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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Greatest Goalie Mask Ever

We are going to have a bit of a departure today and feature not a jersey, but a mask, which feels appropriate with today being Halloween.

Yes, tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of Jacques Plante wearing the first full face goalie mask in an NHL game, so everyone on The Internets will be talking about his mask tomorrow, so we've decided to beat everyone to the punch by a day and talk about a different mask - worn by a very different individual.

In our opinion, the Third String Goalie Award for The Greatest Goalie Mask Ever goes to Gilles Gratton's mask from 1976 when he was with the New York Rangers - The Lion.

Or is it a Tiger?

It depends on who you ask. The guy who created it, or the guy who wore it!

Gilles Gratton mask

Drafted 69th overall by the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL, Gratton began his professional career with the Ottawa Nationals of the WHA in 1972 and finished with an above .500 record (25-22-3) for a team that finished below .500. He would move with the franchise when they relocated to Toronto, and renamed the Toros, and post a 56-44-4 record over the next two seasons. Gratton was a member of Team Canada in the 1974 Summit Series which pitted the WHA All-Stars against the Soviet National Team.

The 1975-76 season would see him make his NHL debut for the St. Louis Blues, but only appear in 6 games after he left the team and attempted to rejoin the Toros.

It was in 1976 that Gratton would unleash The Greatest Goalie Mask Ever while playing for the New York Rangers.

Gratton, known as "Gratoony the Loony" for such things as refusing to play when the moon was in the wrong part of the sky and another time claiming pain from an injury he suffered as a solider in a previous life! Among the past lives he's claimed to have lived include a 15th century Spanish conquistador and a Mayan priest. Released by the Rangers, he quit hockey at the age of 24 and spent three years in India and the next 20 or so moving around Europe.

Gerry Cheevers is credited with starting mask decorating with his iconic "stitch marks" mask, but it was still essentially a plain white mask decorated with nothing more than a permanent marker. At the time Gratton came to the Rangers, masks were generally painted with simple designs, not usually more elaborate than stripes in team colors or designs based on elements of team logos.

Artist Greg Harrison's design skills began to become more bold and ornate, as evidenced by Gilles Meloche's Cleveland Barons "Coat of Arms" mask, Gary Simmons "Cobra" mask and Gary Bromley's frightening "Skull" mask, but the peak of the goalie masks was reached with Harrison's mask for Gratton in 1976.


Some say the mask is of a lion, including Harrison who designed the mask, but Gratton insists that it is a tiger. Either way, it was years ahead of it's time for 1976 and influenced many subsequent mask designs, such as Andy Moog's Bruins "Bear" mask, Curtis Joseph's "Cujo" mask and Brian Hayward's "Shark" mask. It was so revolutionary, so striking and so unlike anything else that had come before in it's realism that it even made Time Magazine on it's debut.

It's also one of the last of it's kind, as in 1977 Dave Dryden came to Harrison with the idea for the hybrid mask, a mask with a large facial opening covered by the wires from a cage. The combo mask would be perfected by 1979 and quickly became the standard, altering the canvas for mask painting forever by forcing the artists to work around the now gaping hole in the center.


Here is a nice documentary video on players from the WHA, which begins with Gratton and goes on to discuss many other players of the WHA, including of course the players who were the inspiration of the Hanson Brothers of the movie Slap Shot.

Bonus Jersey: You just knew that somehow, someway we were going to find an excuse to post a jersey today.

Today's Bonus Jersey is a 1974 Team Canada Gilles Gratton jersey from the second Summit Series between the WHA All-Stars and the Soviet National Team.

Similar to 1972 when Team Canada's jerseys all read "CANADA" on the back where you would normally find the player's name, in 1974, since players in the WHA were now being signed from Sweden and other European countries in addition to the Canadians and Americans, the jerseys for the WHA All-Stars in 1974 all had "INTERNATIONAL" across the back.


Friday, October 30, 2009

1983-84 Buffalo Sabres Phil Housley Jersey

Phil Housley is one of the rare NHL players who never played a single game in the minors. He was drafted 6th overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft out of South St. Paul High School by the Buffalo Sabres.

He was a model of dependability for Buffalo, playing no less than 72 games, scoring a minimum of 15 goals, with a high of 31 in 1983-84, and totaling between 62 and 81 points for each of his eight seasons with the Sabres.

He was sent to the Winnipeg Jets in a deal that saw Dale Hawerchuk go to Buffalo and spent three seasons in Winnipeg cranking out the exact same kind of numbers he had for the Sabres. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues for the 1993-94 season, but his time there was brief, appearing in only 26 games in St. Louis before once more being traded, this time to the Calgary Flames, who would then send him to the New Jersey Devils in 1995-96.

He then signed as a free agent with the Washington Capitals for the 1996-97 season, in which he would play in his 1000th game on this date in 1996. Housley would go on to set the unfortunate record of playing the most games in history without ever winning the Stanley Cup with 1,495. The closest Housley came to winning the cap was the following season with the Capitals when they made the 1998 finals.

He made a return to Calgary for the next three seasons followed by two as a Chicago Blackhawk who traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, his eight and final team, where he would play in just a single regular season game and three playoff games to end his 21 year career.

Internationally, he played for the United States in the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cups, the World Championships in 1982, 1986, 1989, 2000, 2001 and 2003 and captured a gold medal in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

When Housley retired in 2003, he held the record for most games played by an American, as well as the record for most career points by an American, no mean feat considering he spent the majority of his career playing defense, although he did skate at forward as well. His final statistical totals were 1495 games played, 338 goals and 894 assists for 1232 points.

He was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 2007 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Today's featured jersey is a game worn CCM 1983-84 Buffalo Sabres Phil Housley jersey in the Sabres classic blue and yellow colors. It sold at auction for $1,026 in February of 2009.

hockey jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is the rock solid Housely absorbing a blow from Sergei Fedorov and quickly skating away while Fedorov is shaken by the collision.

Here Housely plays for the United States in the 1984 Canada Cup versus Dominik Hasek and Czechoslovakia and gets an assist with a blast from the point.

Once more Housely gets an assist with a blast from the point versus Hasek, only this time while playing for the Capitals and wearing the unfamiliar #96.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1970-71 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe Jersey

Ok, stop us if you've heard this one before.

On this date way back in 1947 Gordie Howe, then of the Detroit Red Wings wore #9 for the first time. As a rookie in 1946-47, Howe had worn #17, but before the start of the 1947-48 season the previous wearer of #9 for the Red Wings, Roy Conacher was sold to the Chicago Blackhawks.


Red Wings trainer Lefty Wilson encouraged Howe to switch to #9, pointing out that a lower number meant a lower and more comfortable bed on the trains then used for travel by all the NHL teams, as the sleeping berths were assigned according to the players jersey numbers.

Also on this date in 1970, 23 years later, Howe became the first player in NHL history to reach 1,000 career assists during the Red Wings 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins when he recorded two assist, plus a goal, at the Olympia in Detroit. (Before you ask, he did not have a fight that night to complete a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick")


Howe would finish his career with 975 goals and 1383 assists for 2358 points combined from his time in both the NHL and his six seasons in the WHA.

Today's featured jersey is an Olympia Sporting Goods/General Athletic 1970-71 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey. 1970-71 would be Howe's final season with the Red Wings. This jersey was auctioned off in March of 2006 for $3,536.94 with the description stating that Gordie "could have indeed worn worn it."

hockey jersey

Bonus(?) Jersey: Following the iconic Red Wings jersey of all time, we must unfortunately present one of the worst. This is Cameron Frye's Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey as worn in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off".

The first issue we have with this jersey is the main crest on the front which is rotated more than any main crest in over 90 years of Red Wings history. Perhaps the crests used to be occasionally sewn on at less of an angle than we have become accustomed to, as evidenced by today's featured jerseys, but we've never seen one do a wheelie before.

Or is it suffering from a flat tire?

hockey jersey

The main problem we have with this jersey is, of course, the name on the back.

hockey jersey

Howe, in his entire time in Detroit, never wore a jersey with his name on the back as the Red Wings did not use names on the backs of their white jerseys until 1973 and they did not appear on the red jerseys until 1977, a full seven seasons after Howe had left Detroit. Even then, it's not vertically arched like the names on the backs of Red Wings jerseys have been since 1982 and the movie was released in 1986.

And let's not forget the fact Cameron wore the jersey with khaki Dockers and loafers! Please.

Then there is the fact he spent the entire day in the city of Chicago, home of your Blackhawks, parading around in a hated Red Wings jersey. They were lucky to have escaped Wrigley Field with their lives...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1993-94 Hartford Whalers Ron Francis Jersey

Today's featured jersey is a departure from the usual array of jerseys on Third String Goalie, as this jersey never actually existed.

While surfing IceJerseys.com, our favorite source for uncrested jerseys, we came across a blank green Hartford Whalers style jersey with a tie-neck collar and the inclusion of the silver trim color only used on Whalers jerseys from 1992-93 to 1996-97. The first thing that stood out about this jersey was the inclusion of the silver trim, which was never used by the Hartford Whalers on a green jersey. The other thing that really stood out about this jersey was the tie-neck collar, never used by the Hartford Whalers.

Despite those questions, the jersey did seem like a perfect match for the white home and blue road jerseys the Whalers used without an alternate during those years and our goal became to create an alternate jersey for that set that never existed.

hockey jersey

Our first stop was, of course, ebay to search for a crest to put on the jersey. Whalers crests are easily found on ebay in a choice of sizes and construction. We chose this one based on it's size and quality of construction, as this particular one is made of six separate pieces of twill, all sewn together, including the outer trim being kiss-cut twill. Others were very nicely embroidered versions and a few looked good on ebay, but proved to be too small for a proper look.

We were also lucky enough to find a matching pair of nicely embroidered "Pucky the Whale" secondary shoulder logo patches, last seen on a Whalers jersey back in 1983 (along with Cooperalls!), at a time when they were quite scarce, to complete the look of the basic jersey before customizing.

Next was the choice of player and, even though he was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Whalers were wearing their final jersey set that this sweater was meant to be an alternate for, I chose Ron Francis, who scored his 1000th career point on this date in 1993.

Francis was starring for the Carolina Hurricanes at the time I was putting this jersey together, and the Hurricanes don't forget were originally the Hartford Whalers.

Other historically accurate options were Geoff Sanderson, Andrew Cassels, Pat Verbeek, the wonderfully named Zarley Zalapski, Sean Burke, Frank Pietrangelo, Chris Pronger, Brendan Shanahan, Jeff O'Neill, Sami Kapanen, Kevin Dineen, Keith Primeau, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and even Paul Coffey, who skated for "The Whale" for 20 games in their final season in Hartford, but our choice of Francis won out under the circumstances of creating a fantasy jersey. If shooting for "accuracy" with our fantasy jersey project, we would have added a 1992-93 Stanley Cup Centennial patch and gone with either Sanderson, Cassels or Verbeek, most likely whomever wore a "C" or an "A".

Once the choice of player was decided on, it came time to decide on the customizing. We opted for a one color name in white and white numbers with blue trim and a silver outline, replicating the pattern on the sleeve and waist stripes. The sequence of lightest color for the numbers, darkest color trim and medium toned outlines seemed to be the best option and replicated the sequence chosen for the Whalers blue road jerseys at the time.

While researching this project, we did discover the origins of our blank jersey, the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, who used this jersey as an alternate, shown below, with two color numbers, white outlined in blue, which we only discovered as we were researching this entry.

hockey jersey hockey jersey

The jersey was then sent in for customizing in the font used by the Whalers on the actual home and road jerseys of the time period to complete the look. Here is the finished project, complete with our "throwback" Pucky the Whale shoulder logos, our favorite touch on this unique jersey.

Hartford Whalers 92-93 F
Hartford Whalers 92-93 B
Hartford Whalers 92-93 P1 Hartford Whalers 92-93 P2

Our first video is a montage of Ron Francis highlights from his time with the Whalers.

Usually we try to avoid posting slideshows in favor of actual videos, but this collection of shots of a young Francis, including the previously mentioned Cooperalls, is rather well done and we heartily approve of the choice of the Whalers theme song "Brass Bonanza" as the soundtrack.

Dasherboard: In jersey collecting news, after years and years off the market, the stumbling blocks over the licensing of Hartford Whalers merchandise have finally been removed and Hartford Whalers jerseys are now available for purchase, made with modern materials and construction in the CCM 550 specification for the first time ever, including Pucky the Whale shoulder patches!

Just click on the IceJerseys.com ad, the top ad in the right side column of this page. Then simply type "CCM Hartford 1979" in the search box in the upper right.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hockey News - Greatest Jerseys of All Time

Today we are taking the opportunity to let you know about the new collector's edition of The Hockey News titled "The Hockey News Greatest Jerseys of All Time".

It just hit the newsstands in our area and is 172 pages focused on nothing but hockey jerseys. It's like we've died and gone to heaven!


The issue starts out with a feature on the oldest jersey at the Hockey Hall of Fame, a 1908 Montreal Wanderers sweater.

There are brief features on youth sweaters of famous players, numbering conventions, Winter Classic throwbacks and then beautifully photographed two-page spreads of Original Six significant jerseys.

The issue then moves onto why hockey jerseys are the best sports uniforms, a discussion if white or colored jerseys should be worn at home (white, of course!), a debate of "jerseys" vs. "sweaters", an homage to the late, great Cooperalls (the short-lived long pants look of the 80's) and a nice history on the evolution from the original sweaters to today's current looks.

There's a tribute to the beloved children's book "The Hockey Sweater" and a look at Mike Sillinger, who we profiled here earlier this year, and other well-travelled players who have worn many different jerseys throughout their long careers.

One of our favorite pieces is a profile of friend of Third String Goalie. Anthony Ferra (who is personally responsible for several important additions to the Third String Goalie Collection) and his quest to obtain a game worn jersey from every hockey nation in the world. Countries that you would never expect to even have a hockey team - like Mongolia, New Zealand, Mexico, Hong Kong, Israel and South Africa for example.

The issue continues with a look at international jerseys and the use of the captain's "C" on jerseys.

Then things get really interesting with a profile of Hockey Hall of Fame curator Phil Pritchard, who you should recognize at "The Keeper of The Cup". It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Phil Pritchard Keeper of the Cup

In addition to his travels with the Stanley Cup, Phil is also responsible for the 1,700 jerseys in the Hall of Fame's collection. It's a fascinating article that looks at various jerseys and how they came to be in the Hall's collection, along with some of Pritchard's personal favorites.

The fight strap is given a page, as well as a look at jersey shoulder patches and logos. Next up is a story about the search for the Holy Grail of hockey jerseys, a 1920's Hamilton Tigers jersey last seen in 1995 and ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of sport's 25 lost treasures.

Following the Hamilton Tigers article, we must take a moment and blow our own horn for a moment, as the next article beginning on page 58 was written by us here at Third String Goalie and is entitled "Dressed to Shrill". Yes, The Hockey News asked us to reprise our summer theme of "The Curious, Weird and Ugly Collection" in what is essentially a Top Ten Worst Jerseys list, although we are actually quite fond of a select few of them - a few. Running five pages long, with a sidebar giving some background information on the author, it's a thrill of a lifetime to have been asked to contribute to the bible of hockey and we want to take a moment to thank Brian Costello for the opportunity and his belief in us and to Monika Moravan for her time as well.

After an invitation to donate to the Hockey Hall of Fame any hockey artifacts you might possess, something I plan on doing some day, is a look at the Hockey News feature Jersey Hound, followed by a piece on celebrities spotted wearing hockey jerseys, a profile on game worn dealer MeiGray and another on former Hockey Hall of Fame curator Maurice "Lefty" Reid and his quest for a jersey from each WHA club is followed by a 34 page pictorial of sweaters of every vintage and theme imaginable.

The magazine then turns to the current NHL and does a team by team profile of each of the current clubs with an eye toward their jersey history, including the longest name ever to don a particular franchise's jersey. The fear some of those names must have put into the sewers!

The issue concludes with some of the best reader submitted beer league jerseys, a look at retired numbers in the NHL and finally a tribute to the hockey jersey by Brian Costello.

Needless to say we are very excited about this Collector's Edition of The Hockey News and consider it required reading for all followers of Third String Goalie and urge you to pick up your copy today or you can order it direct from The Hockey News online store.

Dasherboard: In other shopping news, we are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the brand spankin' new Third String Goalie Online Store! Just click on the photo below, which is also now permanently featured in the right hand column of this page, and the featured design on our full line of products!


There's a wide variety of shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, caps, kids clothing and a few assorted items such as mugs and mousepads. It's produced by Cafe Press, whom we have dealt with for sometime now and they produce very nice, quality goods.

You may have also noticed a bit of activity over on the right hand column as we have added a few banners for products and services recently. We wanted to take a moment and let you know that these members of the "Third String Goalie Marketplace" are all chosen to be on our website by us at Third String Goalie and are almost universally companies we have dealt with directly and have had positive experiences with, unlike the previous "text ads" you may have seen here prior to September, which were chosen by Google based on key words commonly appearing in this blog, and were sometimes irrelevant to what we do here or often ads for overseas manufacturers of knockoff merchandise - hockey jerseys in particular - which we were less than comfortable having on this blog and will no longer be running on this site.

Monday, October 26, 2009

1990-91 Los Angeles Kings Wayne Gretzky Jersey

A milestone never before reached in NHL history occurred on this date in 1990 when Tomas Sandstrom scored against Bob Essensa of the Winnipeg Jets on an assist from Tony Granato - and Wayne Gretzky.

The assist was Gretzky's 2000th NHL point, making him the first, and to date only player to ever reach 2000 points. It occurred during Gretzky's 12th NHL season and 857th game. In comparison, Gordie Howe played 26 years and in 1767 games scoring 1850 points. That's 150 more points in 14 years and 910 games less, and all before the age of 30. In addition, this does not include the 104 points he scored while playing in the World Hockey Association or the 304 playoff points he had scored up until that date.

Other significant career milestones for Gretzky include
  • 1st Goal: 10/14/79 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Vancouver Canucks
  • 500th Goal: 11/22/86 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Vancouver Canucks
  • 800th Goal: 3/20/94 Los Angeles Kings vs. the San Jose Sharks
  • 1st Assist: 10/10/79 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Chicago Blackhawks
  • 500th Assist: 12/17/83 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Quebec Nordiques
  • 1000th Assist: 11/4/87 Edmonton Oilers vs. the New York Rangers
  • 1500th Assist: 3/4/92 Los Angeles Kings vs. the San Jose Sharks
  • 1st Point: 10/10/79 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Los Angeles Kings
  • 1000th Point: 12/19/84 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Quebec Nordiques
and, of course, the anniversary today of his historic
  • 2000th Point: 10/26/90 Edmonton Oilers vs. the Winnipeg Jets
Gretzky would finish his NHL career with 2857 points from 894 goals and 1963 assists, the only player to reach 1900 points, the only player to even reach 1300 assists and one of only two to reach 800 goals.

Even if Gretzky had only scored the number of points in his career that put him ahead of second place Mark Messier, he would still currently rank 78th on the NHL all-time scoring list with 970 points.

Today's featured jersey is a CCM 1990-91 Los Angeles Kings Wayne Gretzky jersey. What identifies this jersey as being from this stage if his career with Los Angeles is the captain's "C" and the two color numbers paired with the two color name on the back on a nameplate, as used from 1989-90 (when he became captain of the Kings) to 1990-91. The following season of 1991-92 the Kings would alter their specification to three color number and names, no longer on a nameplate. After one year of three color names, the Kings would again change for the 1992-93 season. While sticking with the three color numbers, the name on the back would be simplified to a more legible one color name and the three color sleeve numbers would change from primarily silver to now being black and would remain so throughout the remainder of this jerseys lifetime, the 1997-98 season.

Los Angeles Kings 88-91 F
Los Angeles Kings 88-91 B

Ok, you're probably expecting a video clip of Gretzky scoring his 2000th point right about now and we must confess having gone looking for one, but let's see if we can't throw you a curve ball today and keep you on your toes.

This is a video tribute to Guyle Fielder, the third-leading scorer in professional hockey history , behind only Gretzky and Howe, and one of only three to have reached the 2000 point level and the best player you never heard of.

Fielder played in the American and Western Hockey Leagues during the 1050's and 60's and a few seasons into the 70's. Surprisingly, for a player with 13 seasons of 90 or more points, his career NHL totals show but nine regular season games, along with six playoff games for a grand total in the NHL of zero points!

From Potlatch, Idaho, Fielder was named rookie of the year in 1952 and was the WHL MVP six times, the league's scoring leader nine time and a three time most gentlemanly player. At the end of his career Fielder was drafted by the Houston Aeros of the WHA, but chose to remain with the Portland Buckaroos for his last season as a professional.

His final regular season totals a 23 year professional were 438 goals and 1491 points for 1929 regular season points plus 108 playoff points for a grand total of 2037, the first player to reach 2000 as a pro. His 1929 career minor league points still stands as the highest of all-time, as are his 1487 games played.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark Jersey

Maple Leaf favorite Wendel Clark was born on this date in 1966. If you are not familiar with Clark, we urge you to watch today's first video clip to truly understand the type of player he was, as just statistical numbers don't capture the spirit of a player like Clark.

Clark was drafted first overall in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft and made his debut for the Maple Leafs later that year. He actually played defense in junior hockey, but was converted to a forward by the Maple Leafs, a club he would return to again and again during his career.

A true heart and soul player, Clark became a highly popular player with the Toronto faithful for putting everything he had in to every shift, every game. Plus, he sported one of the top, and underrated, mullets in hockey history. Yes, better than Jaromir Jagr and his cousin Barry Melrose, Clark rocked the hockey hair in 1996 like few others before or since, not to mention the classic mustache.

From the documentary, "Mario, Mike and the Great Gretzky" about Team Canada and the 1987 Canada Cup.

Wendel Clark mullet

While it may lack the sheer volume of the Jagr or the overexposure of the Melrose, the ratio of the shortness of the buzz cut on top to the length of the "mud flap" out back ranks it among the greatest mullets in NHL history.

Clark would announce his presence in the league with 227 penalty minutes in during his rookie season in addition to his 34 goals. He would raise his reputation the following year by increasing both totals with 37 goals and 271 penalty minuets.

A back injury suffered during his third season after being cross-checked into the crossbar would limit him to 28 games in his third season and his physical style would take its toll and Clark would see the ice in just 15 games during his fourth and 38 in the fifth.

His games played would increase over the next four seasons of 1990-91 to 1993-94, but he would still average just under 60 games with 59 per season during that time period. After campaigns of 18, 19 and 17 goals, he would explode for a career high with 46 in 64 games of the 1993-94 season. He was named team captain in 1991-92 and the Maple Leafs would make it as far as the conference finals in 1992-93, scoring a hat trick in Game 6 as part of his 20 points in 21 playoff games that season.

The summer after his 46 goal season he was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in a deal which brought Mats Sundin to Toronto. He would begin to frequently move teams for the remainder of his career, being traded by the Nordiques to the New York Islanders and then finishing the season back in Toronto. Two more seasons in Toronto, of 65 and 47 games, would be followed by a stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning followed by heading to the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline in a season in which he managed 77 games, easily his highest total in 12 years.

He would begin his final NHL season with the Chicago Blackhawks, but once more return to the Maple Leafs to finish out his career, where the Leafs would honor his #17 on November 22, 2008.

His final career totals are 793 games played (an average of just 53 per season) 330 goals, 234 assists, 564 points and 1690 penalty minutes.

Today's featured jersey is a 1986-87 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark jersey. Or is it a 1990-91 jersey?

Truth be told, it was originally created as a 1986-87 jersey with the King Clancy memorial patch on the left sleeve, one of the more unique and colorful memorial patches ever, but we were later able to obtain the Harold Ballard memorial patch worn on the right chest in 1990-91 on the exact same style jersey. Rather than shell out the money for an identical jersey to one already owned, the decision was made to create a hybrid jersey and add the Ballard patch on the opposite side of the Clancy patch with the knowledge that it can be removed at a later date if necessary.

Aside of the inconsistency of having patches from two different seasons on the one jersey, the other key feature of this jersey is the unusual treatment of the assistant captain's "A" on the front as worn by the Maple Leafs during this time period prior to Clark being named team captain.

Toronto Maple Leafs 86-87 F
Toronto Maple Leafs 86-87 B
1986-87 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark jersey
Toronto Maple Leafs 86-87 P2 1986-87 NHL Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark jersey
Normally we go into this part of each post just hoping to find some relevant video of an NHL player or perhaps something, anything, on an obscure European player, but not today. Oh, no. Clark was so popular in Toronto, and had we had an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

Without further delay, strap on your helmet for the best of Wendel Clark!

Hell yea! Now that was some Old Time Hockey!

Here is a profile of Clark which looks back on his rookie season.

In advance of his number being honored, Clark revisits Maple Leaf Gardens and recounts some of his favorite memories as a Maple Leaf in a very well done piece.

Next is the ceremony where the Maple Leafs honored Clark's #17 in 2008.

Finally, here is Clark's first game back in Toronto to begin his second stint with the Leafs. Feel the love people, feel the love...


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