If you're an American, you're celebrating Columbus Day today. There aren't a lot of reasons to have turkey on Columbus Day, but, if you need one, you only need to travel north of the 49th parallel today. It's Thanksgiving in Canada, and that means lots of good stuff: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and veggies as staples on the table. We also like to add some wild rice, yams, and asparagus just for good measure. And who can forget the pumpkin pie to finish off the meal of the season? Yeah, that's one heckuva meal. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. But I can't head back for leftovers after literally just finishing. Instead, I bring to you some photos I have been holding on to. Why? Because all that turkey is making me sleepy.
- The Coyotes opened the 2009-10 season at home with a White-Out - something that hasn't been seen in Phoenix for six years - and a sellout crowd. While I'm not against the White-Out as much as I should be, it will still be a Winnipeg tradition first. Imitation is the highest form of flattery after all. It remains to be seen if the Coyotes can continue to draw decent crowds without major reductions to their ticket prices. Hopefully they can, but the jury is out on this one.
- In sticking with the Coyotes, Jason Labarbera is sticking with his traditional Metallica-themed mask while tending the nets in the desert. It has been updated to reflect his new team, though. Personally, I like how LaBarbera has stuck with his theme throughout his career. Very cool idea.
- The CHL's Colorado Eagles dressed in pink on October 9 when they played the Arizona Sundogs. As you may be aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in North America, and many sports teams are wearing pink to remind people to have their wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers to get checked. HBIC stands firmly behind the cause, and encourages all the female readers of this blog to check regularly through both self-examinations and doctor appointments. Early detection and treatment is the best way to save lives.
- In looking for some old-time photos, it has been discovered that there were at least three teams who used coloured skates in professional North American hockey. We all know that the California Golden Seals used white skates. They were regular skates painted white, an idea by owner Charles Finley after he bought the team in 1970. Of course, the team would look nearly identical to the white-shoed Oakland Athletics baseball franchise that Finley owned as well. The move was extremely unpopular with the players as they complained that all the paint made their skates heavier. Fans didn't take a liking to it either.
- The Seals also used two other skates, although this time it appears that the skates are the same design. They had a white-and-black pair that they used at some point in their history. And they also had a greenish-and-black pair that they used. And once they transferred to Oakland, they went with normal black skates, but stuck the player's jersey number on the skates. I can't fault a team for trying to be innovative, but sometimes things are just better when left alone.
- The St. Louis Blues are the second team to test some skate design innovation, and actually may have been the inspiration for the later Oakland numbers-on-skates phase. The Blues wore a dark blue skate with yellow highlights in 1971, and featured the player's number on the skate boot. I'm not sure why players needed numbers on their skates. Was skate theft a bad problem in the NHL those days? In any case, these skates were fashioned in dark blue, and were not painted like the Seals' skates were. Again, it didn't catch on very well with fans.
- The WHA's New York Golden Blades were the third team from the 1970s to test out the coloured skate idea. According to his spotlight page, Harry Howell states, "The WHA experience was different, believe me. Right off the bat, I went to the New York Golden Blades. We had white skates with gold blades. It didn't look that great". Harry's confession was hard to find regarding the skates, but I did manage to come up with a picture of Bobby Sheehan in white skates, and a defenceman's leg in front of goaltender Joe Junkin in those white skates. The man bearing down on Junkin? None other than Gordie Howe of the Houston Aeros.
- Speaking of Gordie Howe's time in Houston, here he is pictured with sons Mark and Marty Howe in what appears to be a pre-game warmup. Hockey's first family doesn't look all that impressed with whatever is happening down the ice.
- A lot of people believed in the 1980s that there was nothing scarier than seeing Tiger Williams on the ice when he was looking to scrap. I beg to differ: the Canucks' V-for-Victory sweaters combined with Tiger Williams is extremely fear-inducing. As bad as those sweaters are, however, I don't really mind them. There have been far worse.
- To finish off this photo roundup, take a look at this photograph of the Boston Bruins from the Northeastern University Library archives. Is that not a spectacular photograph? I love those old-time sweaters. Personally, that's what Boston's alternate should be. How many teams wear brown and yellow stripes in the NHL right now? And how many would look as good as those Bruins? If either answer was anything but zero, I'm not sure what league you're watching.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!