Saturday, January 4, 2020

Hockey Card Finds: Like Father, Like Son

49. 1975/76 OPC WHA Jacques Locas Jr. Rookie Card #129

Jacques Locas Jr was born January 7th 1954 in St.-Jerome, Quebec. He is the son of Jacques Locas who played 1.5 seasons for the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL from 1947-49. Just like my previous HCF post about Dennis Sobchuk, Locas too was a big deal during his junior hockey days. Locas started off his junior career at age 15 in the QMJHL for the St.-Jerome Alouettes. After one and a half seasons, he was then traded to the Quebec Ramparts. This is when his career really took off. The 1971 season went so well, Locas helped the Ramparts capture the Memorial Cup! In the 1972/73 season, Locas scored at will. He even averaged over a goal per game (62 games played, 68 goals) and topped it off with 16 goals in 15 games in the playoffs. That may be impressive, but not as impressive as his final season with the Ramparts in 1973/74, as Locas scored 99 goals! It's pretty insane to think someone found the back of the net that much, even in junior hockey. He ended that season with 99 goals, 107 assists, and 206 points! While the 99 goals were not a record in the QMJHL, Locas actually has a few records that stand to this day. Total points? You guessed it, Mr. Locas owns that record with 711 points. How about playoff assists? Yep, Locas with 92. Locas even owns the record for most playoff points with 153! It's hard to believe any of these records will ever be broken.

After his final season in the QMJHL, he played briefly in the Southern Hockey League for the Hampton Gulls before being taken in the 11th Round (184th overall) in the 1974 NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Instead of playing in the NHL, Locas opted for the WHA as he was selected as the 2nd selection in an expansion draft by the Cincinnati Stingers. In his first professional season in 74/75, he suited up for the Michigan Stags after being loaned from Cincinnati. However, the Stags would fold midseason due to low attendance and the team was relocated in January to Baltimore and would become the Baltimore Blades. That same season, Locas was loaned once again with Brian MacDonald to the Indianapolis Racers where he would finally finish his rookie season. The 1975/76 season saw Locas wear his 4th uniform of his professional career in just his second season as he was finally a member of the Cincinnati Stingers squad that drafted him. This team had some decent players and Locas found himself on a line with Dennis Sobchuk (see my previous HCF post) and also Rick Dudley. Locas would find mild success playing with the Stingers as he would suit up for 125 games in one and a half seasons and score 104 points. Then the Stingers traded Locas for future considerations to the Calgary Cowboys. He would finish the season in Calgary that year with 7 points in 22 games.

In 1977/78, the Calgary Cowboys folded before the season even started, which left Locas without a team. Without a contract and the Kings owning his rights, he tried to make the Los Angeles Kings club in training camp. After an unimpressive camp, he wound up being waived before the start of the season and being sent down to the Springfield Indians of the AHL. After 21 games and an abysmal 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists), Locas wound up back with the Cincinnati Stingers where he would play his final professional hockey season due to chronic knee issues.

It blows my mind why a guy with the success in junior like Locas had, he could never carve out a consistent career or even a single game played in the NHL. The only reason I could think of is that he was undersized at 5'8" and 166lbs. However, Dennis Maruk was the exact same size as Locas and that guy put up 60 goals in the NHL in a season. Who knows? It was surprising to me to find out that my Locas card was only worth $4 in Nrmt condition (mine is more like EX+). I'm happy to report that during my research, I found out that Jacques Locas Jr was actually named as #12 on the list of the QMJHL's all time greatest players in March of 2019. Sadly, Locas would never see himself named to this list as he passed away due to a heart attack on August 20, 2006 at age 52. RIP Jacques.

Thanks for reading!

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