Hockey in Hampton Virginia

(1976-77 Hampton Gulls Pat Donnelly)IMG_0260

By Chuck Eckels

The city of Hampton has had 5 different hockey teams in residence. It started with the Virginia Red Wings in 1973 and ended with the Hampton Roads Gulls of the ACHL in 1981. Only one of the five entries was successful in Hampton, Virginia. 

The Southern Hockey League was created in 1973 as an offshoot of the old Eastern Hockey League. The EHL was a place where “butcher shop” hockey reigned supreme. The lead bad boy of the EHL was John Brophy who lead the league in PIM’s. I was told by another player if you put Brophy in a room with another player, no matter who the other player was, Brophy was the guy walking out of that room. Before a game Brophy would amp up on greenies so much so that he would have to get another player to lace up his skates for him. He would then go out and  fearlessly dominate for three hours. 

The EHL was a wild and wooly league. Once the Charlotte Checkers were late getting to a game with the Long Island Ducks in New York. The concession stands ran out of beer while waiting for the Checkers to arrive. Arena management allowed the fans to leave the arena and purchase 12 packs of bottled beer. By the time the Checkers arrived two hours later,  the crowd was feeling no pain. As the game got underway, the 4000 or so referees in the stands took exception to a particular call. They started to throw brown glass beer bottles that were full onto the ice. The goalies hid in their nets as broken brown glass and beer suds littered the white ice. Luckily no one was hurt.

This was one of the reasons the owners of the Southern teams wanted to pull away from the league. They wanted a ” safer and calmer” league. There was too much “goonery ” in the league for the Southern owners. They wanted it to be more family friendly. Another reason to pull away form the Northern teams was travel costs. The owners could save money by traveling just to Southern cities. The final reason was fan interest. Southern teams drew in more fans when facing other Southern teams. Southern owners thought these reasons would generate more revenue. 

From its inception during the 1973-74 season the SHL aligned themselves with the WHA (World Hockey Association). This league was created to rival the NHL by Dennis Murphy, Gary Davidson, and Edmonton hockey magnate Bill Hunter. The WHA was even crazier then the EHL if that was possible. The worst incident involved the Calgary Cowboy’s Rick Jodzio who once skated for the SHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Jodzio, whose hockey credentials are open to serious question as a hockey player, attacked Quebec Nordiques superstar Marc Tardiff on April 11, 1976 for no apparent reason. Jodzio cross-checked Tardiff in the face in the second period. He then dropped his gloves and threw bunches of punches into the face of the fallen star. Tardiff was carried off the ice on a stretcher and suffered a brain contusion. He missed the remainder of the season. The bench clearing brawl was so intense that it took over 20 Quebec City police officers to restore order on the ice. Jodzio was banned from the WHA and while charges were filed against him he later pled guilty to a lesser charge and paid a $3000 fine. Years later Jodzio and his son met Tardiff and his son where Jodzio offered up an apology. Tardiff accepted that apology.

With help from their parent WHA clubs and playing under WHA rules the SHL got underway in the 1973-74 season with the Roanoke Valley Rebels winning the Crockett Cup. The Charlotte Checkers coached by Pat Kelly would go on to win the next two cups. The fourth season the league went dark as it had become too ” soft.” The SHL owners had forgotten the lesson of the Charlotte Clippers of the 1950’s. The Baltimore Clippers had their barn burn down in the 1950’s and they had no place to play. They relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina at the bottom of the state. The Charlotte Clippers had phenomenal attendance because they won and they played a very physical game. John Brophy skated for the Clippers and that lesson would not be lost on him. 

In the late 1960’s the city of Hampton, Virginia built the Hampton Coliseum with a seating capacity of about 10,000 people. The Fayetteville Arsenal were set to begin play in the SHL in the fall of 1974. They had only one problem. There was no ice. ( As a big fan of the SHL and former season ticket holder I have been asked if I have ever seen any Arsenal memorabilia like pucks or programs but I have not.) The team owners looked for a place to play and landed in Hampton. The team played for three years in Hampton before the league went dark in 1977. Coach John Brophy’s Hampton Gulls were a very physical team that won. The worst finish they had in three years was second place. Curt Brackenbury, Dale Smedsmo, and Hal “Mad Dog” Willis led they way that first season with physical play. A real good example of the Gulls play was a game that took place in Hampton on November 13, 1974. The biggest line brawl of the season took place between Hampton and Charlotte. All 34 players were battling on the ice. The white ice was littered with sticks and gloves. Even Coach Brophy and Coach Kelly were throwing down on each other in suits and ties. The battle lasted for an hour. The Gulls won that battle but lost the war 5-3 as both sides skated extremely short handed. 

The city of Hampton first leased the Coliseum to the Virginia Red Wings of the AHL in 1973-74. The Wings moved to Norfolk the following season then left the area in 1975. Charles Wornom, a local drug store magnate, had purchased the SHL Gulls and after the SHL went dark he moved them to the AHL. This proved to be a costly mistake as revenues were quickly consumed by travel expenses. The AHL Gulls went dark in the winter of 1978. The Hampton Aces lasted for two season 1978-80 in the reborn EHL after they relocated from New Jersey. The final hockey entry for the city of Hampton was the ACHL Hampton Roads Gulls. They didn’t even finish the season. This was the final hockey team in residence as the Hampton Coliseum management  decided they would generate revenue through concerts not hockey. The SHL Gulls were the only successful hockey entry in the city of Hampton because of their phenomenal attendance.  All hockey is now played in Norfolk. 

Notable players for the Hampton Gulls SHL/AHL are Curt Brackenbury, Frank Beaton, William “Buzz” Schneider, Jamie Hislop, Dave Hanson, Jeff Carlson, Rod Langway, Paul Hoganson, and Eddie Mio.IMG_0261

(1978-79 Hampton Aces EHL Peter Jack )

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Behind the Jersey: Yale University National Champions 2013

by Chuck Eckels

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The Yale University Bulldogs decided many years ago that the emphasis of their University would be on academics and not athletics. Ivy League schools offer no athletic scholarships unlike other Division One Schools. This is a recruiting nightmare for any Yale coach. It is no different for former Yale goalie and Yale hockey coach Keith Allain.

While the no scholarship is no longer the burden it once was there are still very high academic standards a student must have to gain admission to the university. The final hurdle is competing with Harvard. Given a choice of Yale or Harvard, most recruits will pick Harvard. Recruiting is an issue for all Ivy League coaches. Unable to recruit the 6′ 5″ Eric Lindros types, Yale opted for the smaller guys with speed. This move paid off. The 2011 squad had 28 victories, was ranked number in the hockey polls but unfortunately the season ended much too soon.

Shipping Advice and Etiquette

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Jersey transactions are happening less in person, and more often than not, involve a shipping service.  Shipping creates an additional cost to the transaction and there are many ways to ship.  When dealing with transactions and shipping, it is good practice to adhere to the following concepts regarding shipping etiquette.

Liability Cost
First and foremost, when negotiating a sale, it is important to indicate which party will cover shipping.  

As a buyer, if the price is not indicated as “includes shipping”, it is best to anticipate that the seller will most likely expect you to cover shipping costs.  In this scenario, you can advise the seller how you would like your item shipped and if you desire insurance.  When you pay for shipping, the shipping expense is at your discretion.  You could be cheap and request that it is shipped in a bag without insurance, standard shipping practice (listed below), or a custom requested shipping method the seller feels comfortable with.

As a seller, it is helpful to advise in your listing who will cover shipping.  If you elect to cover shipping, remember we are in a global market, so address the locations you are willing to cover.  While covering the shipping charges, the burden of insurance will be placed on you.  You can elect to forego insurance, but if you do, missing shipments, damage, etc will become your burden.

Shipping Standards
When shipping, smaller packages and bags or padded envelopes are less expensive to ship, however, damage comes at a higher risk.  Opened packages, tearing and exposure to elements are the risks potentially faced.

 At a minimum, your standard shipping method should be in a box large enough to fold the jersey and have it lay flat which can also include documentation.  The medium flat-rate USPS boxes or 14″x11″x3″ are satisfactory.  Though not required, it is recommended to wrap the jersey in a bag.  Ziploc or garbage would work.  This helps protect it from the rare event in which weather elements reach your package.  Include the LOA in a binder sleeve, laid flat at the bottom.  NEVER fold your LOAs to ship them.

Tape your edges and corners well.  Nobody wants to receive a partially open box.

Even you can be a good shipper if you follow these guidelines:

  • Be explicit when it comes to who is responsible for shipping.
  • Always ship in a box unless that comfortably fits the folded jersey unless otherwise negotiated.
  • If you are the one paying for shipping, insurance liability is on you.
  • Be generous with the tape.  Most boxes have 2 sets of flaps which will protect your items when opened.

Got other shipping tips?  Let us know!

Tips for Traveling with Jerseys

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With the 2017 Game Worn Hockey Jersey Expo this weekend in Chicago, many collectors are seeking advice on how to most successfully and easily pack your things for a trip.  Strategies can vary depending on travel method and the items you are carrying.  The most difficult method of travel is by air which is what we will focus on.

Challenges

Be familiar with your airlines baggage policies.

Weight:
Many airlines charge you by the bag for each checked piece of luggage you have (unless you are a frequent traveler).  These checked bags have weight restrictions or additional costs beyond 50 lbs.  You are also usually allowed 1 carry-on item and 1 personal item.

Your carry-on bags are not weighed, so plan your carry-on luggage carefully.  Research the maximum size roller bag allowed on your airline and bring one that size or smaller.  Your personal item can be something like a briefcase or bookbag.  Lets stretch the term book bag and envision a duffel bag or large camping size book bag.

Risk:
Since we are not weight restricted on these carry-on items, we want to pack as much as we can in these bags, starting with our highest dollar first.  If we keep our most expensive or most attached items in our carry-on, they will be with us at all times.  This will alleviate stress if a bag routing issue occurs.  Also, keep in mind, checked bags are picked up on luggage carousels with nobody checking tags.

Your less important items can be purchased on destination.  Clothing, hygienics, chargers and other personal items can be replaced.  Your jerseys cannot.  Your checked baggage can be reserved for these items and more, less valuable items or jerseys such as pucks, strategically packed gear and jerseys.

Space:
Since we will be packing most of our items in our carry-on bags that are not weight restricted, we need to maximize every inch of space those bags allow.  When packing, the thing that takes up the most space is air.  Yes, air.  Our objective is to take air out of the equation.

Enter the vacuum cleaner and large freezer ziploc bags.  Fold your jerseys you will be packing in your carry-ons in a way that they will sit flat inside the freezer bag.  A square or rectangular shape is best as pictured below.  Place your jersey in the bag and zip it up half way.  Put your most narrow attachment on the hose of your vacuum and place just the nozzle in the bag.  Turn on the vacuum.  As the air is sucked from the bag, your jersey will compress.  Make sure to keep a hand on the jersey and nozzle to avoid sucking the jersey into the nozzle.  Try to keep the jersey at the bottom of the bag, farthest from the nozzle.  When no more air can be sucked from the bag, zip the rest of the bag up while removing the nozzle.

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You should now have the smallest package possible to place inside your carry-on luggage.  Pack your roller bag first, then your book bag, starting with your most expensive jersey and working down to the least.  Anything left, place in your checked bag.

Checked Bags:
Gear takes up a lot of space but does not weigh much.  You can utilize the space in gear to pack other things.  Stuff a T-shirt in a helmet.  Put your socks in the gloves.  Once you have tried to utilize the space in the gear you are bringing, its time to tetis the crap out of this bag.

Many bags have internal holding straps.  Utilize these.  Dont worry about the bulge.  Once you have packed your items, we will take care of the bulge with baggage straps.  Wrap your bag in 2 clip release baggage straps.  Once at the top 1/4 and one at the bottom 1/4.  Not only with this keep the bulge in check, it can help deter TSA from opening your back to inspect your items and ruining your packing job and it gives the baggage handlers something else to hold on to when moving your page, thus preventing risk of damage.

You are now ready to travel with your jerseys.  Good luck!

How Reliable is Authenticity Verification

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When you purchase a jersey, you want to make sure its authentic, right?  The only way to be 100% sure that the item you are purchasing is authentic is to research it yourself or view the research done by a reputable part, with evidence!

MeiGray supplies us with a great resource in their population reports.  It is a document that contains the serial numbers stitched in the jersey along with the information with the jersey including player, set, team, size, and other various notes.

Data systems are only as good as the data provided to them.  This begs the question, what data can you trust? 

This year, we have seen some new developments when it comes to special event jerseys.  We have seen inconsistencies in the representation of items being pre-sold or auctions, as in the case with the World Cup of Hockey jerseys where jerseys were marketed and sold without identifying their wear dates allowing the switch of sets among various purchase platforms.  The purchase, whether auction or sale, did not know if their purchase would be for a 1 period or multi-game jersey and in many cases this was not disclosed until delivery.

Incredible History Coming to the 2017 Game Worn Expo Chicago

Sean Broderick is a renowned jersey collector who focuses on goalies, specifically Vezina winning years.  He is planning on bringing some amazing hockey history to the 2017 Game Worn Expo in Chicago and we wanted to let you know in advance, some of the incredible pieces you will be able to see!

Pictured above: 1957 Jacques Plante – worn during 1957 Stanley Cup Finals and matched to Cup-winning ceremony

1969-71 Terry Sawchuk/Gilles Villemure. Matched to both Sawchuk’s last year in the NHL (died in 1970) and Villemure’s Vezina-winning year, where he shared the award with Ed Giacomin.

1972-73 Ken Dryden – worn during second half of the year, including Stanley Cup Finals. Matched to multiple photos against Chicago in the Finals

1972-74 Doug Favell/Bernie Parent – worn by Favell in 72-73 then by Parent in 73-74. Very rare white nameplate that was used for TV games and only year it was used until the 08-09 season, if I remember correctly. Worn in regular season and first couple rounds of playoffs, where Flyers won their first Stanley Cup

1981-83 Billy Smith – worn during the playoffs of his 81-82 Vezina campaign and throughout the 82-83 season. Worn in two Stanley Cup Finals series and matched to both series. Also match to 82-83 celebration.

1984-85 Pelle Lindbergh – worn throughout most of the regular season and matched to multiple games. Pelle led the Flyers to the Finals that year and won his only Vezina. Died in November of 85.

87-88 Grant Fuhr – worn during part of the regular season and into the Stanley Cup Finals. Matched to Game 4 of the Finals when the lights went out in Boston.

We hope you are able to make it to the expo to enjoy some of this fantastic hockey history with us!

 

What Happens To The Jerseys Missing From Special Event Auctions?

s-l1600Naturally, they get destroyed.  Thanks to big money deals between the NHL and card companies like Upper Deck, if you were waiting to bid on your favorite players jersey at auction after the special event, such as the Stadium Series, if your player is one of the lucky 5 to be selected to fulfill “other commitments”, that jersey gets destroyed.

Taking a look at previous auctions for the Stadium Series last year, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit and Minnesota, the following players were omitted from the auctions:

Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
Trevor van Riemsdyk, Chicago Blackhawks

Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild
Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild
Ryan Carter, Minnesota Wild
Thomas Vanek, Minnesota Wild
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild

Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche
Francois Beauchemin, Colorado Avalanche
Nick Holden, Colorado Avalanche
Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings
Luke Glendening, Detroit Red Wings
Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings
Riley Sheahan, Detroit Red Wings

Special Event Jerseys are Everywhere

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These days, special event and warm-up jerseys are everywhere.  There are some teams that will wear 6 or more special event jerseys in a year, creating themed nights around the jerseys, while we see in the NHL, special warm-up jerseys worn by the teams for various causes.

What are some of your favorite and hated special even jerseys?