1982-83 Jr. Flags Hockey Team
Year Inducted: 2018
The Port Huron Junior Flags joined the Great Lakes Junior B Hockey League as an expansion franchise in 1981, joining established teams such as Paddock Pools, Fraser, St. Clair Shores, Westland, and Flint. In two years, the Flags became the class of the league, winning back-to-back state championships.
The 1982-83 Flags were nearly unbeatable, losing just one league game all season. The Flags were dominant, finishing in first place with 56 points, 14 more than second-place rival Fraser. The Flags had a 29-game streak without a loss before losing their only league game of the season.
The Flags swept the playoffs to earn their second straight trip to the National Tournament in St. Louis, where they lost to future NHL Hall of Fame goalie Mike Richter of the Philadelphia Tropicana Junior Flyers.
The Flags boasted five of the top 10 scorers in the league, led by co-captain and league MVP Bill Howe’s 68 points. Other Flags in the top 10 scoring were co-captain Rich Maxfield, Paul McDonald, John Hayward (team-high 31 goals) and defenseman Steve McKinch.
The Flags scored 243 goals, 51 more than the second-most team. They also allowed a league-low 126 goals, giving the Flags the top two goalies in John Backman and Scott Albert.
Backman led the league with 16 wins and had the lowest goals-against average (3.33), but an injury forced him out of the playoffs. Albert, who was second in the league in wins and goals-against average, won five of six games in the playoffs as the Flags won the state title.
All but one player on the Flags roster was a Port Huron Minor Hockey Association graduate. The Flags, led by coach Lloyd Maxfield and general manager Ted Curtiss, vetoed the league player draft to instead compile a team of local talent to compete against the Detroit area’s marquee players.
The Flags possessed lethal scoring balance, with nine players who tallied at least 10 goals, including Darryl Drake, Ron Horne, Mark McVeigh, and Tim Maxfield. The defense was the best in the league, led by rugged rearguard McKinch, Jon Jones and Rich Fox.
Eight players on the Flags went on to play college hockey or in the top junior league in America, the United States Hockey League, including Todd Lawson and Dan Wilhelm.
The other team members were: Larry Miller, Mike Stokes, Tom Janssen, Tim Wedge, and Steve Meade. The other member of the coaching staff was goalie coach/trainer Brian Timmington.