Monday, December 22, 2014

1996-97 St. Louis Blues Brett Hull Jersey

On this date in 1996, Brett Hull made history, becoming part of the first ever father/son pair to reach 500 goals in the NHL.

Two-time winner Bobby Hull celebrating Brett Hull's
1991 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Bobby Hull began his career with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957 and would equal the NHL record of 50 goals in 1962 held by Maurice Richard (1945) and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion (1961). He would break the record in 1966 when he scored 54, the highest total in the Original Six era.

Bobby would top 50 goals three more times, in 1967 with 52 goals, 1969 with 58 (a personal best and the all-time record then) and 1972 with an even 50.

He would reach 500 goals on February 21, 1970 against the New York Rangers and finish his NHL career with 610 goals, currently 15th all-time. However, Hull did spend seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, where he scored an additional 303 goals, giving him 913 for his entire career.

Bobby with sons Bobby Jr. and Brett after scoring his 500th NHL goal

Brett Hull would begin his path to 500 goals with the Calgary Flames when he scored his first NHL goal in the 1986-87 season while appearing in only 5 games. During the 1987-88 season Brett would score 26 goals in 52 games for Calgary before being traded to the St. Louis Blues, along with Steve Bozak for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.

It was in St. Louis that Brett would ignite and achieve his first 40 goal season in 1988-89. A monster season in 1989-90 would see him join the elite 70 goal club with 72, joining the likes of Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mario Lemieux and Bernie Nicholls.

Amazingly, Hull would beat that mark the very next season when he lit the lamp 86 times, the second highest single season mark ever, just six shy of Gretzky's 92.

Brett would continue his assault on the 500 mark with seasons of 70 in 1991-92, becoming only the second and final player to score 50 goals in 50 games more than once, 54 and then 57 over the next three seasons. The lockout shortened season of 1994-95 limited him to 29, but he reached 40 for the final two times of his career with 43 followed by 42 the season he reached 500, becoming just the 24th player at the time in the exclusive club and joining his father as the only father/son duo to achieve the feat together.

 photo BrettHullBlues.jpg
Brett Hull while with the St. Louis Blues

Hull would reach 500 in style, scoring a hat trick as part of a four point night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Hull would continue to play seven more seasons in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups and adding another 241 goals to his tally to finish with 741, currently third all-time behind only Gretzky and Gordie Howe.

He joined his father in having his jersey number retired in 2006, the only father/son combo in any professional sport to be so honored, and then joined him in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

Combined, the Bobby and Brett scored 1,351 NHL goals with Bobby's brother Dennis Hull adding another 303 for a family total of 1,654.

Today's featured jersey is a 1996-97 St. Louis Blues Brett Hull jersey just like the one he wore when he scored goal number 500. This jersey style was worn from 1994-95 until the 1997-98 season before being replaced with the more traditional looking jersey first introduced as the Blues alternate jersey in 1997-98.

Many did not like the inclusion of what they felt was an excessive amount of red in the blues jersey, particularly the road version, along with what they felt was the excessive number of stripes, which were there to replicate the musical staff. The diagonal lines of the jersey were unconventional at the time, but even more so were the numbers, which grew in size from right to left across the back as the lines of the staff fell away.

St Louis Blues 1995-96 jersey photo StLouisBlues1995-96H16F.jpg
St Louis Blues 1995-96 jersey photo StLouisBlues1995-96H16B.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1969-70 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull jersey as worn when he scored his 500th NHL goal on February 21, 1970 in Chicago against the New York Rangers.

This jersey style was first introduced for the 1955-56 season and underwent several tweaks and evolutions, including varying locations of the secondary logo, the addition of black cuffs on the sleeves, sleeve numbers and a modernization of the crest until arriving at this style with the change from a lace-up collar to a v-neck in 1965-66. Since then, only the addition of red trim around the numbers and the arrival of names on the back are worth noting, as the jersey has remained essentially unchanged since 1965.

Chicago Blackhawks 1969-70 jersey photo ChicagoBlackhawks1969-70Fjersey.jpg
Chicago Blackhawks 1969-70 jersey photo ChicagoBlackhawks1969-70Bjersey.jpg

In today's video section, Brett scores his 500th goal on this date in 1996.

Here's a look at Bobby in action from his days with Chicago. Note him coming up the steps from the locker room to reach the ice level in the quirky old Chicago Stadium.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks Paul Thompson Jersey

Although not as well known as his older brother "Tiny" Thompson, who played goaltender for the Boston Bruins, Paul Thompson was the one who made history on this day in 1937 by becoming the first player in NHL history to score a goal against his own brother, which he did at 19:31 of the third period of the Black Hawks game against the Bruins in Boston. Tiny got the last laugh however, as the Bruins won the contest 2-1.

Tiny Thompson Bruins
The Boston Bruins Tiny Thompson, brother of Paul Thompson

Paul first played junior hockey for the Calgary Canadians back in 1924 and was a member of the Canadians Memorial Cup championship team in 1926 when he contributed 12 goals in nine playoff games.

He joined the New York Rangers the following season as a role player. The left winger averaged 14 points a season during his five years with the Rangers, which included a Stanley Cup championship in 1928.

1927-28 New York Rangers Pictures, Images and Photos
The 1927-28 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers

The following season they faced off against each other in the Stanley Cup Finals, with Tiny's Bruins winning bragging rights over Paul at the family dinner table 2 games to none over the Rangers.

Paul was traded to Chicago for the 1931-32 season and showed more of his offensive game, immediately setting a career best with 22 points, which continued to climb each of the next four seasons, from 33 in 1933 to his first 20 goal season in 1933-34 when he scored 36 points as well as seven more in eight playoff games as the Black Hawks captured their first Stanely Cup, the second of Thompson's career.

Paul Thompson Black Hawks
Thompson wearing the second style of Black Hawks
jersey he wore from 1931 to 1934

After his 39 point season in 1935, he had his first 40 point campaign in 1935-36. He rebounded nicely from his first drop in production, to 35 points the following season, by setting career highs in 1937-38 with 22 goals, including the one he scored against his brother on this day in 1937, and and equal number of assists for 44 total points. Four goals and seven points followed in the playoffs as the Black Hawks again captured the Stanley Cup, their second in four years.

Thompson would play 33 games of the following season's schedule before retiring mid-season to become head coach of the Black Hawks, a job he would retain until 1944.

His final NHL totals were 582 games played, 153 goals and 179 assists for 332 points and three Stanley Cup championships.

While there have been other sets of brothers in the NHL, such as the Bentleys (the first brothers to play on a line together), Sutters, Staals, Drydens (the first brothers to face each other in goal), Mahovlichs, Richards, Sedins, the Redmonds, Hunters and Primeaus (brothers who have all fought each other!) the Hulls, Stastnys, Plagers and several generations of Patricks, it's not too often one becomes a goaltender while the others are skaters, but it has happened a few times.

Brian Smith of the Los Angeles Kings, who was later memorialized on the Ottawa Senators jerseys with the "Smitty" patch, scored twice on his brother Gary Smith of the Oakland Seals shortly after the NHL expanded on December 19, 1967. Phil Esposito rudely welcomed his brother Tony Esposito to the NHL by scoring on him twice during Tony's NHL debut on November 3, 1968 and Mathieu Biron of the Florida Panthers scored a game winner on sibling Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres on November 24, 2003, the first time in 23 years a brother scored against his brother following Phil Esposito's final goal against Tony on November 5, 1980.

Today's featured jersey is a 1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks Paul Thompson jersey. This was the first season for the Black Hawks new "barberpole" style of red and black jerseys, which would later be revived by Chicago for the 1991-92 season when the Original 6 teams all wore a throwback jersey from their past.

This style jersey and subsequent variations and evolutions of this jersey would remain in use all the way through the 1954-55 season until the first version of today's classic red Blackhawks home jersey would arrive on the scene for the 1955-56 season.

Paul Thompson Black Hawks

Bonus Jersey: Today's Bonus Jersey is a 1936-37 Chicago Black Hawks Paul Thompson jersey as worn the season prior to Thompson becoming the first player to score on his own brother.

This style had a short life span, only being worn for two and a half seasons. A nearly identical style was worn to begin the 1934-35 season, only with a monochromatic crest carried over from earlier jerseys and white stripes. Halfway through the season though, this style debuted with a colored crest and the white striping now tan. This new style was worn through the end of the 1936-37 season until being replaced by today's featured jersey, the first of the barberpole styles.

Chicago Blackhawks 1936-37 jersey photo ChicagoBlackhawks1936-37jersey.jpg

Today's video section is the Phil and Tony Esposito Action Hockey Game so you too can score on your brother!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

2007-08 Minnesota Wild Marian Gaborik Jersey

On this date in 2007, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild became the first player in 11 years to score five goals in a game, which he did at home against the New York Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

"I scored five goals back home [in Slovakia], but to score five goals in the NHL, it's totally a different experience. To reach it here with these guys and in front of our fans, it's just unbelievable. Wonderful experience." Gaborik said.

Gaborik's first goal came with the Wild trailing 1-0 at 13:33 of the first period when Aaron Voros made a behind the back, between his legs pass to Pavol Demitra who fed the puck across the crease to Gaborik who had an easy redirection past Lundqvist.

 photo Gaborikgoal1.jpg
Gaborik's first goal came on with an assist from fellow Slovak Demitra

Goal #2 arrived at 3:47 of the second on the power play when Mark Parrish, behind the Rangers goal, fed the puck to Demitra who was behind the net to the right. He fed the to Gaborik stationed in front of the net, who shot the puck, which then bounced up in the air. Gaborik was able to deftly swat in the waist level rebound over Lundqvist's shoulder and into the net for his second goal.

Gaborik 2nd photo Gaborik2nd.jpg
Goal #2 came off a mid-air rebound

The third goal also came on a power play when Pierre-Marc Bouchard had the puck on the blue line and passed to Brent Burns, who sent a pass from the boards on the left near the top of the face off circle to Gaborik in the slot, who simply skated toward the net and pulled the puck far to his backhand and put it around Lundqvist for the natural hat trick at 5:38, really causing the home fans to erupt and the baseball caps to rain down onto the ice.

 photo Gaborik3rd.jpg
Gaborik celebrates his natural hat trick

After Martin Straka scored for New York at 6:29, Bouchard restored the Wild's two goal lead on yet another power play goal with an assist from Gaborik at 10:56.

Then, at 7:15 of the third period, Minnesota's Martin Skoula did this...

We can't say we've ever seen anyone look that bad during an NHL game ever before.

Just 41 seconds later, the magic continued when Nick Schultz shot the puck in from the blue line, which deflected off of Voros in the slot, right into Gaborik's strike zone to the left of the goal where he flipped it in out of mid-air directly into the net for goal #4.

Gaborik 4th photo Gaborik4th.jpg
Gaborik celebrates his fourth goal of the night

Still not finished, Gaborik's fifth goal came when he stole the puck at the defensive blue line, streaked down the ice and fired one of his lighting quick wrist shots past Lunqvist at 9:31, causing the sellout crowd of 18,568at the Xcel Energy Center to erupt in celebration of the amazing performance they were witnessing.

The Rangers then mercifully pulled Lundqvist with 7:56 remaining in the game, replacing him with Steve Valiquette. When Michael Roszival received 2 minutes for elbowing Gaborik and a ten minute misconduct at 16:21, Gaborik's teammates feed him puck after puck on the ensuing power play in an attempt for goal #6, only to have Gaborik unselfishly return their passes. Undaunted, his teammates would refuse the puck and once more send the it right back to Gaborik in an effort to get him to shoot for goal #6. Finally, a wide open Gaborik to the right of the goal received a perfect feed and fired a one-timer at the wide open goal, only to have Valiquette make an outstanding reaction to the cross ice pass and stop Gaborik on what looked to be a certain goal, denying the fans at the Xcel Energy Center one final chance to erupt.

It was Gaborik's second six point night of his career and came on ten shots on goal.

 photo GaborikCarneyHill.jpg
After the game, Gaborik was carried off the ice by
teammates Keith Carney and Sean Hill

"Every time Gabby touched the puck, it was just electric," defenseman Burns said and goaltender Josh Harding added "His back might be sore from carrying us tonight."

"It was pretty amazing," Wild captain Mark Parrish said. "He was banking 'em in out of the air, scoring on breakaways, skating through everybody with it, making highlight-film goals. My God, he was doing it every which-way tonight. When a guy like that's feeling it, it gets pretty scary for the other team."

 photo Gaborikfivegoalpucks.jpg
In the locker room after the game, Gaborik poses with the five pucks he used
to become the first player to score five goals in a game in 11 years

Up until Gaborik's amazing performance in 2007, the last player to record five goals in a game was the Detroit Red Wings Sergei Fedorov on December 12, 1996 in a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals. Following Gaborik, only one other player has joined the exclusive five goal club, that being Johan Franzen, also of the Red Wings, on February 2, 2011.

Today's featured jersey is a 2007-08 Minnesota Wild Marian Gaborik jersey. This jersey was first introduced in 2003 as an alternate and branded as a Koho for the 2003-04 season. After the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled due to labor issues, when play resumed in 2005-06 this jersey was now branded as a Reebok. This jersey remained in use through the 2006-07 season.

While the Wild had only been around for three seasons at the time, the hockey heritage of the state of Minnesota runs deep and this "throwback" look captures that tradition and instantly became a top seller. When forced to decide between their home green jersey and red alternate when the third jerseys were discontinued during the first season of the new Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007, the Wild's sales figures of 70% red jerseys, 20% white and 10% green made the choice an obvious one in favor of keeping the red jersey.

Minor changes occurred, such as the addition of the wheat colored trim around the shoulder area and the lack of the green waist striping, but this new evolution of the Wild's red jersey remains in use through this day.

This jersey style has some unique features, such as it's felt crest and sweater-style material for the collar.

Minnesota Wild 03-04 jersey photo MinnesotaWild03-04F.jpg
Minnesota Wild 03-04 jersey photo MinnesotaWild03-04B-1.jpg

Today's video section is highlights of Gaborik's five goal performance.

Friday, December 19, 2014

1981-82 Philadelphia Flyers Behn Wilson Jersey

At the age of 17, Behn Wilson, born on this date in 1958, showed his unquestioned toughness with 131 penalty minutes in 63 games for the 1975-76 Ottawa 67's of the QMJHL. He played a half a season with the 67's in 1976-77 before moving to the Windsor Spitfires. His combined points that season while playing defense was an impressive 57 in 48 games. He also made his professional hockey debut with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL where he scored 9 points in 13 games and racked up 40 penalty minutes in just 13 games as the 18 year old was tested by the older players in the IHL.

It was back to junior hockey for Wilson in 1977-78 with the Kingston Canadiens where he finished second on the club in scoring with 18 goals and 76 points plus 186 penalty minutes in 52 games. That caught the attention of the Philadelphia Flyers, who were always on the lookout for toughness and grit, especia , lly from someone who could contribute offensively. Following the season the Flyers made Wilson the #6 overall pick in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft.

He stepped straight into the Flyers lineup in 1978-79, leading all Flyers defensemen in scoring with 49 points (10 more than any other) as well as leading the team in penalty minutes, no easy task for a rookie on a club with noted tough guys Mel Bridgeman and Paul Holmgren!

Wilson Flyers, Wilson Flyers

Wilson would top 200 penalty minutes for the first time the following season with 212. The Flyers finished first overall in the league with 116 points and advanced through the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Back then, all 16 playoff qualifiers were seeded 1 to 16 without regard for divisions or even conferences, which allowed Philadelphia, the winners of the Patrick Division to face geographic neighbors and fellow Patrick Division rivals the New York Islanders, who prevailed in six games to begin their Stanley Cup dynasty.

Wilson set career highs in 1980-81 with 47 assists and 63 points as well as 237 penalty minutes. He also was a +39 for the year and earned a spot in the 1981 NHL All-Star Game.

Wilson played two more injury shortened seasons with the Flyers, thanks in part to his rugged, all out style, before being traded to the Chicago Black Hawks for the 1983-84 season. He played three seasons for the Black Hawks, with a high of 185 penalty minutes in 1984-85 and 50 points in 1985-86 before being forced to miss the entire 1986-87 season with a back injury.

Wilson Flyers, Wilson Flyers
Wilson in 1980-81 while wearing the Flyers infamous long pants

He would return to Chicago in 1987-88 and score 29 points in 58 games and record 166 penalty minutes. He would be claimed by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1988 Waiver Draft, but a reoccurrence of his back problems prevented him from ever playing again and he would formally retire after the 1988-89 season at the age of 29 with career totals of 601 games played, 98 goals and 260 assists for 358 points as well as his 1,480 penalty minutes, which included leading the Black Hawks in 1984.

Wilson Blackhawks, Wilson Blackhawks
Wilson following a scrap while with the Black Hawks

Today's featured jersey is a 1981-82 Philadelphia Flyers Behn Wilson jersey. This jersey is notably short in length, perhaps due in part to being worn with the CCM Pro Guard full-length hockey pants, more commonly referred to as "Cooperalls", despite not being the Cooper version of the long pants.

This jersey is from the third generation of Flyers jerseys, nearly identical to their original 1967-68 sweaters, only with the addition of wider arm striping which allowed the sleeve numbers to be contained entirely within the colored area, unlike the narrower first version which saw the sleeve numbers break out of the stripe.

What differentiates this third generation of jersey from the second is the absence of any waist striping which came with the adaptation of the "Cooperalls". This was the only season for this particular style jersey, as it was replaced by a modernized version of the jersey the following year.

Philadelphia Flyers 81-82 jersey, Philadelphia Flyers 81-82 jersey
Philadelphia Flyers 81-82 jersey, Philadelphia Flyers 81-82 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Philadelphia Flyers Behn Wilson jersey which illustrates the evolution in style of the Flyers jersey. This is the second season for the new, modernized jersey which saw the addition of black trim which separated the body color from the sleeve color as the Flyers had now reverted back to the standard, short hockey pants. Additionally there was now trim above the black sleeve cuffs.

This second season is distinguished from the 1982-83 season by the straight section of of the shoulder yoke above the name on the back, where the previous season's jersey saw the sleeve striping on the back start at the collar and arch continuously downward. This long-lived style remained in use until 2007 with the arrival of the Reebok Edge jerseys.

Philadelphia Flyers 83-84 jersey, Philadelphia Flyers 83-84 jersey

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Chicago Black Hawks Behn Wilson jersey. This classic Black Hawks jersey has Wilson's first initial "B" on the back as Behn was teammates with long time Black Hawk Doug Wilson, necessitating the first initials to differentiate the two, something that is falling by the wayside as the different numbers worn by the players with the same last names are now often considered sufficient.

Behn went with #23 while with the Black Hawks as his previous #3 worn in Philadelphia was already in use by Dave Feamster upon his arrival in Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks 83-84 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 83-84 jersey
Chicago Blackhawks 83-84 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 83-84 jersey

Today's video section begins with Wilson having a furious battle with the New York Islanders Clark Gilles. followed by another with John Wensink of the Boston Bruins.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1964-65 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull Jersey

One of the most dynamic and prolific scorers in NHL history, Bobby Hull played his junior hockey for the St. Catharines Teepees in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1954-55 to 1956-57, a season in which he scored 33 goals in 52 games, giving a glimpse into the future as to what was to follow.

He made his NHL debut with Chicago at the age of 18 and finished second in the rookie of the year voting following his 13 goal, 47 point season, which included the first of over 600 NHL goals (and over 900 professional when his days in the WHA are taken into account).

His second season was a repeat of the first, with his goals and points edging upwards to 18 and 50. His game really took flight in 1959-60 when he more than doubled his previous goal total to 39 along with 42 assists to lead the league in both categories and capture the first Art Ross Trophy of his career with 81 points.

Hull and the Black Hawks would achieve even greater heights in 1960-61. Although Hull would relinquish the scoring title, he would still top 30 goals with 31, but his 14 points in 12 playoff games would help the Black Hawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 23 years.

Bobby Hull 1961 Stanley Cup
Hull with the 1961 Stanley Cup

Individual honors would return to Hull's trophy case in 1961-62 when he again led the NHL in both goals and points when he became just the third player in NHL history to reach 50 goals in a single season on his way to 84 points. Hull again added 14 points in the playoffs as Chicago again reached the finals, but fell short in six games.

Bobby Hull 50 goals
Hull celebrates goal #50 (wearing #7)

After a 31 goal season in 1962-63, Hull once more led the league in goals in 1963-64 with 43 and came in second to teammate Stan Mikita in the points chase 89-87.

The 1964-65 awards ceremony had more in store for Hull, as he took home the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player as well as the only Lady Byng Trophy of his career. In the postseason, Hull led Chicago in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 17 points in 14 games as the Black Hawks took the Montreal Canadiens to the full seven games before succumbing.

He really turned on the jets beginning in 1965-66 when he led the league in goal scoring for the first of four consecutive seasons with his second 50 goal season when he netted an NHL record 54 goals as part of his league leading 97 points, which garnered Hull his third Art Ross Trophy and second Hart Trophy.

The next two seasons he again led the league in goals with 52 and then 44 before breaking his own NHL single season record with a career high 58 goals and his first 100 point season when he amassed 107 in 1968-69 as the NHL entered a new era in scoring, at which Hull was at the forefront. At the time, Hull owned four of the six 50 goal seasons in NHL history.

Limited to 61 games the following season, Hull still scored 38 goals and passed the 500 career goals mark, on the third player after Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe to reach that milestone. His final season with the Black Hawks in 1971-72 saw him surpass the 600 goal mark during yet another 50 goal season, his fifth, while only Phil Esposito had more than one to his credit with two.

It was then that the upstart World Hockey Association came calling with an offer too good to refuse, and Hull joined the Winnipeg Jets, becoming the centerpiece of the WHA and giving the league an instant shot of credibility.

Hull's jersey #9 was retired by the Black Hawks in recognition of his outstanding career on this date in 1983 in a ceremony at the legendary Chicago Stadium.

Today's featured jersey is a 1964-65 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull jersey from the season Hull won both the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP and the Lady Byng Trophy as well as leading all playoff scorers with 17 points as the Black Hawks took the Montreal Canadiens to a Game 7.

This particular style was worn in the 1962-63 season when the Black Hawks went from five sleeve stripes down to the three white-black-white pattern of today's featured jersey. This style would remain in use for just three seasons, after which the lace-up collar would change to a v-neck collar.

Hull originally broke into the NHL wearing the #16. He would later change to #7 before adopting his familiar #9. Eventually, back in the NHL following the WHA's merger with the NHL, during the final season of his career he would join Gordie Howe on the roster of the Hartford Whalers and once more wear the #16 in deference to Howe.

Chicago Blackhawks 64-65 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 64-65 jersey
Chicago Blackhawks 64-65 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 64-65 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's first video is a trip down memory lane, with a look at Munro's Bobby Hull table hockey game. Love the automatic puck dropping scoreboard with the flags. Rod hockey at it's finest. Check out the teams too, Chicago vs. Minnesota. Perfect, and a nice break from Montreal vs. Toronto.

Forgive the quality of the video taping of the TV screen on this video, but the historical nature of Hull scoring goal #600 makes it worth it.

In this next video, Hull wins the only Stanley Cup of his career in 1961.

Finally, a recent interview with Hull on the occasion of becoming a part of the Blackhawks organization once more after far too long of an absence.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1921-22 Ottawa Senators Frank "King" Clancy Jersey

After playing junior hockey in his native Ottawa, Frank "King" Clancy garnered the attention of the local professional club, the Ottawa Senators, who just happened to be the current World Champions.

After a tryout with the Senators, he was signed to a three year contract for $800 a year. When his current, amateur club, the St. Brigid's Athletic Club heard Clancy was planning to leave their team, they attempted to get him to reconsider, talking about the merits of amateurism and how money can often taint a sport and take the joy out of it for the athlete. When they could see that their star player was unconvinced, St. Brigid's make a counteroffer...

Seven dollars and fifty cents - for the entire season!

They explained that was all the money they had left in their treasury and Clancy could have it all if he'd stay!

Needless to say, Clancy became a member of the Senators for the 1921-22 season and played the first game of his NHL career on this date in 1921.

Clancy Rookie Card, Clancy Rookie Card

Clancy relates the story of his first NHL game in the 1968 book "Clancy: The King's Story as Told to Brian MacFarlane";
My first game as pro! I can remember it like it was last night. We were scheduled to play in Hamilton, and they had players on their roster like Goldie Prodgers and Ken Randall and the two Mummery boys [Harry and Walter]. They were all big men, powerful men. The night before I left home for that encounter, my poor dad came down to the station in Ottawa and gave me the kind of advice that any father would give a boy going off to play his first professional game. He took me aside, told me not to worry, to do my best and a lot of other things. Then he shook my hand and wished me luck as I got on the train. 
Now we're on the train and on our way, and I thought everything was just great. Every once in a while some passenger would come down the aisle and I could see he'd recognize some of the players. Now and again one the boys would be asked for his autograph. Nobody recognized me, of course, but I was tickled pink to be among the famous Ottawa Senators. 
We stayed at the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton and that was great too. The next morning going into breakfast, I learned something else. At home my breakfast usually meant a plate of porridge, a piece of toast and maybe a glass of milk. But these guys! They polished off everything! Double orders of bacon and eggs, flapjacks, sausages, toast, rolls, and gallons of milk. I'd never seen fellows eat like that in all my life! It was a revelation to see a bunch of hungry hockey players tie on the feedbag. 
That night we headed out to the Barton Street Arena, the same arena that's used for hockey in Hamilton today. And if I thought I was going to get in a lot of ice time in my first game as a pro, I soon had another thing coming. 
Frankie Boucher and I sat on the bench right though the sixty minutes of game time. We got a chance to warm up before the game and we took a whirl around the ice between periods, but during the actual play we didn't get a smell of the ice. Boucher didn't get the call; I didn't get the call. We're sitting there like a couple of dummies. Now we come to the end of regulation time and the game is tied 2-2. This mean we have to play overtime. The coach, Petey Green, taps me on the shoulder and says, "You go out there in place of [EddieGerard on the defence." Then he turns to Boucher and says, "You go out there in place of [Frank] Nighbor at centre ice." Now this was sudden-death overtime and no time to be making mistakes, and here's the coach throwing two bushers out there in place of two of the greatest players in the game. 
We just begin the overtime, when I get the luckiest break in the world. I remember getting the puck. It came back to me off the draw, and it looked like a big watermelon rolling my way. I slapped at it with my stick and stumbled on ahead with it before I let fly a pass across to Punch Broadbent. I kept going up the ice because I didn't have sense enough to stay back on defense where I belonged. Then, whoops-a-daisy, I get the puck right back again, but I was off at a poor angle and on the wrong side of the net when I took this pass. There wasn't much I could to but wing a shot at the net. I let go a backhander and, lo and behold, I look up and see the goal judge waving his handkerchief and wave it in the air. To me, this handkerchief looked at big as a bed sheet. 
I had scored on my first shot as a professional in the National Hockey League, and it was a winning goal in sudden-death overtime. Naturally I was robbed by my teammates and it then dawned on me that I should keep the puck as a souvenir. When I went after it, the Hamilton goalkeeper, a fellow by the name of [HowieLockhart, just glared at me. I never did know why, until a couple of years later when I met him outside the rink one day and asked him why he would do such a thing. He said it was because the puck went though a hole in the netting at the side of the goal! It hadn't gone in the front at all and so it shouldn't have counted! 
But my first goal did count and we beat Hamilton 3-2 on that shot of mine. To this day I'm not sure whether to be proud of it or embarrassed by it. But scoring that goal on my first shot in the big leagues did one thing for me. It gave me a little confidence. My teammates hadn't see how the puck went in and they couldn't care less. In the shower after the game, Gerard, whose place I'd taken, came over to me and said, "Frankie, that was a terrific shot!:" I thought it was too - until this fellow Lockhart told me what he thought about it some time later.
The "goal" would be one of just four Clancy would score as an NHL rookie in 24 games that season. Clancy would play nine seasons with the Senators, winning Stanley Cups in 1923 and 1927 and being named their captain in 1928, before moving on to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1930 in exchange for $35,000 and two players as the struggling Senators began to sell of their most valuable assets in an effort to stay in business.

Clancy Sold, Clancy Sold

Clancy would play for the Maple Leafs for seven seasons, winning another Stanley Cup in 1932, where his charismatic personality, combined with his small size and extra large toughness, would make him a beloved icon in Toronto.

1923-24 Ottawa Senators team, 1923-24 Ottawa Senators team
The 5' 7" Clancy (back row, far right)  is dwarfed by his much larger
Senators teammates in this 1923-24 team photo

Clancy was said, according to McFarlane, to have started a thousand fights and never won any of them. At the time of his retirement in 1937, Clancy was the highest scoring defenseman in NHL history with 136 goals in 592 games, with his best season coming in 1930 with 17.

Clancy Maple Leafs, Clancy Maple Leafs

Following his playing days, Clancy became an NHL referee for 11 years before he went into coaching, first in the American Hockey League, which included a Calder Cup championship with Pittsburgh in 1952.

Doug Bentley and King Clancy Referee, Doug Bentley and King Clancy Referee
Doug Bentley politely conversing with referee Clancy

He was promoted to coach of the Maple Leafs in 1953 and, after three seasons, became assistant general manager until 1969 when he was made vice-president of the club, a position he held until he passed away at the age of 83 in 1986, the last surviving member of the 1923 Stanley Cup champions.

Clancy Coach, Clancy Coach

Clancy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958 and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1998, he was ranked #52 on The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.

One further tribute was bestowed on the legendary Clancy when the King Clancy Memorial Trophy was named in his honor and is awarded annually since 1987 to the NHL player who demonstrates leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made exceptional humanitarian contributions on the community.

Clancy Autograph, Clancy Autograph

Today's featured jersey is a 1922-23 Ottawa Senators King Clancy jersey. The Senators wore their barber pole jerseys for each of their 14 seasons in the NHL, a style which actually dates back to the turn of the century years prior to the formation of the NHL.

The Senators occasionally wore a special patch commemorating their standing as league champions and in 1929 an "O" crest arrived, but the black, red and white stripes were a constant, both at home and on the road, as the first road jersey did not arrive until the 1927-28 season when the newly renamed Maple Leafs introduced a white jersey to be worn for games against the New York Rangers, who also wore blue sweaters.

Ottawa Senators 1922-23 jersey, Ottawa Senators 1922-23 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1931-32 Toronto Maple Leafs King Clancy jersey. This white jersey was the first road jersey in NHL history, necessitated by the green-clad Toronto St. Patricks being sold and changing their name to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1926-27 season.

When the Maple Leafs introduced a new blue jersey for the 1927-28, the New York Rangers were already wearing blue, which, for the first time in league history, necessitated a special jersey to avoid the confusion of both teams wearing blue sweaters. It would not be until six seasons later in 1933-34 that the New York Americans would become the second team to wear two different sweaters during a season.

Toronto Maple Leafs 1931-32 jersey, Toronto Maple Leafs 1931-32 jersey

In today's video  section, a look at the versatility of Clancy.


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