Friday, October 23, 2015

1967/68 Tulsa Oilers CHL Program = 7 New Autographs

I'm currently working on a bigger mail post (TTMs and trades) but in the meantime I thought I'd post a recent acquisition. Picked up this old AHL program at a reasonable price and immediately went to work cutting it up and adding the new autographs to my collection.

If anyone knows a collector or shop selling vintage signed pro hockey programs please let me know. I know there's more out there but I don't come across them as often as I'd like to. I'm most interested in AHL/CHL/WHL programs and other minor leagues, which allows me to find hard to locate signatures of older guys who only briefly appeared in the NHL. I'm especially interested in programs pre 1980. 

This program, from the Toronto Maple Leafs' CHL affiliate, featured a couple hard to find signatures and I'm particularly happy to get Al Smith. I have a soft spot for goalie autographs and Mr. Smith's isn't easy to get. The program also allowed me to upgrade my John McLellan autograph, who was coach of the team. The old McLellan signature has been added to my trade list, as with the half dozen NHL signatures on this program I already had. 

With the 5 new NHL signatures the grand total is now 4,590 unique player autographs. The last two get added to my WHA and General Manager (soon to be published in a post) sub collections. 

Al Smith
This was the #1 autograph I had my eyes on when purchasing this program. Al Smith's story is one worth reading about. He is the forgotten backup goalie of the famed 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs Cup winning team. Smith was backup goalie during the playoff run but has essentially ben forgotten as a member of their championship. His name never appeared on the Cup. From his 1965 NHL debut with the Maple Leafs to 1981 Smith travelled around North America playing for the Penguins, Red Wings, Sabres, Whalers and Rockies. He also spent five seasons in the WHA with the New England Whalers. When his hockey career was over Smith embarked on a very different career path. He dreamed of being a writer and spent all his money writing a book and then producing a play that failed miserably. He drove a cab to pay ends meat and died of cancer in 2002 while writing a second book. His first novel, The Parade has Passed, sold less than 100 copies and is impossible to find.

Len Haley
Len Haley spent 20 years playing pro hockey but only appeared in two NHL seasons. He played 27 games for the 1959/60 Detroit Red Wings and 3 games for the 1960/61 Red Wings. The forward posted 2 goals and 4 points in the NHL. 

Dan Johnson
In the early 1970s Dan Johnson played 121 NHL games between the Maple Leafs, Canucks and Red Wings. He then spent 3 years in the WHA with Bobby Hull and the Winnipeg Jets. He helped the Jets win the 1973 Avco Cup and served as team captain for the 1974/75 season. In 1993 he passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease at only 48.

Randy Murray
Defenceman Randy Murray played 3 career NHL games with the 1969/70 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gordie Nelson
Like Randy Murray, Gord Nelson was a defenceman who's only 3 NHL games came with the 1969/70 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Serge Aubry
This autograph goes into the "WHA Only" binder. Serge Aubry spent five seasons in the WHA, four of which were with the Quebec Nordiques and the other with the Cincinnati Stingers. In 1988/89 he served as the NHL's Quebec Nordiques goalie coach. From 1992 to 2000 Aubry was an amateur scout with the Los Angeles Kings. He passed away in 2011. 

Ray Miron
From 1976 to 1981 Ray Miron was General Manager of the NHL's Colorado Rockies. He had been GM of the Tulsa Oilers from 1964 to 1974. In 2004 he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contribution to hockey in the United States. He co-founded the recently defunct Central Hockey League in 1992.

The program produced a bunch of extra signatures, I've added to my tradelist cuts of the following who's autographs I already had in the collection:
Jim Dorey
Jean Payette (WHA)
Andre Hinse
Pat Quinn
Ron Ward
Gerry Meehan
Nick Harbaruk

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