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Friday, 5 June 2015

A No-Bucket List

The 1979-80 NHL season saw many changes as the league underwent significant modifications. There were four new teams that the NHL absorbed from the WHA in the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, and the Quebec Nordiques. The league would have eighty games, meaning each of the 21 teams would play the other 20 teams four times per season - twice at home and twice on the road. The league would introduce a rule that made helmets mandatory for all new players in the league while players who signed their contracts prior to June 1, 1979 would have the option. Have you ever wondered who opted out in that first season? Wonder no more, readers.

The league's list of those who would opt out of wearing a helmet for the 1979-80 season is lengthy. In fact, it's far longer than I thought it would ever be after Bill Masterton's tragic death in 1969. The NHL compiled a list that went three pages long in three columns organized in teams! Some teams appear to have almost every roster player on it while others have less players. The more memorable names are all on there: Brad Marsh, Doug Wilson, Harold Snepsts, and Guy Lafleur. Missing from the list? Craig MacTavish. Weirdly included for some teams? Goaltenders. All in all, it's an interesting list.

Here's the three pages of the no-bucket list. Peruse as you see fit, and click to expand!
As you can see, Winnipeg had a write-in addition at the end. Quebec's list was a mere two people long. The New York Islanders submitted 37 names including Glenn "Chico" Resch and Richard Brodeur who both were goaltenders. In a weird twist of irony, Minnesota submitted 29 names of players who wanted to be bucketless despite Minnesota being the team for which Bill Masterton played. Well done, North Stars. Excuse my sarcasm.

The list is pretty large considering there were 21 teams in 1979. I would have thought that more teams would have encouraged their players to adopt a helmet for safety after Bill Masterton's passing, but it looks like it didn't matter if you were a star or a grinder when it came to wearing helmets - if you hadn't worn one, you didn't start. What are your thoughts on the list? Does anything stand out? Sound off in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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