1969-70 marked the final year for the Buffalo Bisons in the American Hockey League. The Fred Shero coached Bisons went out in style, defeating the Springfield Kings in the finals to capture the Calder Cup. With the addition of the Buffalo Sabres to the NHL for the 1970-71 season, there just wasn’t enough room for two professional teams at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.
The Bisons finished second overall to the Montreal Voyaguers during the regular season and it was a Montreal player that led the league in scoring. Jude Drouin led the league with 106 points on 37 goals and 69 assists over 65 games. Drouin earned the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s top scorer and the Dudley (Red) Garrett Award as the AHL’s top first year player.
Jude was a third round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1966 and played 11 games over two seasons with the club before ending up as a regular with the Minnesota North Stars in 1970-71. He played 666 regular season NHL games between 1968-69 and 1980-81 with the Canadiens, North Stars, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets.
17 points behind Drouin, with 89 for the Springfield Kings was Gord Labossiere. Labossiere played pro hockey from 1957-58 to 1975-76 and even spent time in the NHL. Gord played 215 regular season NHL games between 1963-64 and 1971-72 with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars, the bulk as a member of the Kings. He finished off his pro hockey career with four years in the World Hockey Association as a member of the Houston Aeros. Labossiere led the AHL with 95 points for the Quebec Aces in 1966-67.
Guy Trottier of the Buffalo Bisons led the American Hockey League in goals scored with 45 in 1968-69 and 55 in 1969-70. He placed third in points with 88 in 1969-70. Trottier played his next two seasons in the NHL as a regular with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He followed that up with a couple of strong years in the WHA before his career tailed off.
Doug Robinson was between seasons with the Los Angeles Kings when he finished fourth with their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Kings, with 86 points. Doug played pro hockey from 1961-62 to 1971-72 after a five year junior career that saw him play for the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters and St. Catherines Teepees in the OHA. He played 239 regular season games in the NHL between 1964-65 and 1970-71 with the Chicago Black Hawks, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. He was AHL rookie of the year in 1962-63 with the Buffalo Bisons.
Mark Dufour rounded out the top five with 85 points with the Springfield Kings. In 1973-74 with the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL, Dufour would have a career year offensively with 42 goals and 104 points. The following year, he played just 29 games with Baltimore before retiring. Mark appeared in 14 regular season games in the NHL, ten with the New York Rangers in 1963-64, two with the Rangers the following season and two with the Los Angeles Kings in 1968-69.