My Original Hockey Photos

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Dec. 11) – Any person frequenting this blog will know that I do not venture far without my “trusty Nikon” – an elementary point-and-shoot camera that adds images to the words you read.

As a techno-klutz of the highest order, it allows me to capture photos with minimal accommodation. Any form of manual adjustment simply would not work. I leave that to such pros as my old pal Bruce Bennett of Getty Images: the longest-serving hockey photographer on the planet. Though we’ve been friends for many years and attended our respective weddings – his in New York; mine in Los Angeles – none of Bruce’s expertise rubbed off. Just ask him.

At one point in my life, however, I did manage to struggle along with a Pentax camera and telephoto lens. I was bitten by the photo bug in my late-‘teens – a juncture that coincided with season tickets I had for hockey games at Maple Leaf Gardens. There was no-such thing as digital photography back then; pictures had to be processed into negative-image strips and then “developed” – optimally in a professional lab. More often than not, you would take a roll of film to your local drug store; drop it off, and pick up your photos a week later. The industry has come a long way since the late-1970’s.

Hobby geeks like myself used to commandeer their parents’ laundry room; replace the standard light-bulb with a dull yellow version (thereby avoiding exposure that would negate the development mechanism); transmit negative images onto special photographic paper with an optical “enlarger” and then bring their snapshots to life with trays of chemicals. It was a complicated, yet enjoyable, process that hooked me for the better part of three years.    

With the NHL on hiatus until at least New Year’s Eve, I shuffled through a stack of my old hockey photographs – mostly from games involving the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were taken between September 1976 and March 1978. None will remind you of Yousef Karsh (or even Bruce Bennett), but they are interesting; somewhat historic, and all in black-and-white. The photos were developed in the basement of my parents’ home in North York and by thoroughly unprofessional hands, thus the variance in contrast.

I’ve posted several images from this collection in the past. Many more can be seen here – arranged in no particular order. Please enjoy.  

FROM MY SEASON-TICKET LOCATION IN THE SOUTH-MEZZANINE BLUES AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS, THE LEAFS AND BOSTON BRUINS STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM PRIOR TO HOME OPENER OF THE 1976-77 NHL SCHEDULE (SAT. OCT. 9). AS IS STILL CUSTOM, THE SEASON WAS USHERED IN BY THE 48th HIGHLANDERS BAGPIPE UNIT. LEAF PLAYERS, FROM LEFT-TO-RIGHT, ARE DAVE (TIGER) WILLIAMS, BOB NEELY, GEORGE FERGUSON, ERROL THOMPSON, LANNY McDONALD, RANDY CARLYLE (CURRENT LEAFS COACH), CLAIRE ALEXANDER, INGE HAMMARSTROM AND PAT BOUTETTE. THE ’76-77 MAPLE LEAFS WERE COACHED BY RED KELLY; THE BRUINS BY DONALD S. CHERRY.

PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG WERE SNAPPED DURING THE MONTREAL CANADIENS DYNASTY OF THE LATE-70’s – SCOTTY BOWMAN’S TEAM WINNING FOUR CONSECUTIVE STANLEY CUP TITLES (1976-77-78-79). THREE MONTREAL STARS, ALL NOW IN THE HALL OF FAME, ARE PICTURED HERE POSING FOR ICE-LEVEL TV CAMERA DURING THE PRE-GAME WARM-UP: LEFT-TO-RIGHT STEVE SHUTT, GUY LAFLEUR AND LARRY ROBINSON.

         

DURING THE 1977-78 SEASON, MEMBERS OF THE ST. LOUIS BLUES WORE NUMBER-3 PATCHES ON THEIR UPPER-SLEEVES IN MEMORY OF TEAMMATE BOB GASSOFF – KILLED IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT THE PREVIOUS MAY. WHILE WARMING UP AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON FEB. 8, 1978, I PHOTOGRAPHED BOB PLAGER AND LARRY PATEY (TOP-LEFT) AND A YOUNG BRIAN SUTTER (RIGHT) – FIRST OF THE BROTHER-CLAN FROM VIKING, ALTA. TO PLAY IN THE NHL. DARRYL, DUANE, BRENT, RICH AND RON WOULD FOLLOW.

BUFFALO SABRES WERE AT THE GARDENS ON FEB. 26, 1977 (LEAFS WON, 6-5). CAPTAIN JIM SCHOENFELD CONSULTED (ABOVE) WITH GOALIE DON EDWARDS. THE RIVALRY BETWEEN LEAFS AND SABRES WAS EVIDENT IN A SIGN POSTED BENEATH THE NORTH-END REDS (BOTTOM-LEFT). DON LUCE OF BUFFALO CHASED LEAF DEFENSEMAN RANDY CARLYLE BEHIND THE NET (BOTTOM-RIGHT) AS GOALIE MIKE PALMATEER LOOKED ON.

SEVERAL OF LEAFS BEST PLAYERS IN THE MID-TO-LATE-70’s: LANNY McDONALD (7) AND ERROL THOMPSON (12) ABOVE; CAPTAIN DARRYL SITTLER AND THOMPSON, BELOW.

         

KEN DRYDEN OF MONTREAL KICKS OUT A SHOT, AS LEAF PLAYERS BORJE SALMING (21), DARRYL SITTLER (BEHIND NET) AND LANNY McDONALD (7) BUZZ AROUND. HABS (LEFT-TO-RIGHT) ARE GUY LAPOINTE, DRYDEN, LARRY ROBINSON AND DOUG JARVIS (21).

                             

CLEVELAND BARONS WERE IN THE NHL FOR TWO SEASONS (1976-77 AND 1977-78), HAVING RELOCATED FROM OAKLAND, WHERE THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN SEALS (PART OF THE SIX-TEAM EXPANSION IN 1967) DREW SPARSE CROWDS. BARONS WORE RED JERSEYS ON THE ROAD WITH BLACK AND WHITE TRIM. THE ABOVE TRIO – (LEFT-TO-RIGHT) AL MacADAM, DENNIS MARUK AND RICK HAMPTON – WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN WARM-UP AT THE GARDENS ON MAR. 11, 1978. ALL THREE HAD PLAYED IN OAKLAND.

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DARRYL SITTLER AND DENNIS MARUK FACE OFF AT CENTRE ICE (TOP LEFT). LANNY McDONALD GETS A JUMP ON DEFENSIVE-ZONE DRAW (TOP-RIGHT) BEHIND TEAMMATE MIKE PELYK (4) AND CLEVELAND’S RICK HAMPTON. JIM McKENNY (18) AND PAT BOUTETTE (15) OF LEAFS (BELOW) LINE UP NEXT TO RALPH KLASSEN OF THE BARONS, MAR. 11, 1978. (CALIFORNIA SEALS LOGO COURTESY OF SPORTSLOGOS.NET.)

A PAIR OF FUTURE LEAF COACHES ARE IN THIS PHOTO AS LEAFS AND ATLANTA FLAMES CONVERGE AT CENTRE-ICE IN THE GARDENS, DEC. 20, 1976. TORONTO PLAYERS ARE RANDY CARLYLE (23), THE LATE DON ASHBY (9), INGE HAMMARSTROM (11), BORJE SALMING (21) AND JIM McKENNY (18). DARRYL SITTLER IS IN MIDDLE OF SCRUM JAWING WITH ATLANTA’S PAT QUINN (3). BILL CLEMENT IS NO. 10. TIM ECCLESTONE (TOP-RIGHT) IS WATCHING McKENNY.

LANNY McDONALD BEATS MONTREAL’S KEN DRYDEN ON A BREAKAWAY AND IS HIGHLIGHTED, IN A LATER GAME, ON THE TICKER MESSAGE-BOARD THAT STOOD ABOVE MEZZANINE BLUES AT EITHER END OF MAPLE LEAF GARDENS IN THE 60’s AND 70’s.

A RITUAL BEFORE THE OPENING FACE-OFF (AND AFTER THE NATIONAL ANTHEM) IN EVERY LEAFS GAME WAS TIGER WILLIAMS LEANING ON THE TORONTO NET – HERE, BESIDE GOALIE WAYNE THOMAS AT THE GARDENS IN 1976-77.

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  WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1976

WENT TO PITTSBURGH WITH A FRIEND DURING CHRISTMAS BREAK 1976 AND SAW PENGUINS PLAY TORONTO AND MONTREAL AT CIVIC ARENA. HABS’ FORWARD LINE OF PETER MAHOVLICH, STEVE SHUTT AND GUY LAFLEUR FACES OFF (TOP-LEFT) TO BEGIN THE LATTER MATCH, DEC. 29. YVON LAMBERT AND REJEAN HOULE ATTACK PENGUINS ZONE (TOP-RIGHT).

PENGUINS DEFENSEMAN DON AWREY (24) SCUFFLES BEHIND NET WITH REJEAN HOULE AS TEAMMATE J. BOB KELLY (22) GRABS THE PUCK. HABS’ YVON LAMBERT IS AT BOTTOM-LEFT.

IN 1976-77, CANADIENS BREEZED THROUGH THE NHL WITH AN ASTOUNDING 60-8-12 RECORD FOR 132 POINTS. ON DEC. 29, HABS WERE 27-5-4, WITH A HOME GAME THE FOLLOWING NIGHT AGAINST MINNESOTA NORTH STARS. AS SUCH, COACH SCOTTY BOWMAN STARTED BACK-UP GOALIE MICHEL (BUNNY) LAROCQUE, WHO WAS SHAKEN UP IN THE THIRD PERIOD (TOP-LEFT), ATTENDED TO BY YVAN COURNOYER (12) AND LARRY ROBINSON (TOWEL AROUND NECK). CIVIC ARENA SCOREBOARD (TOP-RIGHT) REFLECTS FINAL SCORE. MONTREAL WENT 33-3-8 THE REST OF THE WAY AND DEFEATED BOSTON TO WIN STANLEY CUP.

IAN TURNBULL (TOP-LEFT) JOKES WITH LEAFS TEAMMATE DON ASHBY (9) IN THE WARM-UP BEFORE GAME WITH DETROIT RED WINGS, FEB. 2, 1977. STAN WEIR (14) IS ALSO IN PHOTO. LITTLE DID TURNBULL REALIZE THAT HE WOULD ESTABLISH AN NHL RECORD THAT NIGHT WITH FIVE GOALS: STILL THE MOST EVER IN ONE GAME BY A DEFENSEMAN. TURNBULL ASSAULTED VETERAN GOALIES JIM RUTHERFORD AND ED GIACOMIN – THE LATTER COMFORTED (BELOW) BY WINGS DEFENSEMAN MIKE BLOOM.

FINAL SCORE (ABOVE) ON IAN TURNBULL’S RECORD-SETTING NIGHT.

THE RED WINGS CHOSE DALE McCOURT (ABOVE) FIRST OVERALL IN THE 1977 NHL DRAFT. IN THIS PHOTO AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS ON OCT. 29, 1977, McCOURT LEAVES THE ICE BEHIND VETERAN TEAMMATE TERRY HARPER (2). McCOURT WOULD PLAY ONLY SEVEN SEASONS (WITH DETROIT, BUFFALO AND TORONTO), SCORING 194 CAREER GOALS.

ONE OF MY BETTER EFFORTS (ABOVE) – ALSO FROM THE NIGHT OF OCT. 29, 1977 – AS NET BULGES BEHIND MIKE PALMATEER IN THIRD PERIOD OF 7-4 TORONTO WIN.

McCOURT AND IAN TURNBULL (2) GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS (TOP-LEFT) AFTER WHISTLE, WITH PALMATEER SPRAWLED IN CREASE. BOB NEELY (3) OF THE LEAFS LINES UP BESIDE ST. LOUIS BLUES VETERAN CLAUDE LAROSE (TOP-RIGHT) AT THE GARDENS, NOV. 3, 1976.

         

MINNESOTA NORTH STARS WARM UP AT GARDENS BEFORE PLAYING THE LEAFS, DEC. 7, 1977. DEFENSEMAN BRAD MAXWELL POSES FOR TV CAMERA (TOP-LEFT). STEVE JENSEN (12) AND TOM REID (20) SKATE AROUND (TOP-RIGHT). MINNESOTA AND CLEVELAND MERGED AFTER THE 1977-78 SEASON, ENDING THE BARONS’ TWO-YEAR STRUGGLE IN RICHFIELD, OHIO.

         

GOALIE KEN DRYDEN IN FAMILIAR POSE (TOP-LEFT) AND DEFENSEMAN SERGE SAVARD (RIGHT) – BOTH INDISPENSABLE TO MONTREAL’S FOUR-YEAR STANLEY CUP REIGN.

DARRYL SITTLER (ABOVE) CHECKS BEHIND HIM BEFORE FACING OFF WITH CHICAGO VETERAN STAN MIKITA AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS. ANDY VAN HELLEMOND IS THE REFEREE. LEAFS JACK VALIQUETTE (BOTTOM-LEFT) FACES OFF WITH THE LATE HUBERT (PIT) MARTIN OF BLACKHAWKS. SITTLER (BOTTOM-RIGHT) SQUARES OFF AGAINST WALT McKECHNIE OF WASHINGTON CAPITALS, NOV. 16, 1977 – REFEREE BRYAN LEWIS DROPPING PUCK; TIGER WILLIAMS (22) ON LEFT WING. McKECHNIE AND SITTLER HAD PLAYED TOGETHER IN JUNIOR WITH LONDON NATIONALS AND WOULD BECOME LEAF TEAMMATES THE FOLLOWING YEAR.

LOS ANGELES KINGS – IN THEIR PURPLE AND GOLD ROAD JERSEYS – CELEBRATE (ABOVE) AFTER SCORING AT THE GARDENS, OCT. 13, 1976. FUTURE LEAFS COACH MIKE MURPHY (7) IS AT LEFT. WINGERS DON KOZAK (24) AND BERT WILSON (8) ARE ALSO IN PHOTO.

OUT-OF-TOWN SCORES WERE MOUNTED ON FACADE OF THE MEZZANINE BLUES AT EACH END IN MAPLE LEAF GARDENS. WHILE LEAFS WERE HOSTING CLEVELAND BARONS, MAR. 11, 1978, BUFFALO PLAYED AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS AND LOS ANGELES AT MONTREAL (TOP-LEFT). ST. LOUIS BLUES WERE GETTING HAMMERED AT DETROIT (TOP-RIGHT) AS LEAFS HOSTED WASHINGTON CAPITALS, NOV. 16, 1977.

SCRAMBLE IN FRONT OF LEAFS NET (ABOVE) DURING 1976 PRE-SEASON GAME YIELDS FACIAL INJURY TO MONTREAL CENTRE DOUG JARVIS (BELOW), WHO IS ESCORTED OFF THE ICE BY TEAMMATES LARRY ROBINSON (19), SERGE SAVARD (18) AND BILL NYROP (2).

         

LANNY McDONALD CHATS (TOP-LEFT) IN WARM-UP AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS WITH EX-TEAMMATE INGE HAMMARSTROM OF ST. LOUIS BLUES, FEB. 8, 1978. GILBERT PERREAULT (TOP-RIGHT) IS STILL THE GREATEST OF ALL BUFFALO SABRES.

         

RED BERENSON (TOP-LEFT) WAS FIRST STAR OF THE NHL’s POST-1967 EXPANSION ERA WITH ST. LOUIS BLUES. AFTER PARTS OF FIVE SEASONS IN DETROIT, HE RETURNED TO THE BLUES IN DECEMBER 1974 TRADE. BERENSON AND BLUES GOALIE PHIL MYRE (TOP-RIGHT) ARE PICTURED BEFORE FEB. 8, 1978 GAME AGAINST THE MAPLE LEAFS.

LEAFS CENTRE BRUCE BOUDREAU (19) CHECKS REY COMEAU OF ATLANTA FLAMES AT THE GARDENS, DEC. 20, 1976. BOUDREAU IS NOW HEAD COACH OF THE ANAHEIM DUCKS.

DAN BOUCHARD OF ATLANTA (ABOVE) PRIOR TO DEC. 20, 1976 GAME AGAINST THE LEAFS. GOTTA LOVE THE OLD GOALIE MASKS, HUH?

                    

THE INAUGURAL CANADA CUP OF HOCKEY WAS PLAYED SEP. 2-15, 1976 IN OTTAWA, TORONTO, MONTREAL, PHILADELPHIA, WINNIPEG AND QUEBEC CITY. TEAMS FROM CANADA, UNITED STATES, RUSSIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, SWEDEN AND FINLAND TOOK PART. LEAF SEASON-TICKET HOLDERS HAD FIRST OPTION TO BUY THEIR SEATS FOR THE FIVE-GAME PACKAGE AT THE GARDENS, WHICH INCLUDED THE ROUND-ROBIN SHOWDOWN WITH RUSSIA AND GAME 1 OF THE BEST-OF-THREE CHAMPIONSHIP. I ATTENDED ALL FIVE ENCOUNTERS.

IT HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID THAT CANADA’S ENTRY IN THE FIRST CANADA CUP TOURNAMENT WAS THE STRONGEST OUR COUNTRY HAS EVER PUT TOGETHER. THE TEAM INCLUDED 17 FUTURE HALL-OF-FAMERS: BILL BARBER, GERRY CHEEVERS, BOBBY CLARKE, MARCEL DIONNE, PHIL ESPOSITO, BOB GAINEY, BOBBY HULL, GUY LAFLEUR, GUY LAPOINTE, LANNY McDONALD, BOBBY ORR, GILBERT PERREAULT, DENIS POTVIN, LARRY ROBINSON, SERGE SAVARD, STEVE SHUTT AND DARRYL SITTLER. IN 3-1 TRIUMPH OVER RUSSIA AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS – SEP. 11, 1976 – PERREAULT RAISES ARMS (ABOVE) AFTER SCORING ON VLADISLAV TRETIAK.

BOBBY ORR AND SERGE SAVARD SKATE PAST TEAM CANADA GOALIE ROGIE VACHON (TOP-LEFT), WHO CROUCHES INTO POSITION (TOP-RIGHT) DURING VICTORY OVER RUSSIA.

RUSSIAN CENTRE VICTOR KUZNETSOV (ABOVE) SAYS SOMETHING TO GILBERT PERREAULT BEFORE FACE-OFF IN TEAM CANADA ZONE, SEP. 11, 1976.

DURING GAME 1 OF THE BEST-OF-THREE CHAMPIONSHIP (ABOVE), DARRYL SITTLER AND LANNY McDONALD OF TEAM CANADA LINE UP FOR FACE-OFF AGAINST IVAN HLINKA OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA. CANADA ROMPED, 6-0, AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS, SEP. 13, 1976. TWO NIGHTS LATER – AT THE MONTREAL FORUM – SITTLER WOULD SCORE THE SERIES-WINNING GOAL IN OVERTIME TO GIVE THE HOST TEAM A TWO-GAME SWEEP OF THE FINAL.

    

COMPONENTS OF EXPLOSIVE FORWARD UNIT WITH THE WORLD HOCKEY ASSOCIATION WINNIPEG JETS COMPETE (ABOVE) DURING INAUGURAL CANADA CUP. BOBBY HULL MAKES A POINT (TOP-LEFT) WHILE ANDERS HEDBERG AND ULF NILSSON OF SWEDEN (TOP-RIGHT) CROWD AROUND GOAL WHILE PLAYING U.S.A. AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS, SEP. 3, 1976.

THE TWO BOBBY’S OF TEAM CANADA IN EVIDENCE ABOVE NORTH-MEZZANINE AT GARDENS.

         

IN HIS FINAL FLING AS HOCKEY’S MOST DOMINANT PLAYER, BOBBY ORR WAS NAMED MVP OF THE 1976 CANADA CUP WHILE PLAYING ON ONE HEALTHY KNEE. ORR DURING TOURNAMENT WITH TEAM CANADA (TOP-LEFT) AND IN RARE PHOTOGRAPH AS MEMBER OF CHICAGO BLACK HAWKS (TOP-RIGHT) SEVERAL WEEKS LATER, IN EXHIBITION GAME AT MAPLE LEAF GARDENS.

STILL A FAMILIAR FACE AROUND THE NHL: DETROIT GOALIE JIM RUTHERFORD – NOW GM OF THE CAROLINA HURRICANES – MOMENTS BEFORE GETTING SHELLED BY IAN TURNBULL AND THE MAPLE LEAFS AT THE GARDENS, FEB. 2, 1977. ED GIACOMIN WOULD START FOR THE RED WINGS THAT FATEFUL NIGHT BEFORE GIVING WAY TO RUTHERFORD, AGAINST WHOM TURNBULL SCORED HIS RECORD-BREAKING FIFTH GOAL IN 9-1 ROMP.

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