Tag Archives: Lord Stanley

Big Day At The Job

Today (Thursday) marks a big day for me. I came to Montreal three months ago to work at Classic Auctions as a copywriter, describing items for their auctions. I’m one of three writers who do this particular job.

And the Fall 2013 Historical Hockey Auction, which I helped work on for these past three months, kicked off today. My first auction. I’m very proud.

Samplings of the huge catalogue are below, but you can see the full 1480 items right here.

It’s hard to believe. I’ve been getting their catalogues for years and now I’m a part of things.

Below is the cover and some of the great stuff up for grabs. It closes a month from now.

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Moving To Montreal

Very soon it’ll be throw everything into storage, close up shop, hop into the car with Luci, Gaston, and maybe Teesha the cat, and drive 2300 miles to Montreal, where I’ll be working at Classic Auctions, which many of you know is the biggest and best historical hockey auction house on the planet.

This gig could last just a month, or many years. It’s been in the works for months, but it was difficult for both sides because of the distance. But in the end, they decided to give me a chance, and I’m honoured and excited.

Classic Auctions has been around for 19 years, and is legendary for the rare, high-end items it deals with in their auctions. They sold Paul Henderson’s ’72 Summit Series game eight jersey for 1.2 million, and their lots have always blown my mind – stuff from the Rocket, Bobby Orr, Lord Stanley, Howie Morenz, the 1972 Summit Series, Georges Vezina, Jean Beliveau, and on and on and on.

It’s always amazed me, the things that end up at this Montreal-based company.

I still didn’t know if I had this job when I sent my letter to my company saying I was retiring, and Luci and I had already planned to drive across Canada, even if the job didn’t come about.

But it did come about. A new adventure. Holy smokes.

If you want to check out some of their auctions, past and present, and see some of the most amazing hockey memorabilia, just click here – Classic Auctions and have a look around.

 

I’m Here If You’re Bored

Just so you know, and I say this every year, that even though this is a Habs site, I carry on and post 365 days a year. So please check in if you have nothing else to do. But if you really are too busy from here on in, just don’t overdo things if you’re a little out of shape. I want you ready to go for the Habs’ Cup run beginning next fall.

I woke up this morning with a hangover. A clear, non-head-hurting hockey hangover. Whew, that’s a mouthful!

Last night when the game and series ended, it was strictly numbness filling my head. I turned off the television and wrote my post and wandered around the house with most brain cells turned to dim or off. 

This morning, though, I woke to the full and lousy realization of what had happened. The Canadiens are finished for the year and this is something I’ve never come to grips with, never gotten used too. I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Stanley Cups, but have also been around 42 times when they’ve not been able to hoist Lord Stanley’s hardware, and 42 times it’s felt quite shitty thank you very much.

I know I’m not supposed to feel like this. It’s just a game, they say. And I tell myself that I’m a grown man and there are so many other things in this crazy, screwed-up world that I should be more concerned about. But I love the Montreal Canadiens, as many of you have already figured out, and I’ve simply learned to juggle my life, to work and raise a family and follow the news and vote and cut the lawn and drink some really strong beer and try to live a normal and somewhat responsible life, all the while keeping lots of room for my team.

I don’t know if this had anything to do with my divorce 20 years ago but it’s possible I suppose.

Now the ride is over for awhile. I watched a cricket game from India late last night if you’re interested. They hit the ball all over the place and then nothing happened after that. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Again, if you feel like stopping in, I’ll be here every day, babbling away. If you don’t come back for awhile, I’ll be babbling anyway. It’s just better if I’m not talking to myself, that’s all.

Habs gone again. Geez I hate this feeling.

Habs Win Stanley (Park). Oh, What A Night!

Before I get into this, I just want to mention that it was Tom Cruise you may have seen on the sports news watching the game from a private box at the Vancouver game and not me.

Montreal 3, Canucks 2. Yes, it’s true. The first Habs win in Vancouver since 2000. Not that Vancouver has been better than the Habs every game since 2000, but they’ve managed to win anyway.

In 2000, players didn’t wear helmets and goalies didn’t wear masks. (yes they did, I’m just being silly after drinking four big pints in celebration of one of the most amazing nights I’ve experienced in as long as I can remember).

Of the 20,000 or so at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, I’m guessing 9,000 were Habs fans. In bars and restaurants and on streets throughout, Habs fans were everywhere. At the rink, cheers were as loud for the Habs as they were for the Canucks. They sang Ole, Ole. They wore new and vintage Habs sweaters. They chanted Go Habs Go and drowned out lesser Canucks chants.

It made my heart soar like all the birds that can really soar.

Surely the whole thing must piss off Canucks fans.

And the game?

We jumped out in the beginning, outshooting Vancouver at one point about 15 to 2 or so. But penalties, as they do, changed momentum and the Canucks, a fine-looking team for sure, especially those Sedins, climbed back in and took over the shot tally from the second period on. It was stressful, Habs fans were louder than loud, our seats were wonderful – just eight rows up from David Desharnais and Brian Gionta scoring only 30 feet in front of us, and it became one of the best evenings Luciena and I have spent in years except for…..never mind.

Tonight was magical. Mystical. Like a script written. In the pre-game warm-up, we went down to ice level at Montreal’s end and watched PK and Carey and the boys get ready and I looked over often at my wife and she, being a fine Habs fan at her first Habs game, had eyeballs as big as saucers and I knew at this point that I’m a good, solid husband.

Montreal played well in this game, as least I thought so considering the penalties that needed to be killed. The flow and rhythm was lost for a great part as the boys trooped to the sin bin, but it didn’t stop the noise and atmosphere from the crazy and delightful Habs fans who traveled from all corners of the province and beyond to see their team knock off the first-overall Canucks and make my day like it’s rarely made.

What a night. Beating the Canucks after losing in Edmonton and Calgary. Back on the winning track. Celebrating with thousands of Habs fans three thousand miles from Montreal. Wishing I could kick the fish mascot in the ass.

What a night. Thank you Habs, for the magic. And for just being you.

Random Notes:

Montreal goal scorers were David Desharnais on a beautiful breakaway, Brian Gionta, and Andrei Kostitsyn with the winner.

Shots on goal – 39-25 Canucks

Next up – Home to destroy the Leafs.

Stanley Park, in the title of this story, was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the man who donated the Stanley Cup. Stanley Park opened in Vancouver in 1888.

Part Two Of A Glimpse Into The KHL

St. Petersburg SKA, sitting high in the standings, boasts several players who had careers in the NHL. Alexei Yashin, Maxim Afinogenov, Sergei Zubov, Evgeny Artyukhin, Sergei Brylin, and Evgeny Nabokov, all seasoned ex-NHLers, play here, although no Canadians are on the squad.

I think for most North Americans, living and playing in Russia can be a trying experience, but Vityaz Chekhov has five Canadians on their roster – Darcy Verot, Josh Gratton, Kevin Lalande, Chris Simon, and Brandon Sugden. (An interesting story about Brandon Sugden can be found here –  Brandon Sugden)

Vityaz Chekhov are also considered the Broad St. Bullies of the KHL, a tough, scrapping bunch, although on the night Denis went, they behaved themselves and won.

The Kontinental Hockey League clubs play for the Gagarin Cup, named after a true Russian hero Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut who became the first human in outer space and who is, according to my wife, possibly Russia’s most beloved hero of all time. Lord Stanley was Canada’s Governor General and donated the Stanley Cup, but Yuri Gagarin was a pioneer cosmonaut during the Cold War. For Russians, there’s no comparison.

Wild Bill Hunter Should Be In The Hall

Bill Hunter deserves to to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In fact, Hunter, who passed away on December 16, 2002 at the age of 82, should have been enshrined years ago.

To say that Wild Bill shouldn’t be in the hallowed hall is a little like saying Lord Stanley, Conn Smythe, or Frank Selke shouldn’t be either. The man practically instilled the right to skate, shoot, and score in Western Canada.

Here’s a rundown of some his astonishing accomplishments. Then you decide whether he belongs.

He was either coach, general manager, president, chairman of the board, owner, or any combination of the above of the Regina Capitals Senior Club, Saskatoon Quakers, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Hockey Club, Yorkton Terriers, Edmonton Oil Kings Junior Club, San Diego Gulls, Alberta Oilers and Edmonton Oilers of the newly formed World Hockey Association (WHA). He was also general manager of Team Canada 1974.

And he almost single-handedly created the Western Hockey Junior League and was the mastermind behind the modern-day Memorial Cup format.

In 1982 he launched Saskatoon’s bid to acquire a franchise in the National Hockey League by purchasing the St. Louis Blues with the intent to move the club to Saskatoon, only to be turned down by the league. But from this, a world-class multipurpose sports and entertainment complex known as Saskatchewan Place was built.

He was awarded the Canadian Tourism Award, inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Notre Dame (Saskatchewan) College Hall of Fame, City of Edmonton Hall of Fame, was an Honorary Life Member of Notre Dame, is in the Saskatoon Hall of Fame and was given the Order of Canada. It just goes on and on.

So why isn’t he already? Because Wild Bill rubbed some the wrong way. The NHL was never pleased that Hunter helped form the renegade WHA, which enticed players from the old-guard NHL, which led to a rise in salaries.

Has the NHL held a grudge till this day? If so, it’s time to get over it and do the right thing.

Wild Bill Hunter Should Be In The Hockey Hall Of Fame

It’s great that western Canada’s Ed Chynoweth will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as builder in November’s ceremony. He deserves it.

But Bill Hunter deserves it too. When is this going to happen, for goodness sakes?

In fact, Hunter, who passed away on December 16, 2002 at the age of 82, should have been enshrined years ago.

To say that Bill Hunter shouldn’t be in the hallowed hall is like saying Lord Stanley, Conn Smythe, or Frank Selke shouldn’t be either. The man practically instilled the right to skate, shoot, and score in Western Canada.

Here’s a rundown of some his astonishing accomplishments. Then you decide whether he belongs.

He was either coach, general manager, president, chairman of the board, owner, or any combination of the above of the Regina Capitals Senior Club, Saskatoon Quakers, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Hockey Club, Yorkton Terriers, Edmonton Oil Kings Junior Club, San Diego Gulls, Alberta Oilers and Edmonton Oilers of the newly formed World Hockey Association (WHA). He was also general manager of Team Canada 1974. And he almost single-handedly created the Western Hockey Junior League and was the mastermind behind the modern-day Memorial Cup format.

In 1982 he launched Saskatoon’s bid to acquire a franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL) by purchasing the St. Louis Blues with the intent to move the club to Saskatoon, only to be turned down by the league. But from this, a world-class multipurpose sports and entertainment complex known as Saskatchewan Place was built.

He was awarded the Canadian Tourism Award, inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Notre Dame (Saskatchewan) College Hall of Fame, City of Edmonton Hall of Fame, was an Honorary Life Member of Notre Dame, is in the Saskatoon Hall of Fame and was given the Order of Canada. It just goes on and on.

So why isn’t he already? Because Wild Bill rubbed some the wrong way. The NHL was never pleased that Hunter helped form the renegade WHA, which enticed players from the old-guard NHL, which led to a rise in salaries.

The Hockey Hall of Fame has made some questionable choices in the past. Team Canada 1972 hero Paul Henderson isn’t there, but Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who slammed Canada’s game and its system in his book Tretiak, the Legend, is. So is Harold Ballard, who almost single-handedly ruined a storied Toronto Maple Leaf franchise.

But forget about questionable decisions. Bill Hunter is clear cut. He should be in there, plain and simple.

Smarten up, whoever you are who votes.

I Was Only $28,500 Short Of Getting The Sweater

Johnny ‘Black Cat’ Gagnon played for the Montreal Canadiens, (and also the NY Americans and Boston Bruins) from 1930 to 1940. He wasn’t a big star (120 goals, 141 assists in 451 games) but enjoyed success playing alongside Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat.

Just a few days ago, Classic Auctions in Montreal, which is the foremost hockey auction house on the planet, sold Gagnon’s Montreal sweater #14 for $28,551. I really wanted this sweater, and I thought I had a chance. But then it went past fifty bucks so I had to bow out.

Here’a few other Habs items that sold in the auction. It must be nice to be a collector who happens to be a rich bastard. Must be lawyers snapping these things up.

Here’s what I mean:

Carol Vadnais’ 1993 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship ring – $23,102.

Jean Beliveau’s 1969 Montreal Canadiens game-worn sweater – $22,013.

Beliveau’s 1972-73 Stanley Cup ring – $32,211.

Henri Richard’s ’73-74 jersey – $13,500

Original 1978-79 Stanley Cup banner which hung from the Forum – $6000.

Player’s sweater worn during the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial game – $7,150

Guy Lafleur’s 1981-82 game-worn sweater – $11,000

None of Dennis Kane’s Byer’s Bulldozers Orillia Midget team items were available, but I’m sure they’re worth quite a bit. 

Classic Auctions is unbelievable. Two or three times a year they hold these amazing auctions that always include things like letters from Lord Stanley, important sticks that belonged to Morenz and the Rocket, for example, and just about anything else you can think of that is worth more than what you and I can afford.  Classic is the Sotheby’s or Christies of the hockey world. I wouldn’t mind getting a job there.