Friday, May 20, 2016

Vintage Vancouver Amateur Teams

Vancouver Waterfront HC 1933
I found these two cool team photos over at the Vancouver Archives database. The first is of a squad called Vancouver Waterfront from 1933 that played in the amateur Vancouver Commercial League. The circuit included other teams such as Vancouver Ex-King George, New Westminster Cubs and Vancouver Merolomas. The one player I can identify for certain is at front row, far right as Art Jerwa. He was older brother to Frank and Joe Jerwa who both were playing in the NHL at that time with Boston Bruins. 

Interestingly, the Waterfronts would make the championship game in 1933 and lose in a fairly unique fashion. Playing the Vancouver Sun in the final, the teams split the first two games of the series before the deciding match on March 3, 1933. After three periods, the fifth game was tied, scoreless. However, league officials, fed up with too many games finishing in a draw, had previously decided that all games that ended even would be called "no contest" and be replayed in full. The second game would commence right away. However, after another full game, the teams remained tied. The following day's newspaper wrote, "the fair-sized crowd sat back to wait for the boys to come out for the third game. They were getting their money's worth and seemed to enjoy the marathon."

The heads of the league huddled to see what would be done next. League official, Stan Smith issued the ultimatum that the teams must finish the series "if it took them until morning to do so." 

After the break, the Suns came out for the third full game of the night but the exhausted Waterfronts refused to do so. Referee George Irvine had no choice but to drop the puck with only one team on the ice. The Suns went through with the formality of scoring a goal into the empty netto clinch the game and the series, but alas, referee Irvine called them back to do it again as there was no goal judge in place. That they did, and they were declared champions.

The second photo is of the 1929/30 Vancouver Athletic Club, with players names listed. There again at front, right is Art Jerwa. None of these guys played professional ever, but they sure got to wear some great jerseys with the V.A.C. this season.
Vancouver Athletic Club 1929/30

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Detroit Red Wings Exhibition Game in Vancouver, 1959

Here's a real nice photo from the City of Vancouver Archives showing Gordie Howe playing the Western Hockey League Vancouver Canucks at the PNE Forum. There are no labels or date attached, but I believe I've narrowed it down.

First of all, we see that Gordie Howe is wearing the Captain "C" for Detroit, a position he surprisingly only held between 1958 and 1962. Seeing as the Canucks goalie's face is visible clearly, he should be identifiable. Checking the Society for International Hockey Research photo database I looked at Canuck goaltenders of this era. It's fairly easy to name the goalie as Hank Bassen when compared to the photo below. This really aids in dating the photo, as Bassen played for the Canucks for only one season, 1959/60. If this is a pre-season game with Detroit, it must have then taken place in late September or early October of 1959.
This season, Bassen would lead the WHL in Wins with 44, shutouts with 5 and Goals Against Average with 2.45. He would then help the Canucks win the Patrick Cup as playoff champs. Bassen was then claimed in the Inter-League draft by Detroit in July 1960. In 1960/61 he split duties with Terry Sawchuk and convincingly outplayed the Hall of Famer. Bassen finished with a .500 record and 2.87 GAA, Sawchuk was four games under .500 with a GAA of 3.13. Bassen would go on to start the first ever game for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1967. His son, Bob Bassen would play 765 NHL games in the 80's and 90's.

A search for a note about this game proved fruitless, but I found three Red Wings games out West that fits the time period. The Wings were on a nine game exhibition tour of Western Canada and the U.S. If they were in Edmonton on Sept. 26, 1959, Seattle on Sept 27th and Spokane, Washington on the 29th.

Next, I came across a game program from this very game listed on eBay, check out the cover below. However, among the program images included in the listing, there is no actual date for this game but included with the program the seller added a newspaper clipping of the game. 

There is the date, handwritten on the clipping; October 1, 1959. The clipping says this was the ninth and final game of the Red Wings Western tour, a game won by Detroit by a score of 9-2. But wait, what's that at the bottom of the game boxscore? The two goalies listed are Sawchuk and Bentley. Bentley? This would be referring to longtime WHL goalie Bev Bentley who would play this upcoming season with Seattle Totems. Compare the photo below of Bentley with a closeup of the goalie in the archive pic.

There's no way that's Bentley in the archive photo. If that's not Bassen, I'll eat my hat. And I have a lot of nice hats. I'm thinking that the Canucks must have recruited the previous season's Coast Division All-Star Bentley to bolster their squad, and he and Bassen split duties against the Wings.

So, the date of this game was October 1, 1959 and I'm sticking to the goalie being Hank Bassen. One other player that is easily confirmed in the archive pic is Canucks number 5 who is defending Howe. It is none other than defenceman Larry Cahan seen below. Cahan would go on to be named to the 2nd All-Star team in 59/60 posting 11 goals and 33 points.
Larry Cahan

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bobby Orr Overtime Cup Winner, 46 years ago today

As any good hockey fan on scoial media knows, today is the 46th anniversary of one of the greatest goals ever scored. Here are two other photos of the iconic goal found on Google news archives. They are both creditied to the Associated Press Wire Service, but were taken from slightly different angles. Both are approximately 180 degrees rotated from the more well-known shot pictured below.
"After the third period I told the fellows, 'look, let's not do too much thinking. We've lived and died playing our gung ho hockey all along.' We went out there to attack. If we died by it, we died by it.", coach Harry Sinden summed up his advice for his Bruins as they entered overtime. 

Orr himself admitted he took a gamble on the winner when he tried to beat Blues' Larry Keenan to a loose puck inside the St.Louis end. "I guess it was. (a gamble) I get caught like that sometimes but at other times it works. This time it worked." Derek Sanderson decribed the play in fairly simplistic terms, "It came in from the left point. I fed Bobby from the back of the net and all he had to do was flip the puck over Noel Picard's stick."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1966 Western Hockey League Playoff Program

Fifty years ago exactly, the Western Hockey League championship was being decided between the Victoria Maple Leafs and the Portland Buckaroos. Featured here is a game program issued in Portland for Game Two of the series on May 2, 1966. Lineups are below.

Both teams had won hard-fought, seven game series to advance to the final. Portland came back from down three games to two to beat Vancouver in games six and seven back in Portland by scores of 4-2 and 7-3. They were led by regular season scoring leader and runner-up, Cliff Schmautz and Art Jones. They notched 10 and 12 points repectively in the seven game set. Vancouver defenceman Larry Cahan erupted for a record 16 points in a losing effort. Cahan was a veteran of almost 400 NHL games at this point and had produced 48 points in the just-completed season. He would play four additional NHL years once the league expanded with Oakland and Los Angeles.

Victoria bested San Francisco in the semi-finals in similar fashion to Portland. Down three games to two they won the last two at home by scores of 5-4 and 6-1. The Leafs were topped by Milan Marcetta with 13 points and Bob Barlow with 11. Game one of the final series played on April 30 in Victoria, was won by the Maple Leafs in double overtime 6-5 on a goal by Claude Labrosse, assisted by goalie John Henderson.

In this second game of the series, Portland exacted revenge on their home ice. Led by the newly formed forward line of Bill Saunders, Len Ronson and Tom McVie the Buckaroos blasted the Leafs 6-2. The trio combined for 11 points, with Ronson potting a pair of goals and the others one each. Victoria's Andy Hebenton scored both of the Leafs goals. Hebenton had played nine full NHL seasons, never missing a game for 630 consecutive matches which was the record at the time. He would continue on to play 1,054 straight professional games including the Western League. The streak was only interupted in the 67/68 campaign when Hebenton attended his father's funeral. He would play 440 additional consecutive games before retiring in 1974. In all, Hebenton played an amazing 1,562 of 1,564 games over 22 full seasons.
In the program there's the great ad pictured above from Nordstrom's. Looks like Buckaroo, Larry Leach scored himself a nice pair of Nunn-Bush shoes as player of the month. Sweet. Oh, and just for good measure, here's a bio on Portland defenceman Doug Messier. His son played a bit in the NHL.
In the end, the two teams would alternate victories each game of the final. In Game seven back in Portland, Victoria embarrassed the Buckaroos by a score of 5-1 to take the Patrick Cup.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hockey Hall of Fame Photos From Collections Canada

Edouard 'Newsy' Lalonde in his mid-70s
I've been sifting through Library and Archives Canada hockey photos on the Collections Canada website and found these awesome ones from the early 1960's. They are all from the early 1960's (the Hall opened in 1961). I find it pretty cool seeing some of hockey's greats in these photos. Even though they are 30 or 40 years removed from active playing, a good hockey fan can still recognize them.
Two of the greatest defencemen of alltime, Eddie Shore at right, King Clancy 3rd from right.
Art Ross, Lloyd Turner, Lester Patrick, W.A. Hewitt, Newsy Lalonde, 'Red' Dutton on Opening night, 1961
As a kid, I remember going to the old Hockey Hall of Fame at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto. I went pretty much every year in the 1980's and judging by these photos, it looked pretty much the same as it did in the 60's. The Hall moved downtown in 1993, and the displays improved immeasureably.
Joe Malone in his early 70s and Aurel Joliat in his early 60s
Opening Ceremonies of The Hall. August 26, 1961
The Rocket, likely on his induction day in 1961 and Cyclone in his mid-70s
The Trophy Room

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sittler's Five Goal Playoff Game

"He beat me every way you could think of tonight. Sittler gives you no warning. You can't anticipate when  he comes in like you can with a lot of other guys. He just wheels around and you've got only an instant to react," the words of Flyers goaltending legend Bernie Parent after being ventilated for five goals by the Maple Leaf great.

It was 40 years ago to the day and Darryl Sittler had just equalled an NHL record for goals in a playoff game as Toronto tied Philadelphia at three games each in the Quarterfinal round.
Parent continued, "He caught me shifting my weight and I was off balance." Apparently Bernie was off balance quite a bit on this night as Toronto won 8-5.

Sittler commented, "I just got lucky again, like on February 7," the night of his famous ten point game. He shared the fact that he had put his stick under one of coach Red Kelly's lucky charm pyramids and felt that the spell worked. "The spell was marvellous". Leafs owner Harold Ballard stated that should Toronto beat "The Flyers and Kate Smith in the Spectrum" he was going to "move one of the real pyramids from Egypt to Toronto and dedicate it to 'Khufu' Kelly".

The game also featured 185 Penaly Minutes assessed to both teams a new record for a single game. Of course the Leafs went on to lose game seven by a score of 7-3, and Ballard saved the extreme cost of moving one of the great pyramids to Toronto.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another 1980/81 Hockey Pack

Let's open up another pack of 1980/81 Topps Hockey cards, shall we! A few weeks back I chronicled the opening of my first pack of this scratch-off silliness, here and the best card I got was a Gretzky Assists Leader, not too shabby. Lets's see what we get here.
Marcel Dionne All-Star
Charlie Simmer All-Star
Boom, right on top of the pack, two First Team All-Stars Dionne and Simmer. They're worth about two and one dollars each. Two-thirds of the Triple Crown Line (along with Dave Taylor), one of the greatest lines in hockey history. Definitely a good start to this pack.
Ryan Walter
Well, the good luck didn't last long. A second year card of the serviceable Ryan Walter. At the time of this card, he was the youngest captain in NHL history. He would go on to help the 1986 Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, card worth fifty cents.
Mark Howe All-Star
Oooh, another All-Star card, and Hall of Famer! This one of Gordie's kid is worth about 75 cents. In truth, I'm not really sure why Howe got an All-Star card this season. Even though he put up 80 points in 79/80 he actually finished fifth in voting for defence, behind fourth place Jim Schoenfeld who garnered the actual end-of-season Second All-Star spot. Howe would go on to grab three First Team spots in the 80's and posted a +85 rating in 85/86, the 8th highest of all time.
Barry Long
Well, he WAS a two-time WHA Second Team All-Star, so he's got that going for him.
Blair MacDonald
Here's Gretzky's running mate on his first NHL card after having two WHA issues. I play beer-league hockey against his son, who's a realtor in North Vancouver...(he's a bit of an ass on the ice). Card is worth fifty cents.
Terry O'Reilly
The ultimate Bruin here coming off a 61 point, 265 penalty minute season in 79/80. Like I said, very Bruin-like. Fifty cents.
Don Edwards
Seventy-five cent card of the Second-Team All-Star from 79/80. Edwards shared the Vezina (which was a team trophy back then) with Bob Sauve after going 27-9-12 with a 2.57 GAA.
Larry Robinson
Here's another previous season First All-Star AND Norris Trophy winner. Robinson collected 75 points in his second of two Nirris seasons. Card worth two bucks.
Perry Turnbull
The first rookie card of the pack. Turnbull notched 16 goals his first year and would blossom to 34 goals this season. He is NOT brothers with ex-Maple Leaf, Ian Turnbull. Card is a buck.
Minnesota Team Poster
Sweet poster insert of the North Stars. This season they would surprise many by going all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Islanders in five games. These posters are worth two bucks each.

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