Tuesday, February 9, 2016

1915-16 St. Paul Athletic Club Moose Goheen Jersey

One of the United States greatest players in hockey's early days, Frank "Moose" Goheen was born on this date in 1894.

Moose Goheen

In 1915-16 and 1916-17, Goheen, an early offensive minded defenseman, was a member of the St. Paul Athletic Club which won the MacNaughton Cup as champions of amateur hockey in the United States.

MacNaughton Cup
The MacNaughton Cup

After missing two seasons while serving in the army during World War I in Belgium and Germany, Goheen returned to the St. Paul Athletic Club in time to win a league championship in 1920. He then became a member of the very first United States Olympic Hockey Team later in 1920.

1920 US Olympic Team
Goheen was a member of the first United States Olympic Hockey Team in 1920

The United States began their tournament with a 7-0 win over Sweden. They followed that with a 16-0 defeat of Czechoslovakia before destroying Switzerland by a score of 29-0, setting up a showdown with Canada. The Canadians narrowly defeated the United States 2-1 which resulted in the Americans being awarded the silver medal. Goheen scored 7 goals in the four games played during his return to Belgium.

He was later named to the 1924 Olympic Team, but passed on the opportunity because of work commitments. He also reportedly passed on offers from the Boston Bruins, Montreal Maroons, New York Americans and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL in order to remain in Minnesota.

1922-23 St. Paul Athletic Club
The 1922-23 St. Paul Athletic Club

In 1922-23 and 1923-24, Goheen was again a member of the St. Paul Athletic Club in the United States Amateur Hockey Association before turning professional with the newly renamed St. Paul Saints when they became members of the CHL in 1925-26 where he led the club in scoring with 13 goals and 23 points in 36 games, an impressive feat for a defenseman.

Goheen SPAC 25-26
Goheen in 1925-26

St. Paul moved to the new American Hockey Association in 1926-27 and Goheen played with the Saints for the next four seasons, with a high of 19 goals and 24 points in 1927-28.

He played in just two games in 1930-31 with the Buffalo Majors before returning to the Saints in 1931-32 for the final season of his career. As a professional, Goheen scored 52 goals and 39 assists for 91 points in 187 games in seven seasons. His rushing style of play from his defense position would not be seen again until the arrival of Eddie Shore in the 1930's and later Bobby Orr in the 1960's.

Goheen was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1952, only the second American ever inducted into the hall and a rare inductee to have never played in the NHL. He was later honored as a charter member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.

Moose Goheen

Today's featured jersey is a 1915-16 St. Paul Athletic Club Moose Goheen jersey, as worn when St. Paul won the MacNaughton Cup that season as the United States Amateur Hockey Association's national champions.

St. Paul Athletic Club 1915-16 jersey

Jersey photo courtesy of VintageMinnesotaHockey.com, where you can purchase your own St. Paul Athletic Club jersey.

Monday, February 8, 2016

1964 Canada National Team Terry Clancy Jersey

Prior to the start of the 1964 Winter Olympics hockey tournament, there were two qualifying games which took place. To determine the Asia/Oceanic representative, Japan faced off against Australia in a pair of lopsided contests won by Japan 17-1 and 17-6. Also, for the third and final time, West Germany squared off against rival East Germany to determine which side would represent all of Germany. The first game resolved nothing as the two teams tied 4-4, setting up a winner take all second game, which went the way of West Germany by the closest of margins, 4-3. West Germany has also won their two previous Olympic qualifying playoffs in 1960 and 1956.

1964 Innsbruck Olympic logo photo 1964_Winter_Olympics_logo.png

The field of 16 teams was paired off over the course of January 27th and 28th in a single elimination playoff game, with the winning sides advancing to Group A to determine places 1 through 8 and the medals, while the losing teams played for places 9 to 16.

Switzerland defeated Norway 5-1 and Canada drubbed Yugoslavia 14-1 on the 27th to move into Group A. The next day the remaining six spots were filled with as Soviet Union won 19-1 over Hungary, Czechoslovakia beat Japan 17-2, Sweden defeated Italy 12-2, the United States beat Romania 7-2, West Germany narrowly beat Poland 2-1 and Finland hammered Austria 8-2.

In Group A play starting on January 29th, the Soviets beat the US 5-1, the Czechs beat the Germans 11-1 and Canada beat Switzerland 8-0. Canada won again the next day 3-1 over Sweden while Finland blanked the Swiss 4-0.

1964-CAN-SUI photo 1964-CAN-SUI.jpg
Switzerland (in white) fell to the Canadians 8-0

The US bounced back on the 31st with a 8-0 defeat of Germany while the Soviets were pushed by their main rivals Czechoslovakia but prevailed 7-5.

1964 Soviet Union team photo 1964 Soviet Union team.jpg
The Soviets were in the driver's seat after beating Czechoslovakia

The Czechs shut out Finland 4-0 on February 1st while the Soviets crushed the Swiss 15-0. Sweden got their first victory 7-4 at the expense of the Americans.

Canada beat the Germans 4-2 and Sweden handed Finland it's second consecutive shutout 7-0 on the 2nd followed by Canada advancing to 4-0 with their 8-6 win over the United States in the only game on the 3rd.

Finland had the misfortune of facing the Soviets on the 4th and were held off the scoresheet for the third straight game in their 10-0 loss. The Czechs won 5-1 over Switzerland and Sweden kept pace with the Czechs with their 10-2 win over Germany.

With three days left in the tournament, things were coming into focus. Neither the Soviet Union or Canada had lost yet, while Sweden and the Czechs each had one loss.

Canada remained undefeated by winning 6-2 over Finland on the 5th while Sweden hammered the Swiss 12-0 and the Czechs did their part with a 7-1 win over the USA.

1964 Canada Seth Martin photo Canada goalie.jpg
Goaltender Seth Martin had Canada at 5-0

After a day off, play resumed with four games on the 7th. After Germany beat Switzerland 6-5 and Finland edged the US 3-2, the mighty Soviets beat Sweden 4-2 and Czechoslovakia dropped Canada from the ranks of the undefeated with a 3-1 win despite Canada leading 1-0 with less than ten minutes to play on a goal by future NHLer Rod Seling, but a collision with a Czechoslovakian player Miroslav Vlach knocked their goaltender Seth Martin from the game and his untested replacement could not hold off the Czechs, who scored 3 in the last eight minutes.

Czech hockey player Vladimir Nadrchal (#17) Canadian Raymond Cadieux photo Czech hockey player Vladimir Nadrchal 17 Canadian Raymond Cadieux.jpg
Maskless Vladimir Nadrchal of Czechoslovakia
fends off an attack from Canada's Raymond Cadieux

That set up the final day's competition and the last four games on the schedule with all eight teams in action with the Soviet Union, Canada and Czechoslovakia all still in contention for the gold. Germany beat Finland 2-1 and the US was victorious over the Swiss 7-3 to set places 5 through 8 as the United States, Finland Germany and winless Switzerland.

The Soviets secured the gold medal with their close 3-2 win over Canada, finishing with a perfect 7-0 record and dropping the Canadians to 5-2. That set up the final game between 4-2 Sweden and 5-1 Czechoslovakia, which was won by the Swedes in dominant 8-3 fashion and leaving Sweden, Canada and the Czechs all even at 5-2 each.

1964 Soviet Union team celebrates photo 1964 Soviet celebration Tarasov.jpg
The Soviets toss head coach Anatoly Tarasov
into the air after clinching the gold medal

The tie breaking procedure in use at the time was goal difference between the top four teams, which would have ranked the teams as Sweden (+1) for Silver, Canada (-1) for Bronze and the Czechs (-5) out of the medals in fourth.


During the third period of the Czechs 8-3 loss to Sweden, the IIHF officials, led by Bunny Ahearne, met and changed the rules, deciding now that the tie breaker would be calculated based on ALL the games of Group A, not just among the top four teams! Sweden rose to +31 and remained in second, bu this flipped the bronze in favor of the Czechs (now +19) and dropped the Canadians (+15) to fourth - and out of the medals entirely and for the first time in their history.

1964 Canada Olympic Team photo 1964 Canada Olympic Team.jpg
The 1964 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team

Even worse, no one informed Canada of this change in policy. That night, the Canadian team got dressed in their finest team uniforms and made their way to the Ice Palace, only to then be informed there would be no medals for them.

1964 Canada cartoon photo Canada cartoon 1964 4th.jpg
A cartoon in Canada decrying their unexpected fourth place

The gold medal was the second for the Soviet Union, with their first coming in 1956, and the start of a run of dominance which would see them win four in a row through 1976. They were led in scoring by Konstantin Loktev, who had 6 goals and 15 points in 8 games and had four of the top eight scorers.

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The Soviets celebrate their gold medals

For die hards, places 9 through 16 went to Poland, Norway, Japan, Romania, Austria, Yugoslavia, Italy and Hungary.

1964 Olympic Bronze photo 1964 Olympic bronze medal.jpg
A controversial bronze medal from the 1964 Olympics

Today's featured jersey is a 1964 Canada National Team Terry Clancy jersey. The 1964 Canadian Olympic Team was the first time that Canada had formed a dedicated national team of amateur university students who would compete together as a unit for a 43 game schedule prior to heading to the Games under the guidance and coaching of Father David Bauer.

1964 Canada Olympic Team photo 1964 Canada Father Bauer Olympic Team.jpg
Father Bauer and his inaugural Canadian National Team

Prior to 1964, Canada simply sent their national senior champions, occasionally with a few added players, to represent the entire nation. This approach worked fine during the early half of the 20th century, but could no longer excel by the mid 1950's against the might of the "amateurs" of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, where their players were paid as soldiers or factory workers, but played hockey full time.

Terry Clancy is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer King Clancy and played in the NHL with the California Golden Seals and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Canada 1964 Olympic jersey photo Canada 1964 Olympic jersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
If you have two hours to spare, and especially if you speak Russian, today's video section is the entire decisive game between the Soviet Union and Canada from the 1964 Olympic Games.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The (sad) History of Hockey in San Francisco

With the National Football League holding the 50th Super Bowl in San Francisco, California, we thought it would be an opportune time to take a look at hockey in The City by the Bay.

San Francisco photo San Francisco.jpg

Not too surprisingly, San Francisco does not have a long and rich hockey tradition, but has been home to several professional hockey clubs over the years.

The earliest team we could find mention of was the San Francisco Seals of the California Hockey League (CHL) who played a single season way back in 1928-29. Other teams who followed them in the CHL were the San Francisco Blackhawks (two seasons from 1929-30 and 1930-31), the San Francisco Tigers (one season, 1930-31) and the
San Francisco Rangers (two seasons from 1931-32 and 1932-33). Records from back then are incomplete, but none of those clubs were able to post a winning record in any one season.

The first professional club to play at a high level was the San Francisco Shamrocks of the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) beginning in 1944.

1944 shamrocks photo 1944 shamrocks.jpg
The 1944 San Francisco Shamrocks

The team lasted six seasons and qualified for the playoffs twice, in 1947-48 after posting the first winning record in city history at 35-29-2, and then again in their final season of 1949-50 when they were 35-27-9. Their all-time leading scorer was Ralph "Bucky" Buchanan, who scored 116 goals and 168 points in 97 games, easily leading the team in both of his two seasons with the Shamrocks.

1946-47_san_francisco_shamrocks_team photo 1946-47_san_francisco_shamrocks_team.jpg
The 1946-47 San Francisco Shamrocks

After the demise of the Shamrocks, it would take 11 years for the next arrival, the San Francisco Seals of the Western Hockey League in 1961-62. The Seals were easily the highlight of hockey history in San Francisco. They played their games at the Cow Palace, which had a new ice making capabilities installed for the arrival of the Seals. Under Head Coach and General Manager Norman "Bud" Poile, the team generally led the league in penalty minutes. They developed a rivalry with the Portland Buckaroos and their games regularly attracted crowds upwards of 8,000 fans.

1962-1963 SF Seals photo 1962-1963 SF Seals.png.jpeg
 The Patrick Cup winning 1962-63 San Francisco Seals

The Seals won the league championship in only their second season of 1962-63 and then went back-to-back in 1963-64 and were led in scoring by future NHLers Nick Mickoski in 1963 and then Charlie Burns in 1964. Their fortunes slipped for their final two seasons, in the Cow Palace, as they were below .500 both seasons, never winning another playoff series following their Patrick Cup title in 1964. Al Nicholson was their all-time leading scorer with 127 goals and 285 points in five seasons.

1963-1964 SF Seals photo 1963-1964 SF 
The repeat champion 1963-64 San Francisco Seals

For the team's final season in the WHL of 1966-67, the club changed it's name to the California Seals and relocated across the San Francisco Bay to Oakland in preparation for the team's entry into the National Hockey League in 1967-68.

The next team to call San Francisco home arrived in 1977-78 as a member of the short lived Pacific Hockey League, who tried to fill the void left by the demise of the World Hockey Association, who once had teams in Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego. They adopted the name of their 1940's predecessors, the San Francisco Shamrocks. While only around for two seasons of play, they experienced both highs and lows. The team went 24-17-1 in their first season and won the PHL championship in 1978 followed by folding midseason after just 23 games of the 1978-79 season. They also called the Cow Palace home during their brief tenure.

Shamrocks 1978 photo sharmrocks_book.jpg
Hockey is back, but not for long...

Worth noting, but not exactly a "San Francisco" team, was the San Jose Sharks of the NHL, who played their first two seasons of 1991-92 and 1992-93 at the Cow Palace, a facility the California Seals and the NHL rejected  back in 1967. Once their new home, the San Jose Arena (or "The Shark Tank") was completed, the Sharks moved the 50 miles to the south end of the bay to San Jose.

It would take until the 1995-96 season for another attempt at pro hockey in San Francisco, this one being the San Francisco Spiders of the International Hockey League. The Spiders had some familiar names on their roster, such as former NHLers Alain Cote, Normand Rochefort, David Maley, Dan Vincelette, Mike Lalor and most notably Stanley Cup champion and eventual Hall of Famer Rod Langway.

Langway Spiders photo 
Spiders player/coach Rod Langway

Even Latvian defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh would suit up for a pair of games as a Spider while in a contract holdout with his NHL club and would score the first goal in Spiders history. John Purves was by far and away the team's leading scorer, with 56 goals and 105 points, 45 more than the next closest teammate, which placed him second in the league goal scoring race and seventh in points.

 photo DavidMaleySanFransicoSpiders.jpg
David Maley, the Spiders team captain

The team drew fairly well on weekends, roughly 7,500, but weekday attendance was fairly dismal, dropping down to 2,500. They finished with a 40-32-10 record followed by a 4 games to 1 playoff defeat by the Chicago Wolves. The team then filed for bankruptcy in May of 1996, citing losses of $6 million and bringing an end to the team after just one season, but leaving behind a legacy of some the most unique jerseys to ever take the ice.

 After a 16 year absence, the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL were the next team to call San Francisco and the 71-year-old Cow Palace home. The team invested $2 million in a new ice making system, locker room and concession stand upgrades and a custom made 360º scoreboard.

 SF Bulls logo photo SF Bulls logo.jpg

The entered into an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Sharks and finished their first season with a 25-38-2-7 record. They were the final qualifier for the playoffs, but were quickly dispatched in four straight by the number one seeded Alaska Aces. Standing at 15-20-4 the following season, the club folded mid-season on January 27, 2014 while sitting next to last in attendance at an average of 2,292.

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The San Francisco Bulls lasted less than two seasons

 Yet another attempt at hockey at the apparently cursed Cow Palace came in 2012-13 season in the form of the Bay Area Seals of the Western States Hockey League, a Tier III Junior A league.

Bay Area Seals photo Bay Area Seals.jpg
The Bay Area Seals used the logo of the 1967 NHL Seals

After starting out with a dismal 3 wins in their first 18 games, the club righted their ship and finished with a 26-16-1-6 record to qualify for the playoffs with the 6th best record out of the league's 22 teams. They won two playoff rounds and made it to the championship game of the league's title tournament. Their league runner-up finish to the Idaho Jr. Steelheads earned them a spot in the national championship tournament, where they again finished as runner up to the same Jr. Steelheads.

In an all too familiar refrain, the Seals relocated to South Lake Tahoe, California after concerns regarding scheduling issues at the Cow Palace after just one season of play.

The common thread for San Francisco hockey since 1961 is the Cow Palace, but is it the world's worst hockey venue? You have to go back to the Seals of the 1960's to find a team that lasted even three seasons with the failures of the Shamrocks, Spiders, Bulls and Seals, who lasted just five seasons - combined!

Going all the way back to the Seals of 1928-29, the city has had ten teams and just 24 seasons of play, an average of less than 2 1/2 seasons per franchise. And that's not counting the Sharks two seasons at the Cow Palace waiting for their home in San Jose to be built, which would drag the average down even further.

The Cow Palace photo Cow Palace.jpg
The Cow Palace

Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 San Francisco Spiders Rod Langway jersey. For the Spiders one and only season, every day was Halloween with these unusual jerseys donned by the club, especially when compared to the current state of the art in the NHL at the time when these were designed.

The spider web pattern contained in the red striping was a very simple but highly effective addition which created a jersey that looked much busier than it really was.

Their logo added to the overall feeling of this being a complex jersey as the spider itself was rather detailed and the radical font chosen for the team and city name created a near vortex of lines due to the length of both names.

The radical nature of the jersey continued on the back and sleeves with the addition of the numbers done in the same font as the "Spiders" wordmark from the main crest. While the sleeve numbers are somewhat difficult to read based on their shape and location at one the busiest spots on the jersey, the back numbers are surprisingly bold and legible. There is a photo of what appears to be a prototype of a Spiders jersey with a spider web pattern inside the numbers, an awesome look which was certainly passed over due to cost and complexity.

The simple block font for the names are unexpectedly simple and one can only imagine what suggestions for fonts the designer may have proposed that were passed over! A vertically arched block font like that used by the Detroit Red Wings, which would have followed the curvature of the top of the back numbers surely must have been considered at some point.

These jerseys unusual look, which was quite radical for the time, and their limited availability due to the incredibly brief short period of use have made these a favorite among the collecting hobby and very sought after.

San Francisco Spiders 1995-96 jersey photo San Francisco Spiders 1995-96 F.jpg
San Francisco Spiders 1995-96 jersey photo San Francisco Spiders 1995-96 B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1995-96 San Francisco Spiders tie dye jersey. If the standard Spiders jersey wasn't busy enough as it was, this special tie dyed jersey takes the vortex effect of the main logo to a whole new level!

And why the different font for the numbers? Surely it wasn't an effort to make the jersey "less busy" was it? The numbers certainly are an odd choice, as the treatment they received give them an almost metallic appearance, totally not keeping with the look and feel of the jersey or the team's identity. Perhaps they had something to do with radio station KFOG's visual identity, the sponsor of the game in which they jerseys were worn, and not that of the team.

San Francisco Spiders jersey
San Francisco Spiders jersey

Today's video section begins with some very rare footage of the Spiders tie-dyed jerseys in action.

In this next video, Tracey Engeland of the Los Angeles Ice Dogs has three different fights with members of the Spiders, giving you plenty of time to see how difficult the Spiders two-digit back numbers could be to read in action.


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