Tag Archives: Terry Sawchuk

Beatles, Habs, And Leafs

stub

On August 17th, 1966, the Beatles played two shows at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens.

I was at the afternoon concert, and I’m pretty darn proud of it.

In the summer of ’66 I was 15 and had a summer job as a highway construction slave labourer, but the boss let me go early and I went down to Toronto from Orillia with a disc jockey my sister worked with at the local radio station. She had got word to me just that morning that the DJ was going and asked if I would like to go with him.

I didn’t have a ticket, but believe it or not, they were still available when I showed up at the Gardens, and I got a $5.50 ticket in the very last row on the floor.

It was madness, of course. There were about six bands in the lineup, including the Ronettes, the Cyrkle and Bobby Hebb, and the Beatles played for about 40 minutes with girls screaming and fainting and carrying on.

That fall, hockey season began, and the next spring, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Habs in six games to win their last Stanley Cup.

The Leafs were an old team with guys like Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, and Allan Stanley, but Montreal wasn’t that young either. Henri Richard was 30, John Ferguson 27, Claude Provost was 32, Dick Duff 30, Ted Harris 30, Jean-Guy Talbot was 34, Jean Beliveau was 35, and the goalies, Gump Worsley and Charlie Hodge, were 37 and 33 respectively.

Of course, Montreal also had kiddies. Yvan Cournoyer was all of 22. Claude Larose was 23, Jacques Laperriere 24, and Serge Savard and Carol Vadnais were just 20.

John and Ringo were 26, Paul 24, and George 23.

The Habs and Beatles remain in the hearts of millions.

The Leafs continue to suck.

An Old Collier’s Shows Up

A friend of mine, James Duncan in Toronto, mailed me a gift which came yesterday.

It’s a Jan. 4, 1957 edition of the American magazine Collier’s, featuring Princess Grace on the cover, and inside, along with stories about the princess and teenagers and fictional crime, is a nice piece on 25-year old Jean Beliveau.

Wikipedia says the magazine was founded in 1888 and the last issue was on Jan. 4, 1957, which is this particular one. (It would start back up in 2012).

So it’s the final issue, with a beauty of a three-pager on our Jean Beliveau, which mentions that only four men in the league match Jean’s 6’3″, and no one equals his 205 pounds.

Gump Worsley, playing with the Rangers at the time, is quoted as saying “With Beliveau, you don’t bother to figure. You just wait, knowing he’s simply going to overpower you.”

The writer, Tom Meany, compares Jean and teammate Maurice Richard, saying the Rocket “has the flamboyant showmanship of Babs Ruth, while Beliveau has the effortless grace of Joe DiMaggio. And between them, the Rocket and Le Gros Bill leave Montreal’s knowledgeable – and rabid – fans limp”.

It also has a paragraph on legendary Montreal sportswriter Jacques Beauchamp, who donned goalie pads for some of the Canadiens practices, and who says, “I happened to tell Boston goalie Terry Sawchuk recently that Beliveau’s shots were so terrific I closed my eyes when they came at me.” Sawchuk replied, “I got news for you. We all do.”

I can’t thank James enough. He’d found this old mag somewhere, thought of me, and sent it out. Such a nice gesture.

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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 20

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Classic 21

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Classic 22

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Training Camp

Training camp for the boys. The Brossard barn will be buzzing.

I sure hope the Habs are in better shape than the guys in the article. But somehow I think they work out a bit more now than those guys did.

I’m also thinking we shouldn’t make jokes about those particular Leafs because that was the year they won the Stanley Cup.

THEIR LAST STANLEY CUP!!!!!!!

training camp

Crests And CYO

Don, now living in Houston, Texas, grew up in Orillia at the same time as me, and after reading my post about the sloppy way players sign their autographs nowadays, he emailed his CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) hockey crests he’s kept all these years, signed by Bob Pulford, Ron Stewart, and, Gerry Cheevers, to show examples of how players didn’t scribble as much back then.

CYO was a fun league, run in the beginning by big Father Sullivan, who would sometimes curse and have his face go beet red when he was pissed off, which he would often be. It almost seemed like he shouldn’t have entered the priesthood in the first place. He was a forceful dude, and might have made a lousy factory foreman. Or an effective bouncer at Chez Paree.

I still haven’t forgiven him for coming to our class one day and informing all of us that we were now altar boys. We weren’t given a choice. And I became such a lousy altar boy. Never knew when to ring the bell. Sometimes I’d stumble on the altar steps. And I once caught my altar boy garments on fire while lighting candles and the priest on duty had to put me out with a coat.

Thanks to Don for sending these along. Brings back memories.

One of these players, Ron Stewart, was the guy who got into a wrestling match on the front lawn with Terry Sawchuk, with Sawchuk dying soon afterward.

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Provost, And Three Unrelated Photos

Four photos that have nothing to do with each other. But anyway.

Below all these words, Claude Provost, Terry Sawchuk, and Allan Stanley chase after the puck. After that, a ’67 Ford Fairlane ad from an old Life magazine, then a wrestling poster I took off a telephone pole in Orillia, and finally, an Aqueduct poster I borrowed from a New York subway car.

But first, before you’re dazzled by the photos, a little about Claude Provost.

Claude Provost was an unheralded fellow with the Habs during the late ’50s and throughout the 1960s, but who wouldn’t be unheralded, playing on a team that included the Rocket, Beliveau, Geoffrion, Plante, Harvey, Moore, Pocket Rocket et al? But he was a key guy, a right winger who shadowed the league’s top left wingers, particularly Bobby Hull, who must have had nightmares about this fine player whom I’m hesitant to call a grinder. After all, during the 1964-65 season, Provost scored 27 goals and in the playoffs that year became known near and far for the number he did on the Golden Jet, limiting the flashy balding blond to just one goal and two assists en route to the Habs 13th Cup win.

Hull must have thought that when he went to bed at night, he’d wake up with Provost between him and his wife.

Claude Provost died of a heart attack when he was only 51, which is quite disturbing. He was way too young.

And this – from Dick Irvin’s great book The Habs, a little story by Dr. Doug Kinnear, the Canadiens physician back then:

“I was covering the first game of my hockey career and Claude Provost got cut by a high stick. They signalled to me from the bench so I went to the clinic and saw that he had a deep laceration on his forehead. The cut was about two inches long. It was my job to do the stitching and the first thing I did was ask for the freezing. Bill Head was the therapist in those days and he shook his head to give me the signal that hockey players do not require cuts to be frozen. I swallowed hard, took the needle and the sutures, and proceeded to sew up the laceration. Then I said, “Claude, you’d better go next door, lie down and rest for a while.” He said, “Thanks Doc,” jumped off the table, headed back to the bench, and was on the ice for his next shift. That was a revelation to me.”

And now, the other three photos that have nothing to do with each other or Claude Provost..

Player Pics

Back when the earth was flat and dinosaurs roamed about in foul moods, the Toronto Star Weekly (and other sister newspapers around the country) would once a week feature lovely full size photos of NHL stars which I would cut out and put into a second scrapbook, the first being my treasured Montreal Canadiens scrapbook. I looked forward to see who would be next in the long line of photos, and it was always interesting to check out the big-league equipment these guys wore.

Here’s five of them;

Gump Worsley, before he was a Hab, was a Ranger.

Terry Sawchuk, who many believe was the greatest goaltender of his day, (some even say the the best ever), would eventually pass away after a wrestling match with teammate Ron Stewart out on the front lawn.

Don Simmons was one goalie in particular that the Rocket seemed to have his way with, and there are several pictures of Richard bulging the twine behind a snakebitten Simmons. He owned a sporting goods store in southern Ontario for years after he’d retired from the game.

Gordie Howe. I once had breakfast with Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall, and I asked him who was the greatest of them all. He didn’t even have to think about it. He’d played against Bobby Orr, admitted the Rocket was the most dangerous from the blueline in, and had watched Wayne Gretzky closely from his farm near Edmonton, but his answer was Howe.

George Armstrong, Leafs captain and a guy I always thought was a really mediocre skater, but he made up for it with leadership and smarts. I never liked him much because he was a Leaf and sometimes he’d score against the Habs. He was also very stingy about signing autographs, which was rare for players back then.

Two Best Hockey Photos From Back Then

I don’t know if it’s still done, but for years, four or so literary judges would get together and decide on the best American sports stories and photographs of the year. Prizes would be awarded first place, second, third and so on, and writers would be the best of the best, like Red Smith at the New York Herald Tribune, Dick Young of the New York Daily News, and Gay Talese from Esquire, to name three of dozens involved.

These, in the minds of the judges, are the two top hockey photos of 1964.

The first was taken by Ray Scotty Morris of the San Francisco Examiner of a bunch of San Francisco Seals of the old Western Hockey League spraying snow on a lovely lady named Vicki Ross. I didn’t think it was all that gentlemanly, but it was a prize winner. And what’s the guy on the left looking at?

The second was from Paul McGuire of the Boston Globe, with a shot of the Red Wings in front of the net trying to block Boston’s Murray Oliver from getting a shot on Terry Sawchuk. Looks like there’s a good chance that Bill Gadsby, kneeling, could be getting a puck in the face in about one second.

Enjoy The Original Six In Splendid Quality

I don’t know how often this has ever been in circulation, but it’s one of most greatest ten minutes of hockey clips you’ll ever see.

It’s from 1967, the quality is sensational, like it was filmed today, and we see Jean Beliveau, as smooth as smooth can be, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Jacques Laperriere, Terry Harper, Ralph Backstrom, Terry Sawchuk, and just about everybody else from that time, all from the old Montreal Forum with the pillars in the background.

It’s called Blades and Brass, is set to music of a Mexican brass band, and comes from the National Film Board of Canada. So just sit back and enjoy the Original Six at the old Montreal Forum, in perfect quality.

 

Hall Of Fame Scores Some Photos

Classic Auctions has donated photographs from renowned Original Six photographer Alain Brouillard to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Beautiful shots of the Rocket, Bobby Hull, Terry Sawchuk and others are included.

The link, sent over by Christopher (thanks Chris) can be seen here – Hall’s Summer Treat.