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Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31

Mr Hockey

What else is there to say about the man.
For multiple generations, Gordie Howe is not only Mr. Hockey, he is hockey.
Today is his 83rd birthday.

Over a period of 32 years (combining NHL and WHA totals) Gordie Howe scored 1071 goals 1518 assists and 2589 points. Only Wayne Gretzky's career totals are better. Howe was a gifted power forward, an accomplished defensive player, a feared giant and the only player to have dominated three different eras - postwar NHL, the Golden Era of the 1960s and the Expansion Era.
Now, in the later years of his life, Gordie Howe has gone fishin'.
"Back in February," Mark says, "Marty had him down in Florida for a three-day fishing trip. They had a couple of sails [sailfish] on and were trying for tarpon but didn't raise any."
And in a few months, when things get quieter in the off-season for Mark, Gordie will move in with him in Jackson, N.J., just north of Atlantic City, and will live the life of a Hemingway novel. He will be the old man and the sea.
"I've got a 43-footer, and we'll live on the boat a lot," Mark says. "The shore house is only a couple of blocks away, but we'll stay on the boat and do our own clamming. And when the weather is nice, we'll be out 70 miles offshore, looking for 60- or 70-pound tuna. He loves fishing. We'll be out there noon to noon the next day, or more, and he'll sleep a little, but he'll carry his own weight. It's a tough trip, taxing on me, but he'll do fine."
That probably explains the following from t he site.

At this time, we are not able to accommodate any autograph personalization requests. Mr. Howe is spending more time on the road with family and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to have items personalized and sent out in a reasonable time period. All of these items featured on the website have already been pre-signed by Mr. Howe so there is no need for him to be in town. Thank you for your understanding and we hope you find something you will enjoy!

This is a 1992-93 NHL Upper Deck Gordie Howe 65th Birthday Celebration Tour Limited Edition Commemorative Sheet  The commemorative sheet measures approx. 8.5" x 11" The sheet is #18172 of 25,000 pieces. These were available at McDonalds during February 93. They pictured the Howe Hockey Heroes insert set from that years Upper Deck hockey cards.


This is one of the Prudential collection, "Great Moments in Canadian Sport" a multi-sports release showing, as the title suggests,  different moments in Canadian sports. This shows Gordie after breaking Rocket Richards career goal mark of 544.
Personalised in black sharpie marker. Received in person at Gretzky Tennis Classic many years ago. One of the unique autographed items in my collection. I will share more autographs from this and other events in future posts.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30

Doug Wickenheiser

March 30, 1961 – January 12, 1999

Doug Wickenheiser had survived almost 600 NHL battles, but on January 12, 1999 he lost the biggest battle of his life. The man affectionately known as Wick died of a rare form of cancer in his lungs. He was only 37 years old, leaving behind a wife and three young daughters.

It's hard to believe that it has been that long since the passing of Doug. Seems like it just happened but 12 years--wow.
He was selected first overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. He will always be included in the argument over whether you should select a big man over a smaller one when both have the same skills. Most Montreal fans wanted Denis Savard who was selected third by Chicago. He played junior in Montreal so he was the hometown favourite (and would eventually play for Montreal). Now I personally would select the big man when all things are equal. But I guess there are intangibles and thats what makes scouting an inexact science.

TTM blue ink signatures
The Blues set up the Wick 14 Fund (Wickenheiser wore #14 in St. Louis) just prior to his passing in 1998. It has been since renamed the  St. Louis Blues 14 Fund.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29

Richard Kromm

Another in the continuing birthday posts
Selected in second round
37th overall by Calgary Flames 82 Entry Draft

Richard Kromm played 372 NHL games with Calgary and the New York Islanders in the 1980s and '90s. The son of former player and coach Bobby Kromm, he switched from an offensive to checking role to prolong his career in the league. Played his first NHL game in a Calgary Flames uniform (1 assist) and played his last NHL game against Calgary Flames (only game of the 92/93 season--1 goal, 2 assists)

84/85 OPC # 277 RC signed in blue ink --IP auto

Photo of me and Rich--notice I am holding the card that he had just signed

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28

Dick Cherry

Today's Birthday
"People are forever coming up and asking me, 'Hey, aren't you Don's brother?' " explained Dick. "I've been called 'Don's brother' so often in recent years that I sometimes think my initials are D.B. While Dick lives in the very big shadow of his brother, he was actually a better player - 149 times better if you compare NHL games played totals. Don only appeared in one NHL game in his long minor league career. Dick too played mostly in the minors, but appeared in 149 NHL  games - 8 with Boston and 141 with Philadelphia.

He retired twice only to return when the NHL beckoned. Dick returned to teaching full time and later became a principal. This was when I sent my autograph request. His RC 69/70 OPC # 173
 I still have the envelope somewhere.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 27

Bryan Campbell

Bryan Campbell 69/70-71/72 Blackhawks, not Brian Campbell of the Blackhawks 08/09-present. I remember him playing for the Hamilton Red Wings Junior A when I was a kid. A previous autograph request to Rosaire Paiement informed me that Bryan Campbell was the owner of "Pickles" and could be reached there. I went to the library, got phone book and found address. Wrote to him and received my cards back signed in ink along with business card.

The streak continues.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26

Allan Bester

Diminutive netminder Allan Bester spent parts of eleven years in the NHL. He made up for his lack of size with quick reflexes and self-assured attitude between the pipes. Born this day 1964 in my hometown of Hamilton. I worked with a fellow who played minor hockey with both Allan and Dave Andreychuk. I guess thats one of my six degrees of separation with NHL players. He also played for the Brantford Alexanders in the early 80's when I was living there my first time.

His 84/85 OPC #297 RC is also an UER card. (besides the spelling of his first name). I don't know if this was ever documented anywhere. I will reveal in a later post what it is. (unless somebody comments with the correct answer). I obtained these signatures in person at two different times. I also have two other signed cards that I will try and find and post later. Thats ll for today folks.

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25

Dwight Schofield

In hockey there are certain players who are regarded as "specialists," such as the stay-at-home defenceman, the set-up man or the tough guy. Dwight Schofield was the tough guy. His reputation as a fighter with the Washington Capitals earned him the nickname "Schonan the Barbarian."

GP  211  G 8  A 22  TP 30  PIM  631. That about tells the Ballad of Dwight.

Received TTM blue ink signed card. His RC. His first card. His only card. Too bad he played before the hockey card explosion. He probably would have been
a fan favourite with multiple cards.
This continues my streak of having at least one autographed item for each day of the year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24

Doug Jarvis

Today we visit with hometown boy (Brantford, On) Doug Jarvis. Another Washington Capital.

Hockey’s reigning iron man, Doug Jarvis broke into the NHL on opening night of the 1975-76 season and remained in his team’s lineup for the next 964 consecutive games, a record that may never be broken.
In 560 regular season games with Montreal, Jarvis scored 91 goals and assisted on 154 others while accruing only 151 penalty minutes. He also picked up 31 points in 72 playoff games.
Traded to Washington, Jarvis played three and a half years with the Capitals, suiting up for every game with the team. In 1984, he was awarded the Frank Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward, and finished his career with the Hartford Whalers as the 1988 recipient of the Bill Masterton Trophy.
Jarvis set the NHL Iron Man standard by playing in 964 consecutive regular-season games from Oct. 8, 1975, to Oct. 10, 1987. He played in every game for 12 straight seasons, plus two games to start the 1987-88 season. The streak ended on Oct. 11, 1987, when Hartford coach Jack Evans chose to scratch Jarvis for a game in Boston. Oddly, Jarvis would never play in the NHL again. He became a permanent scratch and just before Christmas he was demoted to the minor leagues. He finished his career playing 24 games with Binghamton of the AHL.

My brother was attending a wedding that Doug was going to be at. I had him get some cards signed (the ones in blue ink with two personalised).

Later sent him some other cards plus newspaper clipping marking him passing Garry Unger as the "Iron Man". The cards signed in black plus the newspaper clippings and also sent a team issued postcard. I'm starting to wonder if I have autographed items from some player for every day of the year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23 birthday

Bengt Gustafsson

He would score 196 goals, and 555 points in 629 career NHL  games, all with the Washington Capitals. He did play in two playoff games with the Edmonton Oilers in the WHA.
Scored 5 goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers  7-1 on January 8, 1984.

Inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2003.

First coach in history to win the Olympics and the IIHF World Championship in the same year (2006).

Received through the mail signed in blue pen during the 80's.

He also included this team issued post card(appears to be from 87/88 season)

This was signed with a thin black marker. Another autograph from a hall of famer, albeit the international one. He was one of those players that was good but not spectacular. Don't remember much about him. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22 birthday

Warren Skorodenski
Here's what he had to say about his first skull mask.

"Skull design was mine and Norm Guziak's idea, after a night of drinking home brew after ball practice. Norm airbrushed it in the 70's."
Today's edition features former Blackhawk and Oiler Warren Skorodenski.  His only licensed cards were his rookie card (OPC 85/86 #255 and OPC 85/86 #264 save percentage leader). His NHL totals  GP 35  W 12 L 11 T 4  SO 2  GAA  3.47  MIN 1731

He was suspended for twenty games for shoving referee Dave Lynch while playing for the Sherbrooke Jets of the American Hockey League, November 29, 1983. The incident occurred in a game November 20 against the New Haven Nighthawks. According to AHL vice-president Gordon Anziano: "The incident occurred after an overtime goal against Skorodenski that came during a power play resulting from a tripping penalty against the goalie. After the goal, Skorodenski threw his stick into the stands, went from his net toward Lynch at center ice, and skated into him. Skorodenski then grabbed Lynch by the sweater and threw him into the glass, which he happened to be next to." 

Compare this to the Matt Cooke suspension which could be from 14-17 games. I guess refs need more protection than your fellow players.

Blue sharpie auto received through the mail in the late 80's.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Vernal Equinox Birthday (March 21st)

Another segment in my birthday posting. Previous post was for my middle daughters birthday on St Patricks Day. Now the youngest on this day. In your birth year, it was the first day of spring but not this year. Not really spring equinox but close.
So a couple of years ago, the company where she was working had a function at the HHOF. Afterwards, she informed me that she had her picture taken with a Leaf oldtimer. Someone told her it was Ron Ellis. Since he works for the HHOF, it seemed feasible that it was him. So she shows me the picture and I think Ron Ellis doesn't look the same. He looks a lot like Bobby Baun.
Yep, that's him. The man who scored an overtime game winning goal in game six of the 63/64 Stanley Cup final.

Now this is Ron Ellis. Played his entire 1034 regular seaon games and 70 playoff games all with the Leafs. Took a photo of him signing at an event and brought it with me the next year to get signed.

Since she didn't get me any autographs, it's a good thing I already had both of them in my collection. As you can tell, these cards are not in the best of shape. I bought a lot of off condition cards to get signed so my good cards were still unblemished.

Again, condition was not important but the experience was. A future post will detail the event I attended to get these signed.

Oh yes, Happy Birthday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day Birthday

Today, a departure from the norm. Today we are celebrating the 30th birthday of my middle daughter. She is also the mother of my two granddaughters. It's too bad she is a Canucks (Pavel "The Russian Rocket"Bure ) fan. With three daughters and two granddaughters, there's no one to take over my collection. Have to think about that one. Once again, Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TTM surprise

Yesterday I received a TTM surprise. Number 1, it was through internal mail system. I had picked up some McFarlane figures for a fellow I worked with but now in another department (and in another city although still in the GTA). Number 2, since I wasn't expecting anything, I didn't know what it was. A large brown flat envelope.

That's right. A 8x10 b/w signed photo of Harry Watson. (May 6, 1923 – November 19, 2002)
Through his 14 years in the NHL, Watson played 809 games, scoring 236 goals and 207 assists for 443 points. He won five Stanley Cup cups 1943 with Detroit, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951 with Toronto. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1994 in the veterans category.

I remember my friend telling me he got some signed photos of Mr. Watson back in the day. He had a multi player photo he was trying to get signed by all. I love these kind of surprises. Makes the day somehow sunnier.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's birthday boy

Václav Nedomanský (born March 14, 1944 ) in Hodonin, but throughout his entire Czech career he was in some way tied to Slovan Bratislava, a team where he spent 12 seasons. He played in two Olympics and on 10 World Championship teams, including the one that won the title in 1972. 
Nedomansky defected in 1974 to Toronto via Switzerland and for three years  played for the Toronto Toros and later for the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA. 'Big Ned', got the Paul Deneau Trophy in 1976 for most gentlemanly player and followed it up with another career move. He signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings,also playing for the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues , then called it quits at the age of 39.

Here are six of his cards signed in blue ink. I think I sent them to his agent at the time. Don't remember who or when but nice reply. Now I never noticed until now, but his is one of the cards in the set that does not have a facsimile autograph on the front. (74/75 OPC WHA #49--top right in scan)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12th birthdate

Today's member is Allan Roy Edwards (March 12, 1937 – August 16, 1999)
Edwards played for ten teams in six pro leagues over a 17-year span, including the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. He broke in with the Red Wings as a 30-year-old rookie in 1967-68 and won 68 games in his first four seasons before fracturing his skull during a 1971 game. He was named the Wings' MVP in 1969-70, beating out the legendary Gordie Howe. Edwards had planned on retiring after the 1970-71 season but was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He attended training camp and was the team's best goalie, but he opted to retire due to the after-effects of his head injury. Nonetheless, he got restless not playing and rejoined the Penguins partway through the season before promptly retiring again after just 15 games. The Red Wings reacquired Edward's rights before the 1972-73 season and he came out of retirement to post a league high six shutouts playing in 52 games for Detroit. He would retire for good at the age of 36 after dressing for four games in 1973-74.
When I did TTM autos in the 80's, I asked if they had any picture postcards or business cards. A lot of them did and sent back.

Here is an unsigned business card of Roy. From the faint postmark, it appears to be from 1987. Postage was $0.34 and the stamp is affixed upside down. It's these unique items I love having in my collection. How many of these do you think still exist? Maybe its a 1/1.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Brantford Hockeyfest June 3-5

Hockeyfest will get $400,000 from Celebrate Ontario to put on its two-day rock and country extravaganza during the fifth annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament.

This is the one that director Kevin Smith loves

Now comes the part that piqued my interest. With the additional funds, they are thinking of creating a Hockeyfest Village, with interactive displays, trophies from the Hockey Hall of Fame and AUTOGRAPH SIGNINGS WITH 30 TO 40 NHL'ERs.  Can't wait for the details on this but this would be FANtastic.
At the moment, the music part of the festival shapes up like this.



JUNE 4, 2011


More to come.

Check out their site for more info.

I'm getting excited about this.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rewind March 8 2004

I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion again on the Moore-Bertuzzi incident.

To refresh your memory, a blow by blow account of the game leading up to the incident.

On Feb. 16, Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore made headlines when he knocked Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund unconscious with an open-ice shoulder hit to the head at the Pepsi Center. No penalty was called and no action taken by the NHL in the days that followed.

After the game, Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi called the officiating a joke, while teammate Brad May indicated a bounty had been placed on the 25-year-old Moore, a rookie NHLer.

Sixteen days later, the teams skated to a 5-5 tie in Colorado. The lone incident was a fight between the Avs' Peter Worrell and Vancouver's Wade Brookbank. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and executive vice-president Colin Campbell attended the game.

As the teams prepared for a March 8 contest in Vancouver, all that seemed to matter was a battle for first place in the Northwest Division. Here is rundown of events in that game leading up to Bertuzzi's attack on Moore:

First Period
6:33 – Canucks' Brad May and Avalanche's Peter Worrell fight.

6:36 – Vancouver's Matt Cooke fights Colorado's Steve Moore.

6:54 – Milan Hejduk scores to give Colorado 1-0 lead.

10:08 – Vancouver forward Todd Bertuzzi penalized for interference.

15:09 – Colorado's Joe Sakic scores unassisted to make it 3-0.

15:31 – Canucks coach Marc Crawford pulls goaltender Dan Cloutier after Darby Hendrickson increases the Colorado advantage to 4-0.

17:42 – With Colorado up 5-0, Vancouver's Jarkko Ruutu and Avs' Rob Blake serve five minutes each for fighting.

18:03 – Worrell and May fight for the second time.

First Intermission
NHL executive vice-president Colin Campbell and director of officiating Andy van Hellemond placed a phone call to referees Dennis LaRue and Stephen Walkom in the officials' room to discuss the potential for additional fights or other events during the lopsided game.

Second Period
7:24 – May scores to cut Colorado lead to 5-1. Trevor Linden breaks the Canucks' all-time record with his 674th assist, surpassing Stan Smyl.

8:16 – May notches second goal to make it a three-goal game. He than talks his way into a 10-minute misconduct penalty by taunting Colorado goalie David Aebischer.

10:51 – Cooke penalized two minutes for goaltender interference.

12:33 – Avs forward Steve Konowalchuk serves two minutes for high-sticking a Canucks player.

Third Period
1:09 – Paul Kariya extends Colorado lead to 7-2 with an unassisted goal.

2:20 – May sent to penalty box for roughing.

5:19 – Canucks' Wade Brookbank penalized for roughing.

8:41 – With the Avalanche leading 8-2, Bertuzzi attacks Moore, delivering a roundhouse sucker-punch that knocks Moore to the ice. Bertuzzi helps drive Moore face-first into the ice, resulting in a pile-on of players.

Seconds before the attack, Bertuzzi chases Moore from one end of the ice to the other, with the latter turning his back on an apparent challenge from Bertuzzi. He then grabs the back of Moore's jersey as the pair skates toward centre ice.

The crowd at General Motors Place initially reacts with scattered cheers, but the building turns silent as it becomes apparent Moore is seriously injured.

Bertuzzi is given a match penalty for attempt to injure, ending his night. May is assessed five-minute major for fighting Avs' Kurt Sauer, a 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct. Sauer is also handed 10-minute major and game misconduct. Colorado coach Tony Granato yells at Crawford and has to be restrained at the Avs' bench.

After a 10-minute delay, Moore is strapped to a stretcher and taken to a Vancouver hospital.

11:59 – Hejduk completes scoring with a hat-trick goal to make it 9-2 Avalanche.

17:24 – Worrell ejected for spearing Brookbank. He's given two-minute penalty, along with two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct.

17:24 – Brookbank is assessed two-minute penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.

17:24 – Vancouver fans pelt Worrell with debris as he leaves ice.

20:00 - Fights break out in the crowd after final buzzer.

Seven years have passed since Colorado Avalanche Steve Moore was dealt a career-ending sucker-punch by Todd Bertuzzi that ultimately resulted in three broken vertebrae and a concussion after the hulking Canucks winger fell on top of Moore. The Ontario courts have yet to hear Moore's $20-million lawsuit launched against Bertuzzi and Orca Bay Ltd., the company that then owned the Canucks, Bertuzzi's former team. Bertuzzi, in turn, is countersuing his former coach, Marc Crawford, alleging that he was encouraged to hit. A date for the litigation is expected to be set by a Toronto court next month.

For Moore, the hit on March 8, 2004 meant never playing in the NHL again. For Bertuzzi, it meant a suspension that lasted the rest of the season -including playoffs. Moore, a Harvard graduate, continues to go to rehabilitation and still lives in Thornhill, Ont. Bertuzzi is a forward with the Detroit Red Wings.

I wonder how this will play out now that we have more information on head injuries.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Flying Fathers

The Flying Fathers were a group of hockey playing Roman Catholic priests who  played against local teams to raise money for different charities. One such event I attended was the Flying Fathers versus the Maple Leaf Oldtimers. This was March 18th, 1984 at Maple Leaf Gardens.This was in support of the Charlie Conacher Cancer Research Fund. If you don't know anything about Charlie, good read below.

 They brought a Harlem Globetrotter type of entertainment to the game.

Program from the event autographed in blue ballpoint pen by Fathers Jack Costello and Vaughan Quinn.

Roster page inside program. Now just think, these guys were playing for the Leaf Oldtimers 27 years ago. I don't remember the score or too much about the game. I now I must have gotten some cards autographed but again, details are sketchy. I do have in my collection autographs from all the Leafs listed here except Armstrong and Edwards. (even Bobby Orr, listed as a linesman) . Good cause, fun hockey and autographs=Good times.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lord Stanley has never seen a hockey game

As playoff time approaches, I thought this story might amaze or even amuse you.

The current Lord Stanley is a 12-year-old boy who has never seen a hockey game, plays rugby and prefers his hockey on a field.

Lord Stanley, who donated the Holy Grail, never saw a Stanley Cup championship game, nor did he ever present the Cup
[Lord Stanley]

Sounds like it runs in the family.