Tag Archives: NHL


by Ron Spence

The NHL expanded into the United States during the mid-1920s. First, the Bruins started playing in Boston, and then the Americans in New York and the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Franchises also opened in Chicago and Detroit in 1926. 

To see how popular the sport was becoming, all you had to do was look at the covers of some of the best-selling magazines of the time.

The February 23, 1929 SATURDAY EVENING POST cover was their third featuring a hockey theme. 

The young ladies seem to be playing with a pie – and not the old cow pies that early hockey used.




by Ron Spence

Patrick Roy holds a number of NHL records. Two of them are: the most games played – 1029 – and career wins – 551. These will become Martin Brodeur‘s  by the end of the 2008-09 season.

Two former Canucks are in the Top 30 of the most games played. Sean Burke has played the 12th most NHL games with 820, and Felix Potvin is 30th with 635 games played. Also, the same two netminders are in the Top 35 of Career Wins. Sean Burke is 19th with 324, and Felix Potvin is 34th with 266.

We have three trivia questions.

1. Gump Worsley holds the NHL record for the most losses with 352. Which two former Canucks’ goalies – in addition to Burke and Potvin – are in the Top 25 of the most games lost?

2. Which two former Canucks’ goalies – who also played in the World Hockey Association – are in the Top 5 of the most games lost in the defunct league?

3. Patrick Roy faced more pucks than anyone in NHL history – 28353 shots. Name five goalies – who have worn a Canucks’ jersey – who are in the NHL’s Top 25 of the most pucks faced.

1. Career Losses: Sean Burke is 5th with 341 losses, but Kirk McLean is 23rd with 262 [although 32nd in games played], and Gary Smith 24th [although 46th in games played] with 261 losses. Felix Potvin is tied for 25th with 260 “Ls.”

2. WHA Losses: John Garrett was first with 151 and Richard Brodeur was 4th with 114. But Brodeur was also 2nd with 165, and Garrett was 5th with 148 wins. And Garrett was 2nd in the WHA’s records book with 14 shutouts.

3. Pucks Faced: Sean Burke is 6th with 23299, Felix Potvin 15th with 17864, Kirk McLean 18th with 16882, and Arturs Irbe 25th with 15033 shots on goal.

The fifth goalie in this group is Roberto Luongo, who is 24th with 15060 shots on the net – in his eight years plus career.

(Related to these figures are saves. Patrick Roy holds the record with 25807. Sean Burke is 6th with 21009, and Felix Potvin is 15th with 16170 saves. Kirk McLean is 19th with 14,978, and Arturs Irbe is 25th with 13520 saves. Roberto is 23rd with 13836 saves.).

Information provided by: hockey-reference.com.


The beauty of this wordpress blog system is that you can monitor what your visitors like to read about, or look at.

One of the most popular topics to date has been hockey salaries.

Thus, I have decided to expand this into a more general topic – hockey salaries compared with salaries in other sports.

To begin with, I have looked up the average players’ salaries for all of the four North American major league sports.

I will be working on this topic every week, so if you are interested, please check back with us, plus make any suggestions – which direction the research should go, etc.


Our union’s members enjoy the highest salaries of any labor organization in the world. The average NBA player’s salary is almost $4 million and within the next few seasons will likely exceed $5 million.


This year’s Opening Day salary figure is $3.15 million, up 7.1 percent from last year’s season-opening figure of $2.94 million.


The average annual NHL player salary is slightly more than $1.9M, the “highest in league history,” and NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly predicted that in ’08-09 the average “will surpass $2[M].”


Under Upshaw’s leadership, players’ salaries have risen to an average of $1.4 million annually.

Please note that both basketball’s and football’s averages are skewered by the number of athletes playing in their leagues.


by Ron Spence

Theresa Ferries, author of the great blog, The State of Hockey News,  writes about Ice Girls:

“Combining the best sport around with scantily clad women. There’s so much about hockey that’s unique. Why do you wish for hockey to become more and more like the National Football League or the National Basketball Association?”



Theresa expresses that same outrage as some of my good buddies, who have been turned off of hockey because of the shootout.



NHL hockey, today, isn’t the same game that I watched on CBC televison during the early 1970s – thank God.

It’s better. And there have been changes.

The Ice Girls aren’t acting like Ring Girls at an Ultimate Fighting match.

I don’t think that they are poor role models for my granddaughters, who attend games.

How can anyone be offended by a young lady scraping off the ice, after two Enforcers have just duked it out?

What offends me the most are the players who dive.

Who, or what, should others be offended by? I don’t know.

It’s hockey, Jake.


by Ron Spence

Vancouver wasn’t always a hockey hotbed.

A quarter of a century after hockey was highly popular in eastern Canada, many Vancouver fans still hadn’t see a game.

“Most of [opening night fans] had never seen a hockey game before, but they became ardent enthusiasts long before the finish,”The Province wrote in 1912.

Vancouver supporters remained enthusiastic as the Millionaires (later called the Maroons) became a winning team. They took the PCHA titles in 1915, 1919, 1921 and 1923, and played for the Stanley Cup in 1915, 1918, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924.

They won Lord Stanley their first try, in 1915, but never again.



Vancouver fans were deprived of great hockey when the coast league folded in 1926, but the semi-pro PCHL circuit (which was renamed the North West Hockey League in 1933, and re-renamed the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1936) premiered two years later. The new Vancouver Lions won five titles in thirteen years, before folding in 1941 (The Vancouver Forum was built prior to the 1934-35 season, but had only 3500 seats. When the Denman Arena burnt down in 1936, it became Vancouver’s premier rink.).

A new team, the Canucks started playing after the War. Continuing the tradition of the Millionaires and Lions, the Canucks won the PCHL Championship their second season in the league. In 1953, the PCHL and the Western Canada Senior Hockey Leagues merged and formed the Western Hockey League. The Canucks won the championship Lester Patrick Cup in 1958, 1960, 1969 and 1970.

Vancouver fans supported their minor league Canucks, but still wanted a Big Tent team of their own. They were disappointed when the NHL doubled in 1967, without including a Vancouver franchise.

But, they optimistically built the 16,000-seat Pacific Coliseum, which housed the WHL’s Canucks for two and one-half years.


THE PACIFIC COLISEUM - courtesy of http://www.vancouver2010.com

Finally, Vancouver along with Buffalo, were admitted to the NHL in 1970 for a $6 million fee. Norman “Bud” Poile was named the Canucks’ first GM, and Hal Laycoe their inaugural coach.

Vancouver’s first NHL game was held on October 9, 1970 against the L.A. Kings. The game was broadcast on the CBC and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Premier W.A.C. Bennett, and NHL President Clarence Campbell attended. The NHL Canucks lost their first contest 3-1, but beat Toronto 5-3 two nights later.

Vancouver finished their first season with 24 wins and 56 points, placing them ahead of California and Detroit in the standings. As would be the case for most of the franchise’s history, Vancouver finished near the bottom of the league, but never low enough to take that year’s best draft picks. Montreal had traded for California’s pick, and took Guy Lafleur, while Detroit selected Marcel Dionne. Vancouver would take Jocelyn Guevremont.

Their second season, the Canucks finished with only 20 wins and 48 points, a franchise low. The team continued to falter, and by 1981 the Canucks had yet to win more than one playoff game in a series, let alone a series.



But then things changed in 1982. With players like goalie Richard Brodeur, Tiger Williams, Thomas Gradin, Stan Smyl and Ivan Boldirev the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup finals, before being swept by the New York Islanders.

Vancouver had beaten Calgary, Los Angeles and Chicago to get a sniff of the Cup.

During the Blackhawks’ series, Vancouver coach Roger Neilson waved a white towel at referee Bob Myers, after a bad call. Tiger Williams and other Canucks then hoisted towels on their sticks, and further taunted the ref. Thus, towel power was created, and Vancouver fans have since waved white flags in support of their team.

Following the series, 100,000 fans lined Vancouver’s streets to salute their parading Canucks. It was twelve years before another parade, however.

Then, led by the offense of Russian-born Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden, Geoff Courtnall, Cliff Ronning and Gus Adams, and the goaltending of Kirk McLean, the Canucks came back from a three to one deficit, to win three overtime games against the Calgary Flames. Next they beat Minnesota and Toronto, to represent the west in the finals.

The Canucks pushed the highly favoured Rangers to seven games, before New York ended their fifty-four year drought to win the Cup. The final 1994 game came down to a faceoff to the right of Mike Richter, with 1.6 seconds left to play.

The Canucks returned to Vancouver at 5:40 the following morning, to tens of thousands of fans.

They were every bit as ardent as the Millionaires’ supporters had been eight decades before.


The above was written for the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame