This week, we go back in time again to a place where you could flop back and forth from league to league as the WHA was there to compliment the NHL. Plus, though this week's AGM had a short career in the NHL; his legacy will live on as one of the more remembered and intimidating masks in the history of the game. This week, the profile of Gary "Bones" Bromley.
To start off his career, Bromley would play with the Regina Pats in his junior career. He'd carry the Pats to the Memorial Cup finals in his first season in 1968-69, but the Pats and Bromley would be swept by the Montreal Junior Canadiens in the Cup Finals. After putting in 34 games for the Pats and a 3.57 GAA in the 1969-70, Bromley was loaned out to the Weyburn Red Wings for the Memorial Cup finals; as their goalie was injured. Bromley saw two games of action, but would go 0-1 as the Red Wings lost to the Montreal Junior Canadiens in a four-game sweep. As the Pats moved to the newly formed WCJHL, Bromley got more time seeing 42 games of play with a 3.71 GAA for the Pats; but no Mem Cup appearance for Bromley this year.
Bromley was signed by the Buffalo Sabres in the fall of 1971 and went pro in the 1971-72 season with the Eastern Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers. Bromley would see 27 games of action with the Checkers and would register a 2.70 GAA and four shutouts in that time. He would also get called up by the Cincinnati Swords of the AHL for three games and went 1-1-1. Bromley would see all AHL duty in the 1972-73 season, playing with the Swords behind Norm Farr, with Bromley performing well going 19-5-3 in 31 games of action. Bromley started the 1973-74 season with the Sabres, playing in 12 games and going 3-5-3 for the year, but would be sent down to the Swords again for a stint of 34 games, amassing a 19-11-3 record. Bromley would stick full-time with the Sabres in the 1974-75 season and took over the starting role, as well. Bromley played 50 games that season, going 26-11-11. Injuries, however, took their toll on Bromley in the 1975-76 season. He would only play one game for the Sabres going 0-1-0 while playing in the AHL with the Providence Reds for seven games, going 4-1-1 for the season. The Sabres did not re-sign Bromley after the season.
With little options in the NHL, Bromley traveled to the WHA. In 1972, Bromley was select in the WHA Draft by the New York Raiders, who moved to become the San Diego Mariners. Then his right were traded to the Calgary Cowboys, which is where he landed for the 1976-77 season. Bromley would play behind Don McLeod and see 28 games with a 6-9-2 record. The Cowboys folded after that season, which allowed Bromley to sign with the Winnipeg Jets. Bromley would spent the 1977-78 season with the Jets, going 25-12-1 alongside Joe Daley and Markus Mattsson, helping the Jets win the Avco World Trophy for WHA champions.
With a new revitalized career, Bromley would sign with the Vancouver Canucks for the 1978-79 season. He would start out in the Central Hockey League with the Dallas Black Hawks going 2-1-1 in four games before going up to Vancouver to play along Glen Hanlon and Dunc Wilson. Bromley played 38 games and went 11-19-6 and would go 1-2 in the three game playoff loss for the Canucks. In 1979-80, Bromley would start off with Dallas again, playing 21 games going 8-9-3 before getting called up to play behind Hanlon, playing 15 games and going 8-2-4, playing all four playoff games and going 1-3 in them. Bromley would again start the 1980-81 season off in Dallas due to a groin injury and play two games, going 1-1-0 before heading to Vancouver to play behind Richard Brodeur and get 20 games in, going 6-6-4.
However, the odd part about the 1980-81 season was that Bromley was actually traded during the season, but still played for the Canucks. Bromley was a part of a deal to go to the Los Angeles Kings, but with Hanlon and Broduer being injured, he stayed in Vancouver under a contingency plan in the trade.
Also in his time with Vancover, his iconic mask got a lot of attention. With Bromley being 5'10 and 149 points, the nickname "Bones" was something that came with the lankiness he brought. Because of it, he had his mask painted in the skull shape (as seen here), which made it an intimidating sight for shooters breaking in on him.
Bromley would play the 1981-82 season in the AHL with the New Haven Knighthawks after the trade. He would go 22-17-3 in 44 games with New Haven before he would call it a career in hockey.
While his mask stood out more than his career may have, the fact remains that Bromley will have left his mark with a stylish mask in the days where it wasn't common place to paint the mask the way he did, which paved the way for the artwork we see today. Add that to the fact he wore it with the Canucks' "flying V" jerseys-- definitely instilled in the memory of everyone around.