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Mr. Hockey

Trading Card of Gordie Howe

Trading card photo of Gordie Howe as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. These cards were printed on the backs of Chex cereal boxes in the US and Canada from 1963 to 1965. Those collecting the cards cut them from the back of the boxes.

Gordie Howe, a great Canadian hockey legend, known for, among other feats, for his Hat Trick.

Here are a few facts:

* Born on March 31, 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan.

* Died on June 10, 2016 in Toledo, Ohio at the age of 88.

* He was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

* He was ambidextrous.

* Played from 1946-1971 and 1973-1980.

* He was nicknamed Mr. Hockey.

* A 23-time NHL All-Star, he held many of the sport’s scoring records until they were broken in the 1980s by Wayne Gretzky. He continues to hold NHL records for most games and seasons played.

* He won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings four times, won six Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player, and won six Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer.

* Howe was most famous for his scoring prowess, physical stamina and career longevity. He is the only player to have competed in the NHL In five different decades (1940s through 1980s). Although he only accomplished the task twice in his own career, he became the namesake of the “Gordie Howe hat trick”: a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

* He was slightly dyslexic growing up, however, he was physically beyond his years at an early age. Already six feet tall in his mid-teens, doctors feared a calcium deficiency and encouraged him to strengthen his spine with chin-ups. He started playing organised hockey at eight years old. Howe quit school during the Depression to work In construction with his father, then left Saskatoon at sixteen to pursue his hockey career.

* Howe was an ambidextrous player, one of just a few skaters able to use the straight sticks of his era to shoot either left or right-handed.

* He experienced his first taste of professional hockey at age 15 in 1943 when he was invited by the New York Rangers to their training camp held at “The Amphitheatre” in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He played so well that the Rangers wanted Howe to sign a “C” form which would have given that club his NHL rights and to play that year at Notre Dame, a Catholic school in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, which had a reputation for discovering good hockey players. Howe wanted to go back home to play hockey with his friends, and declined the Rangers’ offer and returned to Saskatoon.








 

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Remembering a Hockey Legend

Earlier this week we lost a hockey legend, Jean Béliveau.  Can I introduce you to him?

He was born on August 31, 1931 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.  He died on December 2, 2014 at the age of 83, in Longueuil, Quebec.

Photo of Jean Béliveau

Hockey legend Jean Béliveau

He was a professional Canadian ice hockey player who played parts of 20 seasons with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Montreal Canadiens from 1950 to 1971. He began to play professionally in the Quebec Major Hockey League (QMHL). He made his NHL début with the Canadiens in 1950, but chose to stay in the QMHL full-time until 1953. By his second season in the NHL, Béliveau was among the top three scorers. He was the fourth player to score 500 goals and the second to score 1,000 points. Béliveau won two Hart Memorial Trophies (1956, 1964) and one Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1956), as well as the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy (1965). As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Nicknamed “Le Gros Bill” (The Big Bill), Béliveau ranks among the ten greatest NHL players.

Interestingly, Béliveau can trace his ancestry to Antoine Béliveau, who settled in 1642 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The Béliveaus were expelled along with the Acadians in 1755 and the family settled in the Boston area before moving to Québec to the Trois Rivières area in the mid-19th century.

He suffered from many ailments for decades now.  He’s suffered two strokes, and was diagnosed with cancer (he recovered after a punishing course of treatments).

Another defining moment in his life, Prime Minister Jean Chretien offered Béliveau the position of Governor General of Canada in 1994.  However, he declined the offer to be with his daughter, Hélène, and two grandchildren, Mylene and Magalie. Their father, a Quebec police officer, committed suicide when the girls were five and three.

Of many legacies he leaves behind, one of the greatest (I think) is the charitable Jean Béliveau Foundation, established in 1971. In 1993, Béliveau transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children.

We have missed him on the ice and admired him for his steadfast vigour for living life to its fullest.  Thoughts and prayers for his family, friends and fans.

 

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Looney? See “Lunatic”

If you look up the Looney on Wikipedia, here’s the first sentence:

“This article is about the coin. For the Canadian dollar as a currency, see Canadian dollar. For a mentally ill person, see lunatic.

The Big Loonie in Echo Bay, Ontario.

The Big Loonie in Echo Bay, Ontario.

Here’s a bit of trivia you might not have known, or may have forgotten. The original design for the loonie was to be a sketching of a voyageur on the dies ([dahy] noun, plural dies; an engraved stamp for impressing a design upon some softer material, as in coining money.) that were created in Ottawa, and were sent to Winnipeg’s Royal Canadian Mint to be manufactured. To save a whopping $43.50, they were  instead shipped via a local courier. The Mint disagreed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s later investigation’s contention that the dies were simply lost in transit, believing instead that they were stolen. The dies were never recovered.

Fearing the possibility of counterfeiting after the loss, the government approved a new design for the reverse, replacing the voyageur with a Robert-Ralph Carmichael design of a common loon floating in water. The coin was immediately nicknamed the “loonie” across English Canada, and became known as a “huard”, French for “loon”, in Quebec. The loonie entered circulation on June 30, 1987, as 40 million coins were introduced into major cities across the country, though an error by the banks resulted in some Calgary residents receiving the coins one week earlier.

Another story about the loonie, is how it became known as the “lucky loonie.”  For the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, Dan Craig was invited as a National Hockey League’s ice making consultant, He invited a couple of members from the ice crew in his hometown of Edmonton to assist. One of them, Trent Evans, secretly placed a loonie under the ice.  Both men and women Canadian teams went on to win gold medals. Several members of the women’s team kissed the spot where the coin was buried following their victory. After the men won their final, the coin was dug up and given to Wayne Gretzky, the team’s executive-director, who revealed the existence of the “lucky loonie” at a post-game press conference.  You can view the coin at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Canadians have subsequently hidden loonies at several international competitions. Loonies were buried in the foundations of facilities built for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

 

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