In his new autobiography “Bleeding Blue: Giving My All for the Game,” Wendel Clark reflects on his first year of junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. What impressed Clark so much was that he had his own hockey trading card and his own poster to sign for fans at autograph sessions. However, something about the poster wasn’t quite right, Continue reading “Wendel Clark Recalls His Saskatoon Blades Hockey Poster”
“Bleeding Blue: Giving My All for the Game” is an appropriate title for Wendel Clark’s new autobiography. Sure, there have been better goal scorers or more skilled players in the Maple Leafs’ history. But arguably, no Leaf has bled, endured, or suffered more than Clark, whose careeer was defined by his physical play and willingness to fight, and marred by constant injuries. Yet, as Clark explains, he wouldn’t change a thing.
Yesterday, Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame — and deservedly so. If you look at Lindros’ entire body of work — from his days as a phenom in junior hockey, to competition on the international stage, to his eight years in Philadelphia — he belongs in the Hall. Sure, his productivity sharply declined at the end of his career, but the same could be said of many other Hall of Fame players. Lindros wasn’t just awesome in his prime; he was awesome from day one. Here we will take a look at the career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards, of one of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2016 inductees.
Leonard “Red” Kelly had four careers. He spent roughly the first half of his 21 years in the NHL as a defenseman, and the latter half as a forward. Kelly also served in Canadian Parliament for two terms and later coached in the NHL for a decade.
So, it is hard to believe that it took 50 years since Kelly’s final shift — he was on the ice when the Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup in 1967 — for a book to be written about him. While there was a short children’s story about Kelly in the 1970s, “The Red Kelly Story” gives the eight-time All-Star the all-star treatment that he deserves.
Now 89 years old, Kelly has done more in one lifetime than most people could do in four. Continue reading “Book Review: The Red Kelly Story”
Yesterday, Gord Downie, lead signer of the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip, announced on his band’s website that he has terminal brain cancer.
Hockey is not often the subject of songs, but this sad news reminds me of a song by The Tragically Hip called “Fifty Mission Cap,” which is actually about a Pro Set hockey card issued during the 1990s.
Andy Bathgate, the Hall of Fame forward known best for his years with the New York Rangers, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. He spent 17 seasons in the NHL, scoring 973 points (349 G, 624 A) in 1.069 games. Bathgate was named to the NHL All-Star Team four times, won the Hart Trophy as league MVP and appeared in the annual NHL All-Star Game each year from 1957 to 1964. Here we take a look at Bathgate’s career, illustrated with some of his best hockey cards. Continue reading “Career in Cards: Andy Bathgate”
Al Arbour, who passed away at age 82 on August 28, had a long career as a professional hockey player, and an even longer career as an NHL coach. Arbour broke into the NHL during the Original Six Era and played pro for 18 seasons between the NHL and the minor leagues. But he is best known for his success behind the bench: 22 seasons, one Jack Adams Award, second all-time in wins and four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.
Here is a look at both of Arbour’s careers — as a player and as a coach — illustrated with various hockey cards and collectibles issued over six decades. Continue reading “Career In Cards: Al Arbour”
…with your hosts, Sal Barry & Tim Parish!
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In Puck Junk Podcast #3, Sal and Tim (a.k.a. The Real DFG) talk about:
- The St. Louis Blues naming Martin Brodeur as their Assistant General Manager (0:01 to 4:52)
- Mike Babcock signing an 8-year, $50 million coaching contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs (4:53 to 16:09)
- The 2014-15 Fleer Ultra Hockey card set (16:10 to 24:11)
- The 1998-99 Pacific Hockey card set (24:12 to 33:37)
Trigger Warning: We mention Mike Keenan twice in this podcast. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Pictures of some of the cards we discuss are after the jump. Continue reading “Puck Junk Podcast #3 – May 27, 2015”
In the opening pages of “Black Ice,” a 12-year old Valmore James is teaching himself to ice skate after-hours in a darkened hockey arena. Meanwhile, his pet dog is making a game of emerging from the shadows, knocking James to the ice, and running away. James believes that if he could learn to skate while dodging a charging Doberman, he would be able to avoid getting hit when playing hockey.
But during his career, it was other hockey players who would try to avoid getting hit by James. In his autobiography, “Black Ice: The Val James Story,” we follow James, as he makes the unlikely journey as a young man, transplanted from Florida to New York, who learns how to play hockey as a teenager and becomes the first African American to skate in the NHL. We also learn about the endless racially-charged hatred that he had to endure because of the color of his skin. Continue reading “Book Review: Black Ice: The Val James Story”
This is one of my all-time favorite hockey card photographs. On the front of his 1991-92 Upper Deck “Star Rookies” card, Felix Potvin is shown hoisting the trophy he won as the MVP of the 1991 QMJHL playoffs. Everything about this photo is excellent, from the elated look on Potvin’s face as he proudly hoists the trophy, to the crowd of cheering people who have flooded onto the ice behind him.This picture successfully captures a moment in time.
It also succeeds in explaining why Potvin is a “Star Rookie” without saying a word. We don’t even need to read the text on the back of the card. Using this picture was a great choice by Upper Deck, and says more about Potvin than a staid draft day photo or a shot from Maple Leafs’ training camp. But Upper Deck wasn’t the first company to use this picture on a hockey card.