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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