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    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings 1971 and 2017

    Chris Mizzoni is at it again. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, this guy knows his stuff! Below is his blog post on how he figured out the year and the players in this Vancouver Canucks vs. Detroit Red Wings scrum.

    Great work Chris!

    - Blair

    It’s time to identify another unique Vintage Sports Images old hockey photo. This one came to me as is, with no information whatsoever. Luckily, this one was fairly easy to narrow down to a specific season.

    The Vancouver Canucks began playing in the NHL in the 1970/71 season; this was also the last NHL season (for a while) for Gordie Howe. Gordie is seen in the middle of this melee, so the photo is from the 1970/71 campaign. The game was obviously in Detroit, what with the Red Wings logo on the ice on the right side of the photo.

    Another way to help pinpoint an old Canucks photo is by looking for the "V" on the sleeve stripe. Thanks to the great NHL Uniform Database website, we know that Vancouver had this style of jersey for only their first two seasons of existence. Below is a close-up of one of the Canucks in the photo.

    Using the Society for International Hockey Research website, it's easy to identify most of the players in the historical image:

    • Detroit – #15 Rene Leclerc, #12 Tom Miller, #9 Gordie Howe, #11 Don Luce, #16 Ron Harris and #5 Serge Lajeunesse
    • Vancouver – #9 Ed Hatoum, #15 Rosaire Paiement, #5 Darryl Sly, (helmeted) Wayne Maki, #16 Ted Taylor, #12 Mike Corrigan and #3 Pat Quinn

    This game was most likely from March 25, 1971, at Detroit Olympia – as Detroit’s #12, Tom Miller, had been acquired from the New York Rangers on February 2nd of that year. This is the only #12 listed on Detroit's roster for the entire season. The Red Wings won this game 4-3.

    Move forward in time to another debacle for the Canucks: April 29, 2017 and the NHL Draft Lottery. For Canucks fans, this day was a huge disappointment. Even though this year's crop of players isn't as strong as recent drafts (there isn't a definite number one like Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid), as a favourite to get a top-two pick, the Canucks dropped to fifth overall.

    The talk in Detroit isn't fairing much better. Although it looked like the Red Wings would most likely secure the seventh pick, they ended up falling to ninth. Only time will tell which team will "win" at this year's NHL Draft. In lieu of selecting a Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, the Canucks will have to dig a bit deeper to fill their needs at the centre position.

    The 1972 Summit Series & Phil Esposito Signed Jersey

    The 1972 Summit Series & Phil Esposito Signed Jersey

    I can remember the historic 1972 Summit Series like it was yesterday. I was at Sister Mary Clare Elementary School in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Our teacher wheeled in a very tall (or at least it seemed so at the time) TV stand with a tiny monitor on top – showing game one, from Montreal. What a treat – and what a testament to the fact that this series was a big deal! I have spoken to numerous people in all walks of life who said they remember watching it at school too. 

    Unfortunately, we lost that first game badly 7-3. It was a big shock to us all. Especially since Phil Esposito opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game, followed quickly with another by Paul Henderson. But the Russians scored four unanswered goals that Canada never recovered from. On to Toronto next, where Esposito opened the scoring again – this time in the second period. Canada won that one 4-1. We tied the next one in Winnipeg (I always thought that tie was weird). But it was what happened in Vancouver that prompted me to write this blog post.

    You see, we just added a new treat to our image gallery – signed NHL greats jerseys! And the first one I saw when I opened the box was a signed Team Canada Summit Series jersey by my hometown boy, Phil Esposito. It was his speech at the end of the game four loss in my new hometown of Vancouver that I really remember.

    It was a heartfelt speech that I think helped to galvanize the team for their trip to Russia. They lost the first game but won the next three close games and – of course – the series with Paul Henderson’s epic goal in the final seconds. That is also etched into all of our memories!

    I should add that Esposito scored two more goals in that game and was probably one of Canada’s most important players in that series.

    Come down and check out his signed jersey and those of other NHL legends like Bobby Orr, Dave Keon, Dale Hawerchuk and Pavel Bure, among others. We also have a Connor McDavid signed jersey as well.

    Nostalgia in My Hometown

    Nostalgia in My Hometown

    I was back in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario over the holidays and got a chance to see a Soo Greyhounds game. It was so great to see some Junior hockey, up close. The pace was fast, the scoring chances many, and the intensity fierce – just like the World Juniors I had been watching on TV.

    It brought back so many memories as a kid growing up here, going to see the games with my family or my hockey buddies. It was the ticket in town – always packed to the rafters. Though the arena is in the same place, it is much nicer now, with extensive renovations done over the last few years.

    I was lucky enough to see “The Great One” – Wayne Gretzky – play there, along with other ex-NHL stars like Paul Coffey, Craig Hartsburg, Doug Shedden, Jack Valiquette, Ted Nolan and Ron Francis. My list of favorites that I saw as a kid goes on to include others that did not make it to the NHL – but were amazing players – and a lot of Greyhounds that made it for just a “cup of coffee.” It got me thinking of how many great players never made it to the “show.” How so many kids around the country work so hard to realize their dreams, but never make the NHL. It is a tough road, I am sure, and makes you appreciate the talent of those who do make it.

    The next day, I went for a drive to run an errand and found myself next door to the arena that I played at as a kid – the Sault Pee Wee Arena! It looked just the same as I remembered – no renovations here. The smell of stale popcorn was the same, as was the cold rink, the lights and the stands where I could remember my mom and her friends watching us scatter around the ice as Squirts or Pee Wees. It was great to see the kids coming out of the dressing rooms with smiles on their faces. It reminded me of how great the game can be and how much fun I had playing.

    It also reminded me of how much fun I have now, looking at all of my favorite NHL heroes, as the owner of Vintage Sports Images!

    The Lost Art of Conversation

    The Lost Art of Conversation

    Someone asked me the other day what I liked best about our Vintage Sports Images gallery and retail space – and without a doubt, it is that when people come in to check out our thousands of rare and never-before-seen NHL, MLB, NFL and NBA images, they inevitably talk about stories from the past. This happens with young and old alike. When it comes to sports history, age doesn’t matter. It is incredible and it's exactly what I hoped for when I opened the space.

    One guy came in and saw the Ted Williams signed jersey and bat we have on display and told me about how his dad hung out with Williams, “The Splendid Splinter” – Major League Baseball’s last .400 hitter. He showed me a picture of himself as a young kid fishing with the legend. It turns out, his dad and Williams were good buddies and went out and cast a few back in the day.

    Another fellow came in and was looking at a Gerry Cheevers print. He started talking about the 70's goalies and goalie masks and said that he still plays today, in old-school goalie gear. How awesome is that? It turns out, he’s a part of a whole group of people who love that era and keep it alive in so many different ways. Our chat reminded me about my first year of Tom Thumb hockey in Sault Ste. Marie, ON (home of NHL heroes Tony and Phil Esposito) and being handed a Flyers jersey (number 2 Ed Van Impe). In my heart, I am still a Flyers fan.

    Another great experience was with a woman who came in the other day looking for a Leafs print – a gift for her 80-year-old father-in-law. We started talking about how she used to trade the old Esso Power Players cards at school so she could fill the book – you got them at the gas station. Canadian icon comedian Mike Myers also mentions doing this in Canada, his new book, which I got for Christmas. This was a passion of mine in school. Maybe it was for you too. She and I had a great conversation about which players were hard to get, which you always had doubles or triples of, and which ones were favorites. It was such a blast from the past.

    Check out the old ad for the Esso Power Players here

    The point is that these images conjure up the lost art of conversation. Anything to get people to put down their smartphones and just talk to each other – and have a real conversation that they are both passionate about – is one of the things I live for!

    I look forward to having many more of these conversations – hopefully with the next person who walks in the door.

    Love the "Classics"

    Love the

    I hope you all had a great holiday with family and friends. Happy New Year!

    Over the holiday season, there was a lot of hockey to watch with the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship and NHL regular season back in action after the break, as well as the outdoor games. On that subject, I am wondering how you feel about the increase in these “Classic” games (Heritage Classic, Winter Classic, Centennial Classic and the Stadium Series). The events seem to be a success in the cities where they are hosted. They bring people outside and the action around the games with the alumni and kids’ games look really fun. I have never been to one, but they seem like the kinds of events where you could bring your family or friends and have a blast.

    These NHL “Classic” games got my brother and I talking about the old days in “the Soo” – where we would lace up every night at the outdoor rink near our house. I think these games are appealing to this sense of nostalgia. I have heard a lot of people taking about it in sports bars, restaurants and here at our gallery at Vintage Sports Images.

    I enjoyed the Detroit vs. Toronto Centennial Classic game, with two of the original six teams going at it. (The first time these organizations met was in 1927 when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars 2-1. I wish we had an image of the hockey legends from that game!) I loved the classic red and blue colours that always look good on TV.

    The Blues vs. Blackhawks game at Busch Stadium was good too. The old classic Blues uniforms from the expansion era are great. Of course, the Hawks unit always looks good because they never changed them. I wish all of the teams had kept their original jersey styles like the original six – especially the expansion six like the Blues and Penguins.

    I know these games are marketing ploys by the NHL – but hey, it’s hockey! Here’s to more of it.