IHL History: Cleveland Lumberjacks

By Andrew Bourgeois


Lumberjack hockey has a unique history to it. First in Muskegon, then in Cleveland. The IHL entered Muskegon for the 1960-61 season. They were known as the Muskegon Zephyrs due to the fact that financial assitance came from the Zephyr Oil Company.

In their first IHL season the Zephyrs finished with a 25-41-4 record for 54 points in 70 games. Ken Hayden lead all Zephyr scorers that first year with 52 goals, and 34 assist, for 86 points and accumulated 78 penalty minutes in 69 games. Jim McLeod recorded a 4.34 GAA with 1 shutout and 269 goals against in 62 games. The Zephyrs made it to the Turner Cup finals but lost to St. Paul 4 games to 1 game.

During their second season the Zephyrs won their first Turner Cup. During the regular season they put together a record of 43-23-2 for 88 points in 68 games. Good for first place in the overall standings. In the playoffs Muskegon defeated Minneapolis 4 games to 1 game. Then met St. Paul again for a second straight time for the cup final. This time Muskegon came out on top with a 4 game sweep. Two of those games went into double overtime. Joe Kastelic led Zyphyr scoring during the regular season with 47 goals, 54 assists for 101 points and had 72 PIM in 68 games. Bryan McLay also finished in the top ten scoring with 47 goals 52 assists for 99 points and had 27 PIM in 68 games. Once again Jim McLeod led the goaltending duties with a 3.34 GAA, with 1 shutout and 157 goals against in 47 games.

The beginning of the 1965-66 season the Zephyrs were no more. The Muskegon Mohawks was the new nickname of the Muskegon franchise. The Mohawks put together winning records in 10 out of 11 seasons from 1965-66 to 1975-76, which included another Turner Cup Championship in 1967-68. In the 67-68 playoffs Muskegon defeated Columbus 4 games to 0 games and went on to meet the Dayton Gems in the finals. Muskegon won the finals 4 games to 1 game. The same year Gary Ford led the IHL in scoring with 56 goals, 59 asssits for 115 points and 143 PIM. Bob Perini led the IHL as the top goalie with a 2.98 GAA with 114 goals against in 41 games. Though from 1976-77 the Mohawks put together a 8 year consecutive losing season.

The 1984-85 season saw another name change. The Mohawks were out and the Lumberjacks were in. The franchise had a new owner. The team must of liked the change in name because they finished first in 6 of the 8 seasons in Muskegon as the Lumberjacks. Their first season as the ‘Jacks in 84-85 Muskegon finished 1st with a 50-29-3 record for 103 points in 82 games. Scott Gruhl led the ‘Jacks in scoring with 62 goals 64 assists for 126 points with 102 PIM in 82 games. Michel Dufour led the Lumberjacks goalies with a 3.62 GAA, 176 goals against, 2919 minutes played in 50 games.

In the 1985-86 season the Lumberjacks captured the Turner Cup and finished first in the east divison with a 50-32-5 record for 105 points in 82 games. Again Scott Gruhl leads the ‘Jacks in scoring with 59 goals, 51 assists for 110 points with 178 PIM in 82 games. Jock Collander also had 110 points with 39 goals, 71 assists and 131 PIM in 82 games. Michel Dufour led ‘Jacks goalies again with a 3.09 GAA. 151 goals against, 2935 minutes played in 52 games. In the playoffs Muskegon defeated Indianapolis 4 games to 1 game, defeated Saginaw 4 games to 1 game, and met Ft. Wayne Komets in the Turner Cup playoffs and defeated them 4 games to 0 games.

The 1988-89 season saw Muskegon finnish first overall with a 57-18-7 record for 121 points. Dave Michayluk lead the league in scoring with 50 goals, 72 assists for 122 points and 84 PIM in 80 games. Mark Recchi finished 8th over all in scoring with 50 goals, 49 assists, for 99 points and 86 PIM in 63 games. Bruce Racine led the ‘Jacks in goaltending with a 3.63 GAA, 3 shutouts, 184 goals against, 3039 minutes played in 51 games. In the playoffs Muskegon defeated Peoria 4 games to 0 games, defeated Ft. Wayne 4 games to 1 game, and met the Salt Lake Golden Eagles in the finals and defeated them 4 games to 1 game to win the 88-89 Turner Cup.
The 1992-93 season Muskegon lose the Lumberjacks to Cleveland, where they still go by Lumberjacks.

Their first season in Cleveland the ‘Jacks put together a 39-34-9 record for 87 points in 82 games. Dave Michayluk led the Lumberjacks in scoring with 47 goals, 65 assists, for 112 points and had 104 PIM in 82 games. In the playoffs Cleveland was eliminated in the quarter finals by Ft. Wayne Komets 4 games to 0 games and went on to win the 92-93 Turner Cup.

During the 1998-99 season Cleveland finished last over all with a 28-47-7 record for 63 points in 82 games. Brett Harkins lead the team in scoring with 20 goals, 67 assists for 87 points and had 84 PIM. Also Brett was a -22. Derek Wilkinson led the goaltending with 1760 min played with a 10-15-2 record, 3.68 GAA, 1 shutout.

Most Goals: Gary Schall 71 1965-66
Most Assists: Gerry Glaude 86 1962-63
Most Points: Gary Ford 141 1972-73
Most PIM: Pat Mayer 450 1987-88
Best GAA: Lyle Carter 2.44 1970-71 50 games
Most Shutouts: Dave Hainsworth 8 1972-73
Most Wins: Pete Stering 45 1965-66
Most Losses: Fern Rivard 38 1966-67

Greg Andrusak
Serge Aubin
Karl Betik
Brian Bonnin
Jason Bonsignore
Sven Butchenson
Zak Bierk
Enrico Ciccone
Jock Collander
Pat Jablonski
Petr Klima
Patrick Lalime
Daymond Langkow
Brent Peterson
Corey Spring
Mike McBain
Jim Paek
Glenn "Chico" Resch
Peter Sykora
Chris Tamer
Derek Wilkinson
Paul Ysebart

To List every player in Lumberjack history to have played in the NHL, well the list would go on forever. I just named a few players but feel free to contact me if you would like the full complete list


In 1993-94 the Russian Penguins played each IHL club as part of a North American tour. The Russian Penguins went 2-9-2 for 6 points in 13 games. They scored 35 goals and had 64 scored against.

In 1994-95 the Soviet Wings played each IHL club as part of a North American tour. The Soviet Wings went 1-14-2. Two of the games were shoot out losses. The Wings scored 37 goals and had 89 scored against.