Tuesday, August 23, 2016

100 Year Old Hockey Cartoons; Lou Skuce

Dec 2, 1916

I recently found these terrific old cartoons on google news archives. They're from the Toronto World Newspaper, by a cartoonist named Lou Skuce. Born in Ottawa in 1886, Skuce began cartooning professionally in the early 1910s eventually becoming the Art Editor and Editorial Cartoonist for the World.
The first three cartoons illustrate the start of the National Hockey Association season in both 1915 and 1916. The "Livvy" in the third one refers to Eddie Livingstone the owner/manager of the local Toronto Blueshirts.

Dec 11, 1916
Dec 19, 1915 
The next is a great depiction of one of the toughest players of the day, George McNamara who would suit up in 1916/17 with the 228th Battalion squad of Toronto. At 6'1" and 220 lbs, he was one of the biggest players of the era and would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1958. In 1915/16 with the Blueshirts McNamara racked up 74 Pims in 23 games while playing a bruising defence.
Dec 6, 1916
Lou Skuce went on to illustrate many program cover for the Toronto Maple Leafs including the one below from my collection for a game at Mutual Street Arena in 1930.

Skuce also illustrated the cover for the very first game at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931 as well as the beauty below it.
Another of Skuce's hockey related projects was the Maple Leaf coasters for the O'Keefe Beverage Company in 1932. Below is his Andy Blair coaster (sadly, not in my collection).
O'Keefe Beverage Coaster, 1932
In addition to his newspaper and illustrative work, Skuce would entertain audiences of the day with live drawings as part of a stage production "with the aid of slides, lantern, screen and his facile pencil". I can't even imagine this as a form of entertainment, but this WAS 1916. He would continue producing advertisements, stage shows and murals right up to his death in 1951.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

1965 Vancouver Canucks Signed Program

Here's a Western Hockey League, Vancouver Canucks game program from the 1964/64 season. Longtime Canuck, Phil Maloney is the photo on the cover in addition to some nice old autographs from players in the game against the Los Angeles Blades. Maloney was in the midst of an 81 point campaign for Vancouver after leading the team with 90 the year previous. He had tallied 15 goals and 46 points as a 22 year old NHL rookie with Boston Bruins in 1949/50. Maloney would play a total of 158 NHL games, producing 71 points. He had previously led the Western League in points with 95 in 1955/56.
This program is from March 14, 1965 a game Vancouver won 4-2.
Lloyd Haddon, Los Angeles Blades
Defensemen, Lloyd Haddon was winding down his professional career in 1964/65 and put up 35 points from the blue line after seasons with L.A. of 51 and 49 points. He had an eight game stint with Detroit Red Wings in 1959/60.
Harley Hodgson, Los Angeles Blades

Hodgson was a stay-at-home defenceman who had 13 points this season. He is also the grandfather of current NHLer Cody Hodgson...well, no, he's not but I had to add something interesting about him.
Warren Hynes, Los Angeles

I'm pretty sure this signature is from Warren Hynes, a Right Winger for L.A. who would score 52 points this season. Hynes once led the International League in goals (39 in 55/56) and points (95 in 57/58). He never got a sniff in the NHL.

Bill Burega, Vancouver Canucks
I wrote about "Booger" here http://nitzyshockeyden.blogspot.ca/2014/09/maple-leaf-cup-of-coffee-bill-burega.html who was at one point thought to be a successor to Bill Barilko on the Maple Leaf blueline.
Bill McNeill, Vancouver Canucks
Billy McNeill would be the top scorer on the Canucks in 1964/65 with 88 points. He was a veteran  of 257 NHL games, all with Detroit Red Wings. In February 1960, it was McNeill along with Red Kelly, who threatened to retire rather than be traded to New York Rangers. The Red Wings had no choice but to cancel the trade and Kelly was soon traded to Toronto. McNeill was named a 1st Team All-Star in the Western League in both 64/65 and 65/66 when he tallied 102 points.
Les Hunt, Vancouver Canucks
Les Hunt was a defender for who notched 32 points from the back-end in 64/65. He would be selected in the 1967 Expansion Draft by Pittsburgh but never got a crack at the NHL.
Howie Young, Los Angeles Blades
Howie Young was a hard-nosed defender who led four different leagues in Penalties In Minutes throughout his career. 1964/65 was no exception as he topped the WHL with 227 PIM while notching 30 points. He had posted 273 minutes with Detroit to lead the NHL in 1962/63, smashing the league record of Lou Fontinato by 71 minutes. Young was an original NHL Vancouver Canuck suiting up for 11 games in 1970/71. Amazingly, he made a comeback after five years of retirement at age 48. He played 7 games for the New York Slapshots of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League and then 4 more with the Flint Spirits of the IHL. He of course accumulated 20 PIM in those 11 games.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

More 1980s Gretzky Posters

Last week I posted a fantastic early 1980s Wayne Gretzky poster. Here a few more that I had as a kid, and have re-purchased as an adult. The top one is a 7-Up ad from 1981. The soda company surrounded The Kid with fellow NHL "stars" Morris Lukowich and Richard Sevigny...good choices. In fairness, Lukowich was the pre-Hawerchuk star of the original Jets, leading the team in goals in their first two NHL campaigns with 33 and 35. The season this poster was released, Lukowich posted his career best numbers of 43 goals, 92 points. Hawerchuk certainly helped with those.
In 1981, Richard Sevigny was coming off a season in which he shared the Vezina Trophy with teammates Dennis Herron and Bunny Larocque (this was the last year the Vezina was simply awarded to the team with the lowest goals allowed). He would never match his 2.40 GAA from that season and was lit up by Gretzky's Oilers in those '81 playoffs as Edmonton swept Montreal in three games.
7-Up included other sports on this one as well. There is no jersey number visible, but the Montreal Expo is definitely Gary Carter. He's shown tagging out a no-name Cincinnati Red at the plate. I'll guess that the Vancouver Whitecap shown is their current team president Bobby Lenarduzzi, but I'm not interested enough to look it up. The two CFLers from Winnipeg and Edmonton shown at the bottom...does it really matter?
7-Up went back to the Great One in 1982 but this time he was by himself. This one is a classic that every eleven year old boy in Canada had hanging on his bedroom wall.

This, slightly more artsy poster I believe also came out in the early 1980s. I don't know too much about it, as I picked it up in a souvenir shop in Vancouver in the late 90s for a dollar. I do like the faux-North Stars-esque team he's playing in the upper part of the image. Pseudo Gilles Meloche is about to be schooled by a Gretzky wrap-around.
Neilson candy company issued a 50 card Gretzky set in 1982 with their Cookie Bars. This was a poster that was available as a premium that obviously did to have the NHL licensing rights. I'm surprised however that they obtained the rights to use Farrah Fawcett's hair.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Leafs vs Red Wings in Vancouver 1934, Newspaper Clips

April 20, 1934
A few years back I wrote about a 1934 tour through Western Canada by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. In fact it was my first of many articles published in the Society for International Hockey Research Journal. http://nitzyshockeyden.blogspot.ca/2008/09/1934-leafs-wings-western-tour.html 
I was able to research the tour with an entire month's worth of original Vancouver Province newspapers that I found at a garage sale, posted here are a few additional scans of some great images from the April 1934 Province.
The image at the top is an ad for an autograph signing by King Clancy and Hap Day at the Vancouver Hudson's Bay department store, for "Friends and Admirers". 
The next image is a cartoon commenting on the apparently poor ice-conditions at the Denman Street Arena.
April 23, 1934
Next, a photo of Dick Irvin, Conn Smyth and Jack Adams being shown the town at a rooftop luncheon put on by the organizers of the tour.
April 24, 1934
Front page pic of Clancy and Charlie Conacher promoting the first game of the series in Vancouver.
April 21, 1934
Another autograph session, this time with Red Horner and Herb Lewis at the local Spencer's. They will be signing "albums or anything you want." 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

1981 Gretzky Shoppers Drug Mart Poster

Check out this beauty. I found a bunch of old posters I had tucked away and figured I'd start posting them. This first one is from 1981 and issued through Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. It was put out in conjunction with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association with technical info provided by George Kingston of the University of Calgary. Kingston would go on to be the first ever coach of the San Jose Sharks and in 1994 coached Canada to its first World Championship since 1961. The title of the poster is "Improve Your Hockey Skills; Skating" and shows diagrams of The Great One demonstrating various hockey skills. There were at least two other posters put out at this time, "Shooting" featuring Mike Bossy and "Checking" with Bob Gainey. 
Enjoy below the fantastic drawings of Gretzky in a Jofa helmet that he never actually wore, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about skating, I sure did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

1978 Goalie Mask Book

Here's a great book I picked up for the Den. This large, thick-stock book published in 1978 is titled "Hockey Masks and The Great Goalies Who Wear Them". It's filled with paintings of goalie masks of the era by Michael M. Cutler. I recall going on a class trip in the late 1970s or early 1980s to the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario and there being an exhibition of actual goalie masks. I'm not sure if this book was published in conjunction with that or not, but it is certainly along the same lines. 
The cover of the book is of course the mask of Hall of Famer Ken Dryden. In 1978, Dryden was in the midst of his final NHL campaign. He would lead the Canadiens to his sixth and last Stanley Cup in the spring of 1979.
Above is Vancouver's Curt Ridley mask included in the book. 1977/78 saw Ridley play a career high 40 games for the Canucks posting a 4.06 GAA. He would actually spend the entire next season with Dallas in the Central League. After the book came out, he played only 16 more NHL games, finishing with Toronto in 1980/81.
Next is Dan Bouchard of Atlanta Flames who in 78/79 led the NHL with 32 wins while posting a 3.33 GAA. He represented Canada in the 1978 World Championships going 2-4 allowing 4.19 goals per game. This particular mask was made by Bouchard himself with the design done by his 13-year old neighbour
By the time this book was released, Gilles Gratton was pretty much out of hockey. He had played 41 games for New York Rangers in 76/77 after starring in the WHA for three seasons. He played one game in 77/78 with New Haven of the AHL, allowing six goals before retiring for good.
The above mask of Washington Capital, Ron Low was a nod to the 1976 American Bicentennial. By the time the book came out, he was a Detroit Red Wing. 
The iconic mask of Gerry Cheevers is next. In 1978, Cheevers was winding down his Hall of Fame career. His final NHL numbers were 230-102-74 and a 2.89 GAA with two Cups. His four WHA seasons produced a 99-78-9 record and 3.12 GAA.
Lastly is one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time, another Hall of Famer, Vladislav Tretiak.
Over his last three seasons of his career with Moscow Red Army, he went a ridiculous 81-7-4 with a 1.67 GAA. Oh yeah, he also won three Olympic Golds and helped the Soviets win ten World Championships.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sergei Makarov, Well-deserved Hall of Famer

Sergei Makarov was overdue to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. His longtime teammates, Igor Larionov and Slava Fetisov were elected in 2008 and 2001 respectively. There is no reason Makarov should have waited so long. As dominance in his league went, he was the Wayne Gretzky of the Russian League in the 1980s.

Makarov was a 1st-Team All-Star in Russia for eight consecutive years starting in 1981. He was top scorer in the league for nine of ten years beginning in 1979/80. The only year he didn't lead in points he missed 16 games and still produced 42 points in 30 games. It's not just the fact that Makarov was the top scorer either, it's the margins by which he finished ahead of the second place man. See below his percentage of points he was ahead of second place:

79/80 11.5%
80/81 29.5%
81/82  5.6%
83/84 28.1%
84/85 22.6%
85/86 19.2%
86/87  6.0%
87/88 17.7%
88/89 31.7%

Over his nine seasons as top-scorer he led by an average of 19.1% over the next best player. That is the equivalent over an 80 game season of scoring 119 points to lead when second place has 100 points. Dominance indeed.
If we were to look at only Makarov's international numbers, his Hall of Fame credentials grow even larger. In Canada Cup, Challenge Cup, Olympics, Rendezvous 87, Super Series and World Championship play, Makarov played a total of 168 games. In these matches he produced 93 goals, 112 assists and 205 points. He was named to a World Championships All-Star team on eight occasions.
Simply, Sergei Makarov was a Hall of Famer before he even played a game in the NHL.

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