St. Catharines made it to the OHA finals in 1969, 1971 and 1974. They were beaten in the 1969 OHA finals by the Montreal Junior Canadiens 4 wins to 0 with 2 ties. The Black Hawks won the J. Ross Robertson Cup in 1971 versus the Toronto Marlboros & 1974 versus the Peterborough Petes.
The 1971 Richardson Trophy series between St. Catharines and the Quebec Remparts is one of the most storied ever, featuring riots and two future Hall of Famers, Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne. In the 1974 Memorial Cup tournament the Black Hawks would square up against the Regina Pats and a rematch versus the Quebec Remparts.
Hap Emms bought the Black Hawks in 1972 and for the next four years attendance declined to the point that Emms refused to suffer any more losses and moved the club to Niagara Falls in 1976, rejuvenating the name of the previous Niagara Falls Flyers team which Emms had also owned.
Many blamed the poor support for the clubs on Emms’ failure to promote the team, but there were extenuating factors such as the attraction of the nearby Buffalo Sabres, expanded TV coverage of hockey and Tier II hockey in the area.
The series that featured future NHL stars Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne, never lived up to the potential on ice brilliance that could have been. Disputes off the ice and erupting violence abruped the series before it was finished.
The Black Hawks and Remparts series was intense on many levels. Besides the strong rivalry between Anglophone and Francophone hockey teams and Canadian citizens in general, there was unfinished business between Marcel Dionne and the Remparts coach Maurice Filion. Dionne had been coached by Filion in 1968 as a member of the Drummondville Rangers of the Quebec Junior Hockey League. When the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League formed in 1969, Dionne departed to play in the OHA, which was seen as a higher-calibre level of competition, to hone his skills. Filion vowed revenge against his OHA team. This rivalry was further fueled by the desire of Francophone nationalists to have a Canadian champion from a Quebec team in a Quebec-based league.
The Remparts won the first game 4-2 played in St. Catharines and televised by closed circuit to over 8,000 spectators in Quebec arenas. Despite the win, Filion complained about the referee bias against his players, calling it anti-Francophone. The Black Hawks won game 2 by a score of 8-3, to tie the series at 1 game each.
Game 3 was played in the Colisée de Québec to an overflow crowd, seeing the Remparts win 3-1. There were a total of 102 penalty minutes called, 77 of those were against the Black Hawks. Brian MacKenize of St. Catharines would be suspended for one game after confronting a linesman.
The next game of the series was uglier than the last game. Another overflow crowd saw the Remparts win game 4 by a score of 6-1. As the game wore on, more and more fights broke out on the ice, involving players leaving the penalty box to join the fray. The St. Catharines players were escorted off the ice by police amidst the hurling of debris from Quebec fans. After the game an angry mob surrounded the St. Catharines team bus on its way to the motel, and was given a police escort to safety. The mob circled the motel until the early hours of the morning.
Game 5 was played on neutral ice at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, which the Black Hawks won 6-3 to narrow the series 3 games to 2 for Quebec. That was the last game played.
The parents of the St. Catharines players refused to send their children back to Quebec City for fear of the violence that occurred after game four. The Remparts refused to play anywhere else but their home rink, including any neutral ice in the province of Quebec. The problem was further confounded with threats surfacing from the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) against St. Catharines players.
CAHA president Dawson declared the series to be over when no further compromise could be reached, and he had received official notice from St. Catharines that the team would not return to the Colisée. As a result, the Remparts went on to compete for the Memorial Cup by default, which they won, defeating the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The entire cup series would be played in Calgary, Alberta at the Stampede Corral. This venue was much to the liking of St. Catharines players, who were not wanting to relive the Quebec City experience from 3 years ago. St. Catharines played a strong defensive game to open the tournament, getting some vengeance from three years ago. However, the Remparts scored 5 power play goals in the semi-final game and trounced the Black Hawks 11-3.
Game 1 St. Catharines 4 vs. Quebec Remparts 1
Game 2 Regina Pats 4 vs. St. Catharines 0
Game 3 Quebec Remparts 5 vs. Regina Pats 3
Semi-final Quebec Remparts 11 vs. St. Catharines 3
Final Regina Pats 7 vs. Quebec Remparts 4
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