The Quebec Aces were nearly their twilight as an American Hockey League franchise in 1967-68. In just a few short years, the team would move south to Richmond, Virginia. The Aces placed second overall in the eight team AHL and reached the Calder Cup finals that year. Leading the way offensively were a trio of players that finished among the top four in the league for scoring. Two were on their way up to the NHL while the third well into his career and had hit a bit of a speed bump.
Nolet scored 44 goals and assisted on 52 for 96 points over 70 regular season games for Quebec in 1967-68. He placed second in the league for goals and led in points, earning the John B. Sollenberger Trophy. That year, Simon also got into four regular season games with the Philadelphia Flyers, along with one game in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Before retiring after the 1976-77 season, Simon Nolet played in 562 regular season and 34 playoff games in the National Hockey League with the Philadelphia Flyers, Kansas City Scouts, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Rockies. He won a Stanley Cup with Philadelphia in 1973-74 and was picked up that same summer by the Scouts, fifth overall in the 1974 NHL Expansion Draft. Simon was team captain in Kansas City during the 1974-75 season and part of 1975-76 before being traded to the Penguins. For his short stay with the Rockies in 1976-77, Nolet once again wore the ‘C’.
Lacroix spent more time with the Flyers in the NHL during the 1967-68 season and subsequently appeared in just 54 games for the Aces during the regular season. Even still, his 41 goals tied him for sixth with Howie Glover of the Cleveland Barons and he tied teammate Jean-Guy Gendron for third in points with 87.
It was Andre’s second full year of pro hockey and he finished off the year with Philadelphia, playing in 18 games and contributing a decent 14 points. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Lacroix played another seven games, adding five points.
Andre was not far removed from being a two-time MVP in the OHA with the Peterborough Petes and still stands one of a handful of players to win the Red Tilson Trophy on more than one occasion. Lacroix would go on to become one of the greatest players in WHA history, winning the Bill Hunter Trophy as scoring champ on two occasions, once with the Philadelphia Blazers in 1972-73 and again with the San Diego Mariners in 1974-75.
Andre Lacroix played 325 regular season games in the National Hockey League with the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Hartford Whalers. His time with the Whalers came in 1979-80 when the remaining four WHA teams merged with the NHL. Andre played 551 regular season games in the rebel league with the Blazers, New York Golden Blades, Mariners, Houston Aeros and New England Whalers.
In his fourth year with the Aces, Gendron scored 29 and assisted on 58 for 87 points over 72 regular season games. He placed second in the AHL for assists and tied Andre Lacroix for third in points. Like the other two, he did spend time in the NHL with the Flyers that season. However, Jean-Guy’s time was limited to one regular season game.
Gendron’s NHL career began in 1955-56 and he played in 863 regular season and 42 playoff games before jumping to the WHA after the 1971-72 season. Along with the Flyers, Jean-Guy also played for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. He ended his career with two years as team captain of the Quebec Nordiques in the World Hockey Association, 1972-73 and 1973-74.
Quebec Aces 1967-68
The Vic Stasiuk coached Aces finished second in the four team West Division and second overall in the eight team AHL with 77 points over 72 games. They reached the Calder Cup finals before falling to the Rochester Americans in six games. Interestingly, over the three rounds of playoffs, Quebec scored 55 goals and allowed 55 goals. In the opening round against the Buffalo Bisons, each team scored 21 goals. In the 2nd round against the Providence Reds, the Aces had the edge 13-10. In the finals, the Amerks outscored Quebec 24-21.
The Quebec Aces were members of the American Hockey League from 1959-60 to 1970-71, although the franchise dates back to 1928-29. Upon moving south, they were known as the Richmond Robins from 1971-72 to 1975-76 before folding. The Aces never won a Calder Cup championship but went to the finals three times over their fairly brief history.