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Hockey Night Fever

Hockey Night Fever

Mullets, Mayhem and the Game's Coming of Age in the 1970s
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
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Contested Fields

Contested Fields

A Global History of Modern Football
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
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Toe Blake

Toe Blake

Winning Is Everything
edition:Paperback
tagged : hockey, sports, history
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Excerpt

 

Fittingly, it was the Rocket who ended up with the Stanley Cup clincher in the 3-1 Game 5 victory that kicked off the first of a record five straight Stanley Cup triumphs for the Canadiens. Fans, who had paid $1.75 for tickets, began flooding the ice after the players had shook hands, while Blake was lifted onto the shoulders of Butch Bouchard and Jack Leclair for a lap of honor. Blake waived his fedora and saluted the crowd before his grin grew even larger when Bouchard brought him in for a sip of champagne from the Cup. Bouchard had only played Game 5 because Blake sensed the club would close out the series and he wanted his captain – a man who had postponed retirement for one season at Blake’s request – to accept the trophy on behalf of the team.

 

Inside the dressing room, Toe quietly made the rounds shaking hands and thanking each of his players as champagne corks popped all around him. Mayor Jean Drapeau, accompanied by two policemen, arrived in the dressing room handing out cigars and announcing the team would be welcomed at the Helene de Champlain on St. Helen’s Island for a special banquet following the victory parade in a few days. That forced a number of players looking to leave for Florida to stretch their plans. Selke lauded Blake’s work in keeping the club focused all season, and Blake admitted afterward few changes to the roster would be needed the following season.

 

"Those newspaper men really put a lot of great pressure on the club when they called us to finish in first place--after all, I thought Detroit had won the league last year. They not only picked us to finish first place but to win the Cup,” Blake said in his distinct voice, which was high in accentuation but not in pitch, akin to a man with a fresh lozenge lodged in his throat. “I thought it put a lot of pressure on the boys, but they came through whenever they had to win an important game. They played well under pressure.

 

Toe marveled as 250,000 fans packed the city streets for what turned out to be a 6-1/2-hour parade celebration. It was a season Toe would never forget. The Canadiens felt Blake’s mastery had shaped the beginning of what was certain to be a prolonged period of success.

 

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The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL

The Down Goes Brown History of the NHL

The World's Most Beautiful Sport, the World's Most Ridiculous League
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
tagged : hockey, history, sports
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101 Fascinating Hockey Facts
Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Hockey has a fascinating history. And although Canada is the birthplace of the game, over the past century the sport has been adopted by countries all over the world. As a founding member of the Society for International Hockey Research, I’m one of many who diligently dig into hockey’s past, and I am constantly surprised by the stories we uncover: Tales of triumph and tragedy, victory and defeat, camaraderie and conflict, and lots of crazy shenanigans, both on and off the ice.

Read on to hear more about the player who stole the Stanley Cup and took it home for the day. The teenage goal-tender who travelled more than 4,000 miles to play for the Stanley Cup. And the player who led his NHL team in scoring — with a mere 13 points. And then there’s the female netminder who once told me how she secretly kept her goals-against average down: “It was the long-skirt era and I wore a skirt that was extra long. I put buckshot in the hem … When I bent over in goal, I’d spread my skirt out. That hem stopped a lot of pucks!”

1: THE STANLEY CUP THIEF

25-year-old Montrealer saw his name and photo splashed across the sports pages of North America. Was it because he won the Cup? No, it was because he stole it!

Ironically, the event happened on April Fool’s Day. But it was no joke. At the Chicago Stadium, with the Black Hawks almost certain to win the semi final series and the Cup, one diehard Canadiens fan named Ken Kilander sprang into action. Here is how he described what happened:

“In the ’60s, I’d follow the Habs around all the time. I’d finance my road trips by playing piano in bars. I knew the Stanley Cup was locked up in a showcase in the lobby of the Chicago Stadium. So I said to some reporters, ‘What would you fellows do if I went and got the Cup?
“One of them laughed and said, ‘Well, it is April Fool’s Day. If you go and steal the Cup, I guarantee I’ll put your picture in the paper.’
“So, when I saw my beloved Habs getting clobbered that night, I couldn’t take any more of that. I ran down to the lobby and I pushed in on this glass showcase and the lock gave way.
“I grabbed the Cup and walked away fast … an usher spotted me and started yelling, ‘Stop him! Help! Some guy’s stealing the Cup!’ His screams brought some policemen running and they arrested me. It’s hard to run fast when you’re lugging the Stanley Cup.
“The next morning I appeared before a judge, who took pity on me. He said, ‘You can go back to the Stadium tomorrow night and cheer for your Canadiens. But the Cup stays here unless the Black Hawks lose, which they will not.’ Then he smiled at me and let me go.
“The judge was right. Chicago won the series, but lost to Toronto in the Cup finals. And I was lucky not to be fined or thrown in jail.”

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