1986: The Checkers announce an “On the Road to the NHL” campaign, as they push for an NHL expansion franchise. They push for an average of 6,000 fans per game that season and bring an NHL exhibition to Market Square Arena – which would feature the Devils playing the Penguins on Oct. 5. Later, they would bring former Racer Wayne Gretzky back to Indianapolis as part of an exhibition game between the Edmonton Oilers and the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 25, 1987. Unfortunately, the team would not only not reach those goals, but would suspend operations following the season.
Happy birthday to …
Bill Hudson: Member of the Capitals for part of the 1943-44 season. He came to the Caps after serving in the war and playing pre-war in the Can-Am Hockey League that was a direct forerunner of the AHL. He retired after the 1944-45 season. A native of Calgary, he was born in 1911. He passed away in 1988.
Don Morrison: Capitals center for three seasons from 1947-50. He played 132 games for the Caps, with 53 goals and 83 assists. He also tallied 48 penalty minutes in that time. He had seven points in the Caps’ eight-game run to the Calder Cup title in 1950. Playing alongside his brother Rod, he became a mainstay with the team. He began playing pro hockey in 1945-46 and had back-to-back 32-goal seasons in the “AA” USHL before going to the Caps the following year. He also played 40 games with the Red Wings in 1947-48, with 25 points. He got a callup to the Wings again in 1948-49, and was traded to the Blackhawks during the summer of 1950. He played 51 games for Chicago the following year, and in total, had 18 goals and 28 assists in 112 NHL games. He retired in 1952 and returned to Omaha his his brother Rod, where they ran a construction company and were later involved in operating the IHL/CHL Omaha Knights. They have been inducted into the city’s hockey Hall of Fame. A native of Saskatoon, Sask., he was born in 1924. He passed away in 2001.
Dennis Kassian: Left wing for the short-lived Capitols in 1963. He had one goal in eight games while the team was in Indianapolis, and had 12 goals in 45 games with the totals from the balance of the season played in Cincinnati. He played several minor-league seasons from 1961-72 before getting a call with the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers in their inaugural season of 1972-73, where he had 13 points in 50 games. He retired after playing the 1974 season with the Winston-Salem Polar Twins. He is the uncle of NHL player Matt Kassian. A native of Vegreville, Alberta, he is 66.