UNB Hockey's All Decade Teams - The 1980s
First Team: (l-r) (F) - Mark Jeffrey, John Leblanc & Sid Veysey - (D) David Mancuso & Dave Bluteau - (G) Kevin Rochford
Second Team: (l-r) (F) - Gary Agnew, Rob Forbes & Mike Kelly - (D) Paul Murphy & Scott Clements - (G) Scott Brogan
(UNB Athletics Press Release - March 16th, 2012)
The CIS Nationals Legacy Committee in conjunction with UNB’s hosting of the 2011 and 2012 CIS Hockey Championships and the 225th celebration of the University of New Brunswick is pleased to celebrate the rich tradition of the UNB Hockey program by recognizing six “All-Decade” teams. This selection process is finishing up this season and will recognize the top twelve all-time players of each decade or era at UNB. The process includes fan interactive voting in combination with a committee voting process.
In January and February fans voted on the “All Decade” team of the 1980’s. The 80’s was an era of transition for the UNB “Red Devils”, especially behind the bench. The legendary Don MacAdam left for the a head coaching job in the OHL in 1985 and then the NHL the next year, to be replaced by Doug MacLean who also left for the NHL after just one season behind the UNB bench. Rick Nickelchok took over for three seasons, to be replaced briefly by Mark Jeffrey, and then Mike Johnston, who took UNB hockey into the 1990’s and the next level in the hockey program development.
On the ice, a veteran team built up by Coach MacAdam in 1983-84 won the AUAA title, but couldn’t get past eventual national champion University of Toronto in the CIAU Regional Championship in a memorable series not matched again until 1997. The ‘83-‘84 season was a highlight of the decade in the AUS for UNB although the hiring of Mike Johnston provided a strong foundation for the eventual strong program success in the 1990’s. The All-Decade team is dominated by players from the strong UNB teams in the early to mid-eighties. This decade also produced numerous players who would later go on to coaching careers in both Major Junior hockey and the pros.
The UNB 1980’s “All-Decade” team includes:
Fredericton’s Mark Jeffrey is the only UNB player to have his number retired, and the team award created posthumously in his name is the most prestigious hockey award at UNB. He was a fiery competitor who scored 47 goals and 128 points in 76 games played. Campbellton’s John LeBlanc arrived the season after the ’83-’84 AUAA championship and in just two seasons scored 61 goals and 121 points in 48 games played. LeBlanc was the CIAU Player of the Year in 1986 and went on to play 83 games in the NHL. Like LeBlanc, Sid Veysey from Woodstock only played two seasons at UNB. From 1979-81 Veysey totaled 42 goals and 90 points in just 47 games played and was captain his last season.
Defenceman Dave Bluteau and Dave Mancuso were rocks on the UNB back line in the early 80’s. They had an offensive side as well, with Bluteau tallying 85 points in 81 games played and was a two-year captain while Sault Ste. Marie, ON native Mancuso had 64 points in 62 games played. Goalie Kevin Rochford backstopped UNB for five seasons with a career goals against average of 3.74.
Named to the second team, Gary Agnew scored 66 goals and 131 points his three seasons at UNB from 1979-82. Mike Kelly the player was a two-year captain who played five seasons at UNB from 1981-86. He amassed 47 goals, 118 points and 330 penalty minutes in 110 regular season games. Kelly would come back and coach UNB for two seasons when the team won the silver medal in 1997 and their first national championship the following season. Robbie Forbes played a remarkable single season for UNB in 1984-85 alongside John LeBlanc, where he scored 32 goals and 66 points in 24 games played, rookie records yet to be surpassed at UNB.
Scott Clements, from Sudbury, ON, was a defencemen who played at the same time as Bluteau and Mancuso. In 47 regular season games over three seasons he had 45 points and 159 PIMs. Paul Murphy was the last member of the top 4 d-men on the ’83-’84 team. Murphy played five seasons on the blue line for UNB, amassing 60 points in 82 games played from 1981-86. Scott Brogan shared the net with Rochford for four seasons, from 1979-83, with a career GAA of 4.84.
According to current UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall, “ The UNB Hockey program prides itself on “playing for those who have played before us” – certainly the success of the 1980’s teams and players has provided a key spark in our successful tradition and has been a key source of inspiration for our modern day success.” It is worthwhile to note how many of these alumni have gone on to successful careers in hockey up to the NHL level as well as in many professional fields.
Eric Drummie, who has taken care of managing the stats and running the voting website among many of his activities for the Legacy Committee, said, "The latter half of the 80’s were obviously challenging for the players, trying to match up to the 1983-84 team while there were all those coaching changes after Don MacAdam left for the pros. At the same time we had those remarkable, record offensive seasons by Robbie Forbes and John LeBlanc in their relatively short careers at UNB."
The members of the UNB Hockey All-Decade Teams will be recognized during the upcoming Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot March 22-25.
(L) The All-Decade teams plaques displayed outside UNB's dressing room. (R) The 80's plaque.
CandidatesEach all-decade team is selected from a list of 24 candidates, however, there were limited goalies to select from
as such, only three were up for consideration instead of four. Here are the other 11 all-star players that were up for consideration:
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