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Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 Hockey Day in Minnesota

The timing of the return of the NHL could not have been better, as today is the seventh annual Hockey Day in Minnesota.

Hockey Day logo, Hockey Day logo

The event is run in cooperation between Fox Sports North and the Minnesota Wild. FS North will feature over 21 hours of hockey related programming, beginning at 9 AM central time.

Grand Rapids has been chosen as the site for several outdoor games to be played on Lake Pokegama. The forecast looks good, with a high of 17º and a 50% chance of snow, but winds of 20 mph will test the players and spectators as the wind chill factor reaches 0º.

Lake Pokegama, Lake Pokegama
The rink being prepped at Lake Pokegama

The day begins with a pair of boys high school hockey games starting at 10 AM with #4 AA ranked Eagan from the Twin Cities metro area taking on Hibbing from the north, who are ranked #14 in he smaller Class A. That game will be followed by #13 AA Grand Rapids hosting the defending state champions #6 AA Benilde-St. Margaret's at 1:30. Benilde-St. Margaret's is the school of paralyzed player Jack Jablonski, who is currently an assistant coach for Benilde-St. Margaret's, and he will be featured during one of the feature stories FS North will be airing between games.

Jablonski, Jablonski
Jack Jablonski

The excitement of the day will really become electric at 5 PM when the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers host the University of North Dakota in their final WCHA matchup of this historic, intense rivalry, which dates back to the 1940's. As we covered yesterday, both schools will be leaving the WCHA next season, with Minnesota heading to the new Big 10 Hockey Conference, while North Dakota will be one the founding members of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, making this the final meeting between the long-time conference rivals. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 in the nation, while North Dakota comes in to Mariucci Arena ranked 5th.

Minnesota vs North Dakota, Minnesota vs North Dakota

Following the college game, it's finally time to drop the puck on the NHL season when the Minnesota Wild will host the Colorado Avalanche in a highly anticipated game which will see the debut of the Wild's blockbuster twin signings of hometown talent and forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

Suter Parise, Suter Parise
Ryan Suter and Zach Parise

Wild fans have been anticipating this game since the pair signed on July 4th, and were forced to wait three and a half months for this new era in Wild hockey to finally begin. How excited were the fans in Minnesota? Over 15,000 turned out for Wednesday night's scrimmage at the Xcel Energy Center! Attendance today at just the Gophers and Wild games combined is likely to reach nearly 30,000 fans, with many more taking in the festivities in Grand Rapids as well as all the other 50 boys high school games scheduled to take place around the state today.

Following the Wild game, Hockey Day in Minnesota will conclude with a tape delayed broadcast at 11 PM of the Hibbing vs. Grand Rapids girls high school outdoor game from Lake Pokegama.

Aside from the feature on Jablonski, there will be other feature programming about Grand Rapids and it's hockey tradition, Wild goaltender Josh Harding and his diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis this summer and a story on Caitlin Tate, a varsity goaltender for Park High School, who was born without one of her hands.

Josh Harding, Josh Harding
Josh Harding

In addition to the FS North programming, also currently taking place is the U. S. Pond Hockey Championships from Lake Nokomis in south Minneapolis, which will certainly receive some coverage during the Hockey Day programming.

It's going to be a fantastic, fun filled day of hockey, hockey and more hockey and a great way to kick off the return of the NHL. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. North Dakota Fighting Sioux Rivalry

Yesterday we detailed how the elevation of the Penn State hockey program to Division I status led to the creation of the Big 10 Hockey Conference and set off a massive chain reaction of conference movement in the west, which resulted in North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, St. Cloud State, Denver, Colorado College leaving the WCHA and forming the new for 2013-14 National Collegiate Hockey Conference, where they will be joined by Miami University and Western Michigan, formerly of the CCHA.

This development led to Notre Dame leaving the CCHA to join Hockey East, while the remaining members of the CCHA, Northern Michigan, Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Bowling Green, joined with the remnants of the WCHA, comprised of Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State, in what is seen by many as a case of the rich getting richer, while leaving the smallest schools in their wake to fend for themselves while the CCHA ceases to exist entirely.

One of the ramifications of this great upheaval is the breaking up of some notable rivalries. In particular, one can legitimately say that Minnesota is the main rival and top draw for Wisconsin, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth, Bemidji State but none more intense than Minnesota vs. North Dakota, which will take place for the last time as we know it this weekend.

The two schools have been playing against each other as far back as 1948, and by 1951 both schools were members of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey League, which evolved into the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL) and finally became the WCHA in 1959.

1952 Gophers vs Sioux, 1952 Gophers vs Sioux
Action from Minnesota vs. North Dakota in 1952
photo courtesy of VintageMinnesotaHockey.com

North Dakota has since won 15 regular season titles, 11 conference tournaments, made 27 NCAA tournament appearances and won the national championship seven times, while Minnesota has 13 regular season titles, 14 conference tournaments, made 35 NCAA tournament appearances and won the national championship five times, with many, many of those accomplishments at the expense of the other, including Minnesota's 1979 national title under head coach Herb Brooks, a 4-3 win over North Dakota.

Minnesota holds the all-time record heading into this weekend against the Fighting Sioux 144-130-14. Typical of the drama that involves these two rivals, their most recent meetings in last year's playoffs saw North Dakota stun Minnesota by scoring 6 consecutive goals after trailing 3-0 halfway through their game in the WCHA Final Five, while the Gophers turned the tables on the Fighting Sioux by ending their season in the NCAA West Regional with a 5-2 win over North Dakota.

Minnesota vs North Dakota, Minnesota vs North Dakota

We recommend you check the listings in your area to see if any of the channels on your sports networks will be carrying the games this weekend. How much interest does this rivalry generate? The normal ticket price for a game at Minnesota's Mariucci Arena is $35, but for this final WCHA meeting between these two schools, Minnesota has jacked the price up to $55, a 64% increase. Tickets for the game on StubHub are going for as much as $374 for Friday's game a the time of this writing, while Saturday sees prices soaring up to $424 with nothing under $95 for a seat and $75 for standing room for either night, more than twice the normal price of admission for the best seat in the house.

If you are at all able, we also recommend you make your way to St. Paul Minnesota on March 21, 22 and 23 for the last WCHA Final Five conference tournament as we know it, an event which dates back to 1988 at the old St. Paul Civic Center on what is now the site of the Xcel Energy Center, home to the Final Five since it's construction in 2001. The event will feature five games over the course of three days and will be part tournament, part celebration and part wake for the late, great WCHA.

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

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

Hrkac was the leading scorer in the NCAA during the 1986-87 season and helped North Dakota win the national championship that same season while wearing today's featured jersey. His outstanding season was recognized with the 1987 Hobey Baker Award as the top player in American college hockey annually.

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

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

Today's other featured jersey is a 1980-81 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Neal Broten jersey. This style jersey, in the pattern of the Philadelphia Flyers of the day, was worn by the Gophers from 1972-73 through the 1984-85 season, which included national championships in 1974, 1976 and 1979 under the guidance of coach Herb Brooks.

Broten played for the Gophers in the 1978-79 season before following Brooks to the United States Olympic Team program for 1979-80, where he was a member of the "Miracle on Ice" gold medal winning team at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. He returned to the University of Minnesota for the 1980-81 season and was named the winner of the inaugural Hobey Baker Award in 1981 despite being the fourth leading scorer on the Gophers, 35 points back of his younger brother and future NHLer Aaron Broten, whose presence on the roster led to the brothers having, despite the differences in their first initials, their full names on the back of their jerseys.

For a look at the history of Golden Gopher jerseys, we suggest both GopherHockeyHistory.com and VintageMinnesotaHockey.com.

Minnesota Gophers 1980-81 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 1980-81 jersey
Minnesota Gophers 1980-81 jersey, Minnesota Gophers 1980-81 jersey

Today's video section is a collection of Minnesota and North Dakota "pleasantries" from their intense rivalry. Feel the love. See the bodies hit the floor. See the penalty boxes filled to capacity. See the handshake lines crumble into a scrum. Experience the Old Time Hockey!

Here are some of the more memorable moments from the Gopher/Fightng Sioux rivalry. First, Neal Broten's amazing goal in the 1979 Championship final against North Dakota.

Next, Blake Wheeler scores a similar goal for Minnesota at the 2007 WCHA Final Five, another in a series of memorable games between the two teams, whose rivalry as we know it is sadly winding down.

And in the interest of equal time, here are the two teams two weeks later in the 2007 West Regional, when North Dakota ends Minnesota's season in overtime to advance to the Frozen Four.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

NCAA College Hockey & The Big 10 Hockey Conference

This is Terry Pegula, billionaire, hockey fan, owner of the Buffalo Sabres and, most importantly, a Penn State alumnus.

Terry Pegula, Terry Pegula

When introduced as the Sabres new owner, he cried being in the presence of Gilbert Perreault, so you really do have to appreciate the man's passion for hockey and his undeniable love for his Sabres, and we do not mean "his Sabres" in the sense that he now owns them, but "his Sabres" in the way he has cheered for them as a fan since forever.

As a man of means beyond what most of us can comprehend, he has also generously donated $102 million to Penn State, the largest private gift in school history, to construct a brand new arena and pay for both the men's and women's club hockey teams to be elevated to Division I status - an incredibly  selfless gift that will affect the lives of hundreds future arena employees and student athletes as well as those who will be employed in the construction of the new arena.


There is also a man named Jim Delaney, who is president of the Big Ten conference, and another man named Mark Silverman, who is the president of the Big Ten Network, a channel which is in need of more programming and always looking to add to it's $242 million in revenue and $79.2 million in profit it generated in 2011, numbers expected to rise for the just completed 2012 in light of the 23% increase in ad revenue from 2010 to 2011. Silverman wants to be able to send more of those kinds profits to Delaney.

While there had been discussions regarding the creation of a Big Ten conference for hockey for years, they never amounted to anything, but now with the move to Division I by Penn State, there will be six hockey programs among the Big Ten's current 12 members, a very critical number, as six is the minimum number of teams required for the NCAA to issue an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament for a conference champion and the minimum number of schools needed under Big Ten rules to allow for a conference championship to be recognized.

With that magic number of six schools now reached thanks to the addition of Penn State, and an eager television network looking to add programming, the formation of the Big Ten Hockey Conference was announced in March of 2011, which will begin play in the 2013-14 season. The benefits for the six schools is the healthy increase in the amount prestige and publicity they can expect by being now affiliated with the "Big Ten" name, the exposure they will get from having a TV deal with the Big Ten Network and, of course, the money they will receive from the network while having to only divide it six ways by being members of a new, smaller conference.

Big 10 Logo, Big 10 Logo

Those six member schools are Michigan (with 9 national championships), Michigan State (3) and Ohio State, who are all leaving the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), Minnesota (5) and Wisconsin (6), who are both leaving the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), and the previously mentioned startup program at Penn State, who are going to enjoy the benefits of being able to step right into the highest profile hockey conference in the country.

While the news of five major schools leaving the their two established conferences was in itself a blow to those conferences, they easily could have continued as is, but that was not to be the case.

Oh, no. Not by a long shot.

The stronger schools of the WCHA and CCHA quickly began talks to combine into a new conference of their own, as reported and announced in July of 2011. The new conference was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and combines Colorado College (2), Denver (7), Minnesota-Duluth (1), Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota (7) and later St. Cloud State of the WCHA with Miami of Ohio and then Western Michigan of the CCHA.

This news left the remaining schools in both the WCHA and CCHA reeling, and the other schools being left behind began to look at what they could do to protect their own interests, as the CCHA was now looking at five of it's 11 members leaving, while the WCHA was facing being gutted by the loss of eight of it's 12 members!

WCHA Logo, WCHA Logo

The next domino to fall was when Northern Michigan (1) announced it was leaving the CCHA in order to return to it's former conference, the WCHA. The CCHA effectively died when Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State and Lake Superior State (3) followed Northern Michigan to the WCHA in August with Bowling Green (1) doing the same on October 4th, followed the very next day by the CCHA's Notre Dame accepting an invitation to join Hockey East in 2013.

The move by Notre Dame in turn led to Connecticut leaving the Atlantic Hockey Association to join Hockey East in 2014 in order to get Hockey East back to an even number of schools. This move will require UConn to make some major changes to it's program, as they currently do not offer scholarships and their home arena seats less than 2,000 fans.

The ramification of all this movement is that the CCHA will cease to exist at the end of this year after 42 seasons of play, dating back to 1971-72.

CCHA Logo, CCHA Logo

Meanwhile, the WCHA will be gutted when it loses the likes of Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud and Wisconsin (28 combined national titles in all), and will now be comprised of Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato and Northern Michigan (8 combined national titles), taking the WCHA from the most dominant conference in the history of US college hockey, with 36 national titles to it's credit and a conference which sent all four teams to the Frozen Four in 2005, to a collection of cast-offs abandoned by the Big Ten schools and not invited to join the NCHC, which will be spread from the wilds of Alaska all the way to Ohio in the Eastern time zone, banded together for survival. The new WCHA will be virtually unrecognizable, as it will now have more teams in Michigan's upper peninsula than it will have in the states of Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wisconsin - combined!

In a situation no one wants, both Alaska schools will now be in the same conference, undesirable to the other conference members due to the high cost of travel expenses involved when making the trip to Alaska, as well as the large time difference, as Alaska is four time zones from the five WCHA schools located in Michigan and Ohio. How remote is Alaska considered to the other schools? A provision in the league playoffs dictates that both Alaska schools will automatically be paired together in the first round of the league playoffs regardless of their conference standing in order to avoid anyone having to travel to or from there!

About the only thing the "new" WCHA has going for it is that it will retain the MacNaughton Cup as it's championship trophy due to the retention of Michigan Tech in all the shuffling of schools.

MacNaughton Cup, MacNaughton Cup
The MacNaughton Cup

The disappointments of this massive realignment are many, especially to those fans used to shorter road trips to away games due to conferences grouped geographically. For example, the western-most school in the new Big Ten, Minnesota, currently has eight conference rivals within 390 miles, will now find it's second closest opponent 650 miles to the east.

The other major disappointment is to the schools who worked hard to upgrade their programs from Division III to Division I, construct new buildings and sometimes wait years for acceptance into the WCHA, especially a school like Bemidji State, who spent 11 seasons in the catch-all College Hockey America conference before they were finally able to join fellow Minnesota schools Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State in 2010, only to now see all but Minnesota State bolt for the promise of greener pastures after just three seasons in the WCHA.

Sanford Center, Sanford Center
Bemidji State's new Sanford Center

In addition, all of the smaller schools who benefitted from the larger profile, future Big Ten schools filling their buildings and providing their largest gates will certainly be affected by few, if any visits from Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you are Minnesota State, an hour or so down the road from Minneapolis, do you want Minnesota to fill your building twice a year, or do you want Bowling Green instead? If you are Ferris State, do you want Michigan filling your building, or Alaska-Anchorage coming to town?

Other rumors have hockey taking a back seat to basketball on the Big Ten Network, with the traditional Friday-Saturday series now becoming Thursday-Friday, Saturday-Monday or Sunday-Monday series, which will garner no favors among the traditional hockey fans, as the whole Big Ten Hockey Conference is being perceived as a big cash grab by the conference and it's television network with no regard for the implications this will have for any of the other programs outside of the six Big Ten schools, particularly the smaller schools who will be greatly affected by the massive shuffling of conferences in the west.

All this sure seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a fledgling Penn State program, which would have fit in nicely geographically and competitively with the CCHA and fellow Big Ten schools Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, or even any of the east coast leagues, Hockey East or especially the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), regardless of where Penn State's football or basketball programs happen to play.

The other major disappointment will be the severing of so many grand and traditional rivalries, illustrated by the fact the six schools in Michigan will now be spread among three different conferences (currently 5 of 6 are in the CCHA), and the five Minnesota schools (currently all are in the WCHA) will also be scatted among the same three conferences, the Big Ten, NCHC and WCHA, as geography will be thrown to the wind in the new version of Division I hockey. The Big Ten will run from Minnesota to Pennsylvania, the NCHC will span from Colorado to Ohio and the WCHA will stretch from Alaska all the way to Ohio.

Please be sure to read Part 2 of this story tomorrow to learn about which of the most intense rivalries in college hockey history will be affected the most with the reshuffling of teams and conferences for the 2013-14 season.

Today's featured jersey is a 2010-11 University of Michigan Wolverines Carl Hagelin jersey. This unique one-off jersey style was worn for "The Big Chill at The Big House", an outdoor game between the Michigan Wolverines and rivals the Michigan State Spartans. The game was played at "The Big House", otherwise known as Michigan Stadium, home to the University of Michigan's football team. The game set a world record for attendance at a hockey game with an official attendance of 104,173.

The jersey worn by Michigan was a recreation of those worn by the Wolverines from 1945 to 1948. Hagelin, the Michigan captain, scored power play goals in both the second and third periods to extend Michigan's lead from 2-0 to 4-0 on their way to an eventual 5-0 shutout of the Spartans. Hagelin would also record an assist on the second Michigan goal, giving him three points for the night.

The University of Michigan holds the record for the most national championships in NCAA history with nine, with their first coming in 1948 and their most recent in 1998. The program earned varsity status in 1922. They joined the predecessor to the WCHA in 1951 and remained members of the league through 1981. They left the WCHA, along with Michigan State, Notre Dame and Michigan Tech, to become members of the CCHA.

The Wolverines have been coached by long time NHL veteran Red Berenson since 1984 and he has guided them to a record 22 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Michigan Wolverines 2011-12 jersey, Michigan Wolverines 2011-12 jersey
Michigan Wolverines 2011-12 jersey, Michigan Wolverines 2011-12 jersey

Today's video section begins with a promo for the new Big 10 Hockey Conference.

Our second video is a look at the Penn State hockey team.

Penn State shows what a long way they will have to go to compete with the likes of Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State and Ohio State, as they lose their first ever NCAA Division I game to lightly regarded American International 3-2 in overtime.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Announcing the Third String Goalie Hockey League

We are pleased to announce the return of the Third String Goalie Hockey League!

We invite our readers to join our returning members of our head-to-head fantasy hockey league on Yahoo! Sports for a fun season of competition.

The live draft is scheduled for Friday, January 18th at 9 PM Central time, but you do not need to be present to participate, as your players can be chosen automatically for you based on the pre-rankings which you can edit ahead of time based on your personal preferences.

All we ask in this fun league is that you remain an active and participating member throughout the season if you choose to participate.

There are several ways to join the TSGHL, including our posted invitations on the ubiquitous twitter and facebook.

For those concerned, the league rosters consist of 3 Centers, Left Wings and Right Wings, 4 Defensemen, 2 Goaltenders, 4 bench spots and 4 Injured Reserve spots.

Scoring categories consist of Goals, Assists, Plus/Minus, Penalty Minutes and Powerplay Points while the goaltending categories are Wins, Goals Against Average, Save Percentage and Shutouts.

If this sounds fun to you we hope you will consider joining us!

Zamboni Tribute Day

In honor of the birthdate of Frank Zamboni, a tribute to the ice resurfacing machine he invented that bears his name, the Zamboni, perhaps the most fun word to say in the entire world.

The next time you happen to be looking for a gift-giving idea for us at Third String Goalie, you couldn't possibly go wrong with this piece of brilliance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1911-12 Princeton Tigers Hobey Baker Jersey

Born on this date in 1892, Hobart Amory Hare "Hobey" Baker was considered he first American star hockey player. He hailed from Philadelphia and enrolled at Princeton University in 1910, where he played for both the hockey and football teams. He was considered one of the best athletes of his time, showing immediate skill in hockey, football, golf, baseball, tennis, swimming and track.

While at Princeton he would win a national championship in 1911 as a halfback with the football team and in 1912 and again in 1914 with the hockey team, where he was known as a fast and agile skater.

1911-12 Princeton hockey team, 1911-12 Princeton hockey team
The 1912 Princeton championship hockey team

Sportswriters in Philadelphia referred to him as "the blond Adonis of the gridiron", thanks in part to the fact he played football without a helmet! Baker set a school record with 92 points in 1911, a record which stood for 63 years. In 1913 he was named captain of the team for his senior year.

Hobey Baker, Hobey Baker
Baker in his Princeton football uniform

While statistics were not kept during Baker's time at Princeton, it's been estimated that he scored over 120 goals and 100 assists in three years, an average of nearly 4.5 goals per game and more than 3 assists per game. Aside from his offensive skills, he was also well known for his sportsmanship and gentlemanly play, being called for only a single penalty during his entire college career and known for visiting the opponents dressing room after every game to shake hands with each player.

Hobey Baker, Hobey Baker
Hobey Baker

He concluded his football career at Princeton with a 20-3-4 record and his hockey career with a 20-7 mark.

After graduating in 1914, Baker would win a national amateur championship with the St. Nicholas Hockey Club in 1915. So well known was Baker by this point that the marquee at the arena would read "Hobey Baker plays tonight." While with the St. Nicholas club, Baker turned down a $20,000 offer to play for the Montreal Canadiens, as it was frowned up at the time to for someone of his stature in society to play sports for money.

St Nicholas hockey club, St Nicholas hockey club
The St. Nicholas hockey club

Following his graduation from Princeton, Baker worked for a time in New York and took up aviation as a hobby, including once leading a squadron of a dozen planes over the Princeton football stadium before landing his plane on the football field!

He then enlisted in the United States Army Air Service. While serving in Europe during World War I, Baker rose to the level of captain and was named commander of the 141st Aero Squadron, where he had the planes painted in Princeton's black and orange and adopted a tiger as the squadron logo.

In 1918, while Baker was test piloting a recently repaired plane, it crashed, killing him just hours before he was due to leave France and return home to the United States.

Baker was so highly regarded that he was the only American in the Hockey Hall of Fame's inaugural class of nine inductees in 1945 as well as one of the first group of inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973. Two years later, Baker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, making him the only person to be inducted into both the Hockey  Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1921, Princeton named it's new arena the Hobey Baker Memorial Rink, which is still used by the Tigers and currently the second oldest arena in American college hockey.

Hobey Baker Arena, Hobey Baker Arena
Princeton's Hobey Baker Memorial Rink

1980 would see the NCAA introduce the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the best college hockey player in the United States.

Hobey Baker Award, Hobey Baker Award

Today's featured jersey is a 1911-12 Princeton University Hobey Baker jersey. This wool sweater is identical to the ones worn by the Tigers during team photos in 1912 and 1914, with it's orange P logo on the chest. It differs from the university's football jerseys of the day, which had v-neck collars, as the hockey team used round neck collars, a lesson in paying attention to details when trying to authenticating jerseys, or in this case, a sweater.

Princeton 1910 sweater, Princeton 1910 sweater

Today's video is about Baker and the Hobey Baker Award.

Monday, January 14, 2013

1972 Soviet Union National Team Valeri Kharlamov Jersey

Considered to be one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, Valeri Kharlamov of the Soviet Union was born on this date in 1948. He joined the Central Red Army club in the Soviet Elite League in 1967-68 and scored two goals in 15 games as a rookie.

Valeri Kharlamov

Having got his feet wet the season before, Kharlamov made no secret of his prodigious talent the following season when he increased his goal scoring to 37 goals in 42 games of the shorter Soviet League season. Following the season he would make the first of his 11 consecutive World Championship appearances and contributed 13 points in ten games on his way to the first gold medal of his illustrious international career.

In the 1969-70 season Kharlamov averaged a goal per game while playing in 33 contests for Central Red Army in a season which concluded with the first of four consecutive Soviet League championships. He followed that with ten points in nine games on his way to another World Championship gold medal.

Kharlamov won the Soviet League goal scoring title in 1970-71 with a career highs with 40 goals and 52 points in 34 games. He earned his first World Championship All-Star selection when he tallied 17 points in ten games as he was awarded his third consecutive World Championship gold medal, the dominant Soviet Union's 9th in a row.

He one-upped himself by capturing the Soviet League points scoring title in 1971-72, albeit with a lower personal point total that the previous season, with 40 points and was named the Soviet League MVP for the first time. That was not the highlight of Kharlamov's season however, as he introduced himself to the world as he led the Soviet Union to the gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan where his 15 points in just five games led all scorers by six points as the world got their first real glimpse of his superior skating and playmaking abilities. Later that spring he was again named to the World Championship All-Star team, but had to settle for the silver medal for the first time.

In case anyone missed his performance in the Olympics, Kharlamov became a true star of international hockey with his performance in the fabled 1972 Summit Series when the best that the Soviet Union had to offer took on an All-Star team of Canadian professionals for the first time ever. While many in Canada assumed that their professional players would easily win all eight games of the series, Kharlamov led the Soviets with two goals in their stunning Game 1 upset of Team Canada on home ice in Montreal. While Canada led by two six minutes in, the Soviets quickly turned the tide, evening the score before the period ended and began to pull away with Kharlamov's two goals in the second on their way to a 7-3 win.

Mikhailov Petrov Kharlamov
First teamed together in 1968, the line of Boris Mikhailov, Vladimir Petrov and Valeri Kharlamov, dominated international hockey throughout the 1970's

After losing Game 2, Kharlamov contributed another goal in their 4-4 tie in Game 3. After the Soviets 5-3 win in Game 4 in Canada, the series shifted to Moscow in the Soviet Union. When the Soviets came from behind 4-1 to win Game 5, Bobby Clarke of Canada deliberately broke Kharlamov's ankle in Game 6 which enabled the Canadians to stage a comeback and eventually win the series in a dramatic Game 8.

A fourth Soviet League title came in 1972-73 as he scored 32 points in 27 games after recovering from his broken ankle. A return to World Championship gold was powered by an on-from Kharlamov as he racked up 23 points in ten games for the host Soviet Union.

The consecutive championship streak ended in the Soviet League in 1973-74 but the World Championship success continued with another gold in 1974.

Prior to the start of the next season, Kharlamov again participated for the Soviet Union in the 1974 Summit Series, where they took on a team of mainly Canadian professionals from the World Hockey Association, which the Soviets won with a 4-1-3 record. Kharlamov contributed seven points in the eight games.

The Soviet League title returned to Central Red Army in 1974-75 as Kharlamov had a great season with 39 points in 31 games and yet another World Championship gold on the heels of 16 points in 9 games.

Valeri Kharlamov
For the full desktop wallpaper of this image of Kharlamov, please visit Russian Hockey Digest

While his personal scoring level continued unchanged in 1975-76, Kharlamov had to unusually settle for silver in both the Soviet League and the World Championships. All was not lost however, as the Soviet Union dominated the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria to win the second gold medal of Kharlamov's career. He would be one of four Soviet players to tie for the tournament scoring lead with ten points in five games, including his game winning goal in their final game against Czechoslovakia.

Of interest, it was during the Soviet League season that the Central Red Army club took a break from domestic competition and participated in the first Super Series of exhibition games in North America against teams from the NHL which included a win over the New York Rangers, the enthralling tie against Montreal on New Year's Eve, called by many the greatest game of hockey ever played, another win, this time over the Boston Bruins and the notorious game against the Philadelphia Flyers when Kharlamov was targeted with an elbow to the head from the blind side which caused the Soviet coach to pull his team off the ice when to penalty was called.

That spring he was seriously injured in a car accident, which put his hockey career in jeopardy and cost him a chance to compete in the 1976 Canada Cup.

While Kharlamov was limited to 21 games because of recovery time from his injuries, the 1976-77 saw Central Red Army begin an era of dominance unlike any ever seen before with the first of 13 consecutive titles but the national team would fall to third place and the bronze medal at the World Championships.

Kharlamov would have one of his best offensive seasons when he totaled 42 points in only 29 games during the 1977-78 domestic season and a new run of gold medals would begin at the 1978 World Championships, the first of five in a row for the Soviet Union.

He was in peak form in 1978-79, scoring 22 goals and 48 points in the Soviet League, his greatest number of points since 1971. He had another impressive tournament at the World Championships with 14 points in eight games as the Soviet Union won gold on home ice in Moscow. He also participated in the 1979 Challenge Cup for the Soviet Union in a three game series against a team of NHL All-Stars which took the place of the normal NHL All-Star Game that season, which the Soviets won two games to one with a decisive 6-0 victory on Game 3.

1979-80 was a memorable campaign for Kharlamov as he added 38 points in 42 games and another Soviet League title. In February of 1980, his chance at his third consecutive Olympic gold medal was derailed by the "Miracle on Ice" during which the Soviet Union was upset by the United States in an upset so great that the loss was ranked the #1 story of the century by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The Soviet Union eventually was awarded the silver medal with a 7-1 record. Of note, there were no World Championships held in 1980 due to the Olympic games.

A final Soviet League title for Kharlamov came in 1980-81 when he scored 25 points in 30 games. During his Soviet League career, Kharlamov scored 293 goals and 214 assists for 504 points in 436 games.

Sadly, on August 17, 1981, Kharlamov was killed at the age of 33 due to injuries suffered in a car accident which also claimed the life of his wife Irina.

In 1998, Kharlamov was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame. 2005 saw him become only the second non-NHL player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining fellow Soviet player and teammate, goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. In 2008 he was selected as just one of six players to be named to the IIHF Centennial All-Star Team, honoring the best players in the 100 year history of the IIHF.

IIHF All Century Team
The IIHF Centennial All-Star Team announcement honoring Kharlamov, Tretiak, Slava Fetisov, Borje Salming, Wayne Gretzky and Sergei Makarov.

Other tributes to Kharlamov include a division of the top Russian professional hockey league, the KHL, being named after him, the the award for the top Russian player in the NHL each season being named the Kharlamov Trophy and the championship team in the junior league in Russia for players aged 17-21, the Minor Hockey League, is awarded the Kharlamov Cup.

Additionally, Kharlamov's #17 has been retired by both the Central Red Army club and the Russia National Team.

Kharlamov #17

In total, Kharlamov won 11 Soviet League titles, eight World Championship Gold medals and two Olympic gold medals as well as one Soviet League scoring title, seven Soviet League All-Star awards and two Soviet League MVP awards and is the all-time leading scorer in the Olympics for the Soviet Union with 35 points in 17 games.

Today's featured jersey is a 1972 Soviet Union National Team Valeri Kharlamov jersey as worn in the 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Team Canada in which Kharlamov suffered a broken ankle in an effort to neutralize him.

Soviet National Team jerseys were generally quite spartan in appearance, using simple red jerseys with generally minimal striping and one color white names and numbers.

There were occasional dashes of flair, such as 1956's chevron striping, their first use of red and white after debuting in blue and white(!) in 1954, 1987's dual triangle look and the diamond trim used on their jerseys in the late 70's and early 80's, such as those worn during the "Miracle on Ice". Just the addition of yellow trim in the late 1980's was a radical departure after 30 years of only red and white sweaters.

Soviet Union 1972 jersey
Soviet Union 1972 jersey

Today's video segment begins with this tribute to Kharlamov.

This next video is about the dedication of a monument to Kharlamov in Moscow and includes several interviews with former teammates who speak about their recollections of playing with him.

Here is one more very well put together tribute video to Kharlamov, followed by his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reader Submission - 2002 Team Canada Jersey

Our 20th reader submission comes from Jacob Conell, and it has got to be the most unusual story we've heard about how someone acquired their jersey.

Here is Jacob's off-beat story about his jersey and and the unexpected way in which he was able to come to possess his jersey.
The Canada jersey was given to me by a homeless guy. 
We met because I was playing road hockey in my driveway and he asked if he could have some empty beer cans. Well he came back a few weeks later and got more cans, I told him he can come by whenever he wants. 
A month after I met him, we were fixing my bike or something, then he left for the night and found a perfectly clean team Canada jersey on the ground! So the next day he comes with it, I was really surprised that he found it. 
This guy never does anything to harm people. I think he gave me a Megadeath CD before. He is always trying to help everyone. Anyways, I only wore the jersey I think once after that to a Canada Day event, before I got it signed by Shea Weber. 
Weber used to play for our WHL team, the Kelowna Rockets, so he was in town meeting fans. A few of my friends completely forgot that he was in town, so when I showed them the jersey they were jealous. 
Unfortunately, my mom and I moved a town over, so I never got to talk to the homeless guy again. He was on Facebook a few times, but he doesn’t go on anymore. He referred to me as “His bottle buddy” Which is hilarious. All this was in I think... April 2011 then I got it signed in July 2011. I plan to get WEBER on the back real soon, as long as they don’t wash the jersey. 
I also have a Vancouver Canucks Willie Mitchell jersey, my mom bought a beer (surprise, surprise) and was entered in a contest for buying the beer and won it, brought it home, and it sure surprised me. I didn’t even wear it for the first time until 2 years ago. I wanna be buried in this jersey when I die because it’s better than some stinkin’ suit know what I’m sayin’?

There you have it, readers, the most unexpected reader submission story about how someone came to acquire their favorite jersey. And who knew a homeless guy would ever be on Facebook?

Thanks to Jacob for taking the time to photograph his jersey and share his most unusual story about the gift of his jersey. We really appreciate the efforts involved when our readers take the time and effort to share their jerseys. It's also great that he was then able to get the jersey signed by his favorite player. And then his mom wins one in a contest? Karma is really on Jacob's side when it comes to jerseys! Oh yea. He wants to be buried in the jersey as well! Jacob is clearly our kind of people.

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


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