Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gretzky's 18th Birthday Photo, Who's in the Pic?

I've seen this great sequence of photos floating around the internet today, Wayne Gretzky's birthday. It's from January 24, 1979, two days prior to Gretzky's 18th birthday. WHo are the rest of the guys in the photos though?
I've found online that it was Stan Weir who surprised young Wayne buy pushing the cake into his face. A pic of Weir from that era is below, I can agree that's Weir on the right of the photo.
In the white helmet behind Gretz is obviously Brett Callighen, pictured below from the year after the birthday photo.
The two guys in the back of the pic are tough to identify, I've seen an account where one of them is Dennis Sobchuk, not sure. That brings us to the guy on the left, using the Society for International Hockey Research photo database it's easy to determine it's backup goalie Ed Walsh.
Who is Ed Walsh? I asked that myself. Walsh was twice named a First Team All-Star in the AHL. In 1974/75 with Montreal's farm team the nova Scotia Voyageurs, Walsh went 27-16-3 with a 2.77gaa after graduating from the NCAAs Boston Terriers. in 1976/77 he went 26-12-2, 2.86gaa to garner 1st-Star status again. By 1978/79 when the photo was taken, Walsh was Edmonton property and got into three games with the Oilers. He went 0-2 with a 3.75gaa. Walsh would actually play for the United States in the 1980 World Championships, allowing 16 goals in 4 games.

Below is the game program from the Oilers game two days later when they celebrated his birthday once again.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can say confidently that is Dennis Sobchuk in the light blue jersey stuffing the cake into the Great One. Might be Weir in the background.

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