Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mail - Finnish Hospitality

The majority of the signatures from this mail post come courtesy of a fellow hobbyist. An autograph collector from Finland asked for my address a little while back. Asking nothing in return, he sent me a stack of autographs I needed, mostly from Europeans. The package absolutely made my day. There are some fantastic people in this hobby and it gives me a warm feeling to think that someone from across the world would contribute to my autograph quest seeking nothing in return. While the player whose autographs he sent might be locals to this collector, they're among the hardest to find for me. Getting my requests across the ocean and a language barrier can be tough. Thanks again my Finn friend!
Also in this post was a package of UD AHL autographs I bought all together. I'm a big fan of the UD AHL autographs because there are lots of first time signers in the set. The past couple weeks also saw some TTM requests trickle back. Of those returns, there's one specifically I have to mention because it was the absolute best reply I've ever gotten. Bill Steele, a former WHA player, actually sent me a little box. Inside was the actual WHA puck he scored his 8th career goal with while playing for the Stingers way back in the 1970s. How frickin' cool is that!? I love the league's history and I'll treasure this piece of memorabilia for a long time.
As a true collector one can sometimes get a little disgruntled with the money seekers and greed in the hobby. Its acts like the above, from a collector and former player, that keep my passion alive and well.

48 new NHL player autographs added makes the updated grand total 5,387 for 72% of everyone to ever appear in the league since it was founded in 1917.

Andrew Miller
An undrafted Yale University grad, Andrew Miller played in 15 games with the Edmonton Oilers between 2014 and 2016. He scored 1 goal and 6 assists with the Oilers and in the summer of 2016 was signed by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Brody Sutter
Best known for his last name, from 2014 to 2016 Brody Sutter played in 12 NHL games with the Carolina Hurricanes. His father is one of the famous Sutter brothers, Duane. 

Andrew Agozzino
From 2014 to 2016 Andrew Agozzino played in 10 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche. The undrafted forward captained the OHL's Niagara IceDogs during his last two seasons of junior, scoring 40+ goals in each year.

Brendan Shinnimin
A 58 goal season in his last year of junior in the WHL earned the undrafted Brendan Shinnimin a pro contract as he was awarded the 2012 WHL and CHL player of the year awards. He recorded 1 assist in 12 career NHL games with the 2014/15 Arizona Coyotes. He's most recently played in the KHL.

Markus Hannikainen
Markus Hannikainen has scored 1 goal and 2 points in 14 career NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In 2016 he helped the Lake Erie Monsters win the AHL's Calder Cup. Internationally, Hannikainen represented Finland at the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championships.

Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson was drafted in the 7th round by the Penguins in 2011 while playing Jr.A. He attended UMass-Lowell and made his NHL debut with the 2014/15 Pens. Wilson has played over 100 games in the NHL, including the full 2016/17 season with Pittsburgh. Wilson played 24 games with the Stanley Cup winning 2015/16 Penguins, not enough to get his name on the Cup but it did earn him a ring and day with the Trophy.

Mike Zalewski
Undrafted forward Mike Zalewski made his NHL debut with the 2013/14 Vancouver Canucks and has since played in 6 NHL games with the club. His brother, Steve, has also played in the NHL.

Jakub Nakladal
Defenseman Jakub Nakladal came to the NHL as a 27 year old undrafted rookie. He played 27 games with the 2015/16 Calgary Flames and 3 NHL games with the 2016/17 Carolina Hurricanes before moving back to the KHL. He won a Bronze at the 2012 World Championships with the Czech Republic.

Alexei Marchenko
Alexei Marchenko made his NHL debut with the 2013/14 Detroit Red Wings. The Russian defenseman played over 100 games with Detroit before being claimed off waivers by the Maple Leafs during the 2016/17 season. He then played a handful of games for the Leafs. I had tried sending a TTM request to Marchenko via the Leafs and Red Wings but with no response I decided to pick this up a reasonable price. 

Vitali Karamnov
From 1992 to 1995 Vitali Karamnov played 92 regular season games in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues. He scored 12 goals and 32 points in the NHL. Internationally, he represented Russia at the 1996 World Championships. Karamnov has recently served as an assistant coach in the KHL.
On an unrelated note, if the KHL can produce coach autographs, why can't the NHL? I think a coaches subset would be popular.

Ilkka Pikkarainen
A 7th round New Jersey draft pick from 2002, Ilkka Pikkarainen played 31 games in the NHL with the 2009/10 Devils. This particular autograph is notable because it finishes off the 2009/2010 season for my collection. I've managed to acquire a signature of all 137 players to debut that season.

Olli Malmivaara
Olli Malmivaara was originally drafted by the Blackhawks in 2000 but remained in Europe until 2006. Malmivaara played 2 career NHL games with the 2007/08 New Jersey Devils. Internationally, he won Silver at the 2001 World Juniors and Bronze at the 2002 World Juniors as a member of team Finland.

Patrick Davis
From 2008 to 2010 Patrick Davis played 9 career NHL games with the New Jersey Devils, scoring 1 goal.

Dwight Helminen
Dwight Helminen played 23 NHL games with the 2008/09 Carolina Hurricanes and 4 games with the 2009/10 San Jose Sharks. A University of Michigan alumni, Helminen was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2002.

Kamil Kreps
From 2007 to 2010 Kamil Kreps played 232 games in the NHL, scoring 18 goals and 60 points for the Florida Panthers. Internationally, he represented the Czech Republic at the 2004 World Juniors.

Jussi Markkanen
From 2001 to 2007 Jussi Markkanen played 128 games in the NHL. He was a member of the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. He's best remembered for his playoff service in 2006, taking over for the injured Dwayne Roloson as the Edmonton Oilers lost the Stanley Cup finals to the Carolina Hurricanes. Internationally, he represented Finland at the 2002 Olympics and World Championships in 2002 and 2004. Its somewhat remarkable that a goalie like Markkanen never got a certified autograph. Netminders of any success in the modern age tend to get a lot of hobby love.

Rob Shearer
Rob Shearer played 2 career NHL games with the 2000/01 Colorado Avalanche. The undrafted forward was signed as a free agent by Colorado in 1995 while he was paying in the OHL. In 1996/1997, his first season of pro, Shearer won the AHL's Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears.

Dale Clarke
Defeseman Dale Clarke was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Blues after 4 years at St. Lawrence University. Clarke played 3 games in the NHL with the 2000/01 St. Louis Blues.

Antti-Jussi Niemi
From 2000 to 2002 defenseman Antti-Jussi Niemi played 29 career NHL games with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Internationally, he had great success. With Finland he won an Olympic Silver medal in 2006, World Championship Silver in 1998, 1999 and 2002 and World Championship Bronze in 2000 and 2008.

Antti Aalto
Anttil Aalto, aka that guy who's first in every NHL alphabetical list. From 1997 to 2001 he played 151 NHL games for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, scoring 11 goals and 28 points. Internationally, he represented Finland at the Olympics in 2002 and helped them take home Bronze at the World Championships in 2000.

Jukka Hentunen
Jukka Hentunen spent one season in the NHL, splitting the 2001/02 season between the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators. He scored 4 goals and 9 points in 38 career NHL games that season. In 2009 he won the KHL's Gagarin Cup and lead the playoffs in goals scored. He helped Finland take home Silver at the 2006 Olympics and also has 2 Silvers and 2 Bronze medals from the World Championships.

Evgeny Medvedev
Defenseman Evgeny Medvedev came to the NHL as a 33 year old rookie on the 2015/16 Philadelphia Flyers. He appeared in 45 games for the Flyers in his only season of North American hockey, far from a success. In the summer of 2016 he went back to the KHL where he's won 2 Gagarin Cups. Internationally, he helped Russia win Gold at the World Championships in 2012 and 2014 as well as a Silver in 2015. In 2014 he also represented Russia in the Olympics.

Evgeny Korolev
From 1999 to 2002 Russian defenseman Evgeny Korolev played 42 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders.

Marko Jantunen
Marko Jantunen played 3 games in the NHL with the 1996/97 Calgary Flames. Internationally, he represented Finland at the 1997 World Championships and 1991 World Juniors.

Ari Haanpaa
From 1985 to 1988 Ari Haanpaa played 60 regular season games in the NHL with the New York Islanders. He scored 6 goals and 17 points career points and also played in 6 playoff games with the Islanders in 1987. Internationally, he won a Silver medal at the World Juniors in 1984 with Finland. Since 2010 he's been a scout with the Calgary Flame.

Tuomas Gronman
Defenseman Tuomas Gronman played 16 NHL games with the 1996/97 Chicago Blackhawks and 22 with the 1997/98 Pittsburgh Penguins. Internationally, he won a Bronze medal at the 1998 Olympics with Finland.

Jari Torkki
Jari Torkki scored 1 goal in 4 career NHL games with the 1988/89 Chicago Blackhawks. He also won a Silver medal at the 1988 Olympics with Sweden.

Robert Nordmark
From 1987 to 1991 Robert Nordmark played 236 regular season games in the NHL, dressing with the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks. He won Gold with Sweden at the 1987 World Championships and Silver in 1986 and 1995. He's recently been a European scout for the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Raimo Helminen
From 1985 to 1989 Raimo Helminen scored 13 goals and 59 points in 117 career NHL games. He played with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and North York Islanders. That was only a small part of his 26 year pro hockey career. He represented Finland in what is a record 6 Olympics, winning a Silver in 1988, Bronze in 1994 and Bronze in 1998.

Hannu Jarvenpaa
From 1986 to 1989 Hannu Jarvenpaa played 114 games in the NHL, scoring 11 goals and 37 points. He represented Finland at the 1992 Olympics and helped his country win Silver at the 1992 World Championships.

Tom Koivisto
As a 28 year old rookie defenseman in the NHL, Tom Koivito played 22 career games with the 2002/03 St. Louis Blues. Internationally, he represented Finland at the 2002 World Championships.

Simo Saarinen
Defenseman Simo Saarinen played 8 games in the NHL with the 1984/85 New York Rangers. A nasty injury abruptly ended his NHL career. Internationally, he won an Olympic Silver medal with Finland in 1988. He also represented his country at the 1984 and 1992 Olympics.

Andrei Skopintsev
From 1998 to 2001 Andrei Skopintsev played 40 games in the NHL. The defenseman played with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers. Internationally, he represented Russia at the World Championships in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2004.

Raimo Summanen
From 1983 to 1988 Raimo Summamen scored 36 goals and 76 points in 151 career NHL games between the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. His brief stint in the playoffs with the 1984 Oilers got Summanen a Stanley Cup ring and a place in the official team championship photo. His name, however, was left off the Trophy. He represented Finland at the 1984 and 1992 Olympics. He also won a Gold medal at the World Championships in 1995.

David Volek
Czech forward David Volek scored 25 goals and 59 points in his rookie season with the 1988/89 New York Islanders. It would be his best season in the NHL. From 1988 to 1994 he played 396 regular season games in the NHL, recording 95 goals and 249 points. He represented Czechoslovakia at the 1988 Olympics.

Jarkko Varvio
From 1993 to 1995 Jarkko Varvio scored 3 goals and 7 points in 13 career NHL games with the Dallas Stars. Internationally, he peaked at the 1992 World Hockey Championships, leading the tournament in goals, points and helping Finland bring home a Silver medal. 

Petri Varis
Petri Varis played 1 game in the NHL with the 1997/98 Chicago Blackhawks. He had originally been drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 1993. Internationally, he won a Bronze medal at the 1994 Olympics with Finland.

Janne Ojanen
From 1988 to 1993 Janne Ojanen scored 21 goals and 44 points in 98 career regular season games in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils. He's played on many international teams with Finland and in 1988 took home an Olympic Silver medal and in 1994 a Bronze.

Timo Jutila
Defenseman Timo Jutila recorded 1 goal and 6 points in 10 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres. Internationally, he was a big success, representing Finland at the World Juniors, World Championships, Olympics and Canada Cup. He won a Bronze at the 1994 Olympics, Silver at the 1992 and 1994 World Championships and Gold at the 1995 World Championships. 

Erik Haula
Erik Haula has been a full time NHLer since making his debut with the 2013/14 Wild. Not many modern day NHLers can play nearly 300 games and not get a certified autograph. Internationally, Haula won a Silver medal at the 2014 World Championships with Finland. Haula must have sat down recently and went through his mail because I had two returns from him, the one I sent this year and the one I had sent a couple years before and thought long lost. 

Kyle Greentree
The undrafted Kyle Greentree attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, earning an NHL contract with the Flyers after 3 years in school. Greentree played 2 games with the 2007/08 Philly Flyers and 2 games with the 2008/09 Calgary Flames.

Brian McReynolds
From 1989 to 1994 Brian McReynolds played 30 games in the NHL, dressing with the Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings. In 1987 he won a NCAA championship with Michigan State.

Matthew Yeats
Matthew Yeats played 5 games in the NHL with the 2003/04 Washington Capitals. The Univeristy of Maine alumni had been drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1998. There are only a handful of modern day goalies I need to find so this Yeats actually made me super excited. I've been trying to track him down for some time.

Bob Parent
Between 1981 and 1983 Bob Parent backstopped 3 NHL games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Rick Paterson
From 1979 to 1987 Rick Paterson played 430 regular season and 61 playoff games in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks. He remained in the NHL after retiring as a player. In 1991 and 1992 he won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins as assistant coach. In 2004 he won the Cup as Chief Scout of the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2007 he claimed the Stanley Cup again, this time as director of player personnel with the Anaheim Ducks.

John McCahill
An undrafted University of Michigan graduate, John McCahill played 1 game in the NHL with the 1977/78 Colorado Rockies.

Max Quackenbush
Defenseman Max Quackenbush played 47 NHL games with the 1950/51 Boston Bruins and another 14 with the 1951/52 Chicago Blackhawks. His brother, Bill, was a longtime NHLer and member of the HHOF.

Claude Pronovost
Claude Pronovost backstopped 1 game for the 1955/56 Boston Bruins and 2 games for the 1958/59 Montreal Canadiens. A practice goalie for the Canadiens, he made his NHL debut for the Bruins against the team that owned his rights in a strange case of Original 6 era teams carrying just 1 goalie on the road. Two of his brothers, Marcel and Jean, also played in the NHL. 
I had tried to write to Pronovost at this address before but this was my first reply, and quick. Makes me wonder what happened to the first couple I had sent, looking at you Canada Post... 

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Ending this mail post with 3 "odds & ends" hockey autographs. 1 for the WHA only collection and 2 for the NHL coaches collection. 

Bill Steele
A Michigan Tech alumni, Bill Steele played 3 games in the WHA for the 1975/76 Cincinnati Stingers and then a full season, 81 games, with the 1976/77 Stingers. He scored 11 goals and 33 points in 84 career WHA games.

Tom Coolen
Tom Coolen spent a season in the NHL as an assistant coach with the 2014/15 Buffalo Sabres. His coaching career has taken him all over the world and numerous leagues. He was even an assistant coach in the Olympics with Latvia in 2014.

Lou Vairo
From 1984 to 1986 Lou Vairo was assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. He's better known for his role within USA hockey, helping coach the 1980 Miracle team, head coaching the 1984 Olympic team and assistant coaching the 2002 Olympic team. In 2014 he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.