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Saturday, December 5, 2015

1943-44 Chicago Black Hawks Fido Purpur Jersey

The first player born and raised in North Dakota to play in the NHL, Cliff "Fido" Purpur, first turned professional in 1932-33 with the Minneapolis Millers of the Central Hockey League. In two seasons for the Millers, Purpur played in 81 games and scored 28 goals and 41 points, which caught the attention of the St. Louis Eagles of the NHL. The Eagles signed Purpur to play at the age of 20 for the 1934-35 season, the Eagles one and only in the league prior to folding.

Purpur Eagles

After playing 25 games with St. Louis, including scoring his first NHL goal, Purpur rejoined the Millers for the remainder of the season.

It was in Minneapolis that he acquired his unusual nickname when a sportswriter wrote Purpur was "busier than a springer in a field of pheasants." leading to his unusual canine nickname.

It was back to St. Louis for the 1935-36 campaign, only this time with the St. Louis Flyers of the American Hockey Association in time for the Flyers to win the league championship. His first two seasons with the Flyers started out slowly, scoring 20 goals in 79 games, but he found his offensive game beginning in 1937-38 with 23 goals prior to setting career highs in goals (35), assists (43) and points (78) in 1938-39 to lead the club in scoring on their way to their second consecutive title. His speed and determined play, combined with his smaller size ( 5' 6" and 155 lbs.) and accessibility made him a fan favorite in St. Louis.

He would back up his 35 goals with another 32 in 1939-40 on his way to a 70 point season and conclude his run with the Flyers by helping them to their fourth championship in his six seasons with the club.

His successes in the minors earned him a second opportunity in the NHL, this time with the Chicago Black Hawks. His stay only lasted eight games, as he also developed a medical condition which gave him a persistent fever. The remainder of the 1941-42 season was spent on the other side of Missouri with the Kansas City Americans.

Purpur returned to the Black Hawks full time in 1942-43, setting a career NHL best in all offensive categories with 13 goals, 16 assists and 29 points and played on a line with brothers Max and Doug Bentley

During the 1943-44 season, Purpur scored the only hat trick of his career on this date in 1943 when he had three goals and an assist in a Black Hawks 7-6 win over the New York Rangers. His hat trick accounted for a third of his 9 total goals for the entire season.

He split time in 1944-45 between the Black Hawks (21 games) and the Indianapolis Capitols (26 games). He then played briefly with the Detroit Red Wings for seven games of that season's playoffs.

Purpur Black Hawks

It was back to St. Louis for 1945-46 to rejoin the Flyers, where he had his highest scoring season in four years with 18 goals.

His final season of 1946-47 was spent back in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, only this time across the river in St. Paul with the Saints of the United States Hockey League where he scored the final 15 goals of his career.

Purpur's final NHL totals stand at 144 games played with 25 goals and 35 assists for 60 points.

Following his playing days, Purpur played senior hockey in Grand Forks with his brothers Ray and Ken, coached at both the high school level in Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota from 1949 to 1956.

Purpur Brothers
Ray, Ken and Fido Purpur while with the Grand Forks Amerks

He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974 and was given the highest citizen honor of North Dakota, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 1981.

Fido Purpur

Today's featured jersey is a 1942-43 Chicago Black Hawks jersey from Purpur's finest NHL season when he set career highs in all offensive categories.

The Black Hawks barbepole style was originally adopted in 1937 and went through a few minor revisions in striping and logo before arriving at this design in 1941 which remained unchanged until 1947 before there were some additional tweaks to the logo. The Black Hawks would continue to wear this basic barberpole style jersey until 1955 before changing to the original version of their jerseys which remain in use today.

This jersey was revived as the Blackhawks Turn Back the Clock jersey for the NHL's 75th Anniversary season when the Original 6 teams all wore throwback jerseys from their past at times during the 1991-92 season.

Chicago Black Hawks 42-43 jersey

Friday, December 4, 2015

1980 Soviet Union National Team Sergei Starikov Jersey

Born on this date in 1958 in Cheylabinsk, Soviet Union defenseman Sergei Starikov began his carer with Traktor Cheylabinsk in the Soviet second division in 1975-76. He also made his international debut in the European U18 Junior Championships.

He moved up to the senior Traktor team in the Soviet Championship League for the 1976-77 season and played in his first World Juniors, where the Soviet Union won the gold medal with a perfect 7-0 record in what was the first recognized IIHF World Junior Championship.

Starikov returned to Traktor for the 1977-78 season and won a second consecutive gold medal at the 1978 World Juniors. He would play a third season for his hometown Cheylabinsk, scoring 6 goals and 14 points in 44 games of the much shorter Soviet schedule of games, his first season of scoring double digit points. In a sign of what was to come, Starikov was chosen as a member of the Soviet Union National Team for the squad that took on the NHL's best in the 1979 Challenge Cup in Madison Square Garden, a three game series won decisively by the Soviets with a 6-0 shutout in Game 3. That spring, he would make his senior level World Championships debut with a single game at the 1979 Worlds as the Soviets would win the gold medal as hosts in Moscow.

As was often the case in Soviet hockey, Starikov's high level of play caught the attention of those in charge, and for the 1979-80 season, Starikov became a member of the famed Central Red Army (CSKA Moscow), winning his first of ten consecutive Soviet League championships after enjoying his first 10 goal season. He also made his Olympic debut at the age of 21, younger than many of the American "students", but had the unfortunate timing to be on the losing side of the 1980 Miracle on Ice, as the Soviets came home with an unappreciated silver medal. Many blamed Starikov for his role, as Mark Johnson's tying goal happened after the puck bounced off his skate to Johnson.

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The 1980 Soviet Olympic Team

Starikov retained his place with CSKA Moscow for 1980-81 and 1981-82, winning his second and third Soviet league titles, but the fallout from the loss at the 1980 Olympics cost him his place on the national team for the next two years.

Still, he persevered and a third season with CSKA saw him set a new personal best with 6 goals and his first 20 point season, his highest in the Soviet league. That led to a recall by the national team and he suited up for the 1983 World Championships, where he scored 5 points, including a goal, as the Soviets won gold in West Germany.

For the 1983-84 season, Starikov nearly duplicated his offensive output while setting a career high with 11 goals on his way to 18 points. That season also saw him return to the Olympics for the 1984 edition in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, where the powerful Soviets returned to their dominating ways en route to a gold medal. Later that fall, Starikov added to his international resume when he competed for the Soviet Union at the 1984 Canada Cup tournament.

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The 1984 Olympic gold medal winning Soviet Union

Another year, another Soviet championship for Starikov and CSKA following the 1984-85 season followed by a bronze medal at the 1985 World Championships, while 1985-86 saw a return to normalcy, as Starikov was able to "win the double" with his seventh Soviet championship followed by a World Championship gold medal as the Soviets claimed the championship as hosts in Moscow once again.

Starikov had a busy 1986-87 season, as he played another full season for CSKA, for whom he was extremely durable, and then was chosen for the roster for the national team who took on the NHL All-Stars at Rendez-vous 87 in Quebec, a two game series split by the two sides. Starikov then played in his final World Championships that spring, finishing with a silver medal thanks to losing to Sweden via a tie breaker of goal differential.

The 1987-88 season saw the customary Soviet League title capped off by an Olympic gold medal at the 1988 Games in Calgary, the final one for the Soviet Union and Starikov's second.

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The 1988 Olympic gold medalists from the Soviet Union

The storms of change were on the horizon but Starikov had one final season to play for Red Army in 1988-89 as the club won its 13th consecutive title and tenth for Starikov after his arrival in Moscow back in 1979.

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Starikov won ten championships with Red Army

For the 1989-90 season, the 31 year old Starikov, along with Red Army teammate Slava Fetisov, became only the second and third Soviet players allowed to leave the Soviet Union to play in the NHL, as they joined the New Jersey Devils.

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Starikov's arrival with Fetisov made big news in North America

"It was a big surprise. Everything happened so quick," Starikov recalled. "Slava called me after Viktor Tikhonov released me from the team and Slava asked me if I wanted to come to the NHL and play for the Devils. I told him I wasn't drafted, but he said, 'Tell me now if you want to come.'

"I thought about it for five minutes and I said to Irina, my wife, 'Why don't we go and try?' Those were tough days in the Soviet Union. Lou Lamoriello cam to Mosco and did a great job. He got visas for us."

The two players were released from their Russian commitments in May of 1989 and they signed with the Devils in June.

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Fetisov, Lamoriello and Starikov as the Russians are introduced as Devils

Starikov did not fare particularly well with the transition to the culture shock of not only the smaller rinks and style of play in the NHL, but simply adapting to life in the United States.

"Social life and hockey, too. Every step was like a surprise," he said. "Unfortunately my back was hurt. In December I went to the Devils farm club in Utica and played there for two years. And I knew Alexei Kasatonov was coming. It looked like too many Russian defensemen on one team."

His time in New Jersey was brief, playing just 16 games, registering a lone assist, before being sent down to the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League, where he played well, scoring 8 goals and 19 points in 43 games.

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Starikov during his brief time with the Devils

He returned to Utica for the 1991-92 season, where he saw action in 51 games. For the 1991-92 season, he found a place with the high scoring San Diego Gulls along with IHL scoring leader and fellow Russian Dmitri Kvartalnov. Starikov had by far and away his highest scoring season of his career, scoring 7 goals and 31 assists for 38 points, nearly double his best Soviet season in 1982-83 of 20 points.

He would play one final season with San Diego in 1992-93, but was limited to just 9 points in only 42 games before retiring at the age of 34.

His final Soviet League totals were 510 games played, 58 goals and 144 points and ten championships. Internationally, he would win 2 World Junior gold medals, 3 World Championship gold, one silver and one bronze medals and 2 gold and one infamous silver Olympic medals.

After coaching in the KHL for several seasons, Starikov returned to New Jersey in 2013 and recently became a coach for South Brunswick High School in November of 2015.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980 Soviet Union National Team Sergei Starikov jersey as worn during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

This style of Soviet jersey saw them through several of their highest profile competitions, as it debuted in September of 1976 and would be worn for several tours of North America, the 1976 Canada Cup, the 1979 Challenge Cup, the 1980 Olympics, the 1981 Canada Cup championship and another tour of North America in 1983.

Of note, the jersey shown here was worn as wardrobe in the filming of the 2004 movie "Miracle" about the United States upset of the Soviets at the 1980 Olympics. Starikov's thoughts on the movie? "I know how it ends," he said. "It does not end good."

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Bonus jersey: today's bonus jersey is a 1986 Soviet Union Sergei Starikov jersey, as the Soviets arrived with a striking new design unlike anything in the history of their national team, dating back now 35 years.

Attention getting enough was the prominent white stripe running down each arm, which served as a background to highlight the Adidas stripes, but what really made this a stunning departure from any prior Soviet jersey were the bold, asymmetrical white triangles which simply screamed "LOOK AT ME!" in a way no Soviet jersey had ever dared before.

The "double triangle" look was completed with CCCP in a bold, modern font tightly spaced in a way that made it appear very aggressive. A true high point in the history of international jerseys, and brought to you by a no more unexpected and shocking source than the normally staid Soviet Union!

This exact jersey style had an all too brief lifespan, being worn only for the notorious 1987 World Junior Championships in December of 1986, stretching into January of 1987, when on January 4th, the Soviets and Canadians engaged in the bench clearing brawl in the final game of the tournament, now named the "Punch-up in Piestany".

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Starikov discusses the fallout from losing to the Americans during the 1980 Olympics on Igor Larionov's radio program along with his daughter Alyonka Larionov.

Next, Starikov assists on Sergei Kapustin's opening goal of Game 2 of the 1979 Challenge Cup, which the Soviets would go on to win.

Finally, Starikov is honored by CSKA and a smiling coach Tikhonov, who have clearly put any old differences aside.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

1982-83 New Jersey Devils Bob MacMillan Jersey

Born on this date in 1952, Bob MacMillian first played for his hometown Charlottetown Islanders of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, scoring 33 goals and 68 points in 40 games and then added 21 points in 15 playoff games as the Islanders advanced to the Memorial Cup playoffs quarterfinals, as the MJHL was eligible for the Memorial Cup before it was downgraded to Tier II status.

MacMillan then joined the St. Catharines Black Hawks of the Ontario Hockey Association where he had a 41 goal, 103 point season in 1970-71. He was limited to just 39 games in 1971-72, but still excelled with 53 points.

Recognizing his potential, MacMillan was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft 15th overall. However, 1972 was a year of upheaval in professional hockey, as the World Hockey Association arrived to challenge the NHL. During the WHA General Player Draft, MacMillan was chosen by the Minnesota Fighting Saints and chose to sign with Minnesota.

He would play 75 games for the Fighting Saints, scoring 13 goals and 40 points. He would play a second season with Minnesota, raising his point total to 48.

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A young MacMillan played during the
inaugural WHA season with the Fighting Saints

MacMillan would jump to the NHL for the 1974-75 season, playing 22 games for the Rangers, which included scoring his first NHL goal, but spent the majority of his time with the Providence Reds of the AHL, scoring 47 points in 46 games.

Just prior to the 1975-76 season, MacMillan was dealt to the St. Louis Blues. He would play the full season in St. Louis where he would register his first 20 goal season on his way to 52 points. While he would fall short of 20 goals with 19 in 1976-77, he would raise his point total to 58.

In 1977-78, MacMillan would start the season with the Blues, but after 28 games he was dealt to the Atlanta Flames as a part of a six player swap. The trade to the Flames ignited MacMillan's career, as he immediately averaged a point per game, scoring 52 points in the final 52 games of the season, scoring 31 with the Flames alone after scoring 7 in his 28 games to start the season in St. Louis.

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MacMillan with the Blues

MacMillan was paired with linemate Guy Chouinard in 1978-79 and exploded with 37 goals and 71 assists for 108 points, while Chouinard hit 50 goals thanks to MacMillan's playmaking abilities. Additionally, MacMillan was only whistled for 14 penalty minutes that season and was subsequently named the recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's Most Gentlemanly Player for 1979.

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MacMillan had a career season with Atlanta in 1978-79

MacMillan came back down to Earth with a 22 goal, 61 point season in 1979-80, which was still the second highest of his career at the time. For 1980-81, the Flames relocated to Calgary and MacMillan made the move with the franchise, where he eclipsed his previous season with 28 goals and 63 points.

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MacMillan moved with the Flames to Calgary,
but soon found himself on the move to Colorado

He began the 1981-82 season with the Flames, but after 23 games, he was sent to yet another franchise facing an uncertain future when he was dealt to the Colorado Rockies. The move to Denver didn't slow him down, as he stepped right into the Rockies lineup and scored 50 points in 57 games, good for third on the team despite playing over 20 games less than his higher scoring teammates.

The combination of losing on the ice and poor attendance in the stands doomed the Rockies and for the 1982-83 season, the franchise was sold and relocated, where they became the New Jersey Devils. MacMillan would play two seasons with the Devils, first scoring 48 and then 40 points in 1983-84.

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MacMillan endured another franchise move, this time to New Jersey

The Devils then traded MacMillan to the Chicago Black Hawks for the 1984-85 season, where his NHL career wound down with 36 games and his final 12 points. He would also play 8 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL that season before retiring with 753 games played, 228 goals and 349 assists and 577 points as well as 27 goals and 88 points in the WHA.

Today's featured jersey is a 1982-83 New Jersey Devils Bob MacMillan jersey as worn during the Devils first season in New Jersey in their original red and green colors. The move from Colorado to New Jersey was MacMillan's second franchise relocation in four seasons.

The Devils wore their original color scheme from their inaugural 1982-83 season through the 1991-92 season before changing their look to red and black from 1992-93 onwards.

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Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1982-83 New Jersey Devils Bob MacMillan jersey, the white home version of today's featured road jersey from the Devils inaugural season.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2002 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok Jersey

Born on this date in 1972, Sergei Zholtok was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins 55th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft after playing two seasons with his hometown club Dynamo Riga in Latvia. Prior to being drafted, Zholtok won a silver medal at the 1991 World Junior Championships while skating for the Soviet Union, of which Latvia was still a member. 

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Zholtok caught the eye of NHL scouts at the World Juniors

He then won a gold at the 1992 World Juniors during a remarkable period in history, as the team arrived in Finland as the Soviet Union, winning their first three games, including one on December 31st, 1991, before their country ceased to exist and they played their game on January 1st, 1992 as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)! 

Zholtok spent the majority of his first season in North America of 1992-93 playing with the Providence Bruins of the AHL, appearing in one game with Boston, registering an assist for his first NHL point.

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Zholtok made his North American debut with the P-Bruins

1993-94 was split between Providence (54 games) and Boston(24 games), and saw Zholtok score his first NHL goal against fellow Latvian Arturs Irbe.

The Providence Bruins would be his home for the entire 1994-95 season and he would score 23 goals and 35 assists for 58 points in 78 games.

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Zholtok's 1994-95 Providence Bruins jersey
with the AHL All-Star Game patch
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Zholtok would have his breakout season the following year with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL scoring 51 goals and 50 assists for 101 points in 82 games, all career highs.

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Zholtok found success with Las Vegas

He would split the next season between Las Vegas (19 games) and the Ottawa Senators in his return to the NHL, where he would see action in 57 games and collect 28 points. Zholtok would again play in Ottawa in 1997-98 for a full campaign, scoring 23 points for the season.

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Zholtok returned to the NHL with the Senators

1998-99 saw Zholtok move to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent, where he would collect 22 points in 70 games. 38 points would follow in 1999-00 and 2000-01 saw him play 32 games in Montreal, scoring 11 points before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for the second half of the season. It was not a good year for Zholtok, as between the two clubs combined, he would score only five goals in 69 games.

With his value at a low point, he was acquired by the Minnesota Wild for just a 7th round draft choice. The move to the fledgling second year Wild offered Zholtok the chance for a new start and increased playing time, including playing the point on the Wild's first power play unit even though he was a forward.

He seized the opportunity and set a new personal NHL best with 39 points on 19 goals and 20 assists. 2002-03 would see him improve upon that mark with 42 points on 16 goals and 26 assists, as well as being the first Latvian to captain an NHL team when Wild coach Jacques Lemaire named Zholtok captain for January as part of his rotating monthly captaincy.

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Zholtok became the first Latvian to captain an NHL club

Zholtok was also a key part of the Wild's unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals, which included dramatic comebacks from being down 3 games to 1 to both the Colorado Avalanche in round 1, including his assisting on the series clinching goal in overtime of Game 7 by Andrew Brunette, and again to the Vancouver Canucks in round 2. Zholtok would total 13 points in 18 games during the Wild's playoff run.

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2003-04 saw Zholtok play in 59 games for the Wild, one of only four Latvian players in the NHL that season, scoring 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 59 games before being dealt to the Nashville Predators along with Brad Bombardir for a pair of third and fourth round draft picks at the trade dealine. He would play in 11 games for the Predators, followed by 6 playoff games in his final NHL action.

With the players locked out by the NHL owners for the 2004-05 season, Zholtok, a national hero in Latvia and a regular member of the Lativan National Team, would do what many NHL players did and return to his home country to play, bringing former Wild teammate Darby Hendrickson with him.

Darby Hendrickson and Sergei Zholtok
Hendrickson joined Zholtok in Riga during the 2004 lockout

Zholtok would compete in just six games for HK Riga 2000.

What followed was hinted at in January of 2003, when Zholtok was forced to leave a game due to an occurrence of dizziness and fatigue and was taken to the hospital. Two nights later he skated in the pre-game warmups, but did not feel well enough to play.

The problems returned early in the 2003-04 season when he suffered a fainting spell during the second period of a game. He spent the night in the hospital and was diagnosed with hyperventilation. Additional testing ten days later at the Mayo Clinic revealed an irregular heartbeat. He missed seven games before being cleared by his cardiologist to resume play - exactly one year to the day prior to what happened next.

On November 3, 2004 Riga 2000 travelled to Belarus for their game against Dynamo Minsk that night. Zholtok told Hendrickson before the game. "You better have the energy on our line tonight because I don't have it."

Late in the game, Zholtok left the bench area to return to the locker room and collapsed. Hendrickson, still in his hockey gear ran to the team bus to retrieve his cell phone and called Minnesota Wild team medical director Sheldon Burns, telling him that Zholtok was having the "same episode as last year."

For 20 agonizing minutes Burns communicated instructions through Hendrickson to the paramedics, one of whom spoke English and Russian. At one point Zholtok told Hendrickson "Don't leave" according to Hendrickson's agent Neil Sheehy. They attempted to shock his heart but all their attempts to save him failed and Zholtok died in Hendrickson's arms.

Renowned for being a dedicated family man, Zholtok left behind his wife Anna and his sons Edgar, 14 at the time, and Nikita, then just 4 years old.

Tributes to Zholtok came from all corners of the hockey world and mourners held a candlelight vigil outside the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation in Riga. There is now an annual Sergei Zholtok Memorial U20 tournament held in Riga every year and a permanent display honoring Zholtok at the Minnesota WIld's Xcel Energy Center.

Zholtok, along with fellow Latvian NHLer Irbe, was a board member of the Kids First Fund for abused and abandoned children in Latvia and Moldova. After reading the linked article, if you would like to donate to this cause that Zholtok so strongly believed in, you can do so by clicking here.


On a personal note, while Zholtok was with the Minnesota Wild, we had the opportunity to meet him in person several times, at both Wild practices and various personal appearances. One of our favorite memories is wearing our Dynamo Riga jersey to practice one day, his first professional club. Shocked to see a jersey from home, 4500 miles away, he excitedly grabbed a teammate and pulled him over to the glass exclaiming "That's from my home town!"

We would make a point of attending his personal appearances of the "question and answer" format, often asking him questions about playing for his country, which he would always answer thoughtfully and with pride. Those were one of the few questions that he did not answer with "spending time with my family" or "going fishing".

Our other favorite shared moment with Zholtok was during the time of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The lower ranked nations of Slovakia, Austria, Latvia and Germany were placed in one group, while France, Switzerland, Ukraine and Belarus were placed in another group called the Preliminary Round. Only the two group winners would advance to the main competition, which began with the Qualifying Round, against the likes of Canada, Russia and the United States, etc.

Unfortunately for the lower ranked nations, the NHL did not stop their season for the Preliminary Round, forcing countries like Latvia and Slovakia to compete minus their best players, who were still obligated to their NHL clubs at the time. On February 10, 2002, Latvia faced a crucial game versus Slovakia, needing a win to keep pace with Germany for the group lead. We attended the Wild game that evening, wearing our Latvia National Team jersey in support of Zholtok, knowing that he would have his national team on his mind that evening. Standing behind the goal during warmups, Zholtok spotted us as he skated toward the goal, nodded to us and tapped his heart with his fist twice in acknowledgment of our show of understanding and support.

Without Zholtok, Sandis Ozolinsh and Irbe, who asked to be released by the Carolina Hurricanes for the Latvians crucial final game against Germany and was turned down even though Tom Barrasso was their number one goaltender at the time, Latvia had to stage a comeback to salvage a tie against Slovakia 6-6, leaving them a point behind first place and forcing a must win game against Germany, which Latvia lost 4-1 to end their Olympic participation even before their NHL reinforcements could arrive, the same fate that befell the shorthanded Slovaks, who were without such players a Ziggy Palffy, Miroslav Satan, Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa and Peter Bondra. The Olympic hockey tournament format was amended in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics to prevent such circumstances from happening again.


Internationally, Zholtok would compete at both the 1990 European Junior Championships and 1991 World Juniors for the Soviet Union and the 1992 World Juniors memorably as both the Soviet Union and then the CIS.

With Latvia now free to conduct their own national team program, Zholtok skated for Latvia at the 1994 World Championships in the B Pool and in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004 in the Top Division of the World Championships, scoring 21 goals and 32 points in 34 games at the senior level for Latvia as his NHL commitments would allow.

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Zholtok skating for Latvia at the 2005 World Championships

Today's featured jersey is a 2002 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok jersey. After initially competing in blue jerseys with red trim in 1993 after regaining their independence from the Soviet Union, Latvia changed to their now customary maroon and white jerseys in 1996, an obvious choice with those being the colors of the Latvian flag.

Their jerseys would only undergo minor detail changes while remaining in use through 2004, such as collar style and sleeve number placement, and see Latvia through some of their finest moments, such as their emotionally charged 3-2 defeat of Russia at the 2000 World Championships in Russia, and defeating the Russians again 2-1 in 2003.

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Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is 2002-03 Minnesota Wild Sergei Zholtok jersey. This jersey has the captain's "C", proudly worn by Zholtok in January of 2003. It also features one of our custom made Hockey Fights Cancer patches, worn by each team's captain for one game only, in this case Minnesota's game on January 10th vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, and then auctioned off for charity during the subsequent NHL All-Star Game weekend later that season.

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Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is 2004 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok jersey. This jersey shows the slight evolution of the Latvian jersey from 2002 to 2004, as the sleeve numbers are higher up the arms and no longer contained inside the sleeve striping. Additionally, the font for the names is now a thicker, bolder font introduced by Nike for use on their IIHF jerseys.

This jersey also displays Zholtok's #33 in place of his original #16, as by now he had adopted his new NHL number, with which he had enjoyed a revival of his career, for use with the national team later in his career.

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Double extra bonus jersey: Today's double extra bonus jersey is 2004-05 Riga 2000 Sergei Zholtok jersey. Zholtok's original club, Dinamo Riga was founded in 1946 and played in the Soviet Championship League. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the club survived until 1995 when it ceased operations.

The new club, Riga 2000 arose for the 2004-05 season and competed in the Belarussian Extraliga. The team was active until the 2008-09 season until the reorganization of the original Dinamo Riga club in 2008-09.

Zholtok returned to Latvia to play for Riga 2000 during the NHL lockout season and played in six games for the club until his sudden passing on November 3, 2004.

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Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 jersey photo Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 B.jpg

Today's first video was produced by the Minnesota Wild and is from Sergei Zholtok Night at the Xcel Energy Center.

This next video features more highlights from his games with the Latvian National Team.

Here is Zholtok scoring one of his three goals in the 2004 World Championships against Austria, his final World Championships of the six he would compete in for Latvia.

Next is an extensive biography of Zholtok done by the LNT, Latvian Independant Television. It's in Latvian, but still well worth watching.

Finally, the final interview he conducted upon his return to Latvia in late 2004. Again, it's in Latvian, but it has a lot of game footage in all four parts that make it worth watching to see Zholtok in action.

To donate to the Kids First Fund, please click on the image below.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

1940-41 Chicago Black Hawks Bill Carse Jersey

In what was an otherwise ordinary regular season NHL contest held on this date in 1940, not one, two or even three sets of brothers took to the ice, but four pairs of siblings skated in the New York Rangers game against the Chicago Black Hawks.

Lacing up the skates for the Rangers were Neil and Mac Colville and Lynn and Muzz Patrick. Taking the ice for the Black Hawks were Max and Doug Bentley and Bob and Bill Carse.

Neil Colville first made it to the NHL in 1935 with the Rangers for a single game and then played with them full time through the 1941-42 season as a center which included winning the Stanley Cup in 1940. His career was interrupted by World War II and it would not be until 1944-45 that he would again play for New York for just 4 games. While away from the Rangers he continued to play senior hockey, winning the Allan Cup while a member of the Canadian army's Ottawa Commandos in 1942. He returned to the blueshirts full time in 1945-46, only as a defenseman, and played four additional seasons before closing out his career with two seasons with New Haven of the American Hockey League. Neil totaled 464 games with 99 goals and 265 points in 12 NHL seasons. He was just as talented on defense as he was on offense, becoming the first player to be named to NHL All-Star teams as both a forward and a defenseman. He was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967.

Neil Colville, Neil Colville
Neil Colville

Mac Colville, a year and a half younger than Neil, had a nearly identical career path as his brother, also first joining the Rangers in 1935 and playing right wing with Alex Shibicky on left wing and brother Neil as the center. He too won a Stanley Cup in 1940, had his career interrupted by military service by World War II, was part of the Allan Cup winning Ottawa Commandos in 1942 and returned to the Rangers for parts of two seasons after the war, this time playing defense. His final NHL totals were 353 games, 71 goals and 175 points.

Mac Colville, Mac Colville
Mac Colville

Murray "Muzz" Patrick, son of the legendary Lester Patrick, joined the Rangers in 1937-38 for a single game before an NHL career that would last four seasons on defense. He too, was a member of the 1940 Stanley Cup champion Rangers squad and had his career interrupted by World War II. He returned for 24 games, but was unable to compete at the highest level after being away from the game for four years and later became the Rangers head coach in 1953.

Muzz Patrick, Muzz Patrick
Murray "Muzz" Patrick

Lynn Patrick, also a son of Lester and three years older than Muzz, was a left winger who joined the Rangers in 1934-35. He played nine seasons with the Rangers, winning the Stanley Cup in 1940. His career high was 32 goals in 1941-42 and his highest point total was 61 the following season. He too, was away from the game for two seasons and returned for the 1945-46 season for the final NHL campaign of his career which totaled 455 games, 145 goals and 335 points. He later became an NHL general manager and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Lynn Patrick, Lynn Patrick
Lynn Patrick

On the other side of the ice was Max Bentley, whose long career began in 1940-41. He played center and was a member of the Black Hawks for six seasons, cut short by losing two seasons due to World War II, before a blockbuster trade sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he played for six seasons as well. His final NHL season was spent with the Rangers. He was a consistent offensive force, who had a career high of 31 goals in 1946 with Chicago when his 61 points led the league in scoring, as well as two seasons of 70 points or more, capped with 72 in 1947 to lead the NHL in scoring once again. His final totals show 645 games played, 245 goals and 544 points. He won the Hart Trophy in 1946 and the Lady Byng in 1943 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Max Bentley, Max Bentley
Max Bentley

Doug Bentley joined Chicago in 1939. A left winger, Doug led the NHL in scoring with 73 points in 1943, which equalled the NHL record. In 1943, brother Reg joined Max and Doug on a line for Chicago, which included Reg's only NHL goal, assisted by both of his brothers, the only time in league history three brothers combined for a goal and both assists. He led the NHL in goals with 38 in 1944 before missing a season due to the war. Following his return, he was teamed with Max and Bill Mosienko to form "The Pony Line", so named due the trio all being small and quick. After the departure of his brother Max, Doug played for more seasons in Chicago through the 1951-52 season. He continued to play in the Western Hockey League for six additional seasons, which included 20 games with the Rangers in 1953-54. His final NHL totals were 565 games played, 219 goals and 543 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964.

Doug Bentley, Doug Bentley
Doug Bentley

Left winger Bob Carse came out of Edmonton and made it to the NHL in 1939. He played four seasons with the Black Hawks before World War II put his career on hold as well. When he returned to pro hockey in 1946 he did manage another 22 NHL games in 1947-48 with the Montreal Canadiens as part of four seasons he spent with the Cleveland Barons in the AHL. Bob totaled 165 games, 32 goals and 87 points during his career.

Bob Carse, Bob Carse
Bob Carse

Bill Carse, also a left wing, made it to the NHL in 1938 with the Rangers for a single game and joined the Black Hawks the following season to begin a three year run with the team. After 122 games, 28 goals and 71 points, World War II interceded in his career path as well. After three years away from the game, he played for seasons with the Pacific Coast League's Vancouver Canucks.

Bill Carse, Bill Carse
Bill Carse

The game itself was played at the Chicago Stadium in front of 16,208 fans, the largest attendance league wide at any game that season up to that point. Chicago opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the first period and again in the second to lead 3-0 after two periods. The Rangers scored midway through the third period to give hope of a comeback, but sealed the victory with a goal in the final minute of the game for a 4-1 win.

Max Bentley, who was a rookie in 1940-41, scored the opening goal at 4:25 before Bill Carse added the second Chicago goal of the period at 14:59. The rest of the siblings involved in the contest were kept off the scoresheet that evening.

By the end of the season, Doug Bentley finished with 28 points, good for third on the Black Hawks. Bill Carse finished with 20 points and Bob Carse with 18, just edging rookie Max Bentley's 17. Meanwhile in New York, Lynn Patrick outscored the rest of the siblings with 44 points, which tied for the team lead. Neil Colville was just behind with 42 and brother Mac Colville finished with 31, while defenseman Muzz Patrick registered 10 points in all.

Today's featured jersey is a 1940-41 Chicago Black Hawks Bill Carse jersey. The Black Hawks adopted the barberpole style in 1937-38 and remained in use through the 1954-55 season, although with some changes to the crest and adjustments to the striping pattern along the way.

The Blackhawks chose this style jersey as their turn back the clock jersey for the NHL's 75th Anniversary season in 1991-92, reviving a truly distinctive style that many fans were not even aware of, as throwback styles were uncommon, if not unheard of in the NHL at the time.

Fortunately for the seamstresses of the day, player names were still a long way off, as the siblings would have required a fair amount of extra sewing for first initials, or even first names in the case of Bob and Bill Carse.

Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey
Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1941-42 New York Rangers Neil Colville jersey. The Rangers took to the ice wearing blue jerseys with "Rangers" diagonally across the front right from their very first game in 1926. By 1929 the blue had darkened and the lettering changed from white to red with a white outline for the first time. In 1941 the serifed font debuted as seen in today's bonus jersey. The drop shadow around the lettering would arrive just one season later in 1942-43.

After taking the tilt out of the letters and removing the drop shadow temporarily in 1945, the lettering changed to being arched over the player's number for one season in 1946-47 before a return to the diagonal and drop shadowed look in 1947-48. Finally, in 1949-50, the look we're so familiar with today arrived as the upward tilt to the letters was removed when the letters were made level. Two seasons later the Rangers would wear a white jersey to go with the blue one for the first time, making them the last team to adopt separate home and away jerseys.

The blue jerseys would retain the same look until a two year switch to a new, modern look with the team shield as the main crest. When the team returned to it's original appearance in 1978, the blue road sweaters were crested "New York" until changing back to it's original "Rangers" in 1987, a look that has remained unchanged since.

New York Rangers 1941-42 jersey photo New York Rangers 1940-41 F jersey.jpg
 photo New York Rangers 1940-41 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1950-51 NHL All-Star Game Doug Bentley jersey. The original NHL All-Star games were a sporadic series of four benefit games for injured players or families of recently deceased players.

The first official NHL All-Star game occurred in 1947, with the format being that the defending Stanley Cup champions would play a team of all-stars made up from the other five of the Original 6 teams, with the game played just prior to the start of the regular season. This format would remain the same through 1968. Having moved the game to mid-season in 1966-67 and with the expansion from 6 teams to 12 necessitated a change to an East vs. West format for the first time in 1968-69.

For the first game in 1947, the players wore red jerseys and those continued to be used through the 1954 contest before a change to a white version of the same style through 1959. Both the red and white jerseys returned for the 1992 All-Star Game as throwback jerseys in celebration of the league's 75th anniversary season.

Doug Bentley would appear in the first NHL All-Star Game in 1947 and then play in the next four games through 1951 for a total of five All-Star appearances.

 photo NHL 1950 All-Star F jersey.jpg
NHL 1950 All-Star jersey photo NHL 1950 All-Star B jersey.jpg

While many brothers have played in the NHL, some as teammates and even won the Stanley Cup together, many others have played against each other as opponents, some of whom have even fought each other, but perhaps the most famous brothers in hockey history never played in the NHL...


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