Showing posts from 2016

Unidentified Hockey Photo: Gretzky vs Canucks

Here's a colourful photo from my pal at Vintage Sports Images in North Vancouver. The info that came with it was simply that it was Gretzky and Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy was Captain of the Canucks from 1979/80 through 1981/82. This photo has to be from 81/82 because the Oilers switched to white letters on their nameplate after having orange letters until 1980/81.

This being 1981/82 gives two possibilities as to who Vancouver #17 in the foreground is. Jerry Butler wore the number for 25 games this year as he split time between Vancouver and Dallas of the CHL. On March 9, 1982 the Canucks acquired Tony Currie along with Rick Heinz and Jim Nill from St. Louis for a 4th round pick. Both Butler and Currie are right shooters like the guy in this pic, but Edmonton had already visited Vancouver for the last time of the season six weeks prior to Currie being traded for. This means the #17 shown here can only be Jerry Butler.

Butler was obtained two years before along with Tiger Williams fr…

Unidentified Hockey Photo; Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings

Here's another fantastic hockey photo from It came to me with no date but three of the guys labelled, Red Kelly, Ted Kennedy and Harry Lumley. These are all easily identified by most hockey history buffs, as is the second Maple Leaf in the photo as Sid Smith. A couple other things are quickly noticed, the referee in the background is clearly "King" Clancy and the game is taking place at Detroit's Olympia Stadium.
A few other details allow us to narrow this down to the exact game this was from. Firstly, Harry Lumley was Detroit's goalie through 1949/50 (when he helped Detroit win the Cup) until the arrival of Terry Sawchuk the following year. Red Kelly began with the WIngs in 47/48 and "Teeder" Kennedy was certainly active over these seasons. However, Sid Smith wearing a number ending in "4" definitely helps narrow down the timeframe here.
Smith had been with the Leafs for parts of the 46/47 and 47/48 campaigns but wor…

35 Years Ago Today; Gretzky Erupts

35 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky erupted for the greatest stretch of scoring in his career. Going into a game against Minnesota on December 19, 1981, The Great One was comfortably in the lead in NHL scoring with a line of 35 goals, 48 assists, 83 points through 34 games. The hockey world was abuzz with the possibility of him scoring 50 goals in 50 games...or better. The scoring leaders at this point were as follows: (G-A-Pts)

Gretzky  35-48-83
PStastny 21-39-60
DTaylor  18-35-53
Dionne   23-29-52
BSmith   20-32-51
Savard    15-35-50
Bossy     23-26-49

Gretzky had a nice 23 point lead on second place Peter Stastny, that would be padded further during a 9-6 home victory over the North Stars. Gretzky notched 3 goals and 4 helpers to take him to 38 goals in 35 games. The following night, Calgary came to town and the Oilers lost 7-5, Gretzky scored only 2 goals and an assist.
On December 23, Edmonton hosted Vancouver and prevailed 6-1 on the strength of a goal and 3 helpers from Gretzky.…

Unidentified Hockey Photo; Canucks vs. Red Wings

Time to identify another old hockey photo for my pal at in North Vancouver. This one came to me as is, with no information whatsoever. Luckily this one is fairly easy to narrow down to a specific season. The Vancouver Canucks began play in the NHL in the 1970/71 season, this also was the last NHL season (for a while) of Gordie Howe. Gordie is seen in the middle of this melee, so the photo is from the 1970/71 campaign. The game was obviously in Detroit, what with the Wings logo on the ice at the right side of the photo.
Another way to help pinpoint an old Canuck photo is looking for the "V" on the sleeve stripe. Thanks to the great site we learn that Vancouver had this style of jersey for only their first two seasons of existence. Below is a closeup of one of the Canucks in the photo.
Using the database, it's easy to identify most of the players in the pic as follows;
Detroit #15 Rene Leclerc, #12 Tom Miller, #9 Gordie …

Unidentified Hockey Photo; Eddie Jeremiah

A good friend of mine has just opened a vintage sports image shop here in North Vancouver, conveniently named Vintage Sports Images. He has literally thousands of original, never-seen photographic negatives from all sports. He prints them on canvas and they look so good, most of them appear to be paintings. Naturally, I am lending my expertise at identifying players and events in any photos of his that have missing pieces of info. 
The first one I'm looking at is a really cool shot of what appears to be an old Boston Bruin from the 1930's. He has no other information on it than that. Firstly, a closer look shows a patch on the player's left shoulder that says "Cubs". The Boston Cubs did indeed play from 1930 to 1936 in the Canadian-American Hockey League. The CAHL was a minor league that begat the International-American Hockey League in 1936 and would become today's American Hockey League in 1940. A look at the Society for International Hockey Research playe…

1953/54 Victoria Cougars Program

Recently, I picked up this beauty at a collectibles show. A 63 year-old game program from the old Western Hockey League. The game was at the Victoria Memorial Arena between the visiting Vancouver Canucks and the hometown Cougars on January 11, 1954. The Cougars featured up-and-coming 24 year-old Andy Hebenton who would score 21 goals this season, his fifth of top-level minor pro hockey. After an 80 point season for Victoria in 1954/55, Hebenton finally graduated to the New York Rangers and stayed in the NHL until 1964.  On the other end of the scale, 35 year-old Billy Reay was in his first season as player/coach with Victoria after eight full years playing with the Montreal Canadiens. In 1957, Reay took over as Head Coach for Toronto Maple Leafs and in 1963 he began a 14 year stint as Head Coach in Chicago with the Black Hawks.
70 year-old Lester Patrick was the President of the Cougars after having been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. Lester even coached one game for …

Leafs Rookies, Circa 1929/30

A quarter of the way through the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have three of the top four scoring rookies in the NHL. The top five rookies in points are as follows: (G-A-Pts)

Patrick Laine, Winnipeg 12-6-18
Auston Matthews, Toronto 8-8-16
Mitch Marner, Toronto 7-9-16
William Nylander, Toronto 6-9-15
Zach Werenski, Columbus 5-10-15
The Leafs have their best rookie crop in at least a generation. In looking at the top three Toronto rookies on their own, it can arguably be said that they are the best Leafs crop of first-year players in over 85 years. Sure, Toronto has had some nice rookie groups enter the league at the same time through the years;

1985/86 Wendel Clark, Steve Thomas & Dan Hodgson
1982/83 Peter Ihnacak, Walt Poddubny, Dan Daoust
1979/80 Laurie Boschman, Rocky Saginiuk, Rick Vaive, Bill Derlago
1973/74 Borje Salming, Lanny McDonald, Ian Turnbull, Inge Hammarstrom
1955/56 Dick Duff, Billy Harris, Earl Balfour
1952/53 George Armstrong, Tim Horton, Ron Stewart, Eric Nestere…

1988/89 Signed Maple Leafs Stick

Recently I picked up this stick at the Vancouver Flea Market for a fairly reasonable price. It's signed by members of the Maple Leafs 1988/89 squad. I wasn't necessarily in the market for a late-80's signed Leaf stick, but it was a price I couldn't pass up. It actually makes a nice foil for my signed Leafs 62/63 stick, a team that finished first place in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup. The 88/89 team, not so much. Led by Eddie Olczyk's 90 points, Gary Leeman's 75 and Vinny Damphousse's 68 (who are all on this stick) the Buds finished with 62 points, only one ahead of last overall Quebec. Olczyk was in his second and best season with the Leafs. He would be traded to Winniped in 1990 for Mark Osborne, Dave Ellett and Paul Fenton. His 90 points in 88/89 ended up being his career high. This year proved to be Leeman's breakout season as the following season he would notch the second ever 50 goal campaign in franchise history with 51. Of course he'd be …

Red Kelly and The Ultimate Maple Leaf Den

So, I met "Red" Kelly last week.  Actually, I didn't JUST meet the hockey legend, I chatted with him for twenty minutes. This encounter didn't just take place on the street or in a restaurant, it happened in the museum-like basement of Ultimate Leaf Fan, Mike Wilson.  As a member of the Society for International Hockey Research, I was lucky enough to attend the Meet and Greet event for their Annual meeting in Toronto last week. This was graciously held at the home of Mike Wilson, who told me he is not the self-proclaimed "Ultimate Leaf Fan" but was bestowed this moniker by none other than ESPN. Anyway, as a lifelong Leaf fan and collector myself, I was excited enough to gain entry to the Ultimate Leaf Den. Little did I know I would also meet one of the greatest living hockey players there as well.  After I picked up my nametag and met a few hockey authors and the host himself, I descended into the Museum/Basement. Even the walls of the staircase were lined…

1970s NHL Media Guides

I recently picked up a bunch of 1970s NHL media guides at the flea market, lots of great covers. The first one is the second year of the Washington Capitals showing goaltender #30, John Adams which is a strange choice seeing as he played only eight games for the inaugural Caps. He went 0-7 and posted a 6.90 GAA. The next two are Bruins guides showing many of the team's all-time greats. The 76/77 guide shows some wacky charicatures of Don Cherry, Jean Ratelle and Brad Park. The 76/77 New York Islanders guide combines some blurry, fast-paced action as  well as a dejected looking Denis Potvin. The Sabres 74/75 guide pictures Rick Martin sporting some simply fantastic 70s sideburns. 72/73 North Stars guide looks like a version of the Odd Couple featuring Cesar Maniago and Gump Worsley. Bill Goldsworthy is the cover boy of the 74/75 media guide. Speaking of wacky charicatures, the 76/77 Los Angeles Kings guide shows Butch Goring being hoisted upon the shoulders of Dave Hutchison and w…