Gary Green moved on to coach professional hockey and was replaced by Mike Keenan but little else changed for the Petes. For the third straight year, they found themselves in a Memorial Cup final.
After winning the OHL title by sweeping Windsor Spitfires, the Petes rolled through the early portion of the 1980 Memorial Cup round-robin. They beat host Regina Pats twice by 5-4 and 4-3 scores and also beat Cornwall Royals 8-6.
Their first sign of trouble came when they lost their final round-robin game to Cornwall 5-4. Regina fans were cheering for a Petes win as it would have put Regina into the final against Peterborough. Instead, Cornwall’s win eliminated Regina, bringing accusations from Pats fans and officials that the Petes threw the game. Peterborough led 4-2 after two periods before giving up three straight goals.
“As soon as the game was over Regina started to accuse us of not trying our best or wanting to win,” said Dick Todd.
If there was a plot to throw the game, Todd said, the coaching staff knew nothing of it.
“There was no plan set out by Mike or the coaching staff to throw the game. Did the players play their best or play as a cohesive unit? That will always be a mystery, sort of.”
Regina coach Bryan Murray even sought to have the Petes disqualified. The Petes became public enemy number one in Regina and it made for a rough ride in the final against Cornwall.
“It was very hostile,” said Todd. “The crowd, right from the start of the game, were throwing eggs at the bench. We had to be escorted out of the arena the previous game after we lost to Cornwall.”