Thursday, February 25, 2016

1912 New Westminster Royals

Here's some great images found in the City of Vancouver Archives online database. First is a cool team composite image of the inaugural Pacific Coast Hockey Association champions, New Westminster Royals. The squad included four future Hockey Hall of Famers and apparently a dog as a mascot. The PCHA was a three team circuit of New Westminster, Vancouver Millionaires and Victoria Aristocrats with New West finishing on top with a record of 9-6.

Also in the archives is a nice pic of Hall of Fame goaltender Hugh Lehman. His goals against average of 5.07 and 9 wins were tops in the league. He would go on to lead the Millionaires to the 1915 Stanley Cup and star in Vancouver until 1926. At age 41 Lehman joined the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1926/27 season before retiring the following season.
Hugh Lehman
The other three Hall of Famers on the Royals in 1912 were Jimmy Gardner, Harry Hyland and defender Ernie "Moose" Johnson. The third photo from the archives is of trainer Pete Muldoon who would go on to the Seattle Metropolitans to the first American based Stanley Cup victory in 1917. He coached the Chicago Blackhawks in 1926/27 and fictitiously placed a curse on the team after being fired. 
Pete Muldoon

Thursday, February 18, 2016

1966/67 Victoria Maple Leafs Program

I recently picked up a 1966/67 Victoria Maple Leafs program from the Western Hockey League. This one completed the trifecta as I now have a program from each of the three season's the team was in existence. Being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan in Vancouver and learning that one of our top farm teams was just across the water has always been interesting to me.
Closeup of the logos other Western League squads
The program is from opening night 1966 against the Portland Buckaroos, a game Victoria would win 5-0. The Leafs were Western League defending champions having finished 40-28-4 and defeating San Francisco and Portland in a pair of seven game series. Despite their terrific game one victory, the 1966/67 campaign would not be as fruitful for Victoria as they finished out of the playoffs, six points behind the fourth place Seals. 
The season did however finish on an up note for two Victoria skaters. Leading scorer Milan Marcetta and top scoring defenceman, Aut Erickson were called up to the big club for the NHL playoffs. Erickson got into one game, Marcetta three and both have their name on the last Stanley Cup won by Toronto.
Another name on the lineup page, playing D for Portland is Doug Messier, father of Mark. Doug was a solid defenceman throughout the 60's and would collect 32 points in 66/67 while finishing fourth in the league in PIMs. Below is an interesting set of stats from the program showing the previous years numbers. It seems Victoria was an early user of advanced stats as they have Shot Attempts, Shot Attempts Blocked and Goals Scored in different scenarios. 1967 seems early for these kind of numbers to be in vogue.
Interesting to see the WHL referees listed in the program, many familiar names that either had been or soon would be prominent names in the NHL.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Esso NHL Pocket Schedules

Last weekend I picked up a 1962/63 Esso NHL Pocket Schedule at the flea market. After getting it home to the Den, I realized I now had four different years of Esso Schedules from this era. Time to start going out of my way and looking for some more. The first one I picked up a few years ago was the the 1958/59 one (pictured above and below). The artwork of the kids playing pond hockey is really nice on this one. The great thing about the schedules from this time is that since they were only issued by Esso Canada, they always featured the only two Canadian NHL teams, Montreal and Toronto. Just another piece of Maple Leafs memorabilia for me to collect.
The 62/63 schedule featured photos of two vintage Cup winning teams, you guessed it, Montreal and Toronto. Pictured were the first Stanley Cup winning teams from each city, Montreal A.A.A. and Toronto Blueshirts.
1963/64 features more terrific artwork of the Habs and Leafs. This schedule was courtesy of Sullivan's Esso Station in Edmundston,  New Brunswick as seen by the stamp on the front.
1966/67 shows some nice black and white action photos of Canada's teams.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

John Scott and Other Fleeting All-Stars

All-Star game Most Valuable Player John Scott may never play another game in the NHL. Sure his appearance in the mid-season spectacle was entertaining, but facts are facts. He is 33 years old, playing in the AHL and the Montreal Canadiens want no part of him on the big club. Also, the role for his kind of player has dwindled to pretty much non-existant. So, how strange would it be if John Scott's last ever NHL game was the All-Star game? Very strange indeed, but it has almost happened a few times in the past.
In the past, the All-Star game would pit the Stanley Cup champions from the previous season against a team of the top players throughout the rest of the NHL. These exhibitions usually took place just prior to the regular season. Often times, a fringe player on the Cup-winning squad would soon be sent down to the minors, never to return  to the NHL. The following guys are the ones who came closest to having an All-Star game being their last NHL game.

1939 was the third official All-Star game and the first time the All-Stars played against a single team, the Canadiens. There were two Montreal players in this game that played very little in the NHL afterwards. Forward Earl Robinson was a longtime Montreal Maroon who had been acquired by the Canadiens just two weeks prior to the 1939 All-Star affair. He was 32 years-old at the time and would play a mere 11 more games with the Habs before joining New Haven of the AHL. He played two more seasons there before retiring from pro hockey. His teammate and goaltender Wilf Cude wound down his career soon after the 1939 All-Star match. 
Earl Robinson
Cude had been Montreal's regular goalie since 1935, but after giving up five goals to the All-Stars he played only seven more games that season going 1-5-1 before joining Robinson in New Haven. Three more games the following year and the 30 year-old Cude retired from hockey only 10 games after his All-Star appearance.
Wilf Cude
Keith Allen
Longtime Philadelphia Flyers coach/GM/executive Keith Allen played in the 1954 All-Star game with Detroit but played only 18 games that season to wrap up his brief NHL career. He would be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Builder wing in 1992.
Norm Corcoran
Detroit Red Wing, Norm Corcoran skated in the 1955 All-Star game and only 2 games with the Red Wings that year. Traded to Chicago in January 1956, he played only 23 more NHL games. He played out his career in the AHL until the 1965/66 season.
Stan Smrke
After playing four games for the Canadiens in 56/57, Stan Smrke made the team out of training camp and played in the 1957 All-Star game. After five more games, the 29 year-old minor league scoring star was returned to Rochester. In 1959/60 he would lead the AHL with 40 goals but never played in the NHL again.
Gerry Ehman
Gerry Ehman played in the 1964 All-Star game with Toronto and it likely would have been his last NHL game if not for expansion three years later. He hadn't been an NHL regular since 59/60 but was a reliable AHL scorer mainly with Rochester. He played four games for the Leafs in 63/64 but the All-Star match would be his last ever with Toronto. He was immediately returned to Rochester and promptly led the AHL with 85 points. After three more terrific AHL seasons, the 35 year-old was mercifully traded to expansion Oakland where he returned to the NHL for four productive seasons.

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