Thursday, March 21, 2013
A veteran of a pro hockey career that began in 1959-60, Caron played one game with the NAHL's Syracuse Blazers in 1974-75 before spending the full 1975-76 season with the Beauce Jaros. In 73 regular season games with the Jaros, Alain scored 78 goals and assisted on 59 more for 137 points. Uncharacteristic of the league, Caron accumulated just 26 minutes in penalties.
His 78 goals was the second highest single season total in NAHL history, behind just Dave Staffen who scored 87 the following season. He finished first in goal scoring in 1975-76 and his 137 points were good for fourth in the league. In the playoffs, he added 21 more goals and 13 assists for 34 points in just 14 games as the Jaros reached the Lockhart Cup finals before falling to the Philadelphia Firebirds.
His career from 1959-60 to 1966-67 was spent in the minor leagues. With expansion in 1967, Caron was finally able to make it to the big show. He was property of the Chicago Black Hawks when the Oakland Seals selected him in the expansion draft. He played 58 games with Oakland in 1967-68 and two more with the Montreal Canadiens the following year.
Alain played an additional 195 games of major league hockey in the World Hockey Association between 1972-73 and 1974-75 with the Quebec Nordiques and Michigan Stags / Baltimore Blades.
However, it was during his minor league days that Caron excelled. in 1962-63, with the St. Louis Braves of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, Alain was first in the league with 61 goals in just 54 games. An interesting bit of hockey trivia - second to Caron on the Braves was Phil Esposito in his first year of pro hockey. Esposito scored 36 goals and finished fifth in the league.
The following year, Caron was still with the Braves but the league had changed to the Central Professional Hockey League. He once again led in goals with 77. His 125 points were also the best in the league.
With the Buffalo Bisons in 1965-66, his goal total was a more down-to-earth 47 but it tied him for the Americna Hockey League lead with Dick Gamble of the Rochester Americans.
The man that was also named "Boom Boom" was dissed by the major hockey card companies, with exception of 1972-73. Alain Caron was included in the 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee NHL set that featured a selection of WHA players in the higher numbers. The Alain Caron rookie card (and only card) is number 324 in that set.
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It was heart problems that forced Caron from the game and it was heart problems again in 1986 that ended his life at just 48 years old.