History of Jersey 83-93 Banner sm photo History of Jersey 83-93 Banner sm.jpg

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1990-91 Boston Bruins Graeme Townshend Jersey

The only player in NHL ever born in Jamaica, Graeme Townshend was born on this date in 1965. He moved to Canada in 1969 and eventually played college hockey in the United States at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the ECAC for four years with a high of 22 points in 31 games as a senior.

At the conclusion of his college career, he was signed by the Boston Bruins organization who assigned him to their farm team, the Maine Mariners of the AHL. He spent the majority of the 1989-90 season, but made his NHL debut with four games in Boston, becoming the first Jamaican born player ever in the NHL.

Graeme Townshend

He was back in Maine for more seasoning in 1990-91, but did manage 18 games with the Bruins, which included the first two goals of his career.

For the next two seasons he became a member of the New York Islanders organization after signing a free agent deal. Again, Townshend spend the majority of his time in the AHL, now with the Capital District Islanders, including an AHL high of 29 goals and 50 points in 1992-93. In two years he did skate in 9 games with the parent club where the right wing added another goal to his stats.

On the move again, Townshend signed with the Ottawa Senators for 1993-94, playing in a career best 14 NHL games that season. In his 56 games with the AHL's Prince Edward Island Senators, he scored 16 goals and 29 points.

Beginning in 1994-95, Townshend began a tour of duty in the IHL. He played three games with the Minnesota Moose and found some stability with the Houston Aeros, where the rugged grinder played 71 games, scoring 19 goals an registering a career high 204 penalty minutes.

Houston was good for his career and it showed with back to back 21 goal seasons in 1995-96 and 1996-97. He was also named the IHL's Man of the Year in 1996.

He played single games for the Aeros and Utah Grizzlies at the start of 1997-98 before joining the Lake Charles Ice Pirates of the short-lived Western Professional Hockey League. He led the club in scoring with 43 goals and 44 assists for 87 points. After one more season with Lake Charles he retired as a player and has stayed active in hockey, including coaching, and is now running Townshend Hockey Skating Systems as well as being the skating and skills coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Today's featured jersey is a 1989-90 Boston Bruins Graeme Townshend jersey. This classic Bruins jersey was adopted in 1974 and underwent minor changes, such as the addition of a secondary logo and names on the back, but remain essentially the same through 1995.

Boston Bruins Townshend

Here are the two goals Townshend scored while a member of the Boston Bruins.

Here is Townshend teaching at his hockey school, which focuses on skating to take advantage of the new rules in hockey.

Friday, October 22, 2010

1961-62 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull Jersey

One of the most dynamic and prolific scorers in NHL history, Bobby Hull scored his first NHL goal on this date in 1957 in a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.

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

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

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

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

Bobby Hull 1961 Stanley Cup
Hull with the 1961 Stanley Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today's featured jersey is a 1961-62 Chicago Black Hawks Bobby Hull jersey. During Hull's first two seasons, the Black Hawks white jerseys had the crossed tomahawks secondary logo located over the sleeve stripes. In 1959 the logo was moved to the now customary position on the shoulders above the sleeve numbers.

This jersey would remain unchanged until 1963 when a third sleeve stripe was added to match the waist striping.

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

Chicago Black Hawks 61-62 jersey

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1967-68 Minnesota North Stars Gary Bauman Jersey

The Minnesota North Stars were granted a franchise in the NHL expansion of 1967 and their name was chosen following a name the team contest, with 608 different names submitted from 1,536 entries, which was inspired by the Minnesota state motto "L'Etoile du Nord", which is French for "The Star of the North".

Other suggested names were Blades, Norsemen, Muskies, Lumberjacks, Mallards, Voyageurs and the simply horrid Puckaroos!

The North Stars played their first four games on the road before returning to Minnesota for their first ever game in their brand new Metropolitan Sports Center on this date in 1967.

North Stars 1st game ticket
North Stars first game ticket stub

Met Center
Metropolitan Sports Center

Their opponents that night were fellow expansion cousins the California Seals, who the North Stars defeated 3-1 for the first win in franchise history on goals from Bill Goldsworthy, Ray Cullen and Dave Balon.

Goldsworthy first goal at Met Center
Bill Goldsworthy scores the first goal in Met Center history

"Met Center", as it was more commonly known until 1982 when it became the arena's official name was built at a cost of $7 million and was known for it's great sightlines, excellent ice surface and distinctive colored seats, which at times during the North Stars history were all too visible.

Met Center seats
Met Center's distinctive colored seats

The arena was a necessity in order for Minnesota to be granted one of the new franchises, as the largest arena in the area had a capacity of just 8,500, well short of the 12, 500 minimum for the NHL.

The arena was built across the parking lot from Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball club, in the suburb of Bloomington, as a compromise between the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Met Center was also home to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament from 1969-1975 as the best high school teams from all around Minnesota, from Rochester in the south to Warroad near the Canadian border skated on the same ice as the NHL stars of the day to determine annually who was the best in the state in front of sold out crowds of 15,000 screaming fans.

Other teams to call the Met Center home were the short-lived Minnesota Muskies and Minnesota Pipers of the ABA and the Minnesota Kicks and Minnesota Strikers indoor soccer clubs. Many concerts were also held there throughout it's history, ranging from Frank Sinatra to local superstar Prince.

Eventually the Met Center fell victim to it's outdated design, which lacked the essential number of private suites, although several remodeling efforts added a club at the upper end of one end and some jury rigged suites hanging from the roof at the opposite end.

Following their first home game, the North Stars alternated between hot and cold, going undefeated for four games at a time, but alternating with winless streaks of five or six games until finding themselves at 14-15-8 on the night of January 13th, 1968, when Bill Masterton, who had scored the first goal in North Stars history, was checked and fell backwards, hitting his head on the ice, knocking him unconscious. Masterton suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and died two days later at the age of 29, the only player to ever die of an on ice injury in the NHL.

Masterton's #19 was retired by the team and ushered in increasing use of helmets in hockey, which later became mandatory in 1979. The Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded annually in the NHL for dedication, sportsmanship and perseverance was created in his memory.

Bill Masterton
Bill Masterton

Following Masterton's death, the North Stars understandably lost five of six and regrouped to play near .500 for the rest of the season to finish at 27-32-15 in fourth place in the West Division made up of the six expansion clubs, four points back of the first place Philadelphia Flyers.

The North Stars were led in goals (35) and points (56) by Wayne Connelly while Andre Boudrias had the most assists (35) and Cesare Maniago led the goaltenders with games played (52) and wins (21). Goldsworthy led the team in playoff scoring with 15 points in 14 games.

1967-68 Minnesota North Stars
The 1967-68 Minnesota North Stars

In the playoffs, the North Stars would eliminate the Los Angeles Kings in seven games, which included three victories on home ice, before falling to the St. Louis Blues on the road in Game 7 when the Blues scored with 11 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, costing the North Stars a chance to host a Stanley Cup Final in the Met Center's first year of operation.

It would not be until 1981 that the finals were played on Met Center ice when the North Stars attempted unsuccessfully attempted to derail the New York Islanders dynasty in progress. Ten years later the Pittsburgh Penguins would host Lord Stanley's Cup following Game 6 at the Met Center.

Today's featured jersey is a 1967-68 Minnesota North Stars Gary Bauman jersey. This jersey is from their first set of sweaters worn during the North Stars inaugural season, with a lace-up collar before being replaced by a v-neck collar early in the season.

The following season the sweaters would change again, with the addition of a white shoulder yoke and remain in use until 1975 when the single white stripe on the arms and waist would be broken into two parallel stripes plus the addition of highly attractive drop shadowed numbers.

Aside from the two sets of sweaters worn during their first season, our friends at VintageMinnesotaHockey.com have brought to light a different set of jerseys worn during the preseason, which featured a different logo and font used for the numbering, which you can read about here.

Bauman played two games for the Montreal Canadiens prior to being selected by the North Stars in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft and then played 26 games during the North Stars first season. He returned for a second season and saw action in seven additional games before the end of his NHL career in which he won five games.

Minnesota North Stars 67-68 jersey

Today's video segment begins with the story of Bill Masterton.

Our next video is one of Met Center's most memorable games, a bench clearing brawl between the North Stars and the rival Chicago Blackhawks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2002-03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Martin Gerber Jersey

On this date in 2002, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim rookie Martin Gerber earned his first NHL victory with a 3-2 overtime win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche. David Aebischer took the loss for Colorado in the first game in NHL history which featured two goaltenders from Switzerland facing each other.

While former Los Angeles King and New York Ranger Mark Hardy was born in Switzerland and technically became the first Swiss born player in the NHL, he was raised in Montreal, Canada and was not a product of the Swiss hockey system.

Conversely, Pauli Jaks was a product of the Swiss hockey system, his lone game in the NHL with the Kings in the 1994-95 season hardly qualifies him as the first successful Swiss player in the NHL either.

That designation must go to Aebischer, a native of Fribourg, Switzerland who was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche off the roster of HC Fribourg-Gotteron in the Swiss National League A. Following his drafting by the Avalanche, Aebischer came to North America and worked his way up from the ECHL to the AHL before making his NHL debut with Colorado in 2000-01 as a backup to Patrick Roy, where he was a member of the Stanley Cup champions, and became the first Swiss player to have his name engraved on the cup.

David Aebischer
David Aebischer

He would spend five seasons with Colorado, including becoming the Avalanche's number one goalie with 62 games played in 2003-04. He was subsequently traded to the Montreal Canadiens, where he played 32 games in 2006-07 and has subsequently returned to his native Switzerland where he currently plays for HC Lugano.

Aebischer has been a mainstay for the Switzerland National Team, having appeared in the World Junior Tournament in 1997 and 1998, where he won a bronze medal and was named the Top Goaltender, the World Championships in 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2007 as well as the Olympics in both 2002 and 2006.

Michel Riesen was also one of four Swiss players to debut in the same 2000-01 season, with a dozen games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2000-01, but quickly returned to Switzerland to continue his career. Reto Von Arx also tried his luck in North America following seven pro seasons in Switzerland, eventually playing 19 games with the Chicago Blackhawks before also returning to HC Davos back home. The fourth Swiss player to debut that season was Thomas Ziegler who registered five games with the Tampa Bay Lightning that same season before continuing his career with SC Bern.

Reto Von Arx
Reto Von Arx

Gerber was the next Swiss arrival in 2002-03. Drafted in the eight round 232nd overall, Gerber was a longshot to make the NHL, but spent a year in Sweden before two seasons with the Mighty Ducks. Coming out of the NHL lockout of 2004-05, Gerber signed with the Carolina Hurricanes and went 38-14-6 in 60 games, but lost the first two games in the playoffs after returning from an intestinal flu and was replaced by rookie Cam Ward, who led the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup, making Gerber the second Swiss player to lift the cup, only not as the number one goalie he had been during the regular season.

With the emergence of Ward, Gerber found on the move and signed as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators. He would spend 2 1/2 seasons with Ottawa before being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he would appear in 12 games in 2008-09. Without an NHL contract for 2009-10, Gerber moved over to the Russian KHL with Atlant Moscow. He signed with the Edmonton Oilers for the 2010-11 season, but did not make the parent club out of training camp and currently is playing for their top AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City. His 226 NHL games played currently ranks second all-time for Swiss trained players.

Martin Gerber
Martin Gerber

Julien Vauclair made a token appearance with one game with the Senators in 2003-04 followed by Timo Heibling's 11 games divided between the Tampa Bay Lightning (9 games) in 2005-06 and the Washington Capitals (2) in 2006-07.

Arguably the most successful Swiss player in the NHL also arrived in the 2005-06 season in the form of Mark Streit. Following three seasons with HC Davos in Switzerland, the undrafted Streit came over to North America and try is luck, rising as high as the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, but failed to crack the NHL and returned the following season to play with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland for four seasons before being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 262nd overall in the ninth round. To date, four players from that draft have played in the NHL All-Star Game, #1 Alexander Ovechkin, #2 Evgeni Malkin, #29 Mike Green and Streit taken at #262!

Streit remained in Switzerland one more season following being drafted and then made his NHL debut with Montreal in 2005-06 after the resolution of the NHL lockout. The defenseman played three seasons in Montreal, including a career high of 62 points in 2007-08, a high for Swiss players in the NHL. He signed a five year contract with the New York Islanders in 2008, but has undergone shoulder surgery which may force him to miss the entire 2010-11 season. His 361 games leads all Swiss players in NHL history.

Mark Streit
Mark Streit

Internationally, Streit has played in two World Junior Championships in 1996 and 1997, ten consecutive World Championships starting in 1998 and the Olympics in 2002 and both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics as captain of the Switzerland National Team. In 2006, Streit scored the game winning goal against the Czech Republic and then helped shut out Canada 2-0 two days later.

Patrick Fischer (27 games with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006-07), Tim Ramholt (1 game with the Calgary Flames in 2007-08), Tobias Stephan (11 games with the Dallas Stars between 2007-08 and 2008-09) and Yannick Weber (8 games with Montreal in 2008-09 and 2009-10) have all tried to become NHL regulars, but the most recently successful Swiss player is another goaltender, Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks, who made his NHL debut in the 2007-08 season.

Hiller appeared in 23 games that first season and raised that amount to 46 in 2008-09 before becoming the undisputed number one goalie for the Ducks when he made 59 appearances in 2009-10, which included 30 wins that season and became only the fourth Swiss-trained player to surpass 100 games in the NHL.

Jonas Hiller
Jonas Hiller

In 2010, Nino Niederreiter was selected fifth overall by the New York Islanders, making him the highest drafted Swiss player ever following his impressive showing at the 2010 World Junior Tournament, in which he scored the tying goal in the last minute of regulation against Russia before winning the game for Switzerland in overtime. Niederreiter made the Islanders roster out of training camp and made his NHL debut on October 9th and scored his first NHL goal against the Washington Capitals on October 13th.

Nino Niederreiter
Nino Niederreiter

Today's featured jersey is a 2002-03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Martin Gerber jersey as worn in the first NHL game to feature two Swiss goaltenders opposing each other in goal, a game won by the Mighty Ducks in which Gerber was the winning goalie.

The Mighty Ducks wore this style jersey from their debut in 1993 through 2006, with the only changes being the addition of secondary shoulder patches in 1996.

Mighty Ducks 02-03
Mighty Ducks 02-03

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2004 Switzerland National Team Martin Gerber jersey as worn in the 2004 World Championships.

Switzerland 2004 WC jersey photo Switzerland2004WCF.jpg
Switzerland 2004 WC jersey photo Switzerland2004WCB.jpg

Switzerland's finest days in hockey, defeating first the Czech Republic and then Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

On being Swiss in the NHL.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1959-60 Montreal Canadiens Maurice Richard Jersey

Maurice Richard made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1942-43 season with five goals in 16 games. He established himself as an NHL regular the following season leading the Canadiens with 32 goals while playing in 46 of Montreal's 50 games, which was good for 6th place in the league goal scoring race, just six back of league leader Doug Bentley's 38. He also added 12 goals in nine playoff games to earn his first Stanley Cup ring.

He set the hockey world on it's ear the following season, as in just his second full season in the NHL he not only led the league in goals but accomplished the unthinkable by becoming the first man to ever score 50 goals in 50 games, a feat that took 36 years to equal and only four other men have ever duplicated.

Richard came back down to Earth the following season with just 27 goals, which included passing the 100 goal mark, as well as earning his second Stanley Cup, but rebounded with a strong 45 tallies in 1946-47 to lead the league in goals for a second time and be named the Hart Trophy winner that season. Scoring was down league wide in 1947-48, as Richard managed just 28 goals to finish just five back of league leader Ted Lindsay's 33.

After just 20 goals in 1948-49, which allowed him to surpass the career 200 level, Richard had another strong season with 43 goals in 1949-50 to beat Gordie Howe by eight to win his third goal scoring title. He backed that up with a nearly identical 42 goals the following season, bested only by Howe's 43.

He netted 27 in 1952 to leave the 300 plateau in the distance and 28 more in 1953 as he won his third Stanley Cup. 1953-54 was the first of three consistent seasons with 37 (to lead the league). He became the first man to ever reach 400 career goals when he scored 38, which tied for the league lead with teammate "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, in 1954-55.

Richard scored another 38 goals in 1955-56 and got his fourth consecutive season over 30 with 33 in 1956-57, a season which saw him named team captain and lead the Canadiens to the first of five consecutive Stanley Cups under his captaincy.

The 1957-58 season saw him limited to just 28 games due to an Achilles tendon injury, but it was enough to allow him to score 15 goals that season, including his milestone 500th goal on this date in 1957, making him the first man in NHL history to reach the magical 500 goal plateau at a time when no other player had ever reached 400 career goals!

Richard celebrates 500 goals

Richard 500 goal puck

Richard's career was now winding down and his final two seasons were curtailed by injuries, limiting him to 42 games and 17 goals in 1958-59 and his final season rose to 51 games and 19 goals to put his final career regular season goal total at 544 as well as 82 additional playoff goals as he won eight Stanley Cup rings.

Richard 1960 Stanely Cup
Richard at the conclusion of the final game of his career with the 1960 Stanley Cup

Today's featured jersey is a 1959-60 Montreal Canadiens Maurice Richard jersey. This jersey is from Richard's final season and features the captain's "C" on the left chest.

The iconic Canadiens jersey would remain essentially unchanged throughout the entirety of Richard's career, with the largest "change" being the addition of numbers to the sleeves in 1958.

Maurice Richard jersey

Here is footage from Maurice Richard's 500th goal scored on this date in 1957.

Here is a look back at Richard's career on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his 500th goal.

Monday, October 18, 2010

1958-59 New York Rangers Andy Hebenton Jersey

Andy "Spuds" Hebenton made his professional hockey debut with the Cincinnati Mohawks of the American Hockey League in 1949 and moved to his native Canada the following season to play for the Victoria Cougars in the Pacific Coast Hockey League, which was renamed the Western Hockey League for the third of Hebenton's five seasons with the Cougars.

While with the Cougars he won a President's Cup as league champion in 1951 and established himself as a reliable player known for not missing any games.

1950-51 Victoria Cougars
The 1950-51 WHL champion Victoria Cougars

He would play in every game of his final three seasons in Victoria. His personal best season with the Cougars was his last in 1954-55, when he was named to the league's First All-Star Team following his 46 goal, 80 point season.

Based on that success, his rights were purchased by the New York Rangers of the NHL for the 1955-56 season.

Andy Hebenton Rangers

He continued his streak of consecutive games with the Rangers, playing in all 70 games for eight straight seasons while in Manhattan. His best season as a Ranger was 1958-59, when he scored 33 goals and 62 points. At the conclusion of the season Hebenton was named the recipient of the 1959 Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play. While with the Rangers, he averaged less than 10 minutes in penalties per season. He was rewarded for his fine season with a spot in the 1960 NHL All-Star Game.

Andy Hebenton Rangers

Hebenton was claimed by the Boston Bruins in the waiver draft for the 1963-64 season and once more played in every one of Boston's 70 games, giving him a streak of 630 straight NHL games, breaking all records for NHL games played up until that time.

Andy Hebenton Bruins

Following his one season with Boston, his rights were sold to the Portland Buckaroos of the WHL for the 1964-65 campaign. His offensive game returned while in the WHL, reflected by his 34 goals and 74 points in a season where he yet again played in every game possible. He also competed in 10 playoff games and scored 13 points as the Buckaroos captured the Lester Patrick Cup as 1965 WHL champions. Following the season Hebenton was awarded the Fred Hume Cup for being the Most Gentlemanly Player in the WHL.

64-65 Portland Buckaroos
The 1964-65 WHL champion Portland Buckaroos

He returned to Victoria for the next two seasons, this time with the Victoria Maple Leafs, where he would capture his second consecutive championship in 1966 while extending his consecutive games streak to 1,062 consecutive professional games which began back in 1951.

Andy Hebenton Victoria

Hebenton's streak, which remains the record for the longest streak in professional hockey history, would come to an end on this day in 1967 owing to the passing of his father when he went home to Winnipeg for the funeral. After missing two games, Hebenton was back in the lineup to begin a new streak, as he played in all 70 of the Buckaroos remaining games.

His point totals would begin to climb following that season, as he went from 45 to 77 then 78 and finally 81 in 1970-71 for his personal best of his career. Additionally, he began a run of five consecutive Fred Hume Cup awards from 1970 to 1974, giving him six in all. During this run of success, the Buckaroos would capture another league championship, this time in 1971.

70-71 Portland Buckaroos
The 1970-71 WHL champion Portland Buckaroos

Eventually he would play ten seasons in the WHL after the conclusion of his NHL career and his second games played streak would reach 510 games giving him a combined total of having played in 1,572 out of a possible 1,574 games! Unfortunately, the WHL would cease operations after the 1973-74 season due to increased competition from the battle between the NHL and the World Hockey Association, which depleted the WHL's talent pool and placed teams in many of the WHL's traditional markets, like San Francisco/Oakland, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego and Vancouver.

Hebenton's career would wind down with four games with the Seattle Totems of the Central Hockey League in 1974 after 26 seasons of professional hockey, a mark of longevity exceeded by only the legendary Gordie Howe. He would continue to play in semi-pro hockey with the Portland Buckaroos, who had moved to the Western International Hockey League for one season and then the Pacific Northwest Hockey League, which folded before the end of it's season, which brought Hebenton's playing days to a close at the age of 46

His final NHL totals were 630 (consecutive) games, 189 goals and 202 assists for 391 points.

Today's featured jersey is a 1958-59 New York Rangers Andy Hebenton jersey. The Rangers jerseys began play in their first season in 1926, wearing essentially the same jersey style, which underwent some evolutionary changes until 1951 when this particular style with the lace up collar was adopted for use through the 1962-63 season.

Andy Hebenton Rangers

I'm not even sure how to introduce this next video, but it does feature five minutes of Rangers footage from 1961 (if you even survive the first 40 second intro) that includes Andy Hebenton with the most unique commentary of any video we've posted since Marie Pier's French commentary on the Canadiens. It's up to you to decide if it's sheer genius or five minutes of your life you will never get back...

Actually, the longer it went on, the more we enjoyed it. It's rather like if Howard Cosell and Rick Jeanneret had an illegitimate offspring who drank to excess.

Here is a feature on the Portland Buckaroos, with some classic footage that is really a joy to see followed by some former Buckaroos talking about their time in Portland.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend Update

Onion Sports analyzes this early-season meeting between what are presumably two NHL teams.

Blues At Blackhawks

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