Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gretzky's 18th Birthday Photo, Who's in the Pic?

I've seen this great sequence of photos floating around the internet today, Wayne Gretzky's birthday. It's from January 24, 1979, two days prior to Gretzky's 18th birthday. WHo are the rest of the guys in the photos though?
I've found online that it was Stan Weir who surprised young Wayne buy pushing the cake into his face. A pic of Weir from that era is below, I can agree that's Weir on the right of the photo.
In the white helmet behind Gretz is obviously Brett Callighen, pictured below from the year after the birthday photo.
The two guys in the back of the pic are tough to identify, I've seen an account where one of them is Dennis Sobchuk, not sure. That brings us to the guy on the left, using the Society for International Hockey Research photo database it's easy to determine it's backup goalie Ed Walsh.
Who is Ed Walsh? I asked that myself. Walsh was twice named a First Team All-Star in the AHL. In 1974/75 with Montreal's farm team the nova Scotia Voyageurs, Walsh went 27-16-3 with a 2.77gaa after graduating from the NCAAs Boston Terriers. in 1976/77 he went 26-12-2, 2.86gaa to garner 1st-Star status again. By 1978/79 when the photo was taken, Walsh was Edmonton property and got into three games with the Oilers. He went 0-2 with a 3.75gaa. Walsh would actually play for the United States in the 1980 World Championships, allowing 16 goals in 4 games.

Below is the game program from the Oilers game two days later when they celebrated his birthday once again.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Three Rookies of the Month in One Season

Entering the final week of January, Maple Leaf Mitch Marner is closing in on being named Rookie of the Month for January. Through 10 games, he has 3 goals and 13 points, four points ahead of Brock McGinn and Anthony Mantha. Tied with 8 points are Connor Brown, Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk. If Marner does indeed win the award it will be Toronto's third different Rookie of the Month of the season. This has never happened since the award began in 1983/84.

A few times, a team has won 3 Rookie of the Month Awards in a season, but never three different guys. Below are the teams that have had three:

1984/85 Pittsburgh: Mario Lemieux (2), Warren Young 
During his flash-in-the-pan rookie season, Young garnered November honours by going 11-6-17 in 12 games. 
1986/87 Los Angeles: Jimmy Carson (2), Luc Robitaille
Although Carson won the award twice, Robitaille took home the Calder trophy for the season, Carson finished third in voting behind Ron Hextall.

1992/93 Winnipeg: Teemu Selanne (3)
The Finnish Flash came out of the blocks in a big way notching a stat line of 11-9-20 in his first 12 games in October. He was even better in January going 15-12-17-27 and took home the March/April Rookie award with a crazy 25 goals and 41 points over his final 21 games.

1996/97 Ottawa: Patrick Lalime (2), Wade Redden 
Lalime won the award in both December and January this season going 7-0-1, 1.50 and 8-2-1, 2.42. He would still finish 5th in Calder voting. Redden somehow won the April honours by 2 goals and 3 points in 7 games.

2005/06 Washington: Alex Ovechkin (3)
Ovie swept the award in December, January and February. 

If  Marner wins the January award, the Leafs could conceivably add a fourth Rookie of the Month winner to the list. The aforementioned Connor Brown is actually tops among rookies in January with 5 goals in 10 games, Zach Hyman has 10 points in his last 13 games and even defenceman Nikita Zaitsev has 9 points over his last 16 played. You never know.




Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Greatest Slap Shot Collection on the West Coast

Japanese program
The title of this post may be a tad hyperbolic, but until I'm proven wrong I will say that I have the greatest collection of original printed memorabilia pertaining to the movie SlapShot. I have easily 50 to 60 distinct items ranging from original posters, lobby cards, promotional material, publications and other various oddball stuff. It was all collected through collectable shows or internet purchases, starting in the mid-90s. As the 40th anniversary of the movie's release approaches, I thought I'd share some of the fun.
The image at the top is the cover of a Japanese program promoting the film, I'm not sure if it was given out to the press, or to movie-goers. It's loaded with colour stills and Japanese writing. More of the stills later.
This one is an original lobby card that would have been in a frame in the movie theatre's, well..lobby. 
Here is a lobby card from Spain where the movie was named El CastaƱazo, a clip of the dubbed film is here . This shot is from when Reg is asked by Lily Braden, "What's the deal with that dog?" about the statue of the dog that saved Charlestown from the 1938 flood. She was not too impressed by his answer.
Here's one of the many black and white stills printed on glossy paper that was issued by Universal Studios. This shows one of the "hockey operations" meeting between player/coach Reg Dunlop and GM Joe McGrath.
The previous two are pages from the full-colour Japanese program featuring stills from the movie that I have never seen anywhere else. The closeup of the 'Sparkle Twins', the Hansons with the Booster Club and the Booster Club themselves hanging out of the school bus are all rarely seen stills.
Slap Shot was such a huge deal in the hockey world in 1977 that even the Pro Hockey Handbook annual jumped in on the action putting Reg Dunlop on the cover of an otherwise stat-filled book.
This "Hockey" magazine is an American publication showing Newman on the cover and inside some great production shots from the filming. 
Inside the "Hockey" mag is a real nice, rare shot of Rod Bloomfield who was Newman's on-ice double during filming. Bloomfield certainly had the credentials to play a star skater on film as he had led the NAHL in assists with 73 in 1973/74 and goals with 55 in 74/75. The season after filming, Bloomfield had a season for the ages, scoring 173 points including 124 assists to lead the NAHL scoring parade by 46 points.
A few more of the black and white stills, the first showing Reg sitting in Sportswriter Dicckie Dunn's office, regaling of a possible move of the Chiefs to Florida. The second shot is a cool behind-the-scenes of Newman being mic-ed up alongside Director George Roy Hill
Here's one of my favourite items, an oversized "Sportscaster" card featuring the movie, however, this is from the Finnish release of the set. Fairly rare, extremely cool.
This is an insert to the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1977, "Weekend Magazine" with a great shot of Newman on the cover. 
The rarity continues with this original Opening Night Screening Invitation. The film was showing at Mann's Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24, 1977, the day before it's wide-release.
Two more glossy lobby cards, the first from the Mexican release of the film, translated "Todo Vale". A great shot of Strother Martin as an ornery Joe McGrath. The second is the Spanish version of a fine shot of Reg Dunlop chatting on the phone with Suzanne Hanrahan, setting up a quick meeting.
Next we have the second edition copy of the original paperback release of the adaptation of the movie. 
These are what is called a "press book" for the film. It was given to newspapers to use in print for the movie's advertisement.
Two nice cardboard lobby cards, one the Mexican version, one the American release.
A real nice Spanish version glossy still of the brawl with Broome County after Barclay Donaldson insulted Coach Dunlop. Dave "Killer" Carlson asked him to "Take that sentence back", Donaldson did not.
I had to include this pic from the Japanese program of Michael Ontkean's Ned Braden after being awarded the Championship of the Federal League. I'm still not sure how he got his light-blue long underwear off without taking off his cup. Movie magic I guess.
This is an actual game program for the Johnstown Jets of the North American Hockey League featuring most of the Chiefs in the movie. Pictured on the cover is the forgotten "Hanson Brother", Jack Carlson. He was slated to be one of the three brothers along with his actual bros Steve and Jeff but was offered a contract to play in the WHA prior to the film's shooting. Jack jumped at the chance and was replaced by Dave Hanson as the third brother.
A nice shot of the War Memorial arena, home of the Johnstown Jets and Charlestown Chiefs.

During filming of Slap Shot II here in Vancouver, a teammate on my beer league squad was also one of the lead actors. He introduced me to the Hansons and I got them to sign this roster page from the program. As well, John Perpich signed his photo, I believe he was there as the Hansons agent/handler.
Below are all the great logos of the North American Hockey League from the game program.
Oh, and of course I have a copy of the original script for the movie.
A few more great shots from the Japanese program, the first is of Reg reading the newspaper article about the possible move to Florida exclaiming,"Dickie Dunn wrote it, it's got to be true!"
Slot car racing time.
 Finally, here's one of the rarest Slap Shot related items I have. It's the 1974/75 Media Guide of the NAHL. Inside is the team page for the Johnstown Jets. Included are goalie Ron Docken who played the backup to Dennis Lemieux in the movie and Guido Tenesi who of course played, (if I can read the card correctly)... Billy Charlesbois.
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NHL Players Off-Season Activities, circa 1961


 
Over the holidays I picked up this fantastic 1961 hockey magazine annual put out by the Hockey Pictorial. It's basically a preview the 1961/62 season and just loaded with photos of off-ice activities of NHL players. Check out some of the great shots.
A young Bobby Hull donning a hat to hide his early receding hairline.
Henri Richard practicing his putting with his young daughter. Snazzy couch.

Don Marshall and Dickie Moore playing some ball.

Fern Flaman sporting a real sweet sweater.

Jacques Plante enjoying a Canada Dry while wearing his  goal mask for some reason.

Retired Gus Bodnar enjoying a not-at-all staged breakfast with his family.

Andy Bathgate working on his golf game at his Vancouver home as his wife replaces his divots.

"Apple Cheeks" enjoying an orange.

Carl Brewer working on his shovel game.

Harris and Aldcorn spinning some tunes and having a grand old time.

"TheAllan Stanleys" enjoying life.

Allan Stanley and wife reading a book, riveting stuff

My favourite photo of the bunch, Carl Brewer showing off his palmless gloves.

More from the Stanley's, I'd give my eye-tooth for that jacket he's wearing. 

A couple of fringe NHLers with famous sounding names.

Bathgate and wife having a heart-pounding game of badminton.


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