Sunday, 15 July 2012

1990 NHL All-Star Game Program Peek

It's a quieter day on the hockey front, and I still have very little interest in the CBA battle between the NHL and NHLPA. Because of this, I'm heading back into the archives thanks to a friend of HBIC and a program that was sent to me. Doug K. dropped a program from the 1990 NHL All-Star Game in Pittsburgh into the mail some time ago, and I've been looking through it with the intention of posting some info about it here. My only issue? I don't have a scanner, so all I can do is give you details about what is found inside the covers. Roll with it, readers. There's some good stuff.

The cover itself is actually more than just a cover - it's a foldout with artistic images of past and present NHL All-Stars. Alex Delvecchio, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Maurice Richard are featured on the cover portion, but the foldout had Gordie Howe, Denis Potvin, Frank Mahovlich, Bobby Hull, and Ted Lindsay on the inside! The cover illustrations were done by Mark Bender - his site is absolutely fantastic! The back of the foldout has an advertisement for the 1990 Dodge Daytona and Dodge Dakota. Not important, but just some context as to what was on the back.

There is a great article written by Bob Grove found on page 17 about Pittsburgh's hockey history. According to the article, Pittsburgh was the first city to claim a professional hockey team in 1902, but it was an amateur team in 1924 that put Pittsburgh on the map as a hockey city. The Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets won the United States Amateur Hockey Championship in both 1924 and 1925, and featured future NHL legends such as goaltender Roy Worters and defenceman Lionel Conacher. The success of the Yellow Jackets led to the NHL expanding into Pittsburgh for the 1925-26 season as the Pirates joined the league.

The Pirates opened that season with wins over Boston and Montreal in late November of 1925, but dropped their home opener on December 2 in overtime by a 2-1 score to the New York Americans. The Pirates would finish in third-place in '25-26, but the loss of Conacher and Worters in successive seasons would help in the Pirates' plummet down the standings. By 1929-30, the team won just five of 44 games. They would move to Philadelphia for the 1930-31 season where they would play as the Quakers.

There are some fantastic photos and great information on the Pittsburgh Hornets in this article, and I may go through it with a fine-toothed comb in the future. But we must push onward.

In one advertisement, a replica Penguins jersey was selling at JC Penney for a mere $45. Outside of a garage sale or a thrift store, has anyone paid $45 for a replica jersey today? I'm thinking "no". In another advertisement, it was announced that 1989-90 would be the first season that the Center Ice Collection would be offered. If that doesn't sound familiar to you, the Center Ice Collection is the authentic on-ice merchandise sold by the NHL. Can you believe that 1989-90 was the first season authentic on-ice merchandise was offered?

There's a great article on the two superstars of the game in 1990 - Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux - written by Michael A. Berger on, ironically, page 99. The comparisons in the article try to break down the age-old question of "which superstar is better". Again, there are some incredible photos of the two players in their youth, but the article is a pretty impressive examination of the two players up to that point. You're welcome to pick whomever you think was better and post that answer in the comments.

There's a fabulous section on the history of the NHL All-Star Game, and it really should be read by all hockey fans. Every game from the Ace Bailey Benefit game to the 1990 game is reviewed with rosters and scoring summaries. It might be my most favorite section of the program.

Hockey programs aren't usually special, but All-Star Game programs always have some great features and articles. I only went over this program quickly today, but I will work some of the information found in its covers into future stories. The hockey history - something I am a huge fan of - will certainly get a little more coverage.

But seriously... $45 for a replica jersey? Let's go back to those economics!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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