I happened to be searching on eBay yesterday when I came across a seller who was offering up a number of old copies of The Hockey News. I had to take a look at what the description said about the old copies. Lo and behold, the gentleman had uploaded a number of articles in his descriptions of each publication! It was like I wandered into The Hockey News' archive room, and had access to all of their old publications for free! Here are some of the cooler articles I found that the gentleman had put up on eBay.
- October 9, 1954 - Fred Sasakamoose of Saskatchewan becomes the first "full-blooded Indian" to wear the Chicago Black Hawks jersey. While the story is slightly politically incorrect, it is hockey history.
- February 25, 1956 - Maurice "The Rocket" Richard is wearing the alternate captain's "A", but no TV numbers yet. How about the caption? Chadwick gets called up to face the feared Canadiens in his first game? Ouch.
- June 1, 1966 - The Hockey News talks a little about each league's championship teams. They look at the Oklahoma City Blazers from the Central League who won the 1965-66 Championship. I'm more concerned with the names. Harry Sinden, Glen Sather, Derek Sanderson, Jean Paul Parise, Terry Crisp, Ted Irvine, and Gerry Cheevers all had successes in the NHL. That would have been one heck of a team!
- November 26, 1966 - How often do you see players move to a new position on the ice after establishing themselves as a superstar in another position? Wendel Clark made the jump from defenceman to winger after the Maple Leafs moved him, but how about Gordie Howe? Howe shifted back to play defence after the Red Wings against the New York Rangers after the Red Wings lost two defencemen to injury. In today's game, that would be like moving Ovechkin back to the blueline!
- December 3, 1966 - Bobby Orr figures that he won't win the 1966-67 Lady Byng Trophy after leading the Bruins with 33 PIMs at that point in the season. The winner that season was actually Stan Mikita of the Chicago Black Hawks.
- January 7, 1967 - The NHL will take a hard look at goalies who carry the puck after rookie goaltender Gary Smith skated the puck up to the center line. Frank Udvari, the NHL's Supervisor of Officials, states, "I know a goalie can hold the puck for three seconds, but he isn't supposed to be carrying it like a football player". Did Udvari even read the reports? Smith stickhandled it to center ice!
- March 4, 1967 - We get the first reports on the new "Player's Union" that the NHL players are trying to form, and Alan Eagleson is at the center of it. Eagleson admits to being approached by former Ranger and Black Hawk Camille Henry about starting this in the NHL after Eagleson had been successful in getting head coach and GM Eddie Shore to resign from the AHL's Springfield Indians through player revolts and walk-outs. The rumblings of the NHLPA start in early 1967.
- April 3, 1970 - Everyone says Bobby Orr was the best player in the NHL at the time. If you needed midseason proof of that, check out the scoring race from April. Orr is 19 points ahead of teammate Phil Esposito, and Orr was a defenceman! Orr would finish that season with 33 goals and 87 assists for 120 points - a full 21 points better than Esposito, and his first 100+ point campaign in the NHL.
- April 24, 1970 - Does anyone know who the first player from Czechoslovakia was, and who he played with in the NHL? Now you do. Jaroslav Jirik played three games for the St. Louis Blues at the end of the 1969-70 season after signing with the team for training camp. The 30 year-old had some trouble adapting to the North American style, apparently, but he is the first player from Communist Czechoslovakia to suit up in the NHL.
- December 25, 1970 - "Punch" Imlach, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, suggests that the NHL should outlaw Bobby Orr from being on the powerplay due to how good he is. While it appears that Imlach's sense of humour is his best trait, Orr was never banned from any powerplay.
- December 25, 1970 - Also from that same issue, Phil Esposito proclaims that he'll "never score 66 goals" in a season despite his scoring pace to be far above that mark. He claims his problem is inconsistency, and that his inconsistent scoring will be his downfall. Despite his claims of that, Esposito would end up with 76 goals and 76 assists in the 1970-71 season.
- November 19, 1971 - In a cool feature, we get to meet rookie Marcel Dionne of the Detroit Red Wings. Dionne cracked the lineup for the 1971-72 season for the Red Wings, and would win up scoring 28 goals and adding 49 assists in his 78 games that season. Not bad for a guy who heard some chatter about being too small. Of course, Dionne became a legend in Los Angeles a few years later.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!