It may be interesting to analyze the games played by the London Lions. This complete fixture list and results have been kindly provided by British hockey historian Martin C. Harris. Basically, the competitive games were those played at Wembley, in Scandinavia and in Czechoslovakia. The rest were merely "fillers", intended to spread goodwill on hockey in general and in the proposed European league in particular. Some of the games (like those versus selects like Dutch Internationals, Scottish Select and Prague All Stars) were probably arranged in order to find possible players and teams for the planned league. The average crowd in the 8000-seat Wembley Arena was somewhere around the 5000-mark, which was surprising as there still was no league, just a succession of European teams coming into London to play two or three games over the weekend. They usually played the Lions on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The BBC covered some of the games on television.
Officiating was a problem. The two-man system was used in Britain and in most games a local referee shared the duties with one who had travelled with the visiting team. Standardised signals for referees and linesmen (introduced to the NHL in the 1956-57 season) were not in general use in the UK until the 1972-73 season. They were gradually introduced by Ray Shilling, designated 'home' referee in the early season games of the London Lions. Shilling is also believed to have been the first official in the UK to use the shirt with black and white vertical stripes.
Thursday 11 October 1973
Toledo Hornets - London Lions 0 - 1
Played at Detroit, USA. It was the Lions' only game outside of Europe. At the time, the Toledo Hornets played in the IHL.
19 October 1973
21 October 1973
McCutcheon-Watts-McCann against the Austrian Internationals
26 October 1973
IJC Utrecht - London Lions 3 - 9
Played at Utrecht, Netherlands. Earlier in the 70s, Lions' trainer Al Coates had launched a hockey program in Utrecht, teaching hockey to kids from 7 to 47, coaching teams and running in-house leagues.
Saturday 27 October 1973
CPL Liége - London Lions 2 - 10
Played at Luxembourg. Liége were Belgian champions at the time. Some sources suggest that they played more than one game in Luxembourg ("a couple of exhibition games"), but that appears to be wrong.
Sunday 28 October 1973
Raak IJshockey Rotterdam - London Lions 1 - 5
Played at the Hague, Netherlands
Thursday 1 November 1973
London Lions - Finnish Olympics 7 - 2
The "Finnish Olympics" was actually their national Under-23 squad, including Mikko Leinonen, who played in Modo 1977-79. Leinonen then made it to the NHL, playing 162 games with New York Rangers and Washington Capitals between 1981 and 1985.
Saturday 3 November 1973
London Lions - Finnish Olympics 3 - 1
Sunday 4 November 1973
London Lions - Finnish Olympics 6 - 6
Thursday 8 November 1973
London Lions - Dutch Internationals 16 - 3
The "Dutch Internationals" consisted mainly of foreigners in the Dutch league and the games may have been a test to see what a European league team based in the Netherlands - formed by players already in the country - would be like. The outcome couldn't have been that encouraging.
Saturday 10 November 1973
London Lions - Dutch Internationals 7 - 0
Sunday 11 November 1973
London Lions - Dutch Internationals 5 - 2
15 November 1973
London Lions - Prague All Stars 4 - 4
This Prague select included some future NHLers like Milan Novy (73 games with Washington in 1982-83), Frantisek Cernik (49 games with Detroit in 1984-85) and Milan Chalupa (14 games with Detroit in 1984-85), alongside captain Vaclav Sykora and goalie Pavel Svitana. This game reportedly stood out in the Autumn series at Wembley, ending in a draw after Prague had taken a 3-0 lead. The fans at Wembley gave the sides a standing ovation as they left the ice and the BBC Television report of the game was the icehockey highlight of the year.
17 November 1973
Holmqvist and Wing battling Prague All Star Millos Novak
Thursday 22 November 1973
London Lions - Helsinki IFK 4 - 3
Göran Stubb, Director of Helsinki IFK, had long been an advocate of a European league so it was no coincidence thar his team played a total of seven games (at Wembley and in Helsinki) against the Lions. The London management certainly hoped that Helsinki IFK would be Finland's representantives in the upcoming European league, as is evident from an article in Match Programme #8. It was probably around this time that Rick Newell left the team.
Saturday 24 November 1973
London Lions - Helsinki IFK 2 - 6
A historical game as Helsinki became the first-ever team to beat the Lions
Sunday 25 November 1973
London Lions - Helsinki IFK 7 - 2
27 November 1973
London Lions - Düsseldorf IHC cancelled
29 November 1973
30 November 1973
Six Lions keep close watch
Saturday 1 December 1973
Scottish Select - London Lions 1 - 10
Played at Kirkcaldy, UK. An ice show at Wembley forced the Lions to embark on one of the longest road trips in the history of sport, lasting until early March 1974! They first played a series of four games on British soil against various selects from the teams in the British League. Read more in article Scottish Interlude
Sunday 2 December 1973
International Select - London Lions 1 - 12
Played at Dundee, UK
Monday 3 December 1973
Northeast Select - London Lions 6 - 15
Played at Billingham, UK
Wednesday 5 December
Northeast Select - London Lions 3 - 12
Played at Whitley Bay, UK
Monday 10 December 1973
Västra Frölunda - London Lions 2 - 7
Played at Göteborg, SWE. Ulf Sterner played in Västra Frölunda between 1961-64 and again in 1968-69. Tom Mellor joined Frölunda for the 1975-76 season, making 16 points in 34 games.
Tuesday 11 December
Färjestads BK - London Lions 1 - 3
Played at Karlstad, SWE. Ulf Sterner played in Färjestad between 1967-68 and again in 1969-73
Thursday 13 December
TPS - London Lions 8 - 2
Played at Turku (Åbo), FIN. Tord Lundström joined the team in Finland. Lundström played 45 games in London Lions, missing the first 26 as he was trying to secure a place in Detroit Red Wings.
Friday 14 December 1973
Saiman Pallo (SaiPa) - London Lions 4 - 7
Played at Lappeenranta (Villmanstrand), FIN
Sunday 16 December 1973
Helsinki IFK - London Lions 2 - 3
Played at Helsinki (Helsingfors), FIN.
Tuesday 18 December
Tappara - London Lions 4 - 7
Played at Tampere (Tammerfors), FIN
Thursday 20 December
Helsinki IFK - London Lions 4 - 6
Played at Helsinki (Helsingfors), FIN. Mike Korney left the Lions around this time, possibly during the Christmas break.
26 December 1973
AIK - London Lions 1 - 3
AHEARNE CUP, played at Stockholm, SWE. Apart from the season with the London Lions, Leif Holmqvist played in AIK from 1965 to 1975. To reinforce the Lions and to replace Mike Korney, American Tom Mellor (who spent the main part of the season with Detroit Red Wings in the NHL and Virginia Wings in the AHL) joined the club during the Ahearne Cup.
27 December 1973
Tord Lundström against AIK
29 December 1973
Djurgårdens IF - London Lions 5 - 3
AHEARNE CUP, played at Stockholm, SWE. The line-up of Djurgården included Anders Hedberg (who played in Modo 1967-72), later a big star in the WHA (286 games with the Winnipeg Jets 1974-78) and in the NHL (465 games with the New York Rangers 1978-85) and also Åke Eklöf (in Modo 1962-70 and again 1974-76 in addition of being chairman of the club until his death in December 2006).
30 December 1973
1 January 1974
Brian Watts and Brian McCutcheon surrounding Regina Pats-goalie Ed Staniowski. In 1976-77, McCutcheon and Staniowski - alongside ex-Lions Korney and McKenzie - played together in CHL-team Kansas City Blues. Staniowski went on to play 219 NHL-games with St Louis, Winnipeg and Hartford in the years 1979-85.
Wednesday 2 January
Helsinki IFK - London Lions 5 - 9
Played at Helsinki (Helsingfors), FIN.
Ron Simpson stands by as goalie Tim McQuiston makes a save against Helsinki
4 January 1974
Dynamo Moscow - London Lions 1 - 2
AHEARNE CUP, played at Stockholm, SWE. About this game, Tom Mellor has commented: "...my fondest memory was when we beat the Russians 2 - 1 in Stockholm. I think either Cutch (McCutcheon) or Stubby (McCann) got the winner".
6 January 1974
7 January 1974
Sterner, Holmqvist and Johnson against the Muscovites
Tuesday 8 January 1974
Handens SK - London Lions 4 - 8
An unusual game played at the outdoor rink in the Stockholm-suburb of Handen. Today Handens SK only plays handball. The icehockey section were merged with Dalarö SK into Haninge HC in 1977.
Wednesday 9 January
Malmö - London Lions 2 - 7
Played at Malmö, SWE. Dennis Johnson (2), Ulf Sterner (2), Ron Simpson, Tord Lundström and Murray Wing scored for the Lions, Stellan Sundström and Onni Nordström for Malmö. In 1976-77, Nordström played with Brian Watts in Björklöven, the Birch Leaves of Umeå some 100 kilometres north of Örnsköldsvik and Modo
Friday 11 January 1974
HYS Veronica 538 - London Lions 4 - 11
Played at the Hague, Netherlands. Haagse IJshockey Sportverening (a.k.a. HIJS or HYS) co-operated with radio station Radio Veronica to become HYS Veronica 538 in the 1970s. Today the club is known as HIJS Hokij Wolves.
12 January 1974
13 January 1974
18 January 1974
25 January 1974
HYS Veronica 538
Monday 28 January 1974
Wiener EV - London Lions 2 - 10
Played at Vienna, Austria, which was where Norris' European manager Joe Besch was based. Wiener EV is nowadays known as Vienna Capitals. Nelson Pyatt played in this club in 1982-83.
Wednesday 30 January
Klagenfurter AC - London Lions 0 - 8
Played at Klagenfurt, Austria. The team was Austrian champions at the time and included Russian Vladimir Vasiliev who played vs London in the Austrian Internationals earlier in the season.
Friday 1 February 1974
Kapfenberg - London Lions 2 - 11
Played at Kapfenberg, Austria.
Saturday 2 February
HC Salzburg - London Lions 1 - 9 (0-3, 1-2, 0-4)
Played at Volksgarten in Salzburg, Austria. Attendance 800. Sepp Kriechbaum scored for Salzburg while Tord Lundström (2), Dennis Johnson (2), Nelson Pyatt (2). Earl Anderson, Ulf Sterner and Rick McCann scored for the Lions.
Referees: Hofer & Cressmann. Read more about the game in article Eindrucksvolle Leistung
Tuesday 5 February 1974
Innsbrucker EV - London Lions 6 - 15
Played at Innsbruck, Austria
Thursday 7 February
Czechoslovakian National Team - London Lions 6 - 3
Played at Prague, CZE. A 12-hour border stop heading into the game in Prague was abated when Dennis Polonich climbed off the bus to show the Czechoslovakian soldiers how to use a piece of exercise equipment called a Bull Worker. The soldiers were fascinated by the apparatus, the Lions allowed behind the Iron Curtain for the price of one. In an article by Stellan Kvärre in Swedish daily Dagens nyheter of 28 April 1995, Leif Holmqvist mentioned that the seven games in Czechoslovakia drew a total attendance of 55000.
Saturday 9 February
Czechoslovakia under 23 Select - London Lions 1 - 4
Played at Pilsen, CZE
Sunday 10 February 1974
Czechoslovakia under 23 Select - London Lions 5 - 3
Played at Ceske Budejovice, CZE
Tuesday 12 February
Czechoslovakia under 23 Select - London Lions 8 - 2
Played at Mileskov, CZE
Wednesday 13 February
Czechoslovakia under 23 Select - London Lions 4 - 1
Played at Tabor, CZE
Friday 15 February 1974
Dukla Jihlava - London Lions 4 - 2
Played at Liberac, CZE
Saturday 16 February
Brno ZKL - London Lions 0 - 3
Played at Brno, CZE
Simpson and Holmqvist in Czechoslovakia
Wednesday 20 February
Villars - London Lions 2 - 10
Played at Villars, SUI
1 March 1974
West Germany - London Lions 6 - 1
Played at Oberstdorf, GER. The West Germans were leading 6-1 when the referee stopped the game two minutes before the second interval after a series of incidents. In the first period German Lorenz Funk received an injury above his eye from a stick and Rick McCann was sent to the penalty box for five minutes. The rough play reached a climax in the second period as the West Germans went ahead 2-1. A fight developed and McCann was given a match penalty. The Lions were left with only four players, including their goalminder, on the ice for most of the period. After another fight, one of the West German referees signalled the end of the game. Doug Barkley, the Lions manager, commented to Howard Bass of the Evening Standard (2 March 1974):
"It was a complete shambles caused by the worst officiating we've experienced. Fouls were completely ignored and the game got right out of hand in the second period. Three of my players got 10 minute penalties and Rick McCann was given a match penalty, all for retaliation when blatant German fouls were ignored, so the Lions were forced to play four men against six. I tried to talk to the refeeres, but they said they did not speak English."
(Information provided by Martin C. Harris)
Thursday 7 March 1974
London Lions - Dynamo Moscow 3 - 6
The Lions were finally back at Wembley. Those last games played against some of the top Russian, Czech, Finnish and Swedish teams in March 1974 look almost like the play-offs that never were. In this game, goalie Honken Holmqvist earned the "Three Stars", i.e. The Man of the Match.
Saturday 9 March 1974
London Lions - Dynamo Moscow 2 - 4
Terry Richardson was in goal for the last two games in the Moscow-series and he received two Three Star nominations by the press for his achievements.
Sunday 10 March 1974
London Lions - Dynamo Moscow 2 - 2
14 March 1974
London Lions - Prague Lions 4 - 1
The Prague Lions was another Czechoslovakian select, playing in the uniforms of the National team (orange shorts and blue jerseys with the Bohemian lion on the chest, hence the name of the team). Twelve of the players had been in the Autumn's Prague All Stars (15-17 November) while the Czechoslovakian National Under 23 team (9-13 February) contained players from both Prague-selects. This kind of select with young and prospering talents would have been well suited for the European League. A couple of years later the Czechs sent similar teams to play against the WHA. Earl Anderson scored four times during those three games against the Czechs, Dennis Johnson got two goals and Ulf Sterner racked up a couple of assists to keep this trio at the top of the scoring chart. Referees in this series were I. Jursa (CZE), John Stace (UK) and Ray Shilling (UK).
16 March 1974
London Lions - Prague Lions 7 - 5
17 March 1974
London Lions - Prague Lions 5 - 2
Lundström and Pyatt against the Czechs
19 March 1974
Spartak Moscow - London Lions 4 - 4 (3-2,1-1,0-1)
TOURNOI DU SALON DE L'AUTO, played at Geneva, SUI.
20 March 1974
Czechoslovakia under 23 Select - London Lions 3 - 0
TOURNOI DU SALON DE L'AUTO, played at Geneva, SUI. The tournament was won by the Czechoslovakians who beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 (2-1,2-1,0-1) in the third game. Dennis Polonich was voted Most Valuable Player
23 March 1974
London Lions - Helsinki IFK 6 - 2
Only two games as Wembley was closed for the Badminton Championships during the week. Mike Jakubo received two consecutive Three Star nominations by the press. Helsinki included Henry Saleva, who was to play in Modo in 1983-84. Referees in the two games were Harri Järvi from Finland and John Stace from the UK.
24 March 1974
London Lions - Helsinki IFK 6 - 6
In this game Charlie Shaw suffered a badly bruised shoulder after hitting the boards.
The Watts-McCann-McCutcheon line against Helsinki.
The trio played together for a couple of seasons in Detroit's farm teams
26 March 1974
Altrincham Aces Select - London Lions 3 - 11
Played at Deeside Leisure Centre, Queensferry, Wales (reportedly the first icehockey game ever in Wales). The Lions' Supporter club arranged a trip to this game. At the time, the Altrincham Aces was challenging for the British Southern League championship and their management had convinced the Lions that they could give them a stirring game. But when the Londoners saw the "undermanned, rag-tag" blue and white Aces before the game, they decided to lend them Sterner and Richardson (hence the "Altrincham Aces Select"-billing). Rick Drennan, one of the Aces and a friend of Duffy McCarthy's, told me this in an email in January 2005:
"Before the game, facing sure defeat, my brother Ron pulled a bottle of Four Aces bourbon out of his hockey bag (both teams dressed in the same dressing room) and started passing it around to our players, sort of giving us courage before going into final battle. As you can guess, Doug Barkley was not impressed, sort of laughed, threw up his hands, and said, "I'm outta here." I think he watched the game from the stands, or took it in while in the pub upstairs."
Read more about the game in this entertaining article, written by Drennan.
Thursday 28 March 1974
London Lions - Djurgårdens IF 6 - 5
For these games, Djurgården had bolstered their roster with Åke Danielsson and Peter Gudmundsson from Leksand, Swedish champions at the time. Referees in the three games were Stig Karlsson from Sweden and John Stace from the UK.
Saturday 30 March 1974
"Lions had participated in the Ahearne Cup at
the Christmas holidays. Now we were invited to London after the Swedish
league was finished. We had a nice week there. We played in an ice
palace beside the
Wembley Stadium. It had some 6000 seats. There was a restaurant
alongside the rink where the guests were dressed in tuxedo and evening
gowns, eating and
wtching the game. I remember that the beer-drunken audience
were singing at the end of the second game (which was a major loss):
"Swedish lovers go home". What did they mean by that? Oh well, we
surely went out to visit
a lot of discos and clubs".
Svensson also mentions that Tord Lundström skated by him towards Djurgården's goalie Roland Einarsson, only to be hooked by Svensson. Lundström then turned around with dark eyes, shook Svensson and said: "If it hadn't been you I would have killed you!"
Sunday 31 March 1974
In the programme for the season's final group of games, it was announced that those fans on the mailing list would be kept informed as to the progress in the formation of the European Icehockey League. They're still waiting...
A reflective Tord Lundström against Djurgården.