NLL All-Stars: Star Rising For Wings

By PHIL JASNER

The Wings have volunteered to host the first All-Star Game in the three-year history of the National Lacrosse League.

“Well, why not?” said league Commissioner Gerry Patterson.  “We haven’t finalized what we’ll do or how we’ll do it, but their suggestion is the most likely to be approved by our board of governors.

“It’s not important that the Wings didn’t win the championship last season, but it is important that a young league like ours use an opportunity to take part in the Bicentennial.  I mean, you get a chance like this every 200 years.”

The game, matching the Wings against the best of the remaining five franchises in the NLL, is tentatively scheduled for July 12 in the Spectrum, the day before baseball’s All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium.

“Believe it or not, the date is important, too,” said Patterson.  “So many people will be in the area for the baseball game, we’re planning to invite them all to see our product, too.  We’re new, but we want to show we can be big-league, too.”

“We want it,” said Wings’ President Hunter McMullin.  “First, we feel putting the game in Philadelphia would have the greatest appeal the first year.  Second, we think we’re gonna have the best team anyway.  If we do all we have planned, we have a chance to blow the lid off this city.”

The Wings will certainly be a more attractive team with the return of original Coach Bobby Allan, replacing Jim Hinkson.  Then there is popular captain Carm Collins, All-League forward Terry Lloyd, who led the league with 113 goals, and All-League second team selections Larry Lloyd and John Grant.

An All-Star opponent roster could include:

  • Larry Smeltzer, the Quebec goalkeeper who helped the champion Caribous upset Long Island and Montreal for the Nation’s Cup.
  • Montreal’s Ernie Mitchell and Boston’s Ted Gernaey, the first and second team All-League goalkeepers.
  • Long Island’s Doug Hayes, last year’s scoring champion.
  • Maryland’s Paul Suggate, the ’74 scoring champion.
  • Boston’s Ivan Thompson, the league MVP.
  • Quebec’s Travis Cook and Montreal’s Johnny Davis, two of the most exciting individuals in the league.

“There’s no question, our future in the league is in the U.S., not Canada or anywhere else,” said Patterson.  “An All-Star Game in our third season is a sure sign of growth.  This is an event I would hope the board of governors approves quickly.  We need it.”

(Philadelphia Daily News, January 22, 1976)

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