Thursday, February 18, 2016

February 2016 Mail - 25 New NHL Autographs

25 new NHL autographs added to the collection since my last post. The grant total of unique NHL player signatures is now 4,827 for 66% of everyone who has ever played in the league. 

Mostly TTM (though the mail) returns this week and a few small purchases. The TTMs all came in a big package from my Prince Edward Island childhood home where I still get them sent. I lost out on a couple nice vintage pieces this week and its always hard to lose a rare, obscure signature of long deceased players. These returns really made up for that. The hobby tends to run on US dollars and the low value of the Canadian loonie has really hurt my already tiny student budget. While I enjoy my graduate program, I sometimes long for the day of having a real job and the accompanying pay check. I've managed to keep my student debt relatively low by working a full time and part time job throughout my undergrad program. When I finish my masters and some money starts coming in, vintage NHL signatures are going to by among my first purchases. Until that time, my pre-expansion autograph collection isn't likely to grow much. 

Ernie Hicke
From 1970 to 1978 Ernie Hicke scored 132 goals and 272 points in 520 career NHL games. He was a member of the California Golden Seals, Atlanta Fames, New York Islanders, Minnesota North Stars and Los Angeles Kings. His brother, Bill, was also a solid NHL player.

Torrie Robertson
This is favourite autograph of the post because I had searched for a way to contact Torrie Robertson before but to no avail. When I wrote to his brother, Geordie, who briefly played in the NHL, I ask if he happened to have any contact info for his brother. He did and this is the result. From 1980 to 1990 Torrie played 442 regular season games in the NHL and recorded 1,751 penalty minutes. The tough guy played with the Washington Capitals, Hartford Whalers and Detroit Red Wings. With the enforcer all but dead in the NHL, I especially enjoy adding autographs of notable retired fighters.

Steve Stoyanovich
R.P.I. graduate forward Steve Stoyanovich scored 3 goals and 8 points in 23 career NHL games with the 1983/84 Hartford Whalers.

Stu Smith
Stu Smith played 77 NHL games with the Hartford Whalers in the early 1980s.

Paul MacDermid
 From 1981 to 1995 Paul MacDermid played 733 regular season+playoff games in the NHL. He was a member of the Whalers, Jets, Capitals and Nordiques. His son, Lane, currently plays in the NHL. Shout out to Mr. MacDermid for the beauty signature. 

Rich Preston
Rich Preston signed with the WHA's Houston Aeros after four years at the University of Denver. He spent five seasons in the WHA, scoring 285 points in 388 games. His Aeros won the WHA's Avco Cup as league Champs in 1975. In 1979 he was named playoff MVP as his Winnipeg Jets won the Avco Cup in the league's final year of existence. In the NHL, from 1979 to 1987, he scored 291 points in 580 games. Preston split his time in the NHL between the Blackhawks and New Jersey Devils. He later became an NHL assistant coach, spending 15 seasons behind the bench. He was an NHL assistant coach with the Blackhawks, Flames and Sharks. 

George Lyle
A Michigan Tech alumni, George Lyle scored 39 goals and 72 points in his first season of pro hockey with the WHA's New England Whalers. He was awarded the league's rookie of year award. Lyle played over 200 games in the WHA with the Whalers from 1976 to 1979. From 1979 to 1983 Lyle scored 24 goals and 62 points in 99 career NHL games. He was a member of the Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers. 

Ken Houston
From 1975 to 1984 Ken Houston played 570 regular season games in the NHL as a member of the Atlanta/Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings. He was a quality NHL player who recorded six seasons of 20+ goals.

Steve Peters
Steve Peters played 2 NHL games with the 1979/80 Colorado Rockies. 

Peter Driscoll
Peter Driscoll was an early teammate of Wayne Gretzky and is often noted in the history books as being a part of the WHA deal that sent he and The Great One to the Edmonton Oilers from the Indianapolis Racers. Driscoll played 60 NHL games with the Oilers from 1979 to 1981. He was more successful in the WHA, playing over 300 games in the rebel league. 

Andy Schliebener
From 1981 to 1985 Andy Schliebener played 90 regular season+playoff games in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks. The defenceman recorded 2 goals and 13 points.

Jeff Jackson
From 1984 to 1992 Jeff Jackson played 263 regular season games in the NHL. He suited up with the Maple Leafs, Nordiques and Blackhawks. Jackson studied law after hanging up his skates and from 2006 to 2010 he was assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

John Stevens
From 1986 to 1994 defenceman John Stevens recorded 10 points in 53 career NHL games. He spent time in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford Whalers. Stevens is best known for his work behind the bench. From 2006 to 2009 he was head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. As an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings he won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2015. He has an impressive trophy case as he also won the AHL's Calder Cup four times, three as a player and one as a coach.

Ed Courtenay
From 1991 to 1993 Ed Courtenay scored 7 goals and 20 points in 44 career NHL games with the newly created San Jose Sharks. Courtenay continued playing minor-pro hockey for many years and retired in 2009 at 40. 

Steve Larouche
From 1994 to 1996 Steve Larouche scored 9 goals and 18 points in 26 career NHL games. He briefly played for the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings.

Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson played 2 NHL gams with the 2013/14 New York Islanders as a 32 year old rookie. The Anchorage, Alaska native was never drafted and after his NCAA career spent five years in the ECHL before finally making it to the AHL in 2010. He's currently playing for the AHL's Toronto Marlies and is unlikely to be back in the NHL.

Kevan Miller
Kevan Miller is a Univerisity of Vermont alumni and free agent signing by the Boston Bruins. Since 2013 the defenceman has played 130+ NHL games with the Bruins and is currently a full time member of the team.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie
From 2012 to 2014 Pierre-Cedric Labrie played 46 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Labrie is a real underdog story. As a junior, he didn't catch on with a QMJHL team until he was 19. Undrafted, Labrie spent half a dozen seasons in the AHL before making his NHL debut.

Micheal Ferland
A 2010 fifth round pick, Micheal Ferland made his NHL debut with the 2014/15 Calgary Flames. He's been a full time member of the 2015/16 Flames. The autograph looks like it was signed with a dying marker in this scan but he just used a silver marker and it looks much better in person. 

Peter Vandermeer
Tough guy Pete Vandermeer played 2 career NHL games with the 2007/08 Phoenix Coyotes. He was a 31 year old NHL rookie who had been playing pro for over a decade, starting with the 1996/1997 ECHL's Columbus Chill. In 611 career AHL games Vandermeer racked up 2,772 penalty minutes. Five his brothers have played pro hockey and one of them, Jim, also made it to the NHL.

Bengt-Ake Gustafsson
From 1979 to 1989 Swedish forward Bengt-Ake Gustavsson scored 196 goals and 555 points in 629 career NHL games with the Washington Capitals. A 2003 inductee to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame, he helped Sweden win a Gold at the 1987 World Championships.

Alain Vigneault
From 1981 to 1983 Alain Vigneault played 42 career regular season games in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues. He's best known as a coach and has spent almost two decades behind the bench in the NHL. He's been head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and currently the New York Rangers. With Vancouver he won the 2007 Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year. I had written to Vigneault a couple times but never heard back and his is his only certified autograph card. I wish there were more NHL coaches hockey cards.

Troy Grosenick
Troy Grosenick is a Union College alumni who was signed as a free agent by the Sharks in 2013. Currently in his third season with San Jose's AHL affiliate, Grosenick was briefly recalled during the 2014/15 season and played two NHL games. He only allowed three goals in that stint and remains a top prospect in San Jose's net.

Michael Chaput
Michael Chaput had a stellar final season of junior hockey in 2011/12. He lead the QMJHL's Shawinigan Cataractes the the Memorial Cup championship. He scored 5 goals and 12 points in 6 games as his team won the tournament and Chaput was named the tournament's MVP. Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011 while still playing junior. Since the 2013/14 season, Chaput has scored 2 goals and 7 points in 53 NHL games with Columbus. 

Henrik Samuelsson
The Coyotes drafted Henrik Samuelson in the first round of the 2012 draft. In 2014 Samuelsson won the Memorial Cup with the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings. He played 3 NHL games with the 2014/15 Arizona Coyotes. His father, Ulf, was a long time NHLer and older brother, Philip, currently plays in the NHL.


Autograph #26 of the post goes into my NHL 'backup only' collection.

Mike Mole
If you happen to be asking yourself why the name Mike Mole sounds a little familiar it could be because you watched CBC's Making the Cut, a hockey reality show from 2004. Mole, who was playing Canadian University hockey at the time of the show, won one of six invitations to an NHL training camp. A couple years later he did get a pro hockey contract and in 2008 was recalled to the NHL. He spent two games as an NHL backup goalie with the New York Islanders.

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