Whatever happened to …

… straight bladed hockey sticks?

Two inspirations for this post.  The first, was the same inspiration from Peter Cameron for last week’s post about street hockey and the second from picking my wife up at the Windsor train station where you’ll see this display.

It’s part of the reason I never complain when asked to pick up or deliver there.  I look at the display and just wonder.

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Just for giggles, I went to the local Canadian Tire to see what kind of hockey sticks were for sale.  They were all curved.  Left and Right.

That takes me back.

All we had when playing pee-wee hockey were sticks with straight blades.  Even though our heros like Bobby Hull were setting the NHL on fire with curved sticks, we weren’t allowed to use them.  Our coach wanted to make us equally as proficient on the forehand as we were on the backhand.  He wanted us to be able to pass accurately and stick handle with proficiency.  So curved blades were definitely out.

All we wanted to do was to shoot high and hard like Bobby Hull, or Stan Mikita.

Long time NHL fans know that the greats – Gump Worsley, Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk – didn’t use masks.  At least in the beginning.  But the advent of the curved blade changed all that.  Players were able to shoot higher and harder.  It became dangerous or more dangerous to be a goalie.

On this trip to Canadian Tire, the only straight blade to be found was a plastic stick used for floor hockey, I guess.  But, you just know that you could put it in hot water and curve it yourself.

So, for a Sunday, how’s your memory?

  • Did you ever play hockey with a straight blade?
  • What goalie was attributed with being the first one to use a mask in an NHL game?
  • Gerry Cheever’s mask was white with black marks on it.  What are the significance of the black marks?
  • Can you identify the goalie that used each of the masks in the picture above?  (Real fans won’t have to zoom in on the picture)
  • Did you ever take a hockey game with the metal players and bend the blades to make your own curve?

How about taking a walk back through memory lane and answering one or more of those questions?  You know you want to!

If you have an idea for a “Whatever happened to …” post, please leave it in the Padlet.

All of the articles in this series can be found here.

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

7 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. This post just reminds me that I really, really, really need to learn more about hockey and hockey sticks. I didn’t even realize there were straight versus curved sticks. Oops! Maybe I just need to become way more observant. I hope that other people share their hockey memories, and that they have more to remember than me. 🙂

    Aviva

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Doug!

    I definitely have to share this post with my nephew, Nicholas!

    He has three hockey sticks for street hockey, which all have a straight blade. He had one for ice hockey last year, but because he is left-handed, his coach saw that we had bought him the wrong one, with the curve on the wrong side (hockey mom and hockey aunt didn’t pay attention to that very important thing : ) The new one is lighter, and also the blade has a slight relief surface on it with a square pattern – Nick says he feels the difference of the weight and when he shoots too : )

    Thank you for yet another awesome post!

    Have a great Sunday,
    Vicky

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you ever play hockey with a straight blade? – yes. When I was young. When I was older I preferred a slight curve. Fun fact: though I am right handed, I shoot left. Go figure.

    What goalie was attributed with being the first one to use a mask in an NHL game? – Jacques Plante. Everyone knows that one.

    Gerry Cheever’s mask was white with black marks on it. What are the significance of the black marks? – stitches he would have received had he not been wearing the mask.

    Can you identify the goalie that used each of the masks in the picture above? (Real fans won’t have to zoom in on the picture) – Ken Dryden. There are some others, but who cares?

    Did you ever take a hockey game with the metal players and bend the blades to make your own curve? – Yes I did. But it made the little puck fly in the air and out of the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aviva, I’m sorry that this topic was out of your wheelhouse. Maybe you need to add another idea to the Padlet so that I can write something that you’re more familiar with!

    Like

  5. Vicky, what a great story. I can totally see that happen, particularly if you’re not immersed in the game like some people are. I will admit to some sticker shock when looking at the price of hockey sticks. That’s only one piece of the gear a player needs and then you look at the fees to join a league. I can see why more people opt for soccer instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good answers, Stephen. More fun facts; I’m right handed and play hockey and baseball hitting left handed but I throw right handed. When I started golfing, I used to golf left-handed as well until the golf course told us that I couldn’t share clubs with my dad so I had to buy my own. Through Sears, the right handed clubs were $10 cheaper for a set so I switched. It didn’t improve my game.

    This Canadiens fan kind of agrees with you and the significance of the Dryden mask. I’m in awe though every time I go to the train station and look at them. I remember each and every one of them from Saturday nights. There is so much damage done to them from being hit by pucks.

    As well, there’s a certain amount of smugness when I think of the red light going on behind that blue and white mask.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We thought joining the hockey club would be exorbitant too (because it’s Switzerland and hockey needs lots of stuff). However, the kids pay fifty dollars a year to join, which they get back at the end of the year – the amount serves as a kind of guarantee, because they give you a helmet, gloves (but Nick has his own), a jersey and access to the rink whenever you want. We were so surprised! The only things we bought were his skates – actually, he is a responsible little guy and offered to pay for his gloves and stick from his pocket money : )

    You can see the team website here (in English): https://www.evz.ch/en/

    Our coach is Canadian and two of the players are, too! And we have three Swiss-Canadians!

    Have a great afternoon,
    Vicky

    Liked by 1 person

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