Saturday, February 21, 2015

1993-94 New York Islanders Keith Acton Jersey

15 year veteran Keith Acton played his junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. The center eased his way into the lineup his first season, but led the team in scoring in both 1976-77 and 1977-78, the latter season by 57 points! He also placed 4th in league scoring with his 128 points scored in 68 games. Peterborough later advanced to the Memorial Cup Final that season.

Acton was then drafted by the Montreal Canadiens who assigned him to the Nova Scotia Voyageurs of the American Hockey League for the 1978-79 season. He returned to Nova Scotia for the 1979-80 season, during which he also made his NHL debut with a pair of games for Montreal, scoring his first NHL point with an assist.

Keith Acton photo ActionCanadiensportrait.jpg

Having served his apprenticeship in the AHL, the hard working Acton made the jump to the NHL for his first full-time season in 1980-81, during which he scored 15 goals and 39 points. He really found his comfort level in 1981-82 when he scored 36 goals and 88 points in 78 games playing between Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur.

Photobucket
Acton's 1980-81 Montreal Canadiens jersey

Nine games into the 1983-84 season Acton was dealt to the Minnesota North Stars as part of a huge trade which sent Bobby Smith to Montreal. While he would never again approach his 88 point season again, Acton was a vital part of the Minnesota linueup with his tenacity, faceoff skills and strong two way play. He was a model of consistency with Minnesota for the next four and a half seasons, never playing less than 71 games and scoring between 55 and 58 points.

Minnesota North Stars 86-87 jersey
Acton's 1986-87 Minnesota North Stars jersey

Halfway through the 1987-88 season, Acton was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers and went on to win a Stanley Cup later that season.

Edmonton Oilers 87-88 jersey
Acton's 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers jersey

He started the 1988-89 season with the Oilers, but after 46 games was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers. There he played more of a defensive checking role, which limited his offensive numbers, but earned him a fan following with his continued hard work.

Philadelphia Flyers 91-92 jersey
Acton's 1991-92 Philadelphia Flyers jersey with the
NHL 75th Anniversary and 1992 NHL All-Star Game patches

Oddly, Acton was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on September 28, 1989 prior to the 1989-90 season, but was sent back to Philadelphia in a separate trade just one week later! Acton would remain a Flyer for four and a half seasons, but the Flyers entered a down period and failed to qualify for the playoffs after Acton's first season in Philadelphia.

Acton Flyers
Acton as a Flyers assistant captain in 1992-93

Following the 1992-93 season, Acton signed with the Washington Capitals but played just six games with Washington before being claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders, with whom he played 71 games that season, including his 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1994 in a gratifying 4-0 shutout of the Capitals.

Acton continued to play the next season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, but retired after 12 games in which he scored 12 points.

Hershey Bears 94-95 jersey
Acton's 1994-95 Hershey Bears jersey

Acton's final NHL totals are 1,023 games played with 226 goals and 358 assists for 584 points. He also amassed 1,172 penalty minutes and scored 33 points in 66 playoff games and got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup in 1988 while with Edmonton.

Due to the fact Acton played on some non-playoff teams, he was able to participate in the World Championships for Canada on three occasions, 1986, 1990 and 1992.

Keith Acton
Acton's style appears unchanged as he remains active in the NHL as
an associate coach, now currently with the Oilers

Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 New York Islanders Keith Acton jersey as worn during his only season with the Islanders during which he competed in his 1,000th NHL game.

The Islanders original 1972-73 jerseys had a laceup collar and orange numbers. They quickly changed to white numbers for their second season and changed to a v-neck collar in 1977. Their jerseys underwent a minor striping tweak one year later, as a white stripe was added to the orange sleeve stripes and the blue in between the white and orange waist stripes went away, creating the jersey they would wear throughout their Stanley Cup dynasty of the 1980's.

The font for the numbers underwent some changes through time, including a switch to the same font used by the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 1991-92 season which featured squarish sleeve numbers and beveled angles the occasional odd serif, as shown on the "4" on today's featured jersey.

New York Islanders 93-94 jersey
all jersey photos courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today's first video is Acton reflecting on his playing days.


Our second video is Acton sharing a couple of pranks and embarrassing moments of his career.

Friday, February 20, 2015

1924-25 Montreal Maroons Clint Benedict Jersey

Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons not only became the first goaltender in the NHL to reach 20 career shutouts, but he was also the first goaltender to wear a protective mask in an NHL game, which occurred on this date in 1930.

While Benedict reached 20 NHL shutouts in 1925, he actually had 23 career shutouts at that point, as the NHL had only been formed in 1917, and his professional career dated back to the 1912-13 season when he joined the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey Association.

He would back up future Hall of Famer Percy LeSueur for two seasons until taking over as the starter in 1914, leading the NHA in Goals Against Average for three consecutive seasons and recording four shutouts in five seasons.

The 1914-15 Ottawa Senators. Benedict is in the middle row on the right.

Following the 1916-17 season, the NHA would disband and the Senators would join the newly formed National Hockey League. As part of the NHL, the Senators would win the Stanley Cup in 1920, 1921 and 1923 with Benedict as their goaltender. He would also lead the NHL in wins for six of his seven seasons with the Senators after joining the new league.

The relationship between Benedict and the Senators would sour over the matter of Benedict's drinking, which included the Senators withholding some of his salary as a result. When Benedict sued the club, they countersued and Benedict's problems were revealed and the relationship damaged beyond repair.

As a result, Benedict was traded to the Montreal Maroons in time for their inaugural season in 1924-25 with his NHL career shutout total standing at 18. After a previous shutout, Benedict would get his 20th NHL shutout on January 20, 1925, the first goaltender in the NHL to reach that milestone.

1924-25 Montreal Maroons

The following season of 1925-26 saw Benedict add six more shutouts to his total and lead the Maroons to their first Stanley Cup championship while recording three shutouts in four games against the Victoria Cougars.

The Stanley Cup Champion 1925-26 Montreal Maroons photo 1925-26MontealMaroonsteam.jpg
The Stanley Cup Champion 1925-26 Montreal Maroons

The next season Benedict would record 13 shutouts in 43 games and two seasons later add 11 more to his tally as scoring in the NHL reached a low point, as Toronto's Ace Bailey led the league with 22 goals and 32 points.

Forward passing was now allowed in the attacking zone for the 1929-30 NHL season and Cooney Weiland led the league with 43 goals and 73 points and shutouts were obviously negatively affected, Benedict in particular, as his total went from 11 to zero in his final NHL season.

Benedict earned his place in hockey lore on this date in 1930 when, following being hit in the face by a shot from the Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz on January 5th, which broke his nose and fractured his cheek, he returned to the ice six weeks later on this date in 1930 against the New York Americans, now wearing a protective facemask based on one used by boxing sparring partners. His use of the mask was short-lived. Varying accounts claim he wore it for one, two or even as many as five games, modifying the mask and even trying different styles, before giving up on the idea of wearing a mask due to them restricting his vision.

"The nosepiece protruded too far and obscured my vision on low shots," Benedict said. After losing 2-0 to Chicago on February 25th wearing it, "I threw the darn thing away. I blamed it for the loss and that was that." He then tried a wire cage-style protector, like a baseball catcher's mask, "but the wires distracted me. That's when I gave up."

Clint Benedict mask, Clint Benedict mask

He was again injured on March 4th in a game against Ottawa when he got hit in the face during a goalmouth scramble, which proved to be his final NHL game as well as his reported final (of five) games wearing a mask.

If the reports of five games is accurate, Benedict would have tied the Americans in the first game, defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 in the second, lost to Chicago 2-0 in the final game for the leather mask, again defeated the Maroons 5-1 on March 1st before leaving the game on March 4th, a 6-2 defeat by the Senators for a record of 2-2-1 in the five games while wearing a mask of some style.

He played one final season for the Windsor Bulldogs of the IHL before retiring as a player.

Benedict finished his NHL career with 190 wins and 28 ties, along with 57 shutouts in 362 games, holds numerous Maroons goaltending records, including most wins, shutouts and lowest goals against average, and won four Stanley Cups. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1965.

Today's featured jersey is a 1924-25 Montreal Maroons Clint Benedict jersey from the Maroons first season, and the one in which Benedict would become the first to reach the 20 shutout mark in NHL history.

The Maroons sweaters in their inaugural season read "MONTREAL" across the front, rather than the more familiar "M" logo that they would adopt for their second season and continue to wear for the remainder of the franchise's remaining 13 seasons.


Our video selection today is a trip through time and a look at the Evolution of the Goalie Mask. Hopefully you will see some forgotten favorites from the days of the early paint jobs on the full face mask.


  

1968-69 Pittsburgh Penguins Joe Daley Jersey

Born on this date in 1943, Joe Daley's journey to the NHL began with the Johnstown Jets of the Eastern Hockey League in 1963-64 where he impressed with a 40-22-4 record in his first professional season, which earned him EHL Rookie of the Year honors. He returned to the Jets in 1964-65 and duplicated that feat with a 41 win season. His next stop was in the Central Hockey League with the Memphis Wings and another workhorse season with 68 appearances. Additionally, he played another eight games with the San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League.

1966-67 saw no decrease in his workload with a combined 66 games split between the Pittsburgh Hornets of the American Hockey League (16 games) and back to Memphis (50) for a combined 34 wins.

Daley Memphis
Daley with the Memphis Red Wings. Note the cotton boll inside the circle!

Having been previously shutout of the NHL when it was limited to just six clubs, the expansion of the league to 12 clubs for the 1967-68 season created many new opportunities, one of which was for Daley, who was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 Expansion Draft from the Detroit Red Wings, who held Daley's NHL rights. Daley did not play in the NHL that first season of expansion, having been assigned to the Penguins minor league affiliate the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL where he appeared in 56 games.

Finally, after five minor league seasons, Daley made his NHL debut with the Penguins in 1968-69. He played in 29 games that season, which included his first career shutout when he made 41 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the Boston Bruins in Pittsburgh.

Daley had a rough time with Pittsburgh in 1969-70 and only played in nine games before spending the majority of the season with Baltimore in the AHL.

With the NHL expanding once again, Daley was claimed by the Buffalo Sabres while on waivers by Pittsburgh. During his only season in Buffalo, Daley appeared in 38 games before he was dealt to Detroit for the 1971-72 season.

Daley Sabres
The maskless Daley while with Buffalo

Fortune smiled on Daley once more with the formation of the World Hockey Association in 1972. He was drafted by his hometown Winnipeg Jets, who made a splash by signing none other than NHL star Bobby Hull to be the face of the new league. It was a great opportunity for stability and playing time when compared to the unsettled career he was having in the NHL.

Daley Jets
A happy Daley while with the Winnipeg Jets

Daley was the Jets backup in year one, with 29 games of action, but took over as their number one starting in 1973-74. He saw his workload increase from 41 to 51 as the improving Jets added Swedish stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson to form a dynamic line with Hull in 1974-75.

After playing 62 games and winning 41 in 1975-76, Daley went 10-1 in the playoffs as the Jets captured their first Avco World Trophy as WHA champions. Daley again carried the bulk of the workload the following season, playing in 65 games, his most since 1967, as the Jets returned to the WHA finals.

His playing time began to decrease in 1977-78 with 37 games and then 23 in 1978-79, but the Jets would win back to back championships as Daley closed out his career, as did the WHA, which ceased operations following the Jets championship.

After his playing days, he founded Joe Daley's Sportscards in his native Winnipeg.

Today's featured jersey is a 1977 WHA All-Star Game Joe Daley jersey. This style of WHA jersey was used in both blue and white versions in 1974, 1975 and 1977 and just the blue version in 1978.

The WHA All-Star Game was played seven times over the course of league history, generally with an East vs. West format, including 1977's game in Hartford, won by the East 4-2. As the league expanded and then shrank, some creative formats were employed, including having the Canadian-based teams taking on the American-based clubs in 1976, the defending AVCO Cup champion Quebec Nordiques taking on a team of WHA All-Stars in 1978 and finally the WHA All-Star Team facing Dynamo Moscow in a three game series in 1979.

WHA All-Star 1977 jersey photo WHAAll-Star1977jersey.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1969-70 PIttsburgh Penguins Joe Daley jersey. This style of jersey was adopted for the 1968-69 season, replacing their original sweaters which had "Pittsburgh" diagonally across the front. This new style with the circular logo was used for three seasons until the circle was dropped and the jersey was decorated with just the skating penguin logo until 1973 when the powder blue color was made darker.

Pittsburgh Penguins 1969-70 jersey photo PittsburghPenguins1969-70Fjersey.jpg
Pittsburgh Penguins 1969-70 jersey photo PittsburghPenguins1969-70Bjersey.jpg

Today's video selection is a look back at the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA, which includes a quotes from Joe Daley.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

1972-73 Winnipeg Jets Bobby Hull Jersey

On this date in 1989, the Winnipeg Jets retired Bobby Hull's jersey #9.

Hull had been a member of the Chicago Black Hawks of the NHL for fifteen seasons when the upstart World Hockey Association came looking for a star player to jump start the league and attempt to buy instant credibility, and found their man in Hull.

Coming off a 50 goal season with Chicago, when Hull jokingly told the WHA he'd jump for a million dollars, the WHA owners and league officials agreed to contribute to the cause and Hull was signed to a ten year, one million dollar contract. The WHA would not last the full ten years.


Once Hull was in the fold, other players soon followed, mainly in search of the higher paychecks offered by the new league, as Gerry CheeversPat StapletonRalph BackstromJ. C. Tremblay and Rejean Houle also jumped leagues.

Despite an injunction filed by the Black Hawks which kept Hull out of the first 14 games of the 1972-73 season, the damage was done and eventually Hull became a full time Jet and the WHA was off and running.

Hull paid immediate dividends to the league and the Jets, raising the profile of the league and leading the Jets in scoring with 51 goals and 52 assists for 103 points, placing fourth in league scoring as the Jets finished atop the Western Division standings and leading Winnipeg to the Avco Cup Finals. Hull was also named the WHA Most Valuable Player in 1973, but it could be said that he had already earned that distinction by simply signing with the league in the first place!

For the next season, Hull was joined in the league by NHL legend Gordie Howe, who was lured out of retirement in order to play with his sons Mark and Marty in Houston with the Aeros. Hull would top his goal output with 53, but the Jets would drop in the standings and get bounced in the playoffs in four straight by Howe and the Aeros.

The Jets would respond by unleashing the most dynamic line in the history of the league the following season with the arrival of Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg of Sweden.


The trio would light up scoreboards all over the league, with each player topping 100 points, led by Hull's record breaking 77 goals on his way to 142 points and being named the WHA MVP for the second time. His 77 goals were 23 more than his next closest pursuer and broke Phil Esposito's professional mark of 76 in 1970-71. Despite the offensive fireworks, the Jets would somehow fail to qualify for the WHA playoffs.

1975-76 would again see the trio of Hull (53 goals, 123 points), Nilsson (114 pts.) and Hedberg (105 pts.) all top 100 points and the Jets improve 25 points in the standings to capture the Canadian Division title. Once in the playoffs, the Jets would sweep the Edmonton Oilers in 4, oust the Calgary Cowboys in 5 and sweep the Aeros in 4 to capture their first WHA championship and the Avco World Trophy.

Hull was limited to just 34 games of the 1976-77 regular season, scoring 53 points in those games. Nilsson, Hedberg and the remainder of the Jets played well enough in Hull's absence to qualify for the playoffs, and Hull contributed 22 points in 20 games as the Jets returned to the finals to defend their title but lost in seven games to the Quebec Nordiques.

Hull would come roaring back the following season of 1977-78 with a 117 point campaign that included 46 goals as the Jets finished in first place during the regular season of the now failing WHA, which was down to one division of seven clubs after having 12 in the league in the previous season.

The Jets would defeat the Birmingham Bulls in five games to advance to the finals where they would demolish the New England Whalers in four straight games by outscoring the Whalers 24 goals to just 8 to capture their second championship.

Hull, Hedberg & Nilsson Winnipeg Jets, Hull, Hedberg & Nilsson Winnipeg Jets

Hull was limited to only four games in 1978-79 and played 18 games for the Jets in 1979-80 after their absorption into the NHL before being traded to the Hartford Whalers where he was teamed with Gordie Howe for the final nine games of his career.

Hull would finish his WHA career with 411 games played, 303 goals and 335 assists for 638 points (in essentially six full seasons) and two championships and second in league history for goals scored and third in points.

The Jets would play in the NHL from 1979 to 1996 before relocating to Phoenix, Arizona. Years later his son Brett would be signed by the Coyotes, who un-retired Bobby's #9 so Brett could wear his father's number. Coming after a year off following the NHL lockout season in 2004-05, Hull was no longer up to the task and retired after only playing five games, whereupon #9 was retired once more.


Today's featured jersey is a 1972-73 Winnipeg Jets Bobby Hull jersey as worn by Hull during the Jets inaugural WHA season. Their first set of jerseys were notable for both they short-lived original crest and their contrasting nameplates, the blue jerseys having white nameplates with red lettering and the white jerseys sporting red nameplates with white letters, both in an unusual, almost handwritten, font.

For the second season the Jets adopted their more familiar round logo, which survived not only the entire lifespan of the WHA, but also lasting until the 1989-90 NHL season before undergoing a very effective modernization.

Winnipeg Jets 72-73 jersey photo WinnipegJets72-73jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Our first video is a real treat, highlights of a 1972-73 Winnipeg Jets game against the Chicago Cougars, in which Hull scores goals 50 and 51. Take note of the Jets first season uniforms with the original Jets wordmark, rather than the familiar round logo they would adopt in time for their second season, and the white nameplates with red lettering.


Fast forward to 1975 as Hull, now teamed with Hedberg and Nilsson, scores twice against the Aeros.


Finally, here is an interview with Hull on the occasion of the Jets retiring his jersey #9 in 1989.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

1991-92 Boston Bruins Andy Moog Jersey

While playing for the Wichita Wind of the Central Hockey League, injuries to goaltenders Ron Low and Eddie Mio forced the Edmonton Oilers to call up Andy Moog, who was born on this date in 1960. Moog would play in seven games late in the season and then nine playoff games, which included an opening round sweep of the Montreal Canadiens.

Moog Oilers

With the emergence of Grant Fuhr, Moog spent the majority of the 1981-82 season back in Wichita, but did see action in eight NHL games with the Oilers. Moog established himself as a full time Oiler the following season, playing in 50 regular season games and was the Oilers goalie of choice during their first deep playoff run to the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. He posted a postseason record of 11-5, but the Oilers fell to the New York Islanders dynasty.

He continued to split time with Fuhr for the next four seasons, playing in 38, 39, 47 and 46 games during that time period as the Oilers won Stanley Cups in 1984, 1985 and 1987. While Fuhr played the majority of the games in the 1984 playoffs, he was injured in Game 3 of the Finals and Moog stepped in and won games 4 and 5 to bring Edmonton their first Stanley Cup championship.

After three more seasons of playing behind Fuhr in the playoffs in particular, Moog asked to be traded and left the Oilers to join the Canadian National Team in 1987-88. After playing 27 games of their pre-Olympic schedule, Moog competed in the 1988 Olympics hosted by Calgary. Although Moog went 4-0, Canada finished 5-2-1 and finished out of the medals in forth.

Moog Canada

Following the Olympics, Moog was sent to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline. Moog went 4-2 during the final games of the regular season and the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, but were defeated by Edmonton.

The Bruins reliance on Moog grew each season as his games played increased from 41 in 1988-89, to 46, 51 and then a carer high of 62 in 1991-92. The Bruins again made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1989-90 as Moog went 13-7 in 20 games. They also had deep playoff runs with appearances in the conference finals in both 1991 and 1992 with Moog handling the bulk of the work with 19 and then 15 postseason games.

Moog Bruins

Still the Bruins number one goalie, he played 55 games in 1992-93, winning a career high 37 games, but following a first round playoff exit after three straight overtime losses, Moog was dealt to the Dallas Stars in time for their first season in Texas.

Moog Stars

For four seasons Moog was the Stars number one netminder, with a high of 28 wins in 1996-97. His final NHL season was with the Montreal Canadiens, a team he had eliminated from the playoffs four times, after signing as a free agent. There he split time with Jocelyn Thibault and made 42 appearances before retiring.

Moog Canadiens

His final NHL totals are 713 games over 18 seasons, 372 wins, 209 losses and 88 ties. He registered 28 shutouts and a career 3.13 goals against average. In the playoffs he saw action in 132 games, a testament to the strong clubs he played for throughout his career, going 66-57 and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup three times.

He as also known for his goalie mask, which was once named the scariest in NHL history by The Hockey News in 2008.

Moog Bruins mask

Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 Boston Bruins Andy Moog jersey. The 1991-92 season was the NHL's 75th Anniversary season, and as part of the celebrations, the Original 6 clubs all wore Turn Back the Clock jerseys throughout the season, particularly when they played against other Original 6 teams.

The Bruins jersey was based on their 1934-35 jerseys, the first year the Bruins were black and gold after wearing brown and gold since 1924.

Boston Bruins 91-92 TBTC jersey
Boston Bruins 91-92 TBTC jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers Andy Moog jersey as worn when Moog was in goal for the clinching Game 5 of the Oilers first Stanley Cup victory to begin their dynasty.

This jersey has been altered for Moog, specifically having the waist and sleeves shortened, which hides the Nike logo at the bottom of the jersey.

This style of Oilers jersey dates back to their entry into the NHL in 1979-80. Two seasons later this particular style arrived with a slightly lighter shade of blue and a new customization package which included three color numbers. This style would become an icon following the success of the Oilers and Wayne Gretzky in particular as it would remain unchanged through 1995-96 until being replaced by a new, darker color scheme. The blue road version would return in 2008-09 as a throwback alternate and was subsequently promoted to the club's primary jersey once again, only this time as the home jersey with the change from wearing light to dark jerseys as home in 2003-04.

Edmonton OIlers 85-86

Today's video is a highlight package of Moog highlights set to "music". It's up to you to decide if this is clever or cheesy. Or Both.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

1987-88 Chicago Blackhawks Darren Pang Jersey

We're going to keep this one short today.

Goaltender Darren Pang, born on this date in 1964, was the first netminder ever drafted by the expansion Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League for the 1981-82 season, where the rookie immediately made 47 starts. The following season the diminutive "Panger" played 12 games for the Bulls, with a poor 3-8 record and a goals against average of 4.63 prior to a trade to the Ottawa 67's, which allowed him to shine. In 47 regular season games for the 67's, the 5' 5" Pang posted a 28-14-3 record and a goals against average a full goal per game lower at 3.65.

His second season with Ottawa say Pang finish with a 29-10-1 record and a 3.03 goals against during the regular season. In the playoffs, Ottawa defeated the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL Finals to advance to the Memorial Cup, which was hosted by none other than Kitchener. After defeating the Mario Lemieux led Laval Voisins 6-5, they beat the Kamloops Junior Oilers 5-1 before losing to Kitchener 7-2 to close out the Round Robin portion. Their two wins placed them in the Semifinals, where they again soundly defeated Kamloops 7-2 to set up a final meeting with Kamloops for the championship. There, Pang and Ottawa turned the tables and captured the 67's first Memorial Cup with a 7-2 victory of their own. Pang was named the Best Goaltender of the tournament and named to the tournament All-Star Team.

Undrafted, Pang signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Blackhawks organization, who assigned him to the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL for the 1984-85 season, where he saw action in 53 games. He also made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks, giving up four goals and taking the loss in his only start. By taking the ice in an NHL game, Pang became the second shortest goaltender in league history, after the 5' 3" Roy Worters, who played from 1925 to 1937 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Americans.

Pang would spend another season in the IHL, this time with the Saginaw Generals, going 21-21 in 44 games. He again played 44 games for Saginaw in 1986-87 with an improved record of 25-16-0 as well as 7 games, winning 4, with the Nova Scotia Oilers of the AHL.

Pang Sagninaw, Pang Sagninaw
Pang while with Saginaw

He made the Blackhawks roster out of training camp for the 1987-88 season and split time with Bob Mason. In all, Pang played in 45 games for Chicago, leading them in wins (17) and goals against (3.84).

Pang Blackhawks, Pang Blackhawks

Pang once again was a member of the Blackhawks for the 1988-89 season, but was unable to fully seize the reigns as a true #1 in an extremely muddled goaltending situation. While Pang led the club in appearances with 35 games, Alain Chevrier, who arrived in a trade from Winnipeg played 27 games, rookie Ed Belfour (23 games) and Jimmy Waite (11), both of whom spent time in the AHL with Saginaw and Chris Clifford (1) all saw time in goal for Chicago. The competition for playing time was intense and as a result Pang also did see two games in Saginaw, but returned in late February to finish the season with the Blackhawks which included two playoff games in relief of Waite.

Pang Blackhawks, Pang Blackhawks

The following season of 1989-90 was one of very limited action for Pang, as he would only see 7 late season games on goal for the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, but with a strong 2,54 goals against and a 4-1-2 record. Additionally, he would go 3-1 in four playoff games, sharing time with Waite, who went 9-1 as the Ice would capture the Turner Cup as IHL champions.

Those playoff appearances would prove to be Pang's final games, as he would suffer a career ending knee injury during training camp the following season which sent him on a new path as a successful and popular broadcaster, which he is now better known for than being a goaltender.

Pang announcer, Pang announcer

Today's featured jersey is a 1987-88 Chicago Blackhawks Darren Pang jersey as worn during Pang's first full season with the Blackhawks when he led the team in appearances, wins and goals against average. This jersey is distinguished from the following season's jersey by the Gunzo's branding on the back, who were the customizers of the Blackhawks jerseys at the time.

During this time period there were a few other clubs who displayed logos from their customizers on their jerseys, such as the Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

Chicago Blackhawks 87-88 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 87-88 jersey
Chicago Blackhawks 87-88 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 87-88 jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1985-86 Saginaw Generals Darren Pang jersey. The one feature of this jersey we noticed right away was how the numbers on the back are placed so high that it forces the nameplate up into the blue shoulder yoke.

The Generals relocated from their previous home in Flint in 1985 and changed their name to the Saginaw Hawks to strengthen their tie to their parent club, the Chicago Blackhawks, meaning the Saginaw Generals name only was used for Pang's two seasons with the Generals.

Saginaw Generals 85-86 jersey, Saginaw Generals 85-86 jersey
Saginaw Generals 85-86 jersey, Saginaw Generals 85-86 jersey

In today's video segment, Pang shows he's still got the quick reflexes he displayed as a goaltender when he snares and errant puck while reporting from between the benches during a broadcast.


Here "Panger" demonstrates his fun personality that has made him so popular as a broadcaster as he embraces his small stature.

Monday, February 16, 2015

1936 Great Britain National Team Jon Coward Jersey

The 1936 Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in far southern Germany.

 photo 1936-winter-olympicposter.jpg

15 teams took part in a three round format. The First Round saw the teams divided into three groups of four and one group of three teams, with the first two teams advancing to the Second Round.

 photo 1936Olympichockey2.jpg
The picturesque outdoor venue for the 1936 Olympic hockey tournament

Group A saw Canada and Austria advance over Poland and Latvia. Group B was led by host Germany followed by the United States, with Italy and Switzerland eliminated. In Group C, both Czechoslovakia and Hungary moved on with France and Belgium eliminated, while in Group D, Great Britain and Sweden moved on with Japan falling by the wayside.

 photo GBvsSweden1936.jpg
Great Britain vs Sweden in Group D action

In the Second Round Group A had Great Britain winning with a 2-0-1 record followed by Canada at 2-1, keyed by a 2-1 British win over Canada as Edgar Brenchley scored with 1:30 remaining in the third period, which would have an enormous impact on the final standings. Both Germany and Hungary were eliminated from Group A, while Group B saw the United States advance to the Final Round with a 3-0 record, as did Czechoslovakia at 2-1 with both Sweden and Austria knocked out of the competition.

 photo 1936GreatBritainNationalTeam.jpg
The 1936 Great Britain National Team

Thus, in the Final Round, four teams met to determine the three medal placings in yet another round robin format, with the medals determined by their final placings in the group standings, rather than a knockout playoff format as is done today.

Rather than have Great Britain and Canada, as well as the United States and Czechoslovakia, play again, the rules called for their Second Round results to carry over to the Final Round. Thus Great Britain's surprising 2-1 win over Canada and the United States shut out the Czechs 2-0 gave the winners a leg up entering the Final Round and denied the losers the opportunity for a rematch.

Play began on February 14 as Great Britain assured itself a medal with a 5-0 blanking of the Czechs, who were then thrashed by Canada 7-0 the next day, February 15. Later that same day, Great Britain and the United States waged a scoreless battle that stretched to three overtimes before being scored as a 0-0 tie. This left Great Britain with 5 points in the standings, with the United States at 3 and their game against Canada remaining on this date in 1936, needing a win to tie for the top spot and a shot at gold through tiebreakers.

But it was not to be, as Canada defended a first period goal to defeat a tired United States 1-0 following the Americans six period marathon the day before to relegate the US to third place and the bronze medal. Their win gave Canada the silver at 2-1 and four points, leaving the British alone at the top with 5 points and as gold medal champions for the only time in their history, with the difference being Brenchley's goal during their meeting in the Second Round.

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The concluding game of the tournament, Canada vs. the United States

While the British had iced teams in both 1924 and 1928 that were largely comprised of Canadians living in the United Kingdom, in 1936 it was determined that the players must be British-born this time out. Still, nine of the 13 players had grown up in Canada and 11 had played hockey in Canada at some point in their lives. The gold medal for Great Britain marked the first time in the five Olympic hockey tournaments that Canada had not won gold, and to date, some 78 years later, the last medal won by Great Britain in Olympic hockey competition.

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A happy Great Britain National Team celebrates

Today's featured jersey is a 1936 Great Britain Jon Coward jersey worn in the Olympics in Germany as the British upset the world of hockey to take their memorable, and only, gold medal in their history. His jersey is on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

In the early days of international hockey, Great Britain won the European Championship in 1910, won a bronze at the winter Olympics in 1924, took 4th in 1928 and won gold in 1936. Following the resumption of the Olympics following World War II, Great Britain returned for the 1948 games with a 5th place but have since failed to qualify for the Olympics again. This year they won Group J in the Olympic Pre-Qualification Round over South Korea, Japan and Romania, but were eliminated during the Final Qualification Round.

Despite their absence from the Olympics since 1948, the British still compete at the World Championships, currently at the second level of the IIHF ladder system, Division I, Group A. They are ranked 22nd in the world, with their highest placing being 21st in 2011. 1993 was a high point, as they finished first in the B pool, earning their only promotion to the Top Division for 1994, especially impressive when you consider they were in the D pool as recently as 1990, a miraculous rise through the ranks, having won Group D in 1990, Group C1 in 1992 and Group B in 1993! Since that time they competed in the B Pool in 1995 through 2000 and the renamed Division I since then, avoiding relegation for 19 years now.

Coward, like many of his teammates in 1936, was born in Great Britain but learned to play hockey while living in Canada. He returned to England in 1935 and joined the Richmond Hawks of the English National League for two seasons. In addition to being a member of the 1936 Olympic team, he was on the 1937 Great Britain National Team that won a silver medal at the 1937 World Championships. In 1993, he was inducted into the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Today's video selection is some remarkable footage from the United States vs. Canada game, the outcome of which gave Great Britain their surprising gold medal.


Here is a great video, which deserves to be seen by more people, Philip Erhardt, the son of gold medal winner and Great Britain team captain Carl Erhardt showing his father's medal and other memorabilia, as well as telling stories of his father's experience in Germany, which was under control of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party by then. The hockey sticks alone are worth your time, as well as seeing his father's jersey. Simply awesome stuff.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2004 France National Team Sebastien Bordeleau Jersey

Born on this date in 1975 in Vancouver while his French-Canadian father Paulin Bordeleau played for the Canucks, Sebastien Bordeleau played his junior hockey for the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The center scored 58 points as a rookie in 1991-92 and followed that with a 57 point season the following year which led to his being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft with the 73rd overall pick.

He equalled his rookie total of 26 goals in 1993-94, but upped his assist total to 57, the same number of total points he scored the previous season for a total of 83. He then raised his game in 1994-95 with 52 goals and 76 assists for 128 points, which led Hull in scoring and placed him second overall in the QMJHL. He then went on to lead the Olympiques to the Memorial Cup playoffs with 13 goals and 32 points in 18 playoff games.

He joined the Fredericton Canadiens of the AHL for the 1994-95 and scored 46 points in 43 games. He also made his NHL debut with 4 games with the Montreal Canadiens that season.

Bordeleau Canadiens
Bordeleau while with the Montreal Canadiens

In 1996-97 Bordeleau split time with Fredericton (33 games) and Montreal (28), scoring his first NHL points with 2 goals and 9 assists in 28 games.

He played exclusively with Montreal in 1997-98, seeing action in 53 games and contributing 14 points. Unable to crack the Canadiens lineup full time, Bordeleau was traded to the Nashville Predators for the 1998-99 season. Seeing plenty of ice time during the expansion Predators first season, Bordeleau set an NHL career high with 40 points in 72 games, also a career high.

His numbers declined to 60 games and 23 points in a more defensive role in 1999-00 before missing nearly the entire 2000-01 season with an abdominal injury. Late in the season he was claimed off of waivers by the St. Louis Blues, who assigned him to the Worcester IceCats for the last couple of regular season games and the playoffs.

Bordeleau was then selected by another expansion club, the Minnesota Wild, for their second season in the Waiver Draft. He lasted 14 games in Minnesota before being reassigned to Houston of the AHL prior to being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in January of 2002. He played six games for Phoenix, but spent the bulk of his time with 34 games playing for the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, his fourth club of the season.

Having played for six teams over the last two seasons, Bordeleau moved to SC Bern of the Swiss National League A for the 2002-03 season. In a complete reversal to the uncertainty of his position in North American professional hockey, Bordeleau found stability with Bern and also averaged more than a point per game with a high of 24 goals and 54 points in 44 games in 2005-06 to lead the club in scoring.

Bordeleau SC Bern
Bordeleau with SC Bern

During his second season with Bern, Bordeleau followed his 49 point regular season (accomplished in only 37 games) with a 10 goal, 14 point postseason as Bern won the Swiss league championship.

Following his run with SC Bern, Bordeleau moved to the rival EHC Biel club for the 2009-10 season where he continues to play today.

Bordeleau SC Biel
Here Bordeleau battles with fellow Canadian Randy Robitaille.

Note the flaming helmets and jerseys Bordeleau and Robitaille are both wearing in the above photo, which identify them as their respective team's leading scorers, a regular element of Swiss hockey. Sponsored by PostFinance, the financial services division of the Swiss post office, the leading scorer on each team is designated as the PostFinance Top Scorer and wears both a highly visible yellow flaming helmet and jersey, which are quite different from their teammates, something NHLer's such as Joe Thornton discovered to their great displeasure while playing in Switzerland during the 2004-05 season, a practice which flies directly in the face of the Canadian "team-first" mentality!

Internationally, Bordeleau made his debut playing not for his native Canada, but for France in the 2004 World Championships in Prague, following in his father's footsteps, as he also skated for France in the Olympics in 1988 in Calgary.

He once again suited up for France at the 2008 World Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bordeleau France 2008
Bordeleau wears the French throwback jersey in the
2008 World Championships as he celebrates a French goal

Things went better for both Bordeleau and France in 2008, as he scored six points in five games as France avoided relegation this time out with a two game sweep of their best-of-three relegation series against Italy with Bordeleau scoring a goal in each of the two games.

Bordeleau France 2008
Bordeleau ensures France's survival in the Top Division with
this game winning goal against Italy

Today's featured jersey is a 2004 France National Team Sebastien Bordeleau jersey. France adopted his style jersey with it's distinctive rooster logo for the 1998 and wore it again in the 2002 Olympics, as well as a number of World Championships during that time period through 2004. It may be hard to discern, but close inspection will reward the viewer with a subtle black on blue pattern running down the length of the arms.

France's first appearance in international hockey was in the 1920 Olympics. They have since appeared in 10 Olympic Games, most recently in 2002 with a best placing of 5th in 1920 and 1924 and an 8th place in 1992 being their best of the modern era.

In the World Championships, they debuted in 1930 and have participated every year since 1973. They began life in the "C" Pool and moved up to the "B" Pool in 1991. The were in the Top Division from 1992 through 2000, iwth a best of 8th in 1995. They found themselves back in Division I in 2001 and remained there until earning a promotion in 2003, only to get sent straight back down in 2004. It would take France three years to again return to the Top Division by winning Division I, Group A in 2007. They have avoided relegation over the last three tournaments to continue to compete in the Top Division.


France 2004 jersey photo France2004F.jpg
France 2004 jersey photo France2004B.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2000-01 Nashville Predators Sebastien Bordeleau jersey. The original Predators jerseys had a special shoulder patch with "98" contained in it to commemorate the Predators debut season. The following season all NHL jerseys sported the NHL 2000 patch in advance of the Millennium, allowing this jersey to be dated to Bordeleau's third season in Nashville of 2000-01 when the club wore no additional patches.

Nashville Predators 00-01 jersey
Nashville Predators 00-01 jersey

Today's video section begins with a profile of Bordeleau from his playing time in Switzerland, which includes some game footage.


Check out this unintentionally humorous video, as we get some exciting hard rockin' tunes while Bordeleau hobbles slowly around his home, doing not much of anything at all, highlighted by a look into his fridge and the world's most boring photo shoot. Not even the choice of music can create any excitement for this video, no matter how hard they tried!

 

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