Wednesday, April 1, 2015

1994-95 Jokerit Helsinki Teemu Selanne Jersey

It only seems appropriate to feature a club on April Fool's Day named the "Jokers". 

Founded in 1967 in Helsinki, Finland when Aimo Mäkinen saw the opportunity to establish a semi-professional sports club following the demise of the Töölön Vesa sports club hockey team, Mäkinen paid half of Vesa's hockey related debts and received all the previous club's assets, including their junior players and a spot in the second highest Finnish league, the Suomi-sarja, for his new club which he named "Jokerit", which is Finnish for "Jokers" and whose name and logo were inspired by the joker from a deck of playing cards.

Jokerit Helsinki logo

Two years after it's founding, Jokerit would earn promotion to the top level of Finnish hockey, the SM-sarja. Once accomplished, Mäkinen began aggressively adding star players to his roster. With rules changing allowing bodychecking in 1969, hockey in Finland underwent a change to a more physical style, which then coach Matti Lampainen felt was unsuitable for the roster he had at the time. He guided his club toward a more clever and tactical style which paid off with a championship in 1973.

The club would pass through several ownerships during the 1980's and an infusion of young talent at the end of the decade, such as defenseman Waltteri Immonen, who would captain the team from 1991-1999, Mika Strömberg, the club's all-time highest scoring defenseman, Ari Sulander, their main goaltender from 1993-1998 and Teemu Selänne, who would go on to set NHL rookie scoring records and eventually score 600 NHL goals, would return the club quickly to the top level, now called the SM-liiga, after having been relegated in 1987.

With their ownership now settled by 1991, the club became the wealthiest in Finland, which led to a dynasty that captured the Finnish championship in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997.

Jokerit 1997 photo Jokerit1997.jpg
Petri Varis, Otakar Janecký and Juha Lind celebrate
Jokerit's league championship in 1997

In addition to their Finnish titles, the club has also captured the European Cup in 1995 and 1996 and moved into their new home, the Hartwall Areena in 1997.

Photobucket
Kurri and Selänne hoist Immomen in celebration of the 1995 European Cup

The club's sixth championship would come in 2002 behind the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen.

When the Jokerit celebrated their 40th anniversary season in 2007-08 they retired the jersey of former star Jari Kurri, who originally played for the team from 1977-80 and again during the NHL lockout of 1994.

In addition to their six Finnish championships, Jokerit have finished second in 1971, 1983, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2007 and won the Continental Cup in 2003.

Jokerit has also left it's mark on the NHL, with the only two Finns in NHL history to have scored 1,000 points, Kurri and Selänne, having started with Jokerit.

Other Jokerit players to have gone onto NHL careers include, Ossi Väänänen, Lehtonen, Sean Bergenheim, Valtteri Filppula, Erik Karlsson, Ville Leino, Tuomo Ruutu, and Esa Tikkanen.

Valtteri Filppula Jokerit photo ValtteriFilppulaJokerit.jpg
Valtteri Filppula

With Russian investors now owning a 49% share of Jokerit, as well as now owning Hartwall Areena, Jokerit became the first club from Scandinavia to join the primarily Russian KHL for the 2014-15 season, which began not only a new era for the club, but the KHL itself.

Jokerit finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 40-20 record. They won their first  KHL playoff series, defeating Dynamo Minsk 4 games to 1 before falling 4-1 to CSKA Moscow, the team which had the best overall record in the league.

Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 Jokerit Helsinki Teemu Selänne jersey. Selänne returned to Jokerit during the NHL lockout, along with Jari Kurri, and was a part of the 1995 European Cup winning team.

This jersey has the Tackla diamond shapes on the shoulders and the usual European sponsorship logos along with the oh-so-1990's magenta and teal color scheme, not to mention the yellow numbers, which makes for a very distinctive and gaudy look - more fitting for a jester than a professional athlete. Still, the club enjoyed a terrific run of  success during the time of this color scheme, even if it did become dated very quickly.

The original jerseys were all dye-sublimated, but this replica example was expertly customized with the same and numbers in twill as well as the impressive rendition of the Karjala sponsorship on the back with heat-sealed material to match the font used on the front sublimated logo. The Carrols patch on the front was one of our custom made patches that was then also sewn on to complete the look of this most distinctive jersey.

On a personal note, we wore this jersey to a Anaheim Ducks game in the spring of 2013 and stood out enough in it's loud colors that we were given a puck by Selänne during warmups!

Finland Jokerit Helsinki 1991-92 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki1991-92F.jpg
Finland Jokerit Helsinki 1991-92 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki1991-92B.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2005-06 Jokerit Helsinki Tero Konttinen jersey. While the 1990's Jokerit jerseys may have been memorable for their garish coloring, the club did themselves a great favor at the turn of the century when they adopted navy blue, red and yellow as their color palette. After using the same striping pattern as the Russian National Team, in 2003-04 the club copied the NHL's Florida Panthers 1998-2003 alternate jerseys, sans waist striping to good effect. This jersey style remained in use, albeit with an ever evolving set of sponsorship logos, through the 2007-08 season.

Finland Jokerit Helsinki 2005-06 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki2005-06F.jpg
Finland Jokerit Helsinki 2005-06 jersey photo FinlandJokeritHelsinki2005-06B.jpg

Our first video of today is footage of Jokerit during the 1992 SM-liiga Finals.


Our second video features rabid Jokerit supporters in footage from 2006.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick

In honor of the 87th birthday of hockey legend Gordie Howe, today at Third String Goalie we take a look at the achievement named in his honor, The Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Gordie Howe photo Gordie Howe Red Wings.jpg

Howe, known for both his scoring ability combined with his unquestioned toughness, became the namesake for the combination of being credited for an assist, scoring a goal and engaging in a fight during a game. Despite the feat of having an offensive contribution combined with pugilism being named for Howe, he only managed the feat twice during his lengthy NHL career.

Gordie Howe photo Gordie Howe muscles.jpg

His first came on October 11, 1953 when he fought Fern Flaman of the Toronto Maple Leafs, assisted  on a goal by Red Kelly and later scored a goal. His second Gordie Howe Hat Trick came later that same season when he first scored a goal, assisted on a goal by Ted Lindsay and then fought Teeder Kennedy, again against Toronto, on March 21, 1954.

Gordie-Howe-vs-Teeder-Kennedy photo Gordie-Howe-vs-Teeder-Kennedy.jpg
Combatants Howe and Kennedy with referee Red Storey

The first recorded Gordie Howe Hat Trick happened back on December 22, 1920 when Harry Cameron of the Toronto St. Pats had a busy night against the Ottawa Senators.

The all-time leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks is Brendan Shanahan, with 17. His first came as a member of the New Jersey Devils on February 11, 1989. He would eventually have three while with New Jersey, five while as a member of the St. Louis Blues, one with the Hartford Whalers and eight for the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 F jersey.jpg
Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 jersey photo Detroit Red Wings 1997-98 B jersey.jpg
1997-98 Detroit Red Wings Brendan Shanahan jersey
from the career leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks.

Next on the list of regular season Gordie Howe Hat Tricks is Rick Tocchet with 15 while with the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes and again for the Flyers. Adding in his playoff totals, Tocchet becomes the all-time leader with 18.

1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey photo Philadelphia Flyers 1991-92 22 F.jpg
1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey photo Philadelphia Flyers 1991-92 22 B.jpg
1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers Rich Tocchet jersey

Brian Sutter checks in third with an even dozen, all while with the St. Louis Blues. Sutter also had an additional five Gordie Howe Hat Tricks in the postseason, which elevates him into a tie with Shanahan.

St Louis Blues 84-85 jersey photo StLouisBlues84-85Fjersey.png
St Louis Blues 84-85 jersey photo StLouisBlues84-85Bjersey.png
1984-85 St. Louis Blues Brian Sutter jersey

The active leader is Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunie Tig Junior Elvis Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche who currently sits at nine.

Calgary Flames 2001-02 jersey photo Calgary Flames 2001-02 jersey.jpg
2001-02 Calgary Flames Jarome Iginla jersey from
the current active Gordie Howe Hat Trick leader
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Double Gordie Howe Hat Tricks have happened on a few occasions, with the first being on March 9, 2010 when Fedor Tyutin had a goal and two assists and Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist of his own as well as having a fight with each other!

Adam Henrique and Jarome Iginla duplicated the feat when they fought each other on January 10, 2012 with Iginla also having a goal and 2 assists and Henrique having one of each for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick of his own.

In a slightly more unusual variation of the double Gordie Howe Hat Trick, Joe Thornton and Ryan Clowe both had a goal, an assist and a fight for the San Jose Sharks, the only double by two players on the same team during the same game.

The most memorable night in Gordie Howe Hat Trick history was November 14, 1992 game between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders when Tom Fitzgerald and Benoit Houge of the Islanders, Wayne Presley of Buffalo all achieved the feat for the only triple in Howe history, with Presley and Houge having fought each other in the final minute of the second period and Fitzgerald's fight completing his hat trick with a fight against the Sabres Colin Patterson at 13:46 of the third period.

History was made earlier this season when Steve Pinizzotto of the Edmonton Oilers was recalled  from the Oklahoma City Barons on November 19, 2014 for his 19th career NHL game and managed to record a Gordie Howe Hat Trick on the night he scored his first career NHL goal.

Pinizzotto Oilers fight photo Pinizzotto Oilers fight.jpg
 photo Pinizzotto Oilers goal.jpg
Pinizzotto had his fight early in the game and then
proudly displays his first goal puck after the game

Today's featured jersey is a 1954-55 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey. Howe and the Red Wings would win their third Stanley Cup of Howe's career following the 1954-55 season. This sweater can be traced back to that era by the lack of sleeve numbers, which did not appear until later thanks to the advent of television coverage.

Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey
Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey, Detroit Red Wings 1955-56 jersey
photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

While you may expect a rough, offensively skilled player like Shanahan or Tocchet to be a likely candidate for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, sometimes a player who you might not expect can join the club, such as the offensively gifted Pavel Datsyuk.


Conversely, there are tough guys you don't expect to find on the scoresheet who have the planets align one magical night, allowing them to find the back of the net, such as career 17 goal scorer Kelly Chase of the Blues, who welcomes Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko to the club with a entertaining history lesson for the youngsters.



Finally,  the "Legends of Hockey" profile of Gordie Howe.



Happy birthday, Mr. Hockey!

Monday, March 30, 2015

1979-80 Quebec Nordiques Ron Chipperfield Jersey

On this date in 1979, the NHL announced the expansion of the league from 17 teams to 21 with the addition of the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets, all of whom played in the World Hockey Association from 1972-73 until 1978-79. Combined, the four clubs won five of the seven Avco World Cup championships, with the defunct Houston Aeros, led by Gordie Howe, having won the other two.

Winnipeg Jets Avco Cup 1979, Winnipeg Jets Avco Cup 1979
The Jets celebrate winning the final Avco Cup in 1979

When the WHA teams were allowed to enter the NHL, the old WHA teams were permitted to protect only two goaltenders and two skaters, as the NHL teams raided their rosters in the 1979 Expansion Draft, seeking a return of players whose rights they once held.

The WHA teams were also each required to pay a $6 million expansion fee for the privilege of having their team decimated. This was a far different scenario than a "merger" between the leagues, in which case the incoming WHA teams would have been able to keep their rosters intact and not pay an expansion fee.

The Oilers thus stared life in the NHL with a roster consisting of goaltenders Dave Dryden and Eddie Mio, plus skaters Bengt Gustafsson and Wayne Gretzky. Although no NHL team held Gretzky's rights, and under existing rules he would have been removed from the Oilers and placed into the Entry Draft, the Oilers were allowed to keep him with the stipulation of being required to pick dead last in each round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft of incoming new players, behind even current Stanley Cup champions the Montreal Canadiens.

The WHA teams then selected unprotected players from the current NHL teams to fill out their rosters, but only after the NHL teams were allowed to protect two veteran goalies and seventeen skaters. Think about that for a second. In the best case scenario, a WHA team would get the 20th best player from any NHL team. The results were predictable, as the WHA teams all finished in the bottom eight of the standings. However, a ridiculous 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs back then, so Edmonton and Hartford did manage to qualify for the postseason, with the Oilers being swept in three games by Philadelphia.

Amazingly, within just three years, coach and GM Glen Sather had a team that included Gretzky, but also Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Kevin Lowe plus goaltenders Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog. Easily the most successful to make the transition to the NHL, the Oilers made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 1983, losing to the Islanders, before winning the Stanley Cup in 1984, ending the Islanders dynasty and beginning one of their own.

Here is a 1978-79 Edmonton Oilers Garnet "Ace" Bailey jersey from the Oilers final season in the WHA when the home white jerseys had a dreadful combination of blue letters on an orange background while the road blues had orange letters on a white background.

For their first NHL season, the Oilers mercifully changed to a much higher contrast and much more pleasing combination of blue letters against a white background for both their home and road jerseys, which they continue to use to this day.


1978-79 Edmonton Oilers jersey
1978-79 Edmonton Oilers jersey

While Hartford qualified for the playoffs that first NHL season of 1979-80, it would flatter to deceive, as they would miss the playoffs for the next five seasons, including finishing with a league worst 45 points in 1982-83. They would win their only playoff series in 1985-86 with a three game opening round sweep of the Nordiques and follow that with an Adams Division championship thanks to a franchise best 93 points, only to fail in the opening round of the playoffs to Quebec, who finished fourth in the division 21 points behind the Whalers.

Five more consecutive first round exits were followed by five more seasons of failing to qualify for the postseason prior to the franchise relocating to North Carolina, where they would win the Stanley Cup in 2006 as the Hurricanes.

The Whalers not only changed their jerseys for their first NHL season, but were also forced to change their name from the New England Whalers to the Hartford Whalers as the result of a demand by the Boston Bruins, located 102 miles to the northeast.

Here is a WHA-era 1974-75 New England Whalers Tom Webster jersey. Their final WHA jerseys sported a "W" bisected by a harpoon, worn since their second WHA season of 1973-74.

Upon entering the NHL, the Whalers debuted their new "Whale Tail" logo, which obviously featured a "W" for Whalers, but also contained an "H" hidden in the negative space of the logo to represent their change in name to Hartford.

New England Whalers 73-74 F jersey, New England Whalers 73-74 F jersey
New England Whalers 73-74 jersey, New England Whalers 73-74 jersey


Following their success in the WHA, having won the final two championship titles, the Jets found the transition to the NHL the roughest, as they lost leading scorer Kent Nilsson to the Atlanta Flames, Terry Ruskowski and Rich Preston to the Chicago Black Hawks, Barry Long to the Detroit Red Wings. After having scored 102 points in 1977-78 in the WHA, the Jets plummeted to last in the NHL in 1979-80 with just 51 points. Things got even worse in year 2 with a all-time franchise low of 32 points, which the club turned into first overall selection Dale Hawerchuk.

With the arrival of Hawerchuk, and then Thomas Steen, the club rose to respectability, making the playoffs the next seven seasons, but only winning two playoff rounds over that time. While the club added some remarkable talent in the early 1990's in the shape of Finns Teemu Selanne and Teppo Numminen, Russians Alexi Zhamnov and Nikoali Khabibulin, American Keith Tkachuk, it was not enough to put Winnipeg over the top, as their final eight seasons in Winnipeg saw them miss the playoffs four times and be eliminated immediately the other four prior to their move to Phoenix, Arizona due to economic issues associated with being based in Canada and playing in one of the smallest cities in the league while the Canadian dollar was at a weak point.

This 1977-78 Winnipeg Jets Lyle Moffat jersey illustrates the final style worn in the WHA by the Jets with the white shoulders as well as the lower contrast version of their logo, one with a blue background on a blue jersey, which was immediately changed to a white background for their first season in the NHL for use on their new NHL jerseys, which featured a full length arm stripe from cuff to cuff.

The Jets ushered in their time in the NHL with a completely brand new set of jerseys, adopting a design used by the New York Rangers for a brief period of time when they were under the control of then General Manager John Ferguson, who had taken the same position with the Jets in 1978.

The Jets began life in the WHA with a simple design that featured some unusual contrasting colored and rounded nameplates with an equally odd choice for a font for the names for their first season, but improved their look for 1973-74 by ditching the odd nameplates and font as well as using an improved main crest. This style would remain in use for the rest of their days in the WHA, with the only change being the addition of a white shoulder yoke for the blue jerseys in 1977-78 and 1978-79, as worn while the team captured back-to-back championships to end their days in the WHA.

Winnipeg Jets 77-78 jersey, Winnipeg Jets 77-78 jersey
Winnipeg Jets 77-78 jersey, Winnipeg Jets 77-78 jersey

The Nordiques were unable to qualify for the playoffs during their first NHL season, but quickly became relevant thanks to retaining WHA players Real Cloutier and Marc Tardif and adding in short order Michel Goulet and Peter, Anton and Marian Stastny, who defected from Czechoslovakia at the beginning of the 1980's.

Their intense rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens led to some legendary battles and brawls, particularly in the postseason, as the Nordiques made the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons beginning in 1980-81, including two trips to the conference finals.

After three consecutive seasons of 90+ points, hard times arrived as the team would miss the playoffs six out of seven seasons, including a dreadful period of seasons with 61, 31, 46 and 52 points which allowed the team to select Mats Sundin, Adam Foote, Owen Nolan and Eric Lidros, who was later traded for Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Steve Duchense and Ron Hextall in addition to having already selected future team captain Joe Sakic in 1987.

Unfortunately the same economics of playing in small Canadian city during a low point for the Canadian dollar that plagued Winnipeg also led to the Nordiques relocation, as they were moved to Denver, Colorado, where they would capture their first Stanley Cup in their first season away from Quebec.

Today's featured jersey is a 1979-80 Quebec Nordiques Ron Chipperfield jersey. While the Nordiques were the only one of the four former WHA clubs to keep their same jerseys for their initial NHL season, this was the final season for this variation of the Nordiuqes blue jersey before the Nordiques would change the logo on their road blue jerseys from the white version used in the WHA from 1975-76 to a better looking red version, which matched the one worn on the home whites, leaving the home white Nordiques jersey the only one of the eight possible WHA sweaters to survive the entry into the NHL with any sort of longevity.

Quebec Nordiques 79-80 jersey, Quebec Nordiques 79-80 jersey
Quebec Nordiques 79-80 jersey, Quebec Nordiques 79-80 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1980-81 Quebec Nordiques Peter Stastny jersey. The white Nordiques jersey was not only the single jersey to survive the move to the NHL by the four WHA clubs, the Nordqiues were also the final team to use heat sealed numbers on their jerseys before changing over to fully sewn on twill letters and numbers, which they did not adopt until 1991-92, the year they finally added a red outline to their numbers.

This particular jersey shows the wear and tear suffered by the less durable heat sealed material used for the name and numbers on the back. Over time, collectors have had issues with the material peeling off of the jerseys simply due to age, making conservation of these jerseys far more of a challenge than the contemporary jerseys worn by other clubs of the era, which had their names and numbers sewn on.

Quebec Nordiques 80-81 Peter Stastny jersey, Quebec Nordiques 80-81 Peter Stastny jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's video in the final minute of the final game in WHA history, as the Jets wrap up their third championship with a win over the Oilers, who would soon win their fare share of championships in the NHL.

Remember the days when fans would come onto the ice after the championship was won? Modern say insurance agents and security personnel all over North America are aghast at the mere thought of it...


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reader Submission - Yale Bulldogs 1930's Wool Sweater

Our 27th reader submission comes from Chuck Eckles, a fantastic vintage sweater he was able to track down and acquire for his collection.

Here is Chuck's story about his historical sweater and how he has attempted to learn the elusive story behind it.

I recently bought a Yale dureen jersey and I thought it would be nice to add a wool sweater to the collection. I like Yale shirts in particular because they were the first collegiate team in the USA and they helped bring the sport to this country. I looked on the various auction sites to see if a wool sweater had been sold and there were four I found, one from Yale, one from Colgate and two from Dartmouth. If wool college sweaters exist in the hobby, they are not plentiful or they lurk deep in the collections of very private collectors.

I did a Google image search and found a couple of images which I investigated. I found the Antique Sports Shop in Elwyn, Pa. Owner Keith Vujicic deals exclusively in pre-war sports antiques. He had a road blue number 11 Yale wool sweater for sale which I promptly purchased. I had asked him about the history of the sweater but he bought it from a dealer at an antiques show. He could not help me in ascertaining who had worn this shirt.  It had been used for a couple of seasons as is evidenced by the numerous patches and sewn repairs. The tag is long gone from this sweater but most have Spalding tags in them. It would be easy to photo match this distinctively worn sweater but finding a photo has proved difficult. 

I was advised by some more serious and experienced collectors that I should lay the sweater flat in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it for a week to kill any moth larvae. I should then repeat the process for another week. I have also looked into textile conservation services out of Indianapolis. I realize restoring this shirt reduces its collective value but does not reduce it's historical value. I'm not sure what to do, right now I just really appreciate this sweater.   

I checked both the hockeydb and the Society for International Hockey Research for information but there simply is not a significant amount of information about college hockey prior to 1950. I found three men that wore number 11 for Yale prior to 1950. Roger Shepard skated for Yale in the 33-34 season. Bill Barnes skated for Yale from 1937 thru 1940. By looking at a Yale program on eBay a guy named Robinson skated during the 31-32 season.

I picked up Dan Fleschner's book "Bulldogs on Ice". The book provides thumbnail biographies of all the impact players in Yale's hockey history. It is a great photographic reference as well to the different styles of shirts Yale hockey players have worn thru the ages. The sweaters of the 1950's have larger white shoulders than those that predate them. Therefore, I believe this sweater was worn during the 40's or 30's.  I did shoot an e-mail off to The Yale University library asking them if anyone else wore number 11 during the 40's and 30's and if they could possibly photo match this sweater to a photo in the year book. It has been a while and I have not heard from them. 

That's not all bad, I've always wanted to catch a game at Ingalls Arena. 

Yale 1950s jersey photo Yale 1950 F jersey.jpg
Yale 1950s jersey photo Yale 1950 B jersey.jpg
 photo Yale jersey display.jpg

Many thanks to Chuck for taking the time to photograph his amazing Yale Bulldogs sweater and share how he has tried to research who wore it and when it was from. We really appreciate the work involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys through their writing and photos.

While NHL hockey is fairly well documented back to it's origins, international and college hockey can prove quite a challenge when trying to unearth even the most basic information. Even when statistics for players can be discovered, roster numbers in particular are seldom, if ever, attached to the player names. 

Like Chuck, we've also found that emailing an organization and hoping to connect with someone who may be in a position to help seldom results in any new information, and more often than not, generates no response at all.

With that in mind, Chuck has done a really good job of narrowing his sweater down to the era it is from and a small list of possible names to have worn his amazing piece of hockey history.

If you have a jersey in your collection that you'd like to share with us and your fellow readers, please submit your pictures and a story to go with it, no matter how brief or detailed, to spyboy1@gmail.com and we look forward to seeing your favorites!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

1986-87 University of North Dakota Tony Hrkac Jersey

On this date in 1987, the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, led by 1987 Hobey Baker winner and national scoring champion Tony Hrkac and future NHL All-Star Ed Belfour, captured the NCAA championship at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan by defeating the Michigan State Spartans by a score of 5-3.

1987 Sioux trophy photo 1987Siouxtrophy.jpg
North Dakota celebrates their 1987 national championship

The NCAA tournament began with eight teams meeting in the quarterfinals, which were still a two-game, total-goals format.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers, second in the WCHA defeated the Boston College Eagles, the champions of Hockey East, 4-1 in the first game. While the Eagles would win the second game 3-2, Minnesota's three goal advantage from Game 1 stood up to take the series 6-4.

The Michigan State Spartans, second in the CCHA regular season and winners of their conference tournament, easily dispatched the Maine Black Bears 11-5 to advance to face Minnesota in the Final Four in Detroit, 90 miles from the Spartans' campus.

In the other half of the bracket, WCHA champions North Dakota took two from the St. Lawrence Saints, third in the ECAC, to win 9-4.

In the final pairing, the Harvard Crimson, champions of the ECAC, destroyed the CCHA champion Bowling Green Falcons in Game 1 by a score of 7-1, taking an insurmountable six goal lead into Game 2, which they easily won 3-0 for a final tally of 10-1.

Michigan State survived their semifinal game in Detroit against Minnesota 5-3, aided in part by a fluke goal when the puck caromed off the seam in the Zamboni doors behind the Minnesota goal, leaving Minnesota goaltender John Blue miles out of his crease waiting for the ring-around while the puck deflected into the slot for an easy shot into the unguarded net for the Spartans.

North Dakota advanced to the final with a stout 5-2 win over Harvard.

In the championship final, North Dakota prevailed by a score of 5-3 over the partisan Michigan State crowd which numbered an NCAA record 17,644 fans in attendance. Ian Kidd opened the scoring for North Dakota in the first period with a backhander before defenseman Murray Baron added another 1:37 later to make it 2-0 for the Fighting Sioux. Just 18 seconds later Bob Joyce scored from Hrkac and Kidd, North Dakota's third goal in the span of just 1:55.

Belfour Sioux photo BelfourSioux-1.jpg
Ed Belfour guards the Fighting Sioux goal

Michigan State got a goal back in the second period, which North Dakota soon countered to restore the three goal cushion before future NHLer Kevin Miller scored for the Spartans to make it 4-2 after two periods.

Each team would add a goal in the third for the final score of 5-3 as the Gino Gasparini coached team earned their fifth national championship and set a record with their 40th win of the season to finish the season at 40-8.

University of North Dakota 1987 National Champions
The 1987 NCAA champion North Dakota Fighting Sioux

Hrkac led the tournament in scoring with 3 goals and a record 9 assists for 12 points and was named to the All-Tourament team along with teammates Belfour, defnseman Kidd and linemate Joyce.

Hrkac also led the nation in scoring that season with 116 points in 48 games, far outdistancing his nearest competitor by 24 points to set an NCAA record, while Joyce and Hrkac finished 1-2 in goals with 52 and 46. Hrkac's outstanding season was recognized with the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in American college hockey also on this date in 1987.

Hrkac Hobey Baker photo TonyHrkac1987.jpg
Tony Hrkac posing with the Hobey Baker Award

After playing two seasons at North Dakota, Hrkac would immediately enter the NHL with the St. Louis Blues. In addition to the Blues, he would also play with the Quebec Nordiques, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, which included winning a Stanley Cup in 1999, a brief stint with the New York Islanders, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Atlanta Thrashers. Periodically, Hrkac would spend time in both the AHL and the IHL, including a standout season in 1992-93 with the Indianapolis Ice, where he would win the league scoring title with 132 points and be named the league MVP. In 2004, he would help the Milwaukee Admirals capture the Calder Cup in the AHL playoffs.

Joyce saw action in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets as well as several years in the IHL before finishing his career with three seasons in Germany.

Freshman defenseman Baron would have the most successful NHL career among the skaters, playing 988 games with the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks, but easily the most recognizable name off the 1986-87 Fighting Sioux roster would be goaltender Belfour.

Ed Belfour Fighting Sioux

After playing a single season with North Dakota, Belfour would break into the NHL in a big way in 1990-91, winning the Calder Trophy, the Jennings Trophy and the Vezina Trophy with the Chicago Blackhawks while posting a record of 43-19-7. The next season he would lead the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 19 years. He would also repeat capturing both the Jennings and Vezina trophies in 1992-93. During his nine seasons in Chicago, Belfour would establish himself as one of the elite goalies in the NHL.

After a brief stay in San Jose, Belfour would join the Dallas Stars, backstopping the team to the Stanley Cup in 1999, while winning another Jennings Trophy, and a return to the finals in 2000. He would close out his 19 year NHL career with three seasons in Toronto with the Maple Leafs and a season with the Florida Panthers.

Today's featured jerseys is a 1986-87 University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Tony Hrkac jersey. This classic Fighting Sioux jersey is clearly derived from the traditional Chicago Blackhawks jersey, only with the Blackhawks red replaced by the green of the Fighting Sioux and with the "C" in the crossed tomahawks secondary logo replaced by an "S".

A much beloved style among Fighting Sioux fans, this style was first used in 1978 and lasted through 1993 when political correctness resulted in a "North Dakota word mark" style for a couple of seasons until stylized "geometric" Indian head was employed. While today's featured style came into being in 1984, the use of the "Blackhawks" crest dates back to 1971.

For the most complete history of North Dakota jerseys online, we highly recommend Sioux-Jersey.com.

North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 jersey, North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 jersey
North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 jersey, North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1986-87 University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Ed Belfour jersey as worn by Belfour in his NCAA national championship season. No names were used on the back of the North Dakota road jerseys at that time and Belfour wore #29 in college rather than the more familiar #30 he would later wear in the NHL.

For more on the issue surrounding the discontinuation of the "Fighting Sioux" name, please read our post here.

North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 R jersey photo NorthDakotaSioux1986-87RF.jpg
North Dakota Sioux 1986-87 R jersey photo NorthDakotaSioux1986-87RB.jpg

Here is a great find, highlights of both the semi-final game against Harvard followed by the title winning game against Michigan State.



Here is a music video tribute to the 1987 North Dakota Fighting Sioux, featuring perhaps the worst performance of the most annoying song ever written, but the rare footage of the team in action is worth the audio punishment. No points will be deducted for watching with the sound off.




Finally, a look back at the career of Hrkac on the occasion of his induction into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

Friday, March 27, 2015

1994-95 Minnesota Moose Stephane Morin Jersey

Born on this date in 1969, Stéphane Morin played junior hockey for the Shawinigan Cataractes and then the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. After splitting the 1987-88 season between the two clubs, Morin would get himself noticed with 77 goals and 109 assists for 186 points in just 77 games in 1988-89, which led to him being drafted 43rd overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques.

He would spend the majority of the 1989-90 season with the Halifax Citadels of the American Hockey League, but would make his NHL debut with six games with the Nordiques, in which he would register his first NHL points with a pair of assists.

While he would split the next two seasons between Quebec and Halifax, he would see action in 48 NHL games, which included scoring his first NHL goal, in 1990-91, a season in which he would place fourth in scoring for the Nordiques with 13 goals and 40 points despite only competing in a total of just 48 games.

Morin photo Morin Nordiques.jpg
Morin made his NHL debut with Quebec

The 1991-92 season with Quebec as a disappointment, with just two goals and eight assists for ten points in 30 games.

Released by the Nordiques organization, Morin signed with the Vancouver Canucks in 1992. Assigned to the Hamilton Canucks of the AHL, Morin led the team in scoring with 31 goals and 85 points in 70 games. He did play a game in Vancouver, registering an assist, in his only NHL appearance that season.

The following season was very productive offensively for Morin, as he again led Hamilton in scoring with 109 points in 69 games, good for fourth overall in the AHL that season. He would also contribute a goal and an assist in five games with Vancouver.

With his time in Vancouver at an end, Morin signed on with the brand new Minnesota Moose of the International Hockey League, who came into being to fill some of the void left by the departure of the Minnesota North Stars. Morin not only led the Moose in scoring, but the entire IHL in 1994-95 with 33 goals and 81 assists for 114 points in 81 games.

Morin Moose photo Morin Moose 2.jpg
Morin won the IHL scoring title with the Moose

His point total would decline the following season to 78, but he would still lead the Moose in scoring.

1996-97 saw Morin and the team move to Manitoba, but he would find himself moving to the Long Beach Ice Dogs, still in the IHL, after only 12 games in Winnipeg. Long Beach was a strong team that season, winning the South Division and making it all the way to the IHL Turner Cup Finals. Morin, making the first real playoff run of his professional career, responded with 19 points in 18 games.

Morin's next season with Long Beach was limited to just 27 games in which he scored 27 points. Another playoff run for Long Beach would see them win a pair of rounds before falling in the semifinals, but not before Morin would contribute 11 points in 13 games.

For the 1998-99 season, Morin relocated to Europe, signing with the Berlin Capitals of the DEL.

Stephane Morin Berlin Capitals
Morin made the move to Europe and joined the Berlin Capitals

Off to a good start in Germany, Morin scored a pair of goals plus six assists for eight points in his first handful of games, but then shockingly and tragically, after complaining of not feeling well during the first period of the seventh game of the season, Morin died of a heart attack at the age of 29 on October 6, 1998 after he collapsed at the bench early in the second period leaving behind a wife and newborn son.

Today's featured jersey is a 1994-95 Minnesota Moose Stéphane Morin jersey from the season Morin led the Moose and the IHL in scoring.

The Moose would only play two seasons in Minnesota and Morin would hold the team records for most assists and points in a season, as well as career goals, assists and points, as well as games played.

While the three color combination of the forest green trim and purple outline against the black was a questionable choice at best, as the separation of the green from the purple and black is nearly impossible to make out for even the larger numbers and really becomes a dark mass when reduced in size for the name on the back.

While the back of the jersey has it's flaws, the front of the jersey is a winner, with the IHL 50th Anniversary patch providing a shot of color and the very popular Moose logo, which was ranked #1 in a poll by The Hockey News and led all minor league teams in terms of merchandise sales, making for a very attractive jersey.

Minnesota Moose 1994-95 H 25 jersey photo MinnesotaMoose1994-95H25F.jpg
Minnesota Moose 1994-95 H 25 jersey photo MinnesotaMoose1994-95H25B.jpg
Minnesota Moose 1994-95 H 25 jersey photo MinnesotaMoose1994-95H25P.jpg

Today's videos begin with some game action of the Moose from the 1994-95 season.



But what would minor league hockey be without the fights? Here is some rare footage of the Moose playing at the St. Paul Civic center with solid white dasherboards after having replaced the original clear boards due to their age and the advent of dasherboard advertising rendering them ineffective.



For comparison, here's some footage from the St. Paul Civic Center in 1984 with the original set of clear boards.

 

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