Three years before the ’72 series, the Russians may not have felt they could beat us, as Mr. Beliveau said. After 1972, they knew they could beat us.
When the original Hockey Hall of Fame, which was located inside the CNE grounds in Toronto, opened on August 26, 1961, I was there with my dad and my sister. I was almost 11 at the time.
I guess it was after the ceremony, after PM Diefenbaker and other dignitaries had said their speeches, when we went inside where there were all kinds of legendary hockey figures milling about. I had a HOF booklet with me, and I walked around getting autographs, with the help of my dad who would point people out. Later on, I cut the autographs up and displayed them against a black background, which I thought was cool at the time.
Most of the autographs are gone now, but I’ve managed to hold onto three from that day – Foster Hewitt, Conn Smythe, and Clarence Campbell, which you can see here.
The one clear memory I have from that day concerned Foster Hewitt, who was talking to people when he signed my book and absentmindedly kept my pen. I was too shy to ask for it back, so my sister went over and got the job done.
Below, the Rocket’s contract for the 1956-57 season, drawn up on a 1954 Northern Electric calendar page, for the sum of $12,000, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.
$12,000 is basically the equivalent of $108,000 in 2017 dollars.
Thanks to Bernie Beland in Sudbury for sending me a photo of this great piece.
Interestingly enough, Rocket’s brother Henri’s rookie contract was drawn up on the very same type of calendar page, but from the year before, 1953, even though Henri’s rookie year was 1955-56.
GM Frank Selke must have held on to his old, out-of-date Northern Electric calendar pages because he was a cheap bastard.
From my collection, three examples of Habs team jacket crests from days gone by, and all made with that cool chenille fabric. Although chenille is notorious for the colour running if washed or in heavy rain.
From the 1950s:
The early 1960s:
And unsure exactly about the era, but it’s a 1940s design with the top right coming up so high:
The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the “pile”, between two “core yarns” and then twisting the yarn together. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles to the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibers catch the light differently. Chenille can appear iridescent without actually using iridescent fibers. The yarn is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin.
A couple of years ago I wrote about a 1955 recording (on 78 RPM) by Bob Hill and his Canadian Country Boys called ‘Saga of Rocket Richard’, which was about the infamous Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Day of that year.
My story is here if you want – Bob Hill’s Rocket Riot Tune
It’s hard to find, this old disc, but I got one just the other day! First an old pedal car, and then the record, all within a week. I’m on a roll.
Here’s my new/old record!
The Ford Motor Company began in 1903, but before that, in 1896, Henry Ford was bombing around in his newly-built Quadricycle, named for the bicycle-like tires.
Which brings me to my new ride, which is loosely based on Henry’s.
Probably built in 1953 to commemorate the Ford Company’s 50 years, my new/old pedal car was used as a Ford dealership promotion, later to be won in a raffle by an elderly lady in Indiana, and finally ending up with a lovely couple in their ’80s in Revelstoke who had owned an antique store for years.
It’s very rare, has been kept under a blanket in the antique store basement, and is the only one the previous owner had ever seen, although he’s had dozens of other types over the years, including 28 different ones at one time.
But not like this one, and he held onto it after slowly selling the others.
I’ve searched the internet and found a couple of others, but mine is in much better shape than those. One fellow online thought only three had ever been made, but I question that.
Anyway, here’s my new ride. It has a few scratches and dents and a couple of other minor issues, but so do I, although mine are much more.
If I keep losing weight, maybe I can take it for a spin.
Finally, another example of a real Quadricycle.
What most Americans call ‘candy bars’, Canadians call ‘chocolate bars’. I’ve never understood the candy bar handle, but whatever. I’m addicted to all chocolate bars except the vile coconut ones.
Below is my mini chocolate bar collection, which I’ve kept either in freezers or boxes over the years, and which I won’t be eating anytime soon.
The iconic Reggie (Jackson) Bar from 1978, which seems to be worth about $40 nowadays.
Ken Griffey Jr. bar from 1989, worth about $20 now. Apparently, Griffey was allergic to these.
Knebworth ’90 bar, from the English concert that featured the likes of Clapton, Pink Floyd, McCartney, Elton John, Dire Straits, and a whack of others. I think one of my brothers gave me this.
And the Mario (Lemieux) bar from about 1993. I have a box of these, 50 in all.
It takes about five hours to travel 120 kms from my home in Powell River to Vancouver. Each ferry takes a bit under an hour, add the waiting at the ferry terminals, plus the small curvy road all the way down, and it becomes a major trek.
But lots of folk don’t quite understand where Powell River is. Some think it’s on Vancouver Island but it’s not, and many don’t quite understand why it’s a bit isolated. So I took a coaster to explain.
Please note – I was a little off on my ‘end of road’ marker, so add another half inch or so. This is where the road, highway 101, ends (or begins) on the west coast. You can’t go any further north.
About this road: If you were to hop in your car at the little fishing village of Lund, about 30 minutes north of Powell River, and you kept going south, you’d end up in Chile.
And one last little piece of trivia. I used to work at the ferry at Saltery Bay. If all this isn’t enough, I’ve included a bonus picture of me on one of my better days.