Monday, July 17, 2017

Vintage Hockey Toys and Games

1962 Hockey Card Game
I recently noticed that I have a fair amount of vintage hockey themed games in my collection, figured I'd put them all together in a post. Above is a really neat boxed card game I picked up at the Vancouver Flea Market. It's dated 1962 from Walker Press Canada and pictures generic "Blue" and "Red" teams, with very cool artwork.
The next one I got from the same dealer at the flea market but have very little information about it. It is a tin ice surface with small plastic sticks. I think it was some kind of "flick" game played with a small disc. It has to be from the 1960's at the latest and could date back as far as the 50's. It's labelled "another SUPERIOR TOY by T. Cohn". This company made many different tin games and toys in the throughout the first half of the twentieth century. 
Next is one of my favourite things in my collection, a Toronto Maple Leafs colouring book from 1964. It's in pretty much mint condition with no colouring done inside. Also shown is the page of Dave Keon, just asking for some crayon, must...resist.
Okay, maybe the NEXT one is one of my favourites. I grabbed this beauty at a garage sale and it's been hanging on my den wall ever since. It's a Munro Games wooden table-hockey game from 1948. This was one of the very first ever table-hockey games ever produced and uses little pegs for "players". Check out the beautifully woven net. Fantastic.
I got these fairly recently off a local Vancouver dealer, "Hockey Action Replay" rub-off games. Anyone who grew up in the 1970's or early 80's will remember this fad of rub-off transfers, where you could create your own scene on an open canvas with a simple scratch of a coin. These were released for every comic book, T.V. show and even Star Wars, and could be bought usually at your local pharmacy or toy store. Only thing is, once they were applied, the transfer was permanent. These ones are pristine, again...must...resist...urge.
Finally, I have two different version of metal table-hockey players. I don't have the actual game rinks that these were used on, there is only so much room in the den. The first are from the 1960's and the second are I believe late 50's with the skater having an actual plastic stick. Cool stuff.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Red Kelly Collection

1971 Book
This week, Red Kelly turned 90-years old. There's no better reason to have a look at some of the cool, more "odd-ball" Red Kelly items in the collection of Nitzy's Hockey Den. Above is the cover of a 1971 hardcover autobiography aimed toward kids. There's some nice illustrations inside, pictured below.
Next is a 1964 Maple Leafs Colouring Book with a couple of great drawings of Red Kelly for the kids to colour in. Stay in the lines kids!
In 1963, the Toronto Star newspaper issued these great "Hockey Stars in Action" postcards. The one above shows Kelly, Jonny Bower and Dave Keon. Beauty.
1963 Hockey Stars in Action 
Beehive
Beehive corn syrup famously issued these posed photos of players with a cardboard backing. Above is the Red Kelly Beehive from the early 1960s.
Sheriff Plastic Coins
Salada Tea issued plastic "Shirriff" hockey coins for the 1960/61 and 61/62 seasons (above), in 1962/63 the coins were changed from plastic to metal (below).
Shirriff Metal Coin
Next are a few game programs picturing Red on the cover I have in the collection. First one is from the 1960/61 season.
1960/61 Maple Leaf Programme
Below is program for an exhibition game in September 1963 in Vancouver at the PNE Forum, home of the Western League Vancouver Canucks. The game was between the Leafs and the New York Rangers.
Vancouver Canucks 1963 Exhibition Game Program
Finally, perhaps my favourite Red Kelly item in my collection. I had a chance to meet the legend and chat with him for a good half an hour this past October at an event for the Society for International Hockey Research. After taking a few photos with him, I figured I just had to get him to sign something. The only thing I had was a guide to the upcoming Sports Card Expo in Toronto, that worked just fine. Below is the personalized autograph from the man himself.





Friday, July 7, 2017

Unidentified Maple Leafs/Bruins Photo

Here's another cool vintage hockey photo from the archives of my friends at Vintage Sports Images in North Vancouver. There's a few familiar faces that will help identifying the photo and narrowing down the date. Starting with the obvious, it is the Boston Bruins visiting the Maple Leafs in Toronto and Leaf captain George Armstrong is battling in front of the Boston net. Also, on the distant blueline is Toronto defender Allan Stanley wearing the "A" on his chest.

To narrow down a timeframe for the photo we turn to nhluniforms.com to see that the Leafs switched to a tie-down collar for the 1958/59 season and would add sleeve numbers in 1962/63. This puts the photo at somewhere between this range. This nails down Toronto's #20 as Bob Pulford who was there for that entire period. Now to the Bruins, Boston had only two players wear #4 during this time period, Bob Armstrong and Pat Stapleton. We can determine that the player in the photo is a left shot from his right hand being the one at the knob of the stick. Armstrong was a right shot, Stapleton a left shot. Zooming in on the face, and comparing it to other pics confirms it is Pat Stapleton who was a rookie in 61/62 and took over for Armstrong who was sent to the Eastern league in October of 1961.
So, since this is 1961/62 we can now confirm that the Bruins other defender wearing #20 is Leo Boivin. The goaltender proves to be a bit trickier to identify. Checking multiple databases shows that both Don Head and Bruce Gamble wore #1 for the Bruins that year and they pretty much split the playing time (Head playing 38 games, Gamble 28). First a few pics of Don Head from that era. 
Don Head Oct 17, 1961
Don Head Oct 10, 1963 with Portland
Bruce Gamble from the same era.
This one is a toughie, the Bruins made seven trips to Toronto that season (Head played four, Gamble three) and all of the players pictured played pretty much every game that season. So narrowing it down using game lineups is impossible. Looking at the photos of Head and Gamble really doesn't help, as we only see the back of the goaltender. Both men caught with the left hand, had a buzz-type haircut at the time, weighed the same and were within an inch in height of each other. If anything, the goalie pictured seems to have a bit of a bald patch on the back of his head that may match that of Don Head, but that is literally splitting hairs. I really can't say for certain which one is in the Bruins net but if I had to make a guess, I'd go with Don Head. If so, that makes this game one of Oct 14, 1961; Dec 9, 1961; Dec 23, 1961; or Jan 10, 1962. 
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