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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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Bill Left Too Soon

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill Barilko (1927 – 1951) left this world too soon at age 24.

Bill was a hockey player.  He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1946 to 1951.  He was a member of Stanley Cup winnings teams every one of those years.  He scored the winning goal, in overtime, that helped Toronto to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4 games to 1.

He died in a plane crash almost immediately after this game!

I highly suggest visiting CBC Archives for an in-depth article (and video) about this!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on June 4, 2013 in On This Day

 

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Pontiac Plays Deadly Game of Lacrosse!

Pontiac (Indian chief)

Pontiac (Indian chief) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the World Series, Stanley Cup, and football playoffs, sport commentators often describe a certain game as being “crucial.”

Perhaps the most crucial game ever played in Canada was one of lacrosse, which took place on June 4, 1763 at Michilimackinac.

Indian Chief Pontiac had vowed to wipe the British off the face of the earth. Many tribes resented Britain’s taking over Canada from France by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 — many of them had never even seen British redcoats until after the fall of Montreal, when General Amherst sent troops to take over Detroit and Michilimackinac.  (Michilimackinac was an important fort at the junction of Lakes Huron and Michigan.  It has been pre-serviced as a historic site near on the longest bridges in the world.)

June 4 was the birthday of King George III, and the Indians arranged to play a game of Lacrosse outside the fort.  A great many female Indians who were there as spectators were hiding tomahawks and knives under their blankets. The gate of the fort was open and nearly all the members of the garrison were watching the game.  The Indians worked the play closer and closer to the gate, and suddenly took their weapons from them and began the massacre.

The troops were taken completely by surprise, probably not having heard about Pontiac’s treachery at Detroit on May 7.  While some of the Indians killed the soldiers outside the gate, others dashed inside and massacred the people there.  Few escaped.

It was part of what the distinguished historian, Francis Parkman called, “the conspiracy of Pontiac.”  Before it was brought under control, 2,000 British, including women and children, were killed along the frontier. Britain  decided to send an army to North America to protect the colonies.  The catch was that King George and his ministers demanded that the  colonists should bear the cost!  This led to the imposition of the Stamp Act, the duty on tea and other forms of taxation.  The American Revolutionary War was the result.

Britain put down the Indians for the time being, but lost the United States! The game of lacrosse at Michilimackinac was certainly more “crucial” than any game in the Stanley Cup or World Series!

Want to read more about this event?  I have a few recommendations for you. A good place to begin is My North.com, and then What is the Ojibwe Warrior all About?. Then there’s Serpents of the Sky, and then finally, Preppies vs. Indians on an old American playing field for a very interesting article.

 

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