Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Unidentified Canucks Photo

Time for another unidentified hockey photo from the good folks at Vintage Sports Images. It comes to me with zero info other than what is in the photo itself, which is quite a lot actually. 
Firstly, the Canucks wore this jersey with the "V" on the jersey sleeve for their first two years of existence 1970/71 and 1971/72. Next, all the numbers of the skaters are visible which makes for easy identification. Starting at the left is #16 Ted Taylor, a Left Winger who wore the number in both of these seasons. Taylor had been a career minor-leaguer, having played for the Western League Vancouver Canucks the two seasons prior. Taylor potted 36 goals in 69/70 in the high minors but scored only 11 and 9 goals his two NHL Canuck seasons. 
The Boston Bruin battling Taylor is an easy one, #6 Ted Green. He is adorned in a helmet that he wore after nearly losing his life to the stick of Wayne Maki a few years before. The Canuck in the middle of the frame is #19. In their inaugural season, top draft pick Dale Tallon wore the number before switching to #9 in 71/72. This is when Richard Lemieux wore the number for 42 games. Now, both players shot left-handed, and actually looked facially fairly similar (as seen below) but Tallon played at 6'1" and Lemieux 5'8". The #19 in the photo certainly looks closer to 5'8" in height and appears to me to be Richard Lemieux. That would make this photo from the 1971/72 season.
Richard Lemieux, 71/72
Dale Tallon 70/71
The Canuck in the foreground is #17 and shoots Right-handed. This would make it ex-Maple Leaf product Ron Ward. 1971/72 was his first full season and he contributed a mere 2 goals and 4 assists in 71 games. He jumped to the New York Raiders of the new WHA in 72/73 and blossomed, scoring 51 goals and 118 points. Ward eventually played for seven different teams in his five year WHA career.
So, the game shown was from the 71/72 season, which date though? The Canucks visited Boston three times that season and understandably was smoked each time by the eventual Cup champs. Although there is not much of him visible, the Bruins goalie helps narrow down the date even further. The mask of the goaltender is visible, the Bruins had two goalies that year, one with a distinctive mask. Eddie Johnston and Gerry Cheevers split the duties this season, the goalie pictured must be Johnston as he doesn't have the characteristic "stitches" as on Cheevers' mask.  Johnston played two of the three home games with the Canucks that year, winning 5-0 on November 18, 1971 and 7-3 on March 2, 1972. The game in question has to be one of these two dates. Unless I find game sheets from these two dates to see if Richard Lemieux perhaps didn't play in one, I'm happy with having narrowed it down this much.


dsd said...

I think I can help you nail this down to the exact game.

Here's a link to hockey draft central which shows Richard Lemieux' first game was on January 5th In Montreal.


That would make the picture from the March 2nd game, which makes sense as it was more likely that Lemieux, who was fresh out of junior, was assigned to the American League for experience and was later called up. He was successful enough to stay in the big leagues through the 1974-75 season.

Like you, I like hockey detective work, although it doesn't pay that well!

Nitzy said...

Great stuff, it definitely has to be the game later in the season. Thanks for the help!

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