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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Welcome Back, Classic Auctions

Yesterday, we saw all sorts of non-NHL jerseys in this month's auction over at the Classic Auctions website. Today, we're heading back to the auction for a few more glimpses at NHL-related jerseys, and we'll even have a few jerseys in honour of the current Stanley Cup Finalists in Boston and Vancouver. After last night's epic game which saw Alexandre Burrows making his mark on the series, the Canucks lead 2-0 as they head to Boston. Let's check out some of the history that the Classic Auctions website has to honour these two teams and a few others.

  • Back in 1984, a relatively unknown Marty McSorley was beginning his career in Pittsburgh. The Penguins wore yellow jerseys at home on Sundays that season, thus McSorley had himself a bright yellow jersey. With the Penguins using "Vegas Gold" as one of their colours now, I'm not sure something like this will ever return, but the yellow Penguins were always a curiosity to me. McSorley, of course, would go on to win a few Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers.
  • One man that remained in Pittsburgh for their two Stanley Cups - and was the leader of the squad - was Mario Lemieux. When the Penguins went diagonal between 1992 and 1997, I was baffled by their choice of jersey since it looked a lot like their division rival New York Rangers jersey. I own one of these jerseys, but I'm still not sold on the diagonal Penguins.
  • One of the men who was responsible for a Stanley Cup parade in Dallas wore some rather bland threads while in Minnesota. The North Stars went black-for-black's-sake in 1991-92 when they were preparing to move south to Dallas, and Mike Modano's jersey that season just looks awful. The North Stars had beautiful jerseys, but the changes made to the North Stars in the early-1990s simply killed the franchise's identity.
  • While he never won a Stanley Cup while playing his entire career in Minnesota, Steve Payne was a big part of the North Stars during the 1980s. While Payne started his career wearing #26, Payne eventually switched his number and settled on #44. Compared to Modano's jersey above, Payne's jersey is an absolute masterpiece in terms of how visually-pleasing it is.
  • Steve Payne did wear a couple of different jerseys in his career, though, as he went to two NHL All-Star Games. He represented Minnesota in 1980 after a 42-goal, 85-point sophomore season, and then represented Minnesota a second time in 1985 after posting his seventh-straight 20-goal season in 1984-85. While his name might not have the same caché as a Modano or Tinordi, Steve Payne was an excellent player for the North Stars during his time in the Twin Cities.
  • He didn't win a Stanley Cup and he wasn't an NHL All-Star, but Jamie Storr is getting mentioned here for the jersey he wore in 2001-02 with the NHL All-Star Game patch and the "AM" patch. The All-Star Game is easily explainable, but the "AM" patch was to remember Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis, two LA Kings scouts, that died in the 9/11 tragedy. I always like the subtlety of the "AM" patch as a memorial for both the men lost by the Kings organization and the tragedy that America suffered. While didn't win any NHL accolades over his career, he was a two-time World Junior Champion with Canada.
  • The one man who has links to both teams in the current Stanley Cup Finals is Cam Neely. Neely started his career in Vancouver, and became an NHL All-Star in Boston. Neely represented the Bruins at the NHL All-Star Game in 1991 after helping the Bruins to a Stanley Cup Final berth in the previous year. The 1990-91 season saw Neely record 51 goals and 40 assists - his second-straight 50-goal season - before the Bruins succumbed to the mighty Penguins in the playoffs that year.
  • A former Vancouver Canuck and Stanley Cup winner is up next. Jassen Cullimore played with the Canucks from 1994-97 before being dealt to Montreal for Donald Brashear. He was claimed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and spent seven seasons there. As a member of the Lightning, he got to wear the "Storm" alternate jersey in 1997-98, and eventually helped the Lightning capture the 2004 Stanley Cup over the Flames! Honestly, I really liked this alternate jersey, and I've always thought the Lightning should resurrect it as their alternate uniform.
  • Another former Vancouver Canuck and Stanley Cup winner gets mention as we look at the jersey worn by Alexander Mogilny in 1993-94 with the Buffalo Sabres. One season after scoring 76 goals, Mogilny assumed the captaincy as Pat Lafontaine's season was ended early after an injury. In 1995, Mogilny was traded by the Sabres to Vancouver, and he would eventually have his name etched on the Stanley Cup after being traded to the Devils in 2000. I still love Buffalo's original jerseys, and the captain's "C" on this Mogilny jersey makes it pretty special.
  • A former Boston Bruin and Stanley Cup winner is up next. Boston's Ray Bourque played in the Stanley Cup Final in 1990 against the Oilers, but came up short. In 1990-91, it looked as though the Bruins may return there, but they ran into the Penguins who were on a drive of their own. Bourque wore the black-and-gold in 1991, but he didn't win his Stanley Cup for another decade! Bourque hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2001 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, and finally lived his boyhood dream!
  • Before they were an NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks were a successful WHL team from 1952-1970! The team featured players such as Andy Bathgate from 1952-54, Johnny Bower in 1954-55, and Gump Worsley in 1953-54. The early WHL Canucks team wore these awesome sweaters! Goaltenders Emile Francis and Gump Worsley were WHL MVPs in 1953 and 1954, respectively, and the team won their first WHL Championship in 1958!
  • Jumping forward, the WHL Canucks wore these jerseys in 1969 - one year before the NHL Canucks came into existence. The team won back-to-back WHL Championships in 1969 and 1970 before the NHL came to town. Andy Bathgate came back to play in 1968, and was the team's leading goal-scorer in 1969 and leading point-producer in 1970, leading to Bathgate being named MVP in 1970. Tony Esposito played in Vancouver for one season in 1967-68 before moving on to a successful NHL career. Vancouver has definitely seen its share of great players, and the WHL Canucks brought home a total of four WHL Championships over their eighteen-year existence!
  • And to end this look at some awesome sweaters, we look at one of the oldest in the current auction. The University of Toronto wore these beautiful sweaters during the 1930s, and I have to say that they are magnificent! The colour of that sweater represents the team name perfectly as the UofT squad was nicknamed the "Blues". The Blues played as part of the Ontario Hockey Association through the 1930s until they withdrew in 1939, and they featured several NHL players: Hugh Plaxton, Dave Trottier and Dunc Munro. The team was also coached by Irvin "Ace" Bailey in the 1930s after his NHL career was ended prematurely. Honestly, this sweater might be the most beautiful piece in the entire auction!
There are the interesting NHL pieces (and one historical sweater) from this month's auction. The Classic Auctions website should be visited often by hockey fans if you want to look through what feels like an online hockey museum. Classic Auctions has done a phenomenal job in bringing together some of the greatest pieces of memorabilia, and for as long as they continue to do this, I'll continue to visit their site (even if I can't afford any of the stuff).

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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