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Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7

Bob Armstrong

Robert Richard Armstrong
( April 7, 1931 -  November 6, 1990)

A bruising, hard-hitting defenceman, Armstrong anchored the Boston blueline for every one of his 542 career NHL games after graduating from Stratford in junior hockey. He never rushed the puck, got into plenty of fights, and made it to the Stanley Cup finals twice, losing to Montreal in 1953 and again in 1957.
He played junior in Stratford in the late 1940s until breaking in with the Bruins in 1950-51. The following year was entirely with the farm team in Hershey until the playoffs when he was called up as a stopgap measure and played in five games. Amrstrong spent most on the next dozen years in the NHL.
In 1961-62, he started the season, as usual, in Boston, but was demoted after nine games. Two years later, he retired.
In 1963, he accepted the position of Athletic Director, Teacher, and Coach of the Senior Boys’ Hockey Team at Lakefield College School. His tenure with LCS lasted 26 years. During that time, he coached three hockey teams to the Independent Schools League title.

Signed in black marker in the same upward slant on all cards, consistent with the facsimile auto on the 54/55 Topps.

Here's the letter I sent to him (1984) requesting his autograph and a personlized note at the bottom. After reading the newspaper article, it meant going to the library, getting a phone book for Lakefield (near Peterborough) and finding the college's address. Back in  the day, I didn't know about SASE or any request etiquette. I did receive back a lot of little notes and return envelopes with business or team logos. Makes for  pretty colourful collection. I don't ever recall not getting a reply. Some took longer than others (years) but I did receive something back. Well, time to start the streak again.

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