Leafs Celebrating ’67 Stanley Cup

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Jan. 23) – A substantial part of my collection – perhaps too substantial, given the storage space required – is old newspapers… most of which I’ve kept through the years; some of which have been given to me or purchased as memorabilia. If you’re a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’ll probably enjoy the first part of this newspaper collection, yellowing after more than four decades.

MAY 2, 1967 

DAVE KEON, WINNER OF THE CONN SMYTHE TROPHY AS PLAYOFF MVP, WASHES HIS FACE WITH STANLEY CUP CHAMPAGNE (ABOVE) ON THE COVER OF THE OLD TORONTO TELEGRAM, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 1967: THE DAY AFTER THE LEAFS WON THEIR LAST CHAMPIONSHIP. JUBILANT TORONTO PLAYERS LEAP OFF THE BENCH AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS WHEN TIME EXPIRES (BELOW) ON FRONT SPORTS PAGE OF THE TELEGRAM, WHICH FOLDED OCT. 30, 1971.

 

THE TELEGRAM (ABOVE) SHOWS VARIOUS FORMS OF CELEBRATION AMONG LEAFS PERSONNEL IN THE WAKE OF THE 1967 STANLEY CUP TRIUMPH. THAT’S TERRY SAWCHUK EMBRACING THE CUP (LEFT) WHILE GM/COACH PUNCH IMLACH AND VICE-PRESIDENT KING CLANCY ARE ESCORTED INTO THE SHOWER IN THEIR BUSINESS ATTIRE (UPPER RIGHT).

FRONT PAGE OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL (ABOVE) ON MAY 3, 1967 SHOWS LEAFS CELEBRATING A GOAL, WITH MONTREAL NETMINDER LORNE (GUMP) WORSLEY SPRAWLED ON THE ICE. INSIDE SPORTS PAGE (BELOW) SEES CAPTAIN GEORGE ARMSTRONG HANDING THE CUP TO TEAMMATE JIM PAPPIN (LEFT), AND DOROTHY IMLACH – WIFE OF THE LEAFS COACH; KNOWN AS “DODO” TO EVERYONE – DURING AN ANXIOUS MOMENT IN GAME 6 (RIGHT).

 

FRONT PAGE OF THE TORONTO STAR (ABOVE) THE DAY AFTER THE LEAFS WON THE ’67 STANLEY CUP SHOWS TERRY SAWCHUK AND DEFENSEMAN ALLAN STANLEY (26) CONVERGING ON LOOSE PUCK. SPORTS FRONT (BELOW) SALUTES DAVE KEON FOR HIS CONN SMYTHE TROPHY PERFORMANCE.

 

APRIL 6, 1969

THE FIRST STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF GAME I ATTENDED WAS THE FINAL GAME IN WHICH PUNCH IMLACH COACHED THE MAPLE LEAFS. BOSTON COMPLETED A FOUR-GAME QUARTERFINAL SWEEP OF TORONTO AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON SUN. APR. 6, 1969. MINUTES AFTERWARD, OWNER STAFFORD SMYTHE FIRED IMLACH IN THE LEAFS DRESSING ROOM. BRUINS HAD WON THE FIRST TWO GAMES OF THE SERIES 10-0 AND 7-0 AT BOSTON GARDEN. STORY OF IMLACH’S DEMISE RAN ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE TORONTO STAR (ABOVE) AND ON FRONT OF STAR SPORTS SECTION (BELOW). PICTURED NEXT TO AN EXASPERATED IMLACH ON SPORTS PAGE ARE THE MEN THAT TOOK CONTROL OF THE LEAFS FROM HIM: COACH JOHN McLELLAN (LEFT) AND GM JIM GREGORY.

 

FRONT PAGE OF THE TORONTO TELEGRAM (ABOVE) ANNOUNCING IMLACH DISMISSAL. TELEGRAM HOCKEY WRITER GEORGE GROSS SPENT MUCH OF THAT NIGHT AT IMLACH’S HOUSE, ARRIVING THERE AFTER COVERING THE FOURTH AND FINAL MATCH OF THE LEAFS-BRUINS SERIES.

 

JANUARY 18, 1964 

I WAS TOO YOUNG TO HAVE RECOLLECTION OF THE ABOVE GAME, BUT IT UNDOUBTEDLY STOOD AS THE MOST HUMILIATING HOUR FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS DURING THEIR STANLEY CUP DYNASTY OF THE 1960s. ON JAN. 18, 1964 (A SATURDAY NIGHT) – AS THE LEAFS WERE MOTORING TOWARD THEIR THIRD CONSECUTIVE CHAMPIONSHIP – THE LOWLY BOSTON BRUINS CAME TO TOWN AND WALLOPED THE HOME SIDE 11-0. BOSTON WOULD FINISH DEAD-LAST IN THE SIX-TEAM NHL THAT SEASON WITH 48 POINTS, 30 FEWER THAN THIRD-PLACE TORONTO. FRONT SPORTS PAGE OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL (ABOVE) FROM JAN. 20, 1964 DETAILS THE CARNAGE AND PROVIDES A RARE PHOTO OF THE OLD SCORE-CLOCK AT THE GARDENS. GOALIE DON SIMMONS WAS VICTIM OF THE BRUINS’ ONSLAUGHT. SIMMONS WAS NOT CHOSEN TO PLAY THE FOLLOWING NIGHT IN CHICAGO, BUT A UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT CARRYING WESTERN LEAGUE REPLACEMENT AL MILLAR COULDN’T LAND AT O’HARE AIRPORT AS A RESULT OF FOG. SIMMONS STARTED AGAIN AND BLANKED THE POWERFUL BLACKHAWKS 2-0. QUITE THE UP-AND-DOWN WEEKEND FOR THE VETERAN GOALKEEPER.

 

JUNE 6, 1967

THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE DOUBLED IN SIZE FOR THE 1967-68 SEASON, ADDING SIX TEAMS (CALIFORNIA SEALS, LOS ANGELES KINGS, MINNESOTA NORTH STARS, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS AND ST. LOUIS BLUES) TO FORM THE NEW WEST DIVISION. THE PRE-EXPANSION TEAMS (BOSTON BRUINS, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, DETROIT RED WINGS, MONTREAL CANADIENS, NEW YORK RANGERS AND TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS) COMPRISED THE EAST DIVISION. ON JUNE 6, 1967 – AT THE QUEEN ELIZABETH HOTEL IN MONTREAL – THE NHL HELD ITS FIRST EXPANSION DRAFT TO STOCK THE NEW CLUBS. THE ESTABLISHED TEAMS WERE ALLOWED TO PROTECT ONE GOALIE AND 11 SKATERS; THE OTHERS WERE ELIGIBLE TO BE SELECTED. THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS OF THE DRAFT INVOLVED GOALIES… THE REMAINDER, FORWARDS AND DEFENSEMEN. RESULTS OF THE DRAFT WERE DETAILED (ABOVE) ON FRONT SPORTS PAGE OF THE JUNE 7, 1967 TORONTO STAR. TERRY SAWCHUK, HAVING LED THE LEAFS TO A STANLEY CUP TITLE THE PREVIOUS MONTH, WAS THE FIRST PLAYER CHOSEN – BY LOS ANGELES. LEAFS DEFENSEMAN BOB BAUN WENT TO CALIFORNIA, AND HE SPOKE TO STAR SPORTS EDITOR MILT DUNNELL ABOUT SEALS COACH (AND FORMER LEAFS TEAMMATE) BERT OLMSTEAD.

 

APRIL 21, 1985

IT WAS A SAD DAY IN TORONTO AND ACROSS CANADA WHEN THE PATRIARCH OF HOCKEY BROADCASTING, FOSTER HEWITT, PASSED AWAY ON APR. 21, 1985. HEWITT, 82 WHEN HE DIED, COINED THE PHRASE “HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!” WHILE CALLING GAMES FROM HIS GONDOLA PERCH AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS. HE WORKED FROM 1923 ‘TIL 1976 BEFORE RETIRING. FROM THE 1930s TO THE MID-’70s, HEWITT DESCRIBED THE ACTION OF ALL LEAF GAMES, HOME AND AWAY. HE FOUNDED RADIO STATION CKFH-1430 IN TORONTO, FORERUNNER TO THE FAN-590. STORY OF HEWITT’S DEATH WAS ON FRONT OF THE APR. 22, 1985 TORONTO STAR (ABOVE).

 

MAY 24, 1988

 I HAVE NEVER BEEN AS BLATANTLY UNCOMFORTABLE AT A HOCKEY GAME AS IN THE OLD BOSTON GARDEN ON THE NIGHT OF MAY 24, 1988. IT WAS SIX DAYS BEFORE I STARTED MY RADIO CAREER AT CJCL AM-1430 (NOW SPORTSNET-590) AND I ATTENDED GAMES 3 AND 4 OF THE ’88 STANLEY CUP FINAL BETWEEN THE BRUINS AND EDMONTON OILERS. THAT DAY, IN BOSTON, WAS AMONG THE HOTTEST AND MUGGIEST OF MY LIFE. THE GARDEN WAS NOT AIR CONDITIONED AND SITTING IN THE ARENA DURING THE FOURTH GAME, SURROUNDED BY 15,000 OTHERS, WAS EXCRUCIATING – THE EQUIVALENT OF BEING IN A SAUNA WITH CLOTHES ON. WHEN SEVERAL BANKS OF TV LIGHTS WENT OUT AT 16:37 OF THE SECOND PERIOD – THE GAME TIED, 3-3 – I WAS PRAYING THEY WOULDN’T COME BACK ON, FOR IT WAS WAY TOO DARK TO CONTINUE PLAY. AFTER A 15-MINUTE WAIT, THE MATCH WAS SUSPENDED AND FANS WERE ASKED TO LEAVE THE GARDEN… AN ABSOLUTE BLESSING, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCE. I’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER WALKING DOWN A PITCH-DARK STAIRWELL WITH THREE OR FOUR PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME CARRYING CIGARETTE LIGHTERS. THE GAME WAS REPLAYED TWO NIGHTS LATER IN EDMONTON AND THE OILERS WON THEIR FOURTH STANLEY CUP IN FIVE YEARS (AND LAST WITH WAYNE GRETZKY). ON MY WAY HOME THE NEXT DAY, AT LOGAN AIRPORT, I BOUGHT A COPY OF THE BOSTON GLOBE, WITH THE FRONT PAGE (ABOVE) AND SPORTS FRONT (BELOW) DISPLAYED HERE.

 

May 25, 1991

LED BY FOUR OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS IN NHL HISTORY – MARIO LEMIEUX, RON FRANCIS, JAROMIR JAGR AND PAUL COFFEY – THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS WON THEIR FIRST OF CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP TITLES ON SATURDAY, MAY 25, 1991 AT THE METROPOLITAN SPORTS CENTER IN BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA, CRUSHING THE NORTH STARS 8-0. I WAS IN PITTSBURGH THAT WEEKEND FOR A FAMILY AFFAIR AND WAS CRUISING ON THE RIVERS SURROUNDING THE CITY WHILE THE PENGUINS WERE DISMANTLING THEIR OPPONENT. AT THE FINAL BUZZER, THOUSANDS OF JUBILANT FANS PORED ONTO THE STREETS AND MULTIPLE BRIDGES THAT CROSS THE THREE RIVERS, CELEBRATING INTO THE WEE HOURS. THE FOLLOWING DAY, I PICKED UP A COPY OF THE OLD PITTSBURGH PRESS (FRONT PAGE ABOVE; FRONT SPORTS PAGE BELOW).

 

 

DECEMBER 27, 2000

WHEN MARIO LEMIEUX – CONSIDERED, BY MANY, THE THIRD-BEST PLAYER IN NHL HISTORY, BEHIND ONLY WAYNE GRETZKY AND BOBBY ORR – DECIDED TO COME BACK AFTER A THREE-AND-A-HALF YEAR RETIREMENT, HE MADE HIS RETURN IN A POST-CHRISTMAS GAME AT MELLON ARENA AGAINST THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (DEC. 27, 2000 – FRONT PAGE OF PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE ABOVE). IT WAS ONE OF THE FEW NIGHTS DURING THE PAT QUINN ERA IN WHICH THE LEAFS LOOKED SCARED… LITERALLY INTIMIDATED BY AN OCCASION. AS SUCH, THEY WERE EASY 5-0 FODDER FOR THE PENGUINS; JAROMIR JAGR SCORING JUST 33 SECONDS AFTER THE OPENING FACE-OFF. MAGNIFICENT MARIO – NO RUST EVIDENT – CONTRIBUTED A GOAL AND TWO ASSISTS. 

 

JUNE 9-14, 1994

WITH THE RANGERS LEADING VANCOUVER 3-1 IN THE 1994 STANLEY CUP FINAL, THE NEW YORK POST WAS CONVINCED THE CLUB WOULD END ITS 54-YEAR CHAMPIONSHIP DROUGHT IN GAME 5 AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. FRONT PAGE OF THE JUNE 9, 1994 POST (ABOVE) CLAIMED THE SERIES WOULD END THAT NIGHT, WHILE THE BACK PAGE (BELOW) HAD “RANGERS” SUPERIMPOSED ON THE BASE OF THE SILVER MUG. WHEN THE VANCOUVER CONTINGENT SAW THIS, THE DESIRE TO EXTEND THE SERIES INTENSIFIED. AND WHAT A WILD GAME 5 IT WAS. VANCOUVER JUMPED OUT TO A 3-0 LEAD WHICH THE RANGERS QUICKLY ERASED IN THE SECOND PERIOD. WITH THE GARDEN AUDIENCE STILL ON ITS FEET IN WILD CELEBRATION, DEFENSEMAN DAVID BABYCH SCORED TO PUT THE CANUCKS BACK IN FRONT. IT IS DIFFICULT – TO THIS DAY – TO DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF 18,000 RUMPS FALLING BACK INTO THEIR SEATS AT THE SAME TIME. THE VISITORS ADDED TWO MORE GOALS AND WON THE GAME, 6-3 – SENDING THE FINAL BACK TO VANCOUVER FOR GAME 6.

 

THE FRONT AND BACK PAGES OF THE JUNE 10, 1994 NEW YORK POST (ABOVE AND BELOW) HAD A BIT OF A DIFFERENT TONE AFTER THE VANCOUVER TRIUMPH IN GAME 5.

 

 

BUT, THE STORY ENDED HAPPILY FOR THE RANGERS (AND THE POST). AFTER VANCOUVER TIED THE SERIES WITH A 4-1 ROMP AT PACIFIC COLISEUM ON SAT. JUNE 11, A TWO-DAY BREAK ENSUED BEFORE THE DECIDING MATCH AT THE GARDEN. DURING THAT TIME, WORD LEAKED THAT RANGERS COACH MIKE KEENAN HAD BEEN NEGOTIATING WITH EITHER DETROIT OR ST. LOUIS TO ASSUME ITS BENCH DUTIES FOR THE FOLLOWING SEASON – SPECULATION KEENAN NATURALLY DENIED AT A PACKED NEWS CONFERENCE IN THE CLUB’S PRACTICE FACILITY. THOUGH IT CREATED AN UNWANTED DISTRACTION, THE RANGERS IGNORED IT WELL ENOUGH TO HANG ON AND BEAT THE CANUCKS, 4-3, FOR THEIR FIRST STANLEY CUP TITLE SINCE 1940. THE JUNE 15, 1994 NEW YORK POST WAS BURSTING WITH RANGER PRIDE ON ITS FRONT AND BACK PAGES (ABOVE AND BELOW). ALMOST COMPLETELY OVERLOOKED WAS A SMALL HEADLINE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FRONT PAGE THAT WOULD DEVELOP INTO THE LEAD NEWS ITEM FOR DAYS ON END. OH YEAH, KEENAN SOON LEFT THE TEAM TO BECOME HEAD COACH OF THE BLUES FOR 1994-95.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES (ABOVE) AND NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (FRONT AND BACK PAGES BELOW) THE MORNING AFTER THE RANGERS ENDED THEIR 54-YEAR STANLEY CUP DROUGHT.

 

 

 

WAYNE GRETZKY

Considered by many the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky made colossal news when he a) got married; b) was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles, and c) announced he was retiring and played his final NHL game… events that are depicted below. 

JULY 16, 1988 

THE MOST RECOGNIZABLE CANADIAN ON EARTH TIED THE KNOT IN A LAVISH EDMONTON CEREMONY ON SATURDAY, JULY 16, 1988. WAYNE GRETZKY, 27, MARRIED ACTRESS JANET JONES (FRONT PAGE OF TORONTO SUN ABOVE; STORIES, PHOTOS BELOW).

 

 

AUG. 9, 1988

IN SOME WAYS, IT IS STILL DIFFICULT – MORE THAN 23 YEARS LATER – TO BELIEVE THE EDMONTON OILERS ACTUALLY TRADED WAYNE GRETZKY. PERHAPS YOU HAVE TO BE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER GRETZKY IN HIS PRIME WITH THE DYNAMIC OILER TEAMS OF THE MID-’80s TO FULLY COMPREHEND HOW ASTONISHING IT WAS WHEN OWNER PETER POCKLINGTON DEALT HIM TO THE LOS ANGELES KINGS ON AUG. 9, 1988… A TRANSACTION SPURRED BY THE $15 MILLION POCKLINGTON RECEIVED TO HELP BOOST HIS DORMANT FINANCIAL EMPIRE. THE EDMONTON JOURNAL AND EDMONTON SUN (ABOVE AND BELOW) REACTED ACCORDINGLY TO THE NEWS THE FOLLOWING DAY.

 

 

 

FRONT PAGE (ABOVE) AND FRONT SPORTS PAGE (BELOW) OF THE TORONTO STAR ON AUG. 10, 1988 – THE DAY AFTER THE OILERS TRADED WAYNE GRETZKY. LEGENDARY COLUMNIST JIM PROUDFOOT WROTE THE LEAD OPINION PIECE IN THE SPORTS SECTION.

 

 

APRIL 15 – 18, 1999

IN THE FINAL WEEK OF THE 1998-99 NHL SEASON, NEW YORK RANGERS BROADCASTER JOHN DAVIDSON (CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE ST. LOUIS BLUES) BROKE THE NEWS THAT WAYNE GRETZKY WAS SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING RETIREMENT. WITH GRETZKY AND THE RANGERS IN OTTAWA FOR A GAME AGAINST THE SENATORS, THE STORY GAINED ABUNDANT STEAM AND NO. 99 ADDED CREDENCE TO THE RETIREMENT SPECULATION BY RE-EMERGING FROM THE VISITORS’ DRESSING ROOM AT SCOTIABANK PLACE AFTER THE GAME TO ADDRESS A STANDING OVATION FROM THE CROWD, WHICH WOULDN’T LEAVE UNTIL HE TOOK A BOW IN HIS FINAL GAME ON HOME SOIL. AT A PACKED NEWS CONFERENCE AFTERWARD, GRETZKY ADMITTED HE WAS LEANING TOWARD HANGING UP HIS SKATES BUT HAD NOT MADE A FIRM DECISION. FRONT PAGE OF THE TORONTO STAR ON FRI. APR. 16, 1999 (ABOVE) FEATURED THE BIGGEST HOCKEY STORY OF THE SEASON.

AT A FOLLOW-UP NEWS CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK ON FRIDAY – TELEVISED LIVE FROM COAST-TO-COAST IN CANADA – GRETZKY MADE IT OFFICIAL: HE WOULD INDEED RETIRE FROM THE NHL AFTER THE RANGERS SEASON FINALE TWO DAYS LATER AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AGAINST THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (FRONT PAGES OF THE OTTAWA SUN, ABOVE, AND TORONTO SUN, BELOW). JUST FOR FUN, IN THE ENSUING NEWSPAPER PHOTOS LEADING UP TO – AND INCLUDING – GRETZKY’S LAST GAME, COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU SEE THE WORD “GREAT” IN HEADLINES AND SUB-TITLES.

 

 

EDMONTON SUN  COLUMNIST TERRY JONES COVERED ALL OF GRETZKY’S MAGICAL MOMENTS WITH THE OILERS OF THE 1980s. JONES WRITES ABOUT NO. 99’s RETIREMENT (ABOVE).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWSPAPER COVERS (ABOVE) THE DAY AFTER GRETZKY’S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE NEW YORK POST; NEW YORK TIMES; GLOBE AND MAIL; NATIONAL POST AND OTTAWA CITIZEN.

GAME-DAY EDITION (ABOVE AND BELOW) OF THE NEW YORK POST TALKS ABOUT GRETZKY’S BIG MOMENT LATER IN THE AFTERNOON OF APR. 18, 1999.

 

THE ABOVE POSTER OF WAYNE GRETZKY SALUTING THE CROWD AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AFTER HIS FINAL NHL GAME WAS WRAPPED AROUND THE COVER OF THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS ON MON. APR. 19, 1999. THE OTHER NEW YORK PAPERS, AND THOSE IN TORONTO (ALL BELOW), RAN HARD WITH PHOTOS AND STORIES FROM THE HISTORIC OCCASION, ONE THAT I WAS PRIVILEGED TO ATTEND.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL MEDIA GUIDES

A selection of NHL media guides from my stash of roughly 1,100 such items.

 

THE LAST TIME, TO DATE, THAT THE COVER OF A MAPLE LEAFS MEDIA GUIDE FEATURED THE WORDS “STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS” – EDITION OF 1967-68 (ABOVE).

THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF MAPLE LEAF GARDENS PROMPTED THE DESIGN OF A SUPERB COVER FOR THE LEAFS 1981-82 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) – A COLLAGE OF SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE THAT HAD VISITED OR PERFORMED IN THE BUILDING, INCLUDING THE BEATLES; FRANK SINATRA; MICK JAGGER; MUHAMMAD ALI (FOUGHT GEORGE CHUVALO AT MLG ON MAR. 29, 1966); QUEEN ELIZABETH, AND FORMER PRIME MINISTERS JOHN DIEFENBAKER AND PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU.

THE BRUINS 1968-69 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) SHOWS KEN HODGE SCORING ON MONTREAL’S GUMP WORSLEY, BUT – IN THE BACKGROUND – THERE’S A SHOT OF THE SPLENDID BOSTON GARDEN PRESS BOX THAT HUNG FROM THE FACING OF THE UPPER DECK. NO PRESS LOCATION ANYWHERE BROUGHT REPORTERS SO CLOSE TO THE ACTION.

THE BRUINS MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) IN THE FINAL YEAR OF THE BOSTON GARDEN: 1994-95. ONLY 48 GAMES WERE ON THE SCHEDULE THAT SEASON AFTER AN OWNERS’ LOCKOUT POSTPONED PLAY UNTIL THE THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY IN ’95. THE GREAT BOBBY ORR, AND HIS LEGENDARY STANLEY CUP OVERTIME GOAL, ARE FEATURED IN THE COVER ART WORK.

THE NEW YORK RANGERS MEDIA GUIDE FROM 1964-65 (ABOVE) FEATURED A NIFTY SHOT FROM THE OLD MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AT 8th AVE. AND 49th ST. – ABANDONED IN FEBRUARY 1968 WHEN THE CURRENT GARDEN OPENED. PHOTO SHOWS ROD GILBERT DEKING MONTREAL GOALIE CHARLIE HODGE WITH DEFENSEMAN TERRY HARPER LOOKING ON.

UNDOUBTEDLY THE MOST COVETED RANGERS MEDIA GUIDE OF THE PAST HALF-CENTURY IS THE 1994-95 EDITION (ABOVE), WITH A BEAMING MARK MESSIER HOLDING THE ’94 STANLEY CUP, WHICH BUSTED A 54-YEAR DROUGHT FOR THE BLUESHIRTS. INCREDIBLY, THE MAPLE LEAFS ARE STILL A DECADE REMOVED FROM SUCH A FAMINE.

THE SECOND, AND FINAL, EDITION OF THE KANSAS CITY SCOUTS MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) DISPLAYS A RARE MOMENT: THE HORRID TEAM CELEBRATING A GOAL IN ITS HOME RINK, KEMPER ARENA (EDDIE GILBERT [24] HUGS WILF PAIEMENT). KANSAS CITY WAS A GHASTLY 12-56-12 DURING THE 1975-76 SEASON BEFORE PULLING STAKES AND MOVING TO DENVER AS THE COLORADO ROCKIES.

THERE WAS ONLY A SLIGHT INDICATION (ABOVE) THE ROCKIES WANTED TO PROMOTE THEIR NEW HEAD COACH – DONALD S. CHERRY – ON THEIR 1979-80 MEDIA GUIDE.

A YEAR LATER – IN 1980-81 – THE ROCKIES FEATURED ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATEST MAPLE LEAFS ON THEIR MEDIA GUIDE COVER: LANNY McDONALD AND HIS UNMISTAKABLE MOUSTACHE WERE TRADED TO DENVER IN DECEMBER 1979 AND THE LEAFS DIDN’T RECOVER FROM THE DISASTROUS MOVE FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, UNTIL DOUG GILMOUR WAS SIMILARLY PILFERED FROM CALGARY.

A MAPLE LEAF-TO-BE WAS SEEN ON THE COVER OF THE 1991-92 QUEBEC NORDIQUES MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE). THAT’S THE BIG SWEDE – MATS SUNDIN – LEAPING INTO THE ARMS OF TEAMMATE JOE SAKIC. POOR MATS CAME TO TORONTO IN JUNE 1994. IN JUNE 1996, HIS FORMER TEAM – THEN PLAYING AS THE COLORADO AVALANCHE – WON THE STANLEY CUP.

A WONDERFUL COVER ON THE HARTFORD WHALERS MEDIA GUIDE OF 1990-91 (ABOVE) SHOWS FUTURE HALL OF FAMER RON FRANCIS IN VARIOUS POSE. FRANCIS RETIRED AFTER THE 2003-04 SEASON FOURTH ON THE ALL-TIME NHL POINTS LIST (WHERE HE REMAINS), BEHIND ONLY WAYNE GRETZKY, MARK MESSIER AND GORDIE HOWE. HE FINISHED HIS CAREER PLAYING 12 GAMES FOR THE MAPLE LEAFS AFTER BEING ACQUIRED BY GM JOHN FERGUSON AT THE 2004 TRADE DEADLINE.

A FORMER LEAFS PLAYER AND FUTURE LEAFS COACH ADORNED THE COVER OF THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 1970-71 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE). RED KELLY LED THE PENS TO SECOND PLACE IN THE WEST DIVISION IN ’69-70, FOR WHICH HE WAS NAMED THE SPORTING NEWS COACH-OF-THE-YEAR. PITTSBURGH SWEPT OAKLAND IN THE PLAYOFFS BEFORE LOSING TO DIVISION CHAMPION ST. LOUIS. KELLY – A MEMBER OF ALL FOUR LEAF STANLEY CUP TEAMS IN THE ’60s – WOULD COACH THE BLUE & WHITE FROM 1973-74 TO 1976-77.

TWO FORMER LEAFS ARE PICTURED ON THE COVER OF PITTSBURGH’S 1979-80 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE): CENTER GEORGE FERGUSON (LEFT) AND DEFENSEMAN RANDY CARLYLE, FORMER COACH OF THE ANAHEIM DUCKS. CARLYLE WOULD WIN THE 1981 NORRIS TROPHY AFTER AN 83-POINT SEASON WITH THE PENGUINS.

THE BLUE-NOTE LOGO ON THE COVER OF ST. LOUIS’ 1969-70 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) EMBRACES THE VEZINA TROPHY (LEFT) AND THE CLARENCE CAMPBELL BOWL. THE GOALTENDING TANDEM OF GLENN HALL AND JACQUES PLANTE WON THE VEZINA IN ’68-69 WHILE THE BLUES WERE REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPIONS OF THE WEST DIVISION, FOR WHICH THE CAMPBELL BOWL WAS ORIGINALLY AWARDED.

THE PLAGER BROTHERS – BOB (IN REAR) AND BARCLAY – ARE FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THE BLUES 1973-74 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE). BOB REMAINS AFFILIATED WITH THE CLUB IN COMMUNITY RELATIONS WHILE BARCLAY DIED OF BRAIN CANCER ON FEB. 6, 1988 AT 46 YEARS OF AGE.

IT IS CERTAIN THE COVER OF THE BLACKHAWKS 1970-71 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) WOULD HAVE BEEN DISCARDED TODAY AT FIRST GLANCE, GIVEN ITS ETHNIC INSENSITIVITY. MY 15-YEAR-OLD SON, SHANE, LOOKED AT THIS COVER AND EXCLAIMED, “OH GOD, DAD, THAT’S AWFUL!”

MINNESOTA NORTH STARS HAD A MUTT-AND-JEFF GOALTENDING DUO IN THE EARLY-’70s. THAT’S LORNE (GUMP) WORSLEY (5-foot-7 AND CHUBBY) IN FRONT OF CESARE MANIAGO (6-foot-2 AND LANKY) ON THE COVER OF THE 1972-73 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE).

THE NORTH STARS DEPARTED FROM THE USUAL WHITE BACKGROUND FOR THEIR 1973-74 MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE) – DESIGNING A GREEN CARICATURE OF FORWARD DENNIS HEXTALL ON A PREDOMINENTLY-GOLD COVER.

AN ACTION SHOT OF VETERAN ROGER CROZIER ADORNED THE COVER OF BUFFALO’S MEDIA GUIDE IN ITS THIRD NHL SEASON (ABOVE). THE SABRES MADE THE PLAYOFFS THAT YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME BY DEFEATING ST. LOUIS ON THE FINAL NIGHT OF THE SCHEDULE AT MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM. THE UPSTART TEAM EXTENDED EVENTUAL-CHAMPION MONTREAL TO SIX GAMES IN THE OPENING ROUND OF THE STANLEY CUP TOURNAMENT. CROZIER DIED OF CANCER ON JAN. 11, 1996. HE WAS 53.

YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT GOALTENDER RON LOW WASN’T OVERLY THRILLED TO APPEAR ON THE COVER OF THE SECOND WASHINGTON CAPITALS MEDIA GUIDE (ABOVE), AFTER THE EXPANSION CLUB SET LEAGUE MARKS FOR FEWEST WINS IN A MINIMUM 70-GAME SCHEDULE (8) AND MOST GOALS ALLOWED IN ANY SEASON (446).

IT WAS EXTREMELY RARE FOR NHL CLUBS TO USE BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOS ON THE FRONT OF THEIR MEDIA GUIDES BUT THE ATLANTA FLAMES OF 1975-76 PROBABLY WEREN’T ROLLING IN BLACK INK WHEN THEY DESIGNED THIS COVER (ABOVE).

Email: howardlberger@gmail.com

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