Monday

Tom Bladon

Tom Bladon was a hard shooting, offensive minded defenseman best known for his days with the Philadelphia Flyers. Nicknamed "Bomber" because of how hard he could shoot the puck, Bladon broke Bobby Orr's record for most points in one game by a defenseman.

Bladon had 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points in an 11-1 romp by the Flyers over the Cleveland Barons on December 11, 1977. 4 seasons earlier Bobby Orr had set the record when he had 3 goals and 4 assists in a 10-2 win over the New York Rangers. Paul Coffey has since tied Bladon's record with a 2 goal, 6 assist effort in a 12-3 win by the Edmonton Oilers over the Detroit Red Wings late in 1986.

Needless to say, that puts Bladon in some select company!

However Bladon is never really mentioned when it comes to elite defensemen such as Orr and Coffey. Although he was probably the top offensive defenseman of the Philadelphia Flyers during their two Stanley Cup victories in the mid-1970s, he's an often forgotten about member of that team as well.

Bladon broke into the league as a rookie in 1972-73, one year after his Edmonton Oil Kings fell just short of capturing the Memorial Cup. Bladon stepped into the Philadelphia and was a bit of an oddity on the Broad Street Bullies. He was anything but a real physical player, instead he relied on skill.

Bladon scored 11 goals and 42 points in an impressive rookie campaign. He slipped somewhat during the Cup years - scoring 12 goals and 34 points in 1973-74 and 9 goals and 29 points in 1974-75, although his plus/minus went through the roof with career highs 42 and 45 respectively.

Bladon's numbers improved as the team tried to get a little younger following the two championships. Bladon got more ice time and responded with 14 goals and 37 pints in 1975-76, and then with 10 goals and a career high 43 assists for a career high 53 points in 1976-77 - the year he broke Bobby Orr's record.

Bladon stepped back to reality in 1977-78 when he scored 11 goals and 35 points in what proved to be his final season in Philadelphia. He failed to raise his goal totals to double digits just once in 6 seasons in Philly, a true feat for a defenseman.

Bladon was never able to duplicate his success once he left Philadelphia however. This is due partly to the fact he was moved so often. Over the next three years he would play with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings, not to mention the Wings farm team in Adirondack (AHL). Tom admitted that this was a very tough time in his life, and he opted to retire.

Retirement wasn't any easier for Tom however, although he soon adjusted. He went back home to his native Edmonton and worked for United Van Lines in their head office for 11 years before moving to Victoria where he got into the sporting goods business.

6 comments:

Anonymous,  7:55 AM  

The 8 point game was against the Cleveland Barons.

doctorvegas 12:40 PM  

BEING A SEASON TICKET HOLDER WITH THE FLYERS FROM 1967 THRU 1983 I SAW EVERY GAME PLAYED AT THE SPECTRUM, AND I GOT TO SAY TOM WAS THE BEST OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN THE FLYERS HAD IN THE SEVENTIES. AND IF YOU WOULD CHECK HIS PLUS MINUS RECORD YOU WILL SEE JUST HOW UNDERRATED HE WAS. HE WAS ALWAYS ONE OF THE BEST FLYERS WITH THE PLUS MINUS.

Anonymous,  7:10 PM  

Tom ran a trophy and awards company in Victoria (Action Awards and Sportswear), not really a "Sports Store". I worked for him there about 18 years ago. Nice guy. Last I heard he was in Edmonton and owned a Tim Horton's.

Anonymous,  11:33 AM  

He's actually living here in Calgary and owns the Tim Horton's that's in my building. He's a super nice guy :D

Anonymous,  2:31 PM  

I went to school with Tom in Edmonton. I now have a grandson born on the same day in December as Tom. He always was a nice guy and all of his friends were very proud of him.

Anonymous,  2:34 PM  

Tom was constantly left to cover for Moose DuPont,who would charge in on offense and leave his post. Moose got the glory for trying,and Tom looked bad when skaters charged down the other side of the rink.

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