While researching the Broome Dusters schedule, we found something that surprised us about the beginning of Binghamton hockey way back in 1973. The Broome County Arena was all shiny and new. The Dusters was a new team in the newly formed North American Hockey League, once a part of the Eastern Hockey League.
Binghamton hadn’t been in the hockey scene up to this moment, most knew of the Binghamton Triplets a farm team for the New York Yankees with many players who you would know had played in Binghamton but within four years Binghamton would be one of the meccas of the hockey world with crazy screaming sell-out fans in an Arena that will be called a dump by some, but home to others.
Yet, it’s that first regular season win or wins that interests us the most here. The Broome Dusters first four games were games 1 and 2 vs. Mohawk Valley and Johnstown on October 12th and 13th on the road, then two games vs. the Maine Nordiques one on the road on October 16th and home opener at the Arena on the 17th.
The Dusters, lost game 1 at Mohawk Valley 3-2, in a close game, then traveled to Johnstown for a Saturday night game in Western Pennsylvania losing that game as well by 1 goal in OT 5-4. Not the start that the team obviously wanted but 1 goal games keep the moral up, knowing they are close to the first regular season franchise win.
But that’s where this story gets interesting. If you look through newspapers and talk to people who were there, the Dusters lost the next two games to the Maine Nordiques. In a Friday night game in Portland, the Dusters and the Nordiques combined for 16 goals in a Dusters loss, 9-7. Then in the Broome County Arena debut, the Dusters lost in another goal-fest 8-7. Not the start the Dusters wanted, there are now 0-4 on the season with only 1 point to show for themselves.
For Binghamton fans, at least in the game seen at the Arena and the other three road games, they saw the emergence of the Rod Bloomfield who would over the next four years would become one their big stars and leading point getter and goal scorer.
Then on October 19th the Dusters faced off against the Cape Cod Cubs in Massachusetts which ended up being the first win “On Ice“ win for the Dusters, a 4-3 decision. Ok, so if that was the whole story you would say that pretty boring Bob, but that’s not the whole story. Remember, I said when the Dusters squared off against Maine in the home and home series that’s when it gets interesting well that’s because the North American Hockey League’s Executive Director, Robert Dextrase announced before the Dusters squared off against the Cubs that the Nordiques had broken the “Professional Player Rule” and played with 7 vs. the rule of only 6 professional players on any one roster.
That meant the Nordiques would have to forfeit 3 games, two vs. the Dusters. So after October 19th was over with, the Dusters were then 3-2 and had 7 points vs. 3 points with only one win. So how about that for the start of Binghamton Hockey, the first two Binghamton regular season wins were forfeits by the Maine Nordiques when the Dusters technically lost “On Ice”.
The Dusters would finish that first season 28-41-5 with 61 points, in 5th place and miss the playoffs. But let’s not forget that the first four seasons of the Dusters would bring along lots of excitement, fights and sellouts at the Arena creating a passion, love for hockey in Binghamton that isn’t dead yet. At one point during the first four years of hockey in Binghamton, the Hockey News would even call Binghamton Hockey Town USA.
That’s it this time, thanks for reading Wrap Around.