72 episodes

Mark Willand's Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast is the "Voice of Hockey Legends." The popular show celebrates hockey history with in-depth interviews and behind-the-scenes stories from the legends of the WHA, NHL and minor pro hockey. Mark Willand is an NHL front office veteran with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins Alumni as well as the AHL Ct Whale/Hartford Wolfpack.

The Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast Mark Willand l Pro Hockey Alumni

    • Hockey
    • 4.9 • 45 Ratings

Mark Willand's Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast is the "Voice of Hockey Legends." The popular show celebrates hockey history with in-depth interviews and behind-the-scenes stories from the legends of the WHA, NHL and minor pro hockey. Mark Willand is an NHL front office veteran with the Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins Alumni as well as the AHL Ct Whale/Hartford Wolfpack.

    #72 Eddie Westfall: Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion and NY Islanders Hall of Famer.

    #72 Eddie Westfall: Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion and NY Islanders Hall of Famer.

    Eddie was one of the NHL's all-time great defensive forwards
    My guest on episode 72 is Eddie Westfall and 18-year NHL veteran and one of the most respected players of his generation.  A four-time NHL All Star and Masterton Trophy winner, Westfall is regarded as one of the greatest defensive forwards the game has ever seen.
    Eddie spent the 1960s with the Boston Bruins and was known as  “The Shadow” for his prowess in shutting down the games most prolific forwards such as Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe.  As the Bruins began building a championship team in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Eddie teamed with Derek Sanderson to form the NHL’s premier penalty killing unit as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. 
    Eddie became the first captain of the expansion NY Islanders in 1972 and remained with the franchise throughout the decade, providing leadership and mentorship to a group of young players, who would eventually form a hockey dynasty.  He was particularly stellar in the Isles unlikely 1975 playoff run, which saw them come within one game of the Stanley Cup finals.
    Post career, Eddie became a highly entertaining color man for Islanders TV broadcasts as he was often paired with Jiggs McDonald. Eddie would eventually be inducted into the NY Islanders Hall of Fame.
    Host:  Mark Willand
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    • 56 min
    #71 Wayne Carleton - 1970 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion

    #71 Wayne Carleton - 1970 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Champion

    Our guest on episode 71 is Wayne “Swoop” Carleton, who was an important part of the Boston Bruins 1969-70 Stanley Cup championship team. In fact, he was on the ice when Bobby Orr scored his famous Cup-clinching goal in the fourth game of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final.
    Carleton played junior hockey for the Toronto Marlboros, from 1961-1966 and he played a starring role in the Marlboros 1964 Memorial Cup championship.  After a brief stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carleton was traded to the Bruins during the 69-70 season.  With Boston he teamed with Derek Sanderson and Eddie Westfall on a productive third line, which played especially well in the post season.
    At the conclusion of a 22-goal 70-71 campaign with the Bruins, Carleton was claimed by the California Golden Seals in the intra league draft.  After one season in Oakland, Carleton was one of many Seals players who would jump to the fledgling World Hockey Association.
    Carleton became an all star in the WHA topping the 90-point mark in 1972-73 with the Ottawa Nationals and in 1973-74 when that franchise moved to Toronto and became the Toros.  He was later traded to the New England Whalers, where he played in the Whalers first season in Hartford before being traded to Edmonton for Mike Rogers in 1975-76.  Carleton suffered numerous knee injuries throughout his career and after brief stretches in Edmonton and Birmingham, he retired from big league hockey.
    Wayne’s got great stories to tell of his interesting career --  and the timing is perfect as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bruins 1970 Stanley Cup championship.
     
    Host:  Mark Willand
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    • 42 min
    #70 A Tribute to Tom Webster, Pat Stapleton and John Hughes

    #70 A Tribute to Tom Webster, Pat Stapleton and John Hughes

    A tribute to departed legends
    Episode 70 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast is a tribute to three NHL and WHA players who passed away recently: Tom “Hawkeye” Webster, Pat “Whitey” Stapleton and John “Tank Hughes.
    We begin with a look back at the remarkable career of Tom Webster.
    Tom was my favorite Whaler in the early days of the franchise. In fact, in my very first trip to Whalers Gift Store in 1975, I purchased a Whalers #8 replica sweater.
    Tom was the Whalers first star, scoring 52 goals to lead the Whalers to the WHA championship in 1973. Although Tom had been a 30-goal scorer with the Detroit Red Wings, he was a high-risk signing with New England due to severe back injuries that limited him to just 12 NHL games with the California Golden Seals in 1971-72.
    As noted, Tom was beset by back injuries throughout his WHA career but he scored 220 goals in 352 games and added 28 more in 43 playoff games … based on 80 games, Tom averaged over 50 goals per season in the WHA.
    Tom went on to enjoy a remarkable coaching career, winning championships in the CHL with Tulsa, the AHL with Adirondack and the OHL with Windsor.  He later became a scout with the Calgary Flames and ended his hockey career as one of the most respected men in the game.
    Pat Stapleton played eight seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, and was named Second Team All-Star three times (1966, 1971, and 1972). His highest scoring season was 1969, where his 50 assists set a new NHL record for assists in a season by a defenceman (broken the next year by Bobby Orr).Stapleton was a member of the Team Canada team at the Summit Series in 1972. During the tournament he was a +6 and was often paired with his Black Hawks teammate Bill White.
    In 1973, Stapleton jumped from the NHL and signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association where he became player-coach. He was a WHA first-team all-star in 1974 and won the Dennis A. Murphy Trophy as the league's top defenceman in the 1973–74 season. That year the Cougars stunned the hockey world by reaching the WHA finals before ultimately losing to the Houston Aeros.
    Stapleton again represented Canada in the 1974 Summit Series against the national team from the Soviet Union, this time as team captain. He was again player-coach of the Cougars in 1974–75, and the team struggled on the ice and financially. In December 1974, he and teammates Dave Dryden and Ralph Backstrom bought the troubled franchise.
    The Cougars folded after the 1974–75 season and Stapleton was claimed by the Indianapolis Racers, where he played for two seasons and was named a second-team all-star in 1976. When the Racers refused to honour his contract in 1977, Stapleton was transferred to the Cincinnati Stingers, where he played one season before retiring in 1978.
    The next year he had the distinction of being Wayne Gretzky’s first pro coach with the Indianapolis Racers where he coached both Gretzky and Mark Messier before the team folded in December 1978.Similar to JC Tremblay, had Pat not jumped to the WHA he may be in the Hockey Hall of Fame today.
    Nonetheless, Pat certainly has the respect for all who knew him. He was a player who truly appreciated the history of the game and his place in its legacy.
    Hard-Hitting PEI native John Hughes was a member of the powerful Toronto Marlboros teams of the early 70s and went on to an excellent -- and well-traveled -- WHA career with Phoenix, Cincinnati, Houston, Indianapolis and Edmonton. John was chosen to the WHA’s mid-season all star team in 1977 and 1979.
    Injuries took their toll on John in his brief NHL stay and he concluded his career, coincidentally, with Tom Webster’s Springfield Indians in 1981-82.
    Andre Lacroix, a teammate of John’s in Houston and Jerry Rollins, who played with John in Indianapolis recall the rock solid D-man they call “Tank”
     
     

    • 32 min
    #69 Andre Lacroix - The Memoir of the WHA Scoring King -- "After the Second Snowfall."

    #69 Andre Lacroix - The Memoir of the WHA Scoring King -- "After the Second Snowfall."

    The "Magician" has written his memoirs.
    Episode 69 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features the return of one of our favorite guests -- WHA scoring king Andre Lacroix.  Andre has written his memoir -- “After the Second Snowfall”, which details his amazing hockey journey through pro hockey in the 1960s and 1970s and his fascinating life after leaving the game.
    Andre, of course, was an original Philadelphia Flyer in the NHL and a WHA pioneer in 1972.  By the mid 70s he had established himself as one of the premier players in either league.
    Known as the “Magician” for his superb playmaking and stick handling skills, Andre also proved to be a skillful negotiator, playing for six WHA franchises without ever having been traded.
    Post retirement, Andre has used his celebrity to bolster charitable organizations and eventually create his own foundation for those with special needs.
    “After the Second Snowfall” is available now on Amazon.com.  The link is in the shownotes. 
    In this episode, Andre and I discuss the process of writing this compelling book.  At the conclusion of that discussion, I’ll replay my original and entertaining 2018 interview with Andre from episode #9. 
    Host:  Mark Willand
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    #68 Tom Fergus 30-Goal Scorer with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs

    #68 Tom Fergus 30-Goal Scorer with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs

    Nobody had a more lethal wrist shot than Tom Fergus.
    Episode 68 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features Tom Fergus, who played 726 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s and early 90s..  Fergus was known for his sensational wrist shot, which helped him record back-to-back 30-goal seasons with Boston and Toronto en route to a total of 235 goals for his career.
    Tom is entertaining and insightful as he recalls his longshot road to the NHL draft, his junior coach -- Mike Keenan, the much-publicized contract battle and eventual trade from Boston, and he provides great anecdotes about John Brophy, Pat Quinn, Terry O’Reilly, Wendel Clark, Borje Salming and many other great names from that unforgettable era.
    Today, Tom is very active with the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni, raising money for various charities throughout Ontario and beyond.
    Speaking of charities, just a reminder that we have joined NHL Alumni Tom Laidlaw, Frank Simonetti and Ken Hodge, Jr. in support of the Warrior for Life Fund and the Navy Seal Foundation.  Through the game of hockey, the Warrior for Life Fund supports our soldiers by providing programs and infrastructure that help military families cope with the unique challenges of combat, extended deployments, disabilities and the long lasting effects of war. 
    Please visit warriorforlifefund.org for more information.
    Remember you can follow us anywhere online @prohockeyalumni -- and as always, we appreciate your outstanding ratings and reviews on ITunes and Apple Podcasts
     
    Host:  Mark Willand
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    #67 Bob Bourne - New York Islanders Hall of Famer and 4-time Stanley Cup Champion

    #67 Bob Bourne - New York Islanders Hall of Famer and 4-time Stanley Cup Champion

    NY Islanders Legend Bob Bourne: Speed, Skill and Character
    Episode 67 of the Pro Hockey Alumni Podcast features New York Islanders Hall of Famer Bob Bourne, whose speed, skill and versatility were key components in the Islanders’ four Stanley Cup wins in the 1980s. In his 14-year NHL career, Bob scored 30 goals twice and 20 goals three times, was a member of Team Canada in 1984 and was awarded the Masterton Trophy for dedication to hockey in 1987.
    In this discussion, Bob reveals the inside story of his rise to the NHL and delivers great insights on legendary teammates such as Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, John Tonelli, Denis Potvin and many more.
    As always I thank you for helping us become the premier classic hockey podcast around the world. We greatly appreciate the kind reviews and awesome ratings you’ve left for us on iTunes and Apple Podcasts.
    Now … let’s talk classic hockey with Bob Bourne.
     
    Host:  Mark Willand
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    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

StevenRothberg ,

Is the show on hiatus?

No shows for 1.5 months. Miss it!

Jyacoub1016 ,

Love it

Thanks Mark for doing this amazing podcast. So many great and interesting stories straight from those who lived it. Great access to the formate players of my youth.
Once again, great podcast and thanks for putting in all the effort for some wonderful interviews.

Markstarr21 ,

Great perspectives....all in their own words...

The perspectives shared in the PHA podcasts are not just interviews of former players but great reflections sharing their hockey memories, the stories....and ultimately their love of the game...great job Mark Willand....these podcasts are terrific!

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