to taking advantage of a rule change (Cooney Weiland) and a player who may not belong at all (Gordon Roberts). If we bring back our made up acronym, the “IPW” (Induction per Worthiness), it wouldn’t be a high one despite Sawchuk’s appearance.
Arthur Wirtz’ entry to the Hockey Hall of Fame was based on the financial support he gave the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, and he did legitimately make both franchises more viable. He formed a business partnership with James E. Norris to buy the Detroit Falcons (later renamed the Red Wings) and after helping to bring that team to prominence, he parted amicably with…
As part of the famed “Kid Line”, Harvey “Busher” Jackson would be part of the annual points chase for years, leading the league in the category in the 1931-32 season. Jackson used his excellent speed and offensive rushes to terrorize opponents, and in the year he won the scoring title, also led his team to the Stanley Cup.
There is something about this induction that bothers us. Ralph “Cooney” Weiland shattered the single season points record that Howie Morenz set earlier, and simultaneously won the goals title in the 1929-30 season. This was the first NHL campaign where the forward pass was legal and Weiland along with linemates Dit Clapper and Dutch Gainor took advantage of the new rule with expert positioning.
A proficient goal scorer in the 1910’s, Gordon Roberts was one of the first players who could curve a shot. Roberts was well over a goal per game producer in his era and was a First Team All Star once in the PCHL while playing with the Vancouver Millionaires. The criticism here is that there were many goal per game scorers at this time, and Roberts…
Some Hockey experts have referred to Terry Sawchuk as the greatest Goalie of all time. Those who don’t agree with that previous statement will at least agree that he deserves to be a part of the conversation.