Super streak

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

Cheer against the London Knights? It's not worth it for Brad McCrimmon.

Should the Knights beat or tie the Guelph Storm tonight at home, London's unbeaten string will reach 30 games and eclipse the major-junior mark set by McCrimmon and the rest of the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings.

"If they do it, they do it and good for them," said McCrimmon, the former Flames defenceman and assistant coach. "I have a little connection there. I played with Mark (Hunter, the Knight's co-owner and GM) and know Dale (the owner-head coach) quite well.

"If it's got to go, it's going to people I know, so even better."

London's pursuit of the Wheat Kings mark has McCrimmon and others, who were part of one of the WHL's greatest teams, tripping down memory lane.

It's brought back their streak, a run from the start of the season that propelled them to a league-record 125 points and WHL crown.

It's rekindled memories of old friends, such as Brian Propp, Ray Allison and Laurie Boschman.

"It's been kinda fun," said McCrimmon, now an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers.

"The first thing I tell people is we didn't know it was happening. There wasn't the same awareness of streaks, a guy scoring in four consecutive games, not like there is today.

"The reality is, we didn't realize what we'd done until a couple of years later when somebody probably said something. But we had no idea back then."

Propp won the WHL scoring race with an amazing 94 goals and 100 assists while the Wheat Kings posted an incredible 58-5-9 record.

They scored 491 goals.

Even McCrimmon was in on the fun, collecting 24 goals and 74 assists in 66 games.

Offence, thanks to head coach Dunc McCallum, was the name of the game.

"He saw in the World Hockey Association the Jets, with Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg, Bobby Hull, Kent Nilsson and Lars-Erik Sjoberg, had a real offensive flair," McCrimmon recalled.

"They were one-timing the puck when no one else was doing that. He brought that into our game and let us play.

"Our guys were super-skilled but he let us play."

Amazingly, the Wheat Kings went unbeaten in their final 20 regular-season games the year before.

Throw in the travel -- Winnipeg no longer had a team in the league and the closest club was Regina -- and it makes those runs even more incredible.

"It's hard for people to fathom if they don't live in the west," he said. "But we'd have a road trip that would start in Regina, then go to Billings, Portland, Seattle, New Westminster, Victoria, back to New West, come back through Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton and then stop in Saskatoon or Regina on the way home.

"We'd go on a 10- or 11-game road trip and do two of those a season. We'd put more miles on in one road trip than some people would their whole lives."

Brandon's streak ended in Edmonton, a night after they played a Russian touring team at home.

There wasn't nearly the same disappointment as there was when the Wheaties lost to Peterborough in overtime at the Memorial Cup. The game was supposed to be played in the Montreal Forum but the Canadiens were facing Boston that day, so it was moved to an arena in Verdun.

"The Forum would have been a benefit to us because it had big ice and we had more of an offensive team while Peterborough was a checking team, as they have been forever," McCrimmon recalled. "Verdun was a lot smaller ice but the bottom line is we couldn't get it done."


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