Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's a Wild end of the year

Since this is my last Hockey Card Geek post for the year, I figured I'd go out with a bang.
 
While it's true a lot of folks will do year-end card ratings, or their favorites for the year, or such, I don't feel I've been posting enough to warrant such a missive. 
 
So, I'll just have to subject you, dear reader, to a hodgepodge of sorts.
 
I'll begin by thanking Mrs. Santa for the wonderful gifts she left me this year. Besides some nice hockey and baseball card packs and boxes, she left me an Iowa Wild away hockey jersey. As inaugural season ticket holders, I can now represent our team in style.
Rather than put a players' name and number on the back, thereby dating the jersey, she put "McDuff" as the name plate, as well as the number "36," which is the number I've always worn when I was young and stupid and racing motocross (I'm not quite as young anymore), and playing hockey.
 
She also got me an Iowa Wild lace-up sweatshirt.
 
 
 
I must have been a very good boy, this year...
 
Speaking of being good boys, the Iowa Wild have been doing a great job in winning over the hearts and minds of Iowa hockey fans. With previous incarnations of the Iowa Stars (Dallas) and Iowa Chops (Anaheim), leaving a sour taste in our mouths, Iowa fans may have been a bit leery of yet another AHL entity invading the heartland.

With the Des Moines Buccaneers representing the USHL in Tier 1 amateur hockey (since 1980-81), two high school teams (late 90's) and the seventh-ranked Iowa State University club hockey team, vying for our hockey attention, your next thought was, "Gee, I wonder how long this team will last."
 
I, however, feel it's a match made in Heaven. Before the season began, the new owners held a ticket holder open house with free food, an open skate on the Wild ice, and lots of opportunities to meet with trainers, broadcasters, and other staff (the players were away at a pre-season tourney). They opened up the team's locker room and training areas, and held a Q&A session with fans. They said all the right things, which helped set the tone for the start of the season.
 
They even took a picture of all of us - We're about 10 rows up in the middle section.

 
While it's harder to follow players who move on to Texas and/or California, the Wild's parent team is now just a few miles north on I-35. It's not that difficult to head up to the Twin Cities to catch an NHL Minnesota Wild game to see Iowa alumni play. In fact, Goalie Darcy Keumper has been sent up to Minnesota several times already this year.
 
As 2013 comes to an end, the Wild are in the league's top third in attendance, with a 13-14-2 record in the Midwest Division.
 
I actually take my camera to a few of the games, so if any one's looking for some pictures of their team's AHL affiliates, let me know and I'll see what I can get.
 
So now, let's end 2013 with at least two New Year's resolutions.
 
My first New Year's resolution is that I vow to be a bit more consistent in my Hockey Card Geek posts. Once every week or two just doesn't cut it.

As for my second resolution, I vow to re-organize my entire hockey collection. I have eight, 5,000-count hockey boxes that are organized by player, and then I have another four boxes that I have either purchased, or thrown packs into, or any loose hockey cards I pick up. This year, they will indeed be organized and entered into my hockey card data base.
 
Until then, Happy New Year's and I'll see you all in 2014.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

1985 Cartophilium Hall of Fame cards

Since it's Sunday and the middle of the month, it was time to hit the monthly Urbandale American Legion Card Show.

Usually, I'm on the hunt for new additions to my San Diego Padres baseball collection. However, there's been more and more dealers offering hockey card selections as of late.

Which makes me a very happy kind of guy.

Besides picking up a few rookie cards and some Chicago Blackhawks cards, I came across the following three cards in a baseball dime box, of all places.

 
The three cards -- J.J. Adams (#182), J.B (Jack) Laviolette (#159) and S.S. (Si) Griffis (#155) are part of a Hockey Hall of Fame card set issued in 1985 (despite a 1983 copyright).
 
These 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" cards were issued as part of a 240-card set originally sold in the Canadian Sears 1985 Christmas Catalog. The backs are written in both French and English.  It was originally offered in 1983 in a postcard format, re-released in the trading card format in 1985 and then again in 1987, expanded to 261-cards with the newest additions to the Hall of Fame. Each set feature members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, with artwork by Carlton McDiarmid. 
 
McDiarmid served 34-years as a hockey goal judge at Montreal's Forum. A noted artist, McDiarmid, and Jerry Hersh, drew the illustrations for the1986 Kraft hockey cards. McDiarmid passed away in 2009, at the age of 72.
 
I actually think they're kind of cool. It would be very interesting to try and compile this set, but I think it could be a very hard one to put together. 
 
In the meantime, however, I'll just enjoy the artwork of Mr. McDiarmid.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Today in history - Flying to an eight-point record

On this date in 1977, Philadelphia D-man Tom "The Bomber" Bladon established an NHL record, as the Flyers decimated the Cleveland Barons 11-1 at the Spectrum. The Edmonton native set the record for most points by a defenseman by scoring four goals and four assists. His plus/minus of +10 also set a record that evening.

The previous record of seven points was held by Bobby Orr, who had a hat trick and four assists in a 10-3 win over the New York Rangers during the 1973-74 season. The Edmonton Oilers' Paul Coffey tied Bladon's record in 1986, with two goals and six assists in a 12-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
As a 6-1 and 195 pounds defenseman who relied more on speed than his physical prowess, he didn't appear to be Philly's proto-typical "Broad Street Bully" despite being drafted 23rd overall in 1972. Bladon, however, scored a respectable 11 goals and 42 points in his rookie campaign. The Dec. 11, 1977 gamed helped propel him to a career high 53 points in 1976-77, with 10 goals and 43 assists.

He won the Stanley Cup with Philadelphia in 1974 and 1975 and played in the NHL All-Star game in 1977 and 1978 as a Flyer. He ended his 11-year career in 1980-81, playing with the Adirondack Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings.

He ended his career with 73 goals, 197 assists, good for 270 points, and 392 penalty minutes. He now resides in Calgary, where he operates a Tim Horton's