Going to a Halloween party? Need a last-minute costume? You could use one of these sweet ideas to impress your friends that know hockey, and confuse your friends that don’t. All you need is a jersey and a few things that are probably lying around your house or easy to find in the Halloween section of your nearest drug store.
For most fans of sports, the only ghosts that concern them are the ones that haunt their teams, causing last-second losses or blown championships. But the Hockey Hall of Fame is not immune to its own ghostly apparitions.
By 1986 the Hockey Hall of Fame was running out of room. Sharing a space with Canadian Sports Hall of Fame was no longer viable. The Hall finally left its rigid confines in 1993, taking over the former Bank of Montreal within the newly developed BCE Place complex, but what they didn’t realize was the space was already occupied.
1. Filip Forsberg is Breaking Out
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Filip Forsberg has been one of the better players in the league for a few years now. Just watch a few seconds of his highlight reel and it’s not hard to figure out why. But he has never been in the conversation as one of the few elite forwards in the NHL along with Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, John Tavares, etc. It looks like that is about to change this year.
Former National Hockey League President John Ziegler Jr. passed away last Thursday. The NHL and two teams that Ziegler worked for — the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks — all issued whitewashed statements about how great Ziegler was for the NHL during his 15-year tenure as president. Various media outlets also issued brief stories, regurgitating what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in his statement. All of these articles made a half-hearted attempt to puff up Ziegler’s accomplishments, but none really said that Ziegler did more harm than good during his run as NHL president. So I will.
Remembering Hockey’s First Jersey Cards
It’s a brisk, early morning in September of 1997. I’m sitting at a picnic table at an elementary school playground, just north of Pittsburgh. My nine-year old self is huddled up with a few friends, rummaging through the new cards we had acquired over the summer. We were all in awe over Jeffy’s Joe Thornton rookie card, when a boy with a Sidney Crosby-esque pencil mustache approached us.
“Pfft, you guys think that’s cool?” asked eighth grader Joey M. “Check this out.”
He laid something out on the table that blew our pre-pubescent minds: a Mike Modano 1996-97 Upper Deck Game Jersey card. We stared in amazement, like it was a winning lottery ticket.
Joey glared at us like we were mere peasants in his newfound collectors kingdom. He then slowly picked up the card and walked away, without another word, leaving us in utter disbelief.
NOTE: This interview with Jeremy Roenick was originally published in the October 2013 issue of Beckett Hockey Magazine. Because very few of you probably saw it, and it was five years ago, I am reprinting it here, just in time for the 25th Anniversary of NHL ’94.
Jeremy Roenick electrified crowds during his 20 seasons in the NHL with his hard-nosed, high-scoring style of play. He reached the 50-goal plateau three times and was the third American-born player to score over 500 career goals. When he retired in 2009, Roenick scored 513 goals and 703 assists in 1363 games. A year later, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, and is currently a studio analyst for NHL games broadcast on NBC.
Yet, to a generation of hockey fans, Roenick is perhaps better known as being one of the best-ever video game characters to grace a TV screen. NHL ’94, released in fall of 1993 and currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, is considered the best video game from the classic gaming era. In the game, which used the names and attributes of real NHL players, Roenick was nearly unstoppable. His great speed and agility, along with one of the hardest and most accurate shots, make J.R. the biggest offensive threat in NHL ’94.
In the Genesis version of the game, a programming mistake — known as the “weight bug” — made lightweight players actually more difficult to knock down while also making them hit harder. This resulted in Roenick being a total wrecking ball in NHL ’94, with a better mix of offensive skills than Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky.
Movie-goers would also learn about Roenick in the 1996 film Swingers, starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. In a memorable scene, the characters are playing NHL ’94 (although the cutaway shots of the game are actually from Electronic Arts’ previous hockey game, NHLPA Hockey ’93). When accused of playing unfairly, Vaughn’s character Trent replies “Y’know, it’s not so much me as Roenick; he’s good.” This cemented Roenick’s status as a pop culture icon and a video game legend.
Recently, Roenick talked with Beckett Hockey about his video game notoriety, games he played growing up, and what it’s like to be a cover athlete.
Sal Barry: The video game NHL ’94 celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. I’m sure you remember that game.
Jeremy Roenick: I do. Very, very well. The NHL ’94 game is the one topic that is mentioned to me most often to me in my lifetime. Continue reading “Interview: Jeremy Roenick on NHL ’94”
It’s too expensive. I don’t know where to start. What should my collecting focus be each season? Do I collect just one team, or just one specific player? These are all valid questions anyone should ask themselves if they are just getting into, or are already collecting hockey cards. I have one simple answer for all of those concerns: collect the NHL Entry Draft.
There are bad movies. There are movies so bad that they are good. And then there are movies that are so bad you want to turn it off because you’re embarrassed to be watching it. Ahockalypse falls into that last category. Ostensibly, the film is about a hockey team that fights off a zombie horde. Ultimately, though, neither of those things seem to take center stage throughout much of the movie.
Welcome to the first installment of Blake’s Takes, where each Monday I’ll write about what stood out to me from the previous week in the NHL. It could be anything, from a coach saying something he shouldn’t have in a press conference, to an accomplishment worth celebrating.
1. “They are what we thought they were.”
To quote the late Dennis Green, many of the teams that we thought would be great this year have done nothing but back up the hype. Continue reading “Blake’s Takes: Outdoor Games and Pot”
Longtime collectors will remember when Upper Deck used to make hockey cards written in French for fans in Quebec in the early 1990s. Taking that idea to a whole new level, in 2017 Upper Deck issued hockey cards written in Chinese, and gave them to attendees of the NHL’s “China Games” — a two-game preseason series between the L.A. Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings won the first match 5-2 on September 21 in Shanghai, and again in the shootout 4-3 on September 23 in Beijing.
The series marked the first time that NHL games were played in China, and for many in attendance, it was probably the first time they saw a live hockey game. Likewise, it was probably the first time many of the Chinese in attendance saw a hockey card too. Upper Deck gave away an eight-card panel of hockey trading cards.
China may not be big on hockey, or hockey cards for the matter, but fans in attendance got some pretty sweet cards.