Friday, July 27, 2012

Bobby Hull's Summit Series Fate; Decided by The Players

The exclusion of Bobby Hull from the 1972 Summit Series in reality came down to a decision by the Canadian players. It boiled down to Clarence Campbell and the NHL's original stipulation that only NHL players be allowed and the fact that if the WHA defectors joined, many of the influential NHL owners would not sanction their players participation. Without the approval of their owners, many players would decline the invitation to play.

Ted Blackman of the Montreal Gazette wrote; “Harry Sinden made the argument – that he’d have have Hull, but not much else,” Alan Eagleson said after  Hockey Canada directors voted 9-2, with 2 abstentions, to conduct the Russia-Canada series without WHA players. “If the vote was taken when we sat down, it would have been 7-6 in favour of Hull, but after hearing Harry’s report on the attitude of the other players, it came out as it did.”
On Aug 2, 1972 The Hockey Canada executive committee (including the likes of Harold Ballard, Father Daivd Bauer and Sinden) first listened to an “earnest” pitch by Federal Health Minister John Munro on behalf of Hull’s inclusion. Then it heard Chicago owner Bill Wirtz reaffirm the NHL’s position. “We then considered five courses of action,” said the chairman of the committee, Douglas Fisher. “We considered playing the series as it now stands – without WHA players – or cancelling the whole thing, then three alternatives in between.”
The three middle choices were:

(1) Playing the series independent of any pro organization and undertaking separate disability insurance for players,

(2)  Playing with members from the three Canadian NHL teams, or

(3)  Playing with WHA and NHL volunteers.
Eagleson summed up, “These three ideas wouldn’t work to the best interests of the country and cancelling the series seemed terribly wrong, so we are here, playing under the terms of the original agreement with the NHL.” In the end it was Harry Sinden who cast the swing vote that doomed Hull. Eagleson added, “He felt for sure he’d lose 12 to 15 of the 31 players still eligible if Hull was included on the team and the NHL withdrew it’s approval. He talked to the players, he knew how they felt.”
Eagleson said both Esposito brothers, Phil with Boston and Tony with Chicago, wrote Sinden vowing they wouldn’t play without the sanction of their respective owners. All five Rangers selected insisted they’d need Emil Francis’ green light.
Commenting on his exclusion, Hull himself called it “silly blackballing” and thanked Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau for his efforts.
Eagleson in fact, was so unmoved by Hull’s exclusion from Team Canada that he chastised Trudeau, when the P.M. sent a telegram to Clarence Campbell demanding the best represent the land. “He should have stayed out of this.” Eagleson declared. “This can do more harm than good. He’s been badly advised.” Upon the final decision on the exclusion of WHA players, he expressed disappointment over only one player’s exclusion, “I hate to see it happen to J.C. Tremblay. After all, he labored for our players association in Montreal for five years.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Maple Leafs 1964 Colouring Book

 I picked this beauty up recently, a colouring book issued in late 1964 commemorating the Leafs Cup victory. It's in pretty much new condition and since I couldn't find these images on the internet, I figured I'd add them myself.

Front cover of the book showing the 1963/64 Cup Winners.

The smiling faces of Mahovlich and Keon looking almost identical in these two drawings.

 A proud captain Armstrong and a long-headed Eddie Shack are depicted next.

 Red Kelly and his early helmet, and even in colouring book form Tim Horton looks kind of mean.                                 

Even King Clancy and trainer Bob Haggert get the colouring book treatment.

Just a few of the great images from the book, and no I will not be spending the evening sharpening my crayons and colouring them in.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ken Dryden knew the Russians would be tough.

Tha Canadian Press ran a story in August 1972 just prior to the Summit Series titled; "Former Nats refuse to take Soviets lightly". In the article ex-Canadian national team member Ken Dryden expresses his knowledge of and concerns towards the Russians in the impending Summit Series. Dryden flat out warns his Team Canada teammates that they "could be in for a surprise if they continue underestimating the Russians".

Dryden is quoted; "You have to remember that a North American will appraise the Russians using his own standards. Just because a North American says that the Russians pass too much, doesn't necessarily mean that it's so. It may be true in our judgement but the Russians could still be right." He recalled how confused he was when facing the Russians in 1969 with the National team. "I'd get set for a shot. They wouldn't shoot. They'd pass instead. Against our National team they looked devastating by passing right in on the net."

Dryden had to admit it could prove to be a different matter against a team of professional all stars. "I realize that, but it still is possible to detect an attitude that could result in a surprise. Let's take the ban on the WHA players as an example. There is no way the NHL wants us to lose. If the NHL thought the addition of those WHA players represented the difference between our winning and losing, they would have played or the whole series would have been called off. So, the NHL takes it for granted that we will win." Some pretty harsh critique from Dryden. His concerns would of course be realized during the series when the Russians proved to be anything but pushovers.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Team Canada '72; Roster and Sweater Unveiled

On July 11, 1972 Hockey Canada held a press conference in Montreal releasing the initial roster for the Summit Series. In addition, the proposed Team Canada jersey was unveiled and as seen in the picture, it varies from the version that would eventually be used. I really wish I could find a front view of the jersey pictured, from what is seen the NHL logo and the word "Hockey" are removed in the final version.

As far as the roster, Harry Sinden stated to the media this day that Ken Dryden would be his starting goaltender in the opener that was just under two months away. Bobby Hull was selected for the squad but Sinden knew full well that he would be declared ineligible on August 13. That was the day that a player had to have been signed to an NHL contract (not WHA) in order to play in the series. Other players on the initial roster that had yet to sign included J.C. Tremblay, Gerry Cheevers, Derek Sanderson, Brad Park and Rod Gilbert. Of course, the first three players would join Hull in the WHA. The Montreal Gazette's Ted Blackman states in the article that "Gilbert is more part of Cleveland today than he is the Rangers" and that "Park could also jump" (to the WHA). Thankfully, those two remained in the NHL and part of Team Canada.

The difference in technology between today and forty years ago is evident in the fact that at the time of the press conference, Gilbert Perreault had still not been informed he was on Team Canada, and Bobby Hull had not yet been notified that he was NOT allowed to play. Blackman says of Hull, "He'll start bleeding when he reads it in today's papers."

 Two players that Harry Sinden also wanted as part of his team were  Rangers forward Walt Tkaczuk and Boston defender Dallas Smith. The Gazette reports,"Tkaczuk, a natural, was invited but declined because of involvement in a new hockey school in which much of his own money is invested. Dallas Smith owns a 700-acre farm that needs attention during September and couldn't be expected to hire the $100 per acre outside help without compensation."

The Gazette article goes on to say, "There was only one 'political' appointment to the squad-that of Guevremont for the Vancouver audience." The 35 man roster to report to Maple Leaf Gardens in mid-August was to be joined by the top four picks in the June amateur draft-Bill Harris, Jacques Richard, Steve Shutt and Don Lever in order to have two full scrimmage squads. Coach Sinden refused to discuss those he left off the roster (Hodge, Keon, Lemaire, Bucyk) saying, "I could put these 35 players aside and pick another team of 35 that would please some people. Anyone can pick a team, but only one man can pick one and get on with it."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Paul Morris, Voice of The Gardens

I have kind of made it a personal project to find as much audio of long time Leafs P.A. announcer, Paul Morris and upload it to youtube. A while back myself and a few friends were pretty much fruitless in searching for clips of the legendary voice online, so I decided to get some on my own. I try to PVR as many old Leaf games from NHL network or ESPN Classic and pull out and edit all the great announcments.

The newest one is below and features the 1967 Cup Final clincher against Montreal and a 1975 Quarterfinal against the Flyers.

This is the first, shorter one I did with clips from a few games in the mid-70's.

1972 Summit Series, Get your tickets!

I found this in while looking up 1972 Summit Series articles in Google news archives. This was the order form published in newspapers across Canada on July 15, 1972.  There would be a lottery draw to determine who would have the oppurtunity to purchase one pair of the 58,718 total seats to the four games to be played in Canada.

Canadians had a month to submit the entry form, choosing only one of the games as their preference. By August 16th the Canadian Press reported that 371,793 total entry forms were sent in which means they had about a one in ten chance of winning the lottery. Upon winning the lottery a pair of tickets could be purchased for the kingly sum of $15.

One of the lucky winners turned out to have a close connection to Team Canada. Assistant coach, John Ferguson had entered the name of his 13 year-old daughter for the game at the Montreal Forum. Ferguson said, "I wrote her name on a coupon from a newspaper here in Toronto before I left for Russia (on a scouting trip). She got the letter yesterday saying her name had been drawn...they're great seats. Row A, box seats."

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