Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1965/66 Victoria Maple Leafs, Team Photos

 
I picked up these vintage photos recently. They're glossy, about 5"x7" and most of them are autographed by the old Western Hockey League Victoria Maple Leafs. The team-issued pics are from the 1965/66 season when they finished in 2nd place with 84 points in 72 games. Victoria went on to win the WHL's President Cup over the Portland Buckaroos.
 
Victoria was the middle team in the Maple Leafs farm-system along with the Tulsa Oilers and the Rochester Americans.
Steve Witiuk had played 33 games for Chicago Blackhawks in 51/52 and totalled 1228 games and 950 points in his WHL career. Sandy Hucul was one of the all-time great minor league defencemen notching 502 points in 1256 WHL games.
 

 Defenceman, Claude Labrosse totalled 988 games in the minors. Larry Keenan had played two games with Toronto in 61/62 and would be selected in the expansion draft by St.Louis in 1967.

 Bill Shvetz's minor league career totalled 1095 games, 497 points and 2123 penalty minutes. John Sleaver had played 13 games with Chicago in the mid 1950's and had 63 points in 65/66 with Victoria.
 Gord Redahl potted 23 goals for Victoria in 65/66 and was a veteran of 18 games with Boston in 1958/59. Dick Lamoureux would play 1055 WHL games scoring 215 goals and 533 points.
 
 Mike Labadie was another of the "cup-of-coffee" NHL vets, playing 3 games with the Rangers in 52/53. He totalled 1080 games and 874 points in the high minors. Bob Barlow led Victoria with 43 goals in 65/66 and his minor league career totalled 1388 games, 552 goals and 1164 points. He would go on to score 16 goals for the Minnesota North Stars in 1969/70.
Aut Erickson was a regular defender with Boston in the late '50's and would go on to play one playoff game during the Stanley Cup championship run in Toronto in 1967.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leaf's 1964 Record Album, Let's Talk Hockey

 I picked up this beauty recently, a full LP record album from 1964 featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs. I haven't tried playing it, but it looks to be in fine shape. The record came with a cool insert booklet outlining all the lessons learned. Some cool shots of old Leaf greats.
 Leafs were coming off their third consecutive Stanley Cup victory, so people did indeed want to know a few of their training secrets. However, this album could have just as easily been titled, "How to Win One More Cup in the Next 50 Years". Ouch, a self-zinger.


 Johnny Bower showing how to play your angles and displaying his famous poke-check.
 Tim Horton giving Dave Keon his attention as well as showing the "old-fashion" way to block a shot. No laying down on the ice back in the '60's, they'd rather take a puck to the face.


Andy Bathgate demonstrating the all important art of "stick-gripping". This one must have been for the introductory level hockey player.


Friday, October 19, 2012

J.C. Lipon, CHL Scoring Leader on a tear

J.C. Lipon is on a fair bit of a roll. Back-to-back player of the week awards in the Western Hockey League will attest to that. In the month of October, Lipon has ripped off 11 goals and 11 assists in only 7 games for the undefeated Kamloops Blazers.

Overall Lipon has 27 points in 11 games, 4 points ahead of his linemate Colin Smith. Pretty heady stuff for a guy who went undrafted in the WHL Bantam Draft and was passed over in the last two NHL drafts. Who could really blame the scouts? In each of his first two WHL seasons, Lipon scored only 3 goals before breaking out for 19 last season. The smallish (6ft, 181lbs) Lipon also had 65 points in 69 last year, but who saw this year's outburst coming?

Perhaps the Colorado Avalanche saw this coming. Prior to the lockout, Lipon was invited to the Av's training camp along with Smith who was drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 draft. Of course the lockout put an end to that. If he continues at anything close to his current pace it would assume that J.C.Lipon will be receiving much more attention from professional squads.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NHL Lockout, Let's watch Slap Shot!

In lieu of showing NHL hockey, TSN in Canada is showing the movie Slap Shot this evening. I for one think it's a great idea although, if you don't own your own copy of the movie you're not a real hockey fan. There is however something about the "collective experience" of watching a broadcast of a movie. So, in honour of this and the fact that the movie is celebrating it's 35th anniversary this year, we look at what happened to the characters of Slap Shot, post 1977.

Reg Dunlop
Player/coach Dunlop did indeed take the same job in with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA. Unfortunately for Reg, the team ceased operations before he could even unpack his moving truck. He would however sign with the Indianapolis Racers and ended up playing Right Wing with a 17 year-old Wayne Gretzky for 8 games in 1978 before that franchise folded a month later. Dunlop would then move to suburban New York City where he invested in his ex-wife Francine's beauty salon. This venture also failed by the mid 80's and Dunlop returned to his childhood home outside Des Moines, Iowa where he grew Soya Beans until his death in 2008.

Dave, Steve and Jeff Hanson
The trio graduated from the Federal League to the WHA in 1977/78 when they joined the Quebec Nordiques. Upon joining the NHL two years later when the leagues merged, the brothers enjoyed great success for many years as the Nords became the only team in hockey history with TWO full forward lines of brothers. They also famously endorsed Fanta Grape and Orange Sodas in a series of popular commercials which they continue to this day.

Ned Braden
Braden returned to his alma mater of Princeton where he coached the hockey team to three national titles. He now lives in upstate New Hampshire.

Joe McGrath
Returned to his roots after the Chiefs folded and became coach of the International League's Omaha Knights (where he had coached in 1948). McGrath finally retired from hockey in 1979 and became a successful fashion show promoter until his death a year later.

Denis Lemieux
Lemieux would join the NHL's Montreal Canadiens in 1978 and shared in the Vezina Trophy in 1981 along with Dennis Herron, Rick Walmsley and Bunny Larocque with each goalie playing exactly 20 games. He retired from hockey in 1988 and  is now an certified allergist. He runs a thriving allergy clinic in his hometown of Thetford Mines, Quebec.

Morris Wanchuk
"Mo" signed as a free-agent with the Southern Hockey League Pensacola Manatees. Played here until 1986 when he took over as coach. He retired in 1995 and currently lives in a retirement community in a southern state.

Jean-Guy Drouin
Joined the Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the AHL in 1978 and would have 12 short stints with the Montreal Canadiens throughout the early 1980's. Perhaps his greatest moment came when he assisted on the Round Two overtime winning goal to defeat the Hartford Whalers in 1986 on the way to Montreal's Stanley Cup win.

Billy Chalesbois
Played with Colorado Rockies the New Jersey Devils where he mentored the likes of Joe Cirella and Ken Daneyko. Became part owner/head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors in 1987 and currently lives in semi-retirement in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

Ogie Ogilthorpe
Remained with the Syracuse Bulldogs in the Federal League until retiring in 1988 having collected over 386 games in suspension over his career. Is now a pastor in La Pas, Manitoba.


Andre "Poodle" Lucier
Returned to semi-seclusion in Northern Quebec where he married the widow of Denny Pratt, victim of an unfortunate tragedy.

Tim McCracken

Known for his "scalpel-like precision" as a player, McCracken would retire from hockey in 1979 enrolling at Rutgers Ophthamalogy school. He founded the Lasik eye surgery method in 1985 and currently enjoys retirement in Butte, Montana.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

NHLers in Europe


A look around the European leagues at how some of the locked out NHL players are doing.
Stats are as of  Oct 11, 2012 (GP-G-A-Pts)

Czech League
Tomas Plekanec, Kladno 8-7-7-14
Jaromir Jagr, Kladno 8-4-8-12
Jiri Tlusty, Kladno 8-6-4-10

Jagr returns to his hometown squad of Kladno which he originally joined all the way back in 1984/85. Plekanec sits in 3rd place in league scoring and Tlusty may be primed for a breakout season. Or, maybe he's just playing with two stars on his line.

Ales Hemsky, HC Pardubice 7-2-3-5
David Krejci, HC Pardubice 3-2-0-2

A couple of other Czech natives not having quite the start they would have liked.

Michal Neuvirth, HC Sparta Praha 6gp-3.58GAA
Tuukka Rask,  HC Plzen 3gp-2.87GAA
 Ondrej Pavelec, Bili Tygri Liberec 6gp-4.62GAA

Seems the goalies are having a fairly rough beginning to the season as well.

Kontinental Hockey League
Evgeni Malkin, Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4-1-6-7
Sergei Gonchar, Metallurg Magnitogorsk 4-0-5-5
Pavel Datsyuk, CSKA Moskva 3-0-4-4
Ilya Kovalchuk, SKA St. Petersburg  2-0-3-3
Alex Ovechkin, Dynamo Moskva 2-1-1-2
Jiri Hudler, HC Lev Praha 4-0-1-1

Not a lot of goals being scored by these NHL stars.

Swiss League
Brooks Laich, Kloten 5-3-5-8
Joe Thornton, Davos 8-3-5-8
Logan Couture, Geneve-Servette 6-2-5-7
Rick Nash, Davos 4-4-1-5
John Tavares, Bern 3-2-3-5
Tyler Seguin, Biel 5-1-4-5
Patrice Bergeron, Lugano 1-2-2-4
Jason Spezza, Rapperswil 6-2-2-4

Finnish League
 Jussi Jokinen, Karpat 8-2-8-10
Valtteri Filppula, Jokerit 8-4-5-9
Erik Karlsson, Jokerit 6-1-4-5

Swedish Div 2
Anze Kopitar, Mora 6-2-6-8
Patrik Berglund, Vasteras 6-3-1-4

Stanley Cup winner Kopitar slumming it in the Swedish second division Allsvenskan.

British League
Anthony Stewart, Nottingham Panthers 4-1-2-3

Now this is what we call slumming it. Stewart under a point per game in England.

Germany Div 2
Chris Stewart, Eispiraten Crimmitschau 5-2-5-7
Wayne Simmonds, Eispiraten Crimmitschau 5-1-6-7

Slovakia
Tomas Tartar, SHK 37 Piestany 8-5-5-10

Tartar is poised to join Detroit if we have an NHL season, and may be ready to contribute,

Russia Div 2
Alex Semin, Sokol Krasnoyarsk 4-2-2-4

Semin playing for his hometown team in what is basically the Russian minor league.









Friday, October 5, 2012

A.H.L. Pool


It's hockey draft time...and there is no hockey. Well, no NHL hockey that is. Many stars have been sent to the AHL as happened in 2005 with Eric Staal, Jason Spezza and Dustin Brown.

I've created my own AHL box pool, where you pick one player from each group of four. They are yours for the entire season, regardless of whether or not the NHL comes back. For instance, I included Jeff Skinner even though he may not start with Charlotte of the AHL. He has the option to go if and when he wants to start playing and if the NHL comes back, you get his NHL stats too.

Check it out. All are welcomed to join.

http://ahlpool.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Summit Series '72, The First Reunion in 1985


Esposito and Howe, ceremonial face off conducted by Ed Kea
 January 25, 1985. Friday night at Maple Leaf Gardens. I was lucky enough to attend the first reunion of Team Canada 1972. They played a team of All-Star Oldtimers before a sold-out crowd at Maple Leaf Gardens to raise money for the Phil Esposito Foundation. $130,000 was made to help former NHL players in need of assistance. Former St.Louis Blue Ed Kea represented the players after recovering from a career-ending head injury two years before.
Tony Esposito
The game itself was won by Team All-Star by the familiar score of 6-5 on a winning goal by Gordie Howe. Phil Esposito said afterwards,"It was terrific. I'm really, really excited that it was a sellout. You can't turn back the hands of time and you can't do the things you did 12 and a half years ago, but people don't forget." He added, "Team Canada '72 was one of the best things that happened to us, as players, and to come here and have a reunion like this and have this kind of reception from the people is phenomenal."
Also scoring goals for Team All-Star were Jim McKenny, Bobby Lalonde, Walt Tkaczuk, Dick Duff and Johnny McKenzie. Canada's scorers were Dennis Hull, J.P. Parise, Ron Ellis, Stan Mikita and of course...Paul Henderson.

Perhaps the greatest part of the evening for myself was when after the game I got the autographs of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr. Pictured are the photos I personally took at the game.






Espo addressing the crowd


Paul Henderson introduced



Stan Mikita
Post-game hand shakes



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