1979: The Indianapolis Checkers are born. The New York Islanders announce they are moving their top farm team to Market Square Arena to play in the Central Hockey League. Indianapolis joins Cincinnati and Birmingham as former WHA markets to be absorbed into the CHL. Jim Devellano is the general manager, and Bert Marshall is installed as the coach of the Islanders-owned team. Coming on the heels of the Racers’ demise, and potential fan distaste surrounding it, Islanders president Bill Torrey said, “when hockey treats Indianapolis right, Indianapolis will treat hockey right.” Hockey would treat Indianapolis right — the Checkers would win two championships and make three league finals appearances in their eight-year existence.
Happy birthday to …
Ed Bruneteau: Right wing who played parts of four different seasons in three stints with the Capitals, starting at the beginning of his career in 1940-41, and again from 1947-49, and again in their final season of 1951-52. He had two 20-goal seasons with the Caps. He played 13 games with the Caps in 1940-41, and eventually moved up to the Red Wings that season, and stuck with the Wings through 1947 — with a three-year hiatus during WWII. He played 181 NHL games. With the Caps, he played 172 games, with 62 goals and 62 assists. His grandson Brett Bruneteau later played for the Ice in 2007-08. He retired to Omaha — and briefly coached the infamous Omaha Lancers of the USHL in 1986-87, who had an 0-46-2 season. Bruneteau coached 21 of those games. He is a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. A native of St. Boniface, Manitoba, he was born in 1919 and passed away in 2002, two days shy of his 73rd birthday.
Harold “Hal” Jackson: Capitals defenseman from 1940-44. He factored into local hockey lore before he even came to Indy, scoring a critical goal in the 1940 Calder Cup playoffs to eliminate the Caps. Midway through the 1940-41 season, he was dealt to the Capitals by Providence in exchange for Cecil Dillon and Eddie Bush. Jackson would play 145 games for the Caps from 1940-44, with 16 goals and 43 assists. He was a part of the 1942 Calder Cup championship, and also won the Stanley Cup twice — in 1938 with the Chicago Black Hawks and in 1943 with the Red Wings. He played 219 NHL games for Detroit and Chicago from 1936-47. Jackson’s impact on local hockey goes beyond his play with the Caps. He was instrumental in founding the Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association, the area’s first youth hockey league, which played at the Coliseum. He was also an official in the International Hockey League. A native of Cedar Springs, Ont., he was born in 1918, and passed away in 1997 at age 68.
Enio Sclisizzi: One of the great scorers in Indianapolis Capitals history, he broke in with the Caps in 1946 as a rookie and played six seasons for the team. The popular winger played 314 games for the Caps, scoring 125 goals and assisting on 155. He had five points in eight games in the Caps’ Calder Cup run in 1950. He broke the 20-goal mark in four of his five full seasons with the Caps, with his best years coming in 1950-51 (30-36-66) and 1951-52 (24-34-58), earning AHL First Team All-Star honors the latter year. The majority of his 13-year career was played in the minor leagues, but he did play 81 NHL games for the Red Wings and Blackhawks, He also won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 1952, although his name was omitted from the Stanley Cup when it was re-done in 1958 (his name was on the original Cup). Another interesting curiosity is that, partway through his career, he briefly changed his name to Jim Enio to make it easier for broadcasters to pronounce, although he quickly reverted to Sclisizzi. A native of Milton, Ont., he was born in 1925. He passed away in 2012 at age 86. An interview with Enio.
Bobby Rivard: Chiefs center from 1960-62. He joined the team in a trade from Toledo midway through the 1960-61 season, and had a 40-goal, 91-point season the following year, the Chiefs’ last season. Rivard went up the road to Fort Wayne, where he became the IHL’s leading scorer and eventually had a brief NHL stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1967-68. He played through 1976. A native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he is 78.
Dan Vincelette: Left wing for the Ice from 1989-92. He played 80 games for the Ice, with 26 gaols and 19 assists. He also was one of the team’s policemen, amassing 397 penalty minutes in those 80 games, including 262 in 49 games during the 1989-90 season. He was the Blackhawks’ fourth-round pick in 1985 and broke in with Chicago during the 1987 NHL Playoffs. He played 193 NHL games, scoring 20 goals. He played his last NHL game in 1992 with Chicago — he also had a brief stint with Quebec — and also played in the IHL with San Diego, San Francisco, and in Britain, before retiring afre the 1997 season. A native of Verdun, Quebec, he is 50.
Anderson Snair: Indiana Ice goaltender in 2012-13. He had a 6-12-2 record and a 3.60 GAA in 23 games with the team, and was named the USHL Goaltender of the Week after posting a shutout. Snair played junior hockey through 2015. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, he is 23.