The second round of the 1975-76 playoffs featured a series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers. But it was really about Pyramid Power versus Kate Smith.
The Flyers were the defending Stanley Cup champions and had legendary singer Kate Smith warbling "God Save America" as a good-luck charm.
Leafs coach Red Kelly was looking for something to focus his troops, who were in tough against the Broad Street Bullies. Irascible Leafs owner Harold Ballard had even predicted his team would in five games.
The Leafs were facing elimination going into the series’ Game 6 in Toronto, so Kelly tried something radically different. He had a 20-foot pyramid placed in the Leafs dressing room – pointed north to draw magnetic energy – and several smaller ones under the Leafs’ bench, hoping his team would draw energy from the objects.
Kelly had reason to believe. His daughter had been suffering from severe migraines, and after being told about the pyramids’ healing power, gave her some small pyramids to place under her pillow and she soon felt better.
"I thought that was kind of neat that Red would take that time and that thought to do something like that for us," winger Dave (Tiger) Williams recalls. "What was really good about it was the Toronto media just talked about it and never talked about us, so we had some breathing room there finally for a change."
When Leafs captain Darryl Sittler, who had been goalless in eight games, scored five times in the stunning 8-5 Game 6 victory, Pyramid Power was proclaimed.
Before game seven, Kelly had each of his players sit under a pyramid in the dressing room. (Said Williams at the time: "Thank God I don’t play for Philadelphia. I’d hate to have to sit under Kate Smith.")
Alas, the Flyers overcame the Leafs karma to win, 7-3.
"If you think something – if they believe it – then that’s great," Kelly says. "That’s what I was trying to do – get ’em all thinking the right way. And they almost pulled it off."
"Coaches over the years have tried a lot of different things to get the most out of their team or players," Sittler says. "Obviously this was a thing that Red had felt strongly about with his daughter and brought it to the guys."
So whatever happened to the pyramids? Well, at least the whereabouts of one is known. Williams "stole" one after the series and still has it.
– PERRY LEFKO