Tag Archives: Butch Bouchard

A Train Carrying The Habs Nearly……

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There was a moment in time, just a month after I was born, when, according to a story I’d read somewhere a few years back, we almost lost the Montreal Canadiens after a train carrying the boys almost plunged into an icy river. We’re talking the Rocket and Doug and Butch and Elmer and the whole gang.

The Canadiens had fallen to the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 in Toronto (which was bad enough) on December 20, 1950 , and hours later were heading back to Montreal.

Just 35 miles or so from the city, the train began to cross the Dorion bridge high above the St. Lawrence River, but a cracked wheel bearing caused the baggage car to hop the rails. Quickly the next four cars also left the track, and members of the Canadiens apparently moved to one side of their car to try and keep it from tipping.

Finally, after a few harrowing moments, the train managed to hug the rails and make it across. Barely.

Several passengers were injured although all of the Canadiens players were fine, and everyone was brought back to Montreal by another train and some buses.

But it was as close as can be to losing the entire Montreal Canadiens when their train came within a whisker of hurtling into the cold St. Lawrence below.

Imagine.

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. Dollard

A little late getting to this but I’ve been tied up, and not in that good way.

Winner of four Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, including three during that magnificent late-’50s run by the team, defenceman Dollard St. Laurent has passed away at age 85.

St. Laurent, who wore the CH from 1951-52 until 1957-58 before moving to the Chicago Black Hawks, leaves us just after our Canadiens family said goodbye to Elmer Lach, Claude Ruel, Jean Beliveau, Gilles Tremblay, and Carol Vadnais.

Not a good time as far losing great Habs go. But I’m thinking a Stanley Cup this year in their name will help with the healing.

Below, a picture from an old Hockey Pictorial magazine, showing a fine intersection in Hull, Quebec, back in the late ’50s.

And below that, Dollard on the far right, and to his right Boom Boom Geoffrion, Cardinal Leger, Maurice Richard, Butch Bouchard, and what appears to be John McCormack.

 

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The Sunday Book

Happy Father’s Day to fathers. Hope your kids phone you today. Or at least email you. Anything really.

Also hope you don’t mind if I make this my Sunday post. More pages from my old scrapbook. I’m in Port Hope at the moment.

The huge face of the Rocket you see 5 pictures down is from an old Vitalis advertising sign in the barbershop window in Orillia which the barber gave to me. It’s made of thick cardboard and because of its thickness, it was the beginning of the pages starting to come apart.

Butch’s Stuff

My boss and cofounder (with his brother Claude) of Classic Auctions, Marc Juteau, along with Classic’s marketing wizard Mathieu Morin, are seen here at a recent press conference regarding the selling of Emile “Butch” Bouchard’s 1955-56 Canadiens sweater along with his all-star sweaters and other great things in the present auction.

Marc is the one in the white shirt and tie, while Mathieu is on the left.

Marc began this business from scratch in 1994 and turned it into the biggest and best hockey auction house in the world.

Here’s the link – Butch Bouchard Collection

Up For Grabs

The new catalogue is out, and our Winter 2014 auction at Classic Auctions goes online Tuesday, January 27.

Below is a small sampling of the nearly 1400 pieces up for bids, including game-worn jerseys from Butch Bouchard, Bert Olmstead, Henri Richard, Terry Sawchuk, Vladislav Tretiak, the Hanson brothers, and Sidney Crosby.

This is the kind of stuff I handle and write about every day.

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Classic 18

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Classic 21

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The Bell Tour, Habs HOF, And Jerry

Walked 11 kilometers today through the streets of downtown Montreal, the third time I’ve done this. Although my beer gut doesn’t seem to be shrinking, and I’d like to know why.

Excuse me while I go to the fridge for a beer.

I began at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where I believe I stayed the first time I was in Montreal, when I was about 12. Although it seems swankier than I remember. Maybe it had a lobby facelift in the past 50 years. Maybe I just think I stayed there.

It’s also where John and Yoko staged their Bed-In for Peace, so of course I rode the elevator to the 17th floor so I could see the door.

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John and Yoko

I walked for blocks, sort of in a big circle, and I stopped in at the Bell Centre where I visited the Habs Hall of Fame. I loved it so much. It just wasn’t big enough, that’s all.

When I saw game-worn sweaters of Morenz, Joliat, Emile Bouchard, Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, Pocket Rocket, Lafleur, and others, I got quivers down my backbone.

When I saw Aurele Joliat’s little cap he wore while playing, I got the shakes down the kneebone.

Morenz

Joliat

Rocket's sweater

Harvey

Then I took a tour of the Bell Centre, which was another lucky thing. I didn’t know I’d be doing any of this when I approached the building. I was just kind of casing the joint and everything happened to be open.

And the weirdest thing happened during the tour.

Several years ago, a guy in San Jose named Jerry Chan emailed me and told me he grew up in Montreal and was a Habs fan when he was a kid, and from that email, we struck up a friendship, emailing back and forth often about hockey and Montreal and all kinds of good stuff. Then I didn’t hear from him for about a year.

Midway through the tour today, a  fellow from the group walked over and asked me if I had a blog. Then he asked my name. Then he said he was Jerry Chan! Imagine that! He said the only picture he’d seen of me was from a few years ago that I had posted from a time when I was in Russia, but for some reason, he figured it was me.

Real nice fellow, Jerry Chan. It was great to meet him after so many emails. Especially by accident like that.

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seats

This, of course, is the Canadiens’ dressing room, which, the tour guy said, is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. The other part I don’t remember. Something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.

dressing room

 

 

Five Men And A Cardinal

More proof God loves the Habs.

The boys and Cardinal Leger in 1953.

Butch Bouchard, Maurice Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Dollard St. Laurent, and a fellow on the left whom I don’t recognize – meet with Cardinal Leger, who most certainly was in tight with God, which tells me God is a Habs fan.

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Canada Storms Back Against Slovaks

Team Canada found themselves down 3-1 to the Slovakians midway through the second period before switching to fourth gear, pumping in five unanswered big ones, and ending up with a nice, convincing 6-3 win over this somewhat disciplined Eastern European club that favours a bottling-up type of game that can often be effective, as shown in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Russians the other day.

It certainly didn’t work today, though, because Canada showed patience, wherewithall, and the proverbial intestinal fortitude to storm back. It’s what Canada does. Always has, always will. We’re proud of this.

Canada also showed a bit of an edge which will have Nail Yakupov saying “See, I told you so!” J.C. Lipon took a five minute penalty, plus a game misconduct, for a crisp elbow to a Slovakian noggin, and later on, Anthony Camara was sent off with a five and game for charging which saw Slovak Patrik Luza leave on a stretcher. Not good, but anyway……

Canada now meets the U.S.A. on Sunday (4:30 a.m. eastern), which should be fun, with Alex Galchenyuk suiting up for the enemy. Galchenyuk managed one assist in his U.S. team’s 2-1 loss to Russia, and hopefully on Sunday he shines in a losing cause..

Little Known Fact:

The city of Ufa’s original name was Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad, but was shortened to Ufa when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad was founded by Ivan the terrible, also known as defenceman Ivan Irvin, who played four games with Montreal during the 1952-53 season. Irvin ended up in what would become Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad after Montreal veterans Doug Harvey and Butch Bouchard hilariously decided to put the drunken rookie on a ship bound for Europe instead of the team train going to Chicago, as a rookie initiation joke.

Players back then were certainly a fun-loving bunch.

 

Nice Old Set

The title sounds like I’m talking about Sophia Loren.

I have the majority of the 1954-55 Parkhurst set in various conditions ranging from good to excellent, which is a ways down from near mint and mint, but still pretty darn good. The 100 cards were from the Original Six teams, plus some action shots.

This is a nice set to have, considering kids back then didn’t really collect cards, but instead threw them against buildings, playing closest to the wall. They (we) also put them in bicycle spokes and created a nice sound as the wheels turned and cards got destroyed.

Below are the complete Habs, which include, in order, Gerry McNeil, Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau, Eddie Mazur, Bert Olmstead, Butch Bouchard, Maurice Richard, Boom Boom Geofrrion, John McCormack, Tom Johnson, Calum Mackay, Ken Mosdell, Paul Masnick, Doug Harvey, and Floyd Curry.

Butch Gone At 92

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The Canadiens and their wives party at Butch Bouchard’s club in Montreal. That’s Butch on the left, in glasses. Others present include Elmer Lach, Gerry McNeil, Ken Mosdell, the Rocket, and Doug Harvey.

Emile “Butch” Bouchard, old number 3 on the Canadiens blueline, has passed away at 92. He was a leader among men, a great Montreal Canadien, and it’s a sad day.

I’m not able to write a proper story now as I’m about to start up the car and head for L.A. from Las Vegas, but here’s something I posted in 2009.

How many hockey players played the game since they could walk, practiced like crazy, went through minor hockey over many years, and ended up playing beer league or not playing at all? Most of us, right?

Not this guy.

Emile “Butch” Bouchard, the big defenceman who skated for the Habs from 1941 until 1956, pulled off something amazing, something I’ve thought about since I first read him tell it in Dick Irvin’s great book, “The Habs, An Oral History of the Montreal Canadiens, 1940-1980.”

I know it was the war years and many players were overseas, but still………

Here’s Butch:

“I started skating in high school. I never had a pair of skates until I was sixteen. I always borrowed skates or rented skates. In those days you could rent a pair of skates for a night for five cents and play a game of hockey. Otherwise I would play in the park and I would be the goalie, without skates.

I went to a school called Le Plateau and I borrowed thirty-five dollars from my brother, Marcel. He was older than me and he was working. For the thirty-five dollars I bought skates, a pair of pads, a pair of pants, shoulder pads, and gloves. All that for thirty-five dollars in those days.

I played for our team at Le Plateau and the second year I was there Arthur Therrien came to me and asked if I could play junior for him with the Verdun team. So I played one year junior and two years senior.

After my second year in senior hockey I was with the Canadiens. So I made the NHL just four years after I had my first pair of skates.”