As you probably already know, former Seals/Barons defenseman Mike Christie passed away July 11 as he was awaiting a kidney transplant. The Big Spring, Texas-born, but Calgary, Alberta-raised Chrisite was 69. Christie, in my opinion, was one of the more underrated defensemen in franchise history. Many don’t realize that he holds the franchise +/- record, which he set in 1976-77. He went +18 that year, which on a team like the Cleveland Barons, was like finishing +218 on a contending team. Of all the players who toiled in Oakland and Cleveland, he may have had the biggest heart, and was a respected team leader. Everyone remembers the night the Philadelphia Flyers jumped Christie in the penalty box, and Christie never complained about the unfortunate incident in any newspaper article I ever read. He was a tough individual with a little offensive flair. The same year he set the club mark for +/- he also scored 6 goals and added 27 assists, which were both career-highs. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Christie family as well as his teammates over the years. R.I.P. Mike.
I just wanted to do a small update this week, due to the fact we are having furniture delivered this weekend, thus meaning we have to rearrange (i.e. clean) the house before and after its arrival. I spent most of last evening moving one heavy couch from my basement, up a narrow set of stairs, around a sharp corner and into my living room, followed by moving the previous living room couch out into the garage where it will reside until the garbage truck comes by Monday morning. So, yeah, a little short on time this week, but all the same I happened to find an old article from a 1974 issue of The Hockey News featuring 2019 Seals Hall of Fame inductee Ivan Boldirev, who was then in his third and final season with the Seals. Boldirev was traded to Chicago just a few months later for Mike Christie and Len Frig in one of the most underrated deals made by the Seals. Sure, Boldirev was about as consistent as they came, and he had a great career with Chicago, Atlanta, Vancouver and Detroit, but the Seals’ defense immediately improved after acquiring Christie and Frig. Head on over to the articles section to take a look at the piece.
I’m very sorry to report that former Seal and Baron Mike Christie, one of the finest and toughest defensemen in franchise history passed away July 11 at the age of 69. He was awaiting a kidney transplant at the time of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s family, friends, and teammates. R.I.P.
Hi everyone! Welcome back to Golden Seals Hockey and to our once-a-year special day! It is time to present the Seals Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Please welcome Gary Simmons, Ivan Boldirev, and Jim Neilson to our hallowed Hall. Thanks to everyone who voted for our newest inductees as well as the other nominees over the last few months. The participation in the voting process was fantastic this year, even better than 2018. Word is starting to spread and I appreciate the efforts you have all made at getting people to visit the site.
On the recommendation of Robert Kirk of Brandon, Manitoba, I have also decided to induct, as the Hall’s first builder, the legendary Peanuts creator Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz. I think you will agree that his induction is long overdue and a tremendous past oversight. If you would like to read the biographies of our Class of 2019 inductees, please head over to the 2019 Inductees.
I got a tremendous gift in my Dropbox this week: a treasure trove of articles about the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals. I’m so geeking out right now just trying to figure out where I’m going to start with them all. I’ve got media guides, Hockey News articles, game programs, and a whole lot of other cool stuff. I even found out that after the Scouts and Capitals exhibition tour of Japan, there were preliminary plans to invite the L.A. Kings and, wait for it… California Seals the next time around. Of course, that never happened, perhaps because the Seals moved to Cleveland before plans could be finalized. Looking forward to enjoying these new sources this weekend and getting back to writing more of my new book. And so I bid you all a good night and a great weekend!
Hi everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves a wonderful Canada Day or Independence Day, depending on where you call home. I had a nice, relaxing weekend in the Eastern Townships, where my son Emmett, my wife and I got to take in a small parade in the town of Hatley. Emmett missed out on the free popsicles they were handing out, but we got him a sno-cone and he was pretty happy. Then the sugar and lack of sleep got to him in mid-afternoon and he had a massive meltdown in the parking lot. Good times. Other than that little hiccup, it was actually a pretty nice weekend.
It’s gonna be a quick update this week, since the Currier clan has lots of plans for the weekend, and I’m going to be busy getting next week’s Seals Hall of Fame induction profiles ready. I did want, however, to leave you with something new for you to read over this weekend, and so I’ve added a new article that captures the spirit of that horrible 1970-71 season where the Seals finished dead last with a mere 45 points. It’s an interesting editorial from the Oakland Tribune’s Ed Levitt, who wrote many great pieces about the Seals, mostly from a behind-the-scenes point of view rather than descriptions of game action. You can read it over in the articles section, as usual. Hope you enjoy it as you try to beat the summer heat, which has become rather unbearable here in the Nation’s Capital.
Hi everyone! It’s been a lovely week weather-wise up here in the Nation’s Capital. Got to spend lots of time outside, had some burgers and hot dogs at the first office barbecue of the season, and now I’m gearing up for the Canada Day long weekend. Hopefully the weather holds up a few more days, because there’s little worse than spending Canada Day outside in the pouring rain and humidity.
This week, lots of cool stuff! As you can surely read up above, it’s “Hall of Fame” week at Golden Seals Hockey. Congratulations to Guy Carbonneau, Sergei Zubov, Hayley Wickenheiser, Vaclav Nedomansky, Jim Rutherford, and Jerry York on their inductions to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and to celebrate we’ve got lots of new Hall-of-Fame-related material. First, we’ve got a new photo of a Seals jersey and hockey stick that currently reside at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Thanks to Pete Manzolillo for sending me the photo just this afternoon! You can find it over in the photo section.
Speaking of Halls, have we got a great new “pick” (and I mean that literally) for you in the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame. How is this cardboard travesty related to the hallowed Hall in Toronto? Well, it features not one, but TWO Detroit Red Wing legends, but you have to check the card out for yourself to find out which two, and exactly what shenanigans they are up to.
In the articles section, a great piece on the Seals one and only game against an international opponent. In 1978, a couple of Czech teams toured the NHL, and the Cleveland Barons were one of the few squads to take on one of the powerful Eastern Bloc clubs. You can read all about it here.
The voting for the Seals Hall of Fame is now closed, and the winners will be announced in two weeks, so be sure to come back to see if your favorites made their way in. Also, there will be a special induction, but you’ll have to come back July 12 to find out who and what I’m talking about.
Hi everyone! Welcome back to another Golden Seals Hockey update. Subscriber Sante Debacco contacted the site recently with some interesting Seals facts many people have probably forgotten or were not aware of at all. Here is part of the e-mail Sante sent me:
A while back I read somewhere that the NHL used to schedule regular season games on Christmas Day (why I am writing about Christmas this time of year I don’t know). Anyway, the last year the NHL scheduled games on Christmas was the ‘71-‘72 season. My first season as a fan. So I researched into this a little further and guess what I found?? The Seals played on Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25th, 1971, against the Kings in Los Angeles! The Seals won the game, 3 to 1. The Seals are the last team in NHL history to win a regular season game on Christmas. Note that other NHL games were already over with by the time the Seals / Kings game was in the books. Stan Gilbertson is the last player in NHL history to score a goal on Christmas. He scored an empty net goal at 19:42 of the 3rd period to give the Seals a 3 to 1 victory. Gilles Meloche is the last goalie to win a game on Christmas, and the last fight on Christmas was between Ernie Hicke and Jean Potvin at 2:04 of the 1st period. What an amazing piece of trivia… The Seals really are famous. I’m proud to still be a fan!
Great pieces of trivia! But now we have to get to the not-so-great, and that would be this week’s Overexposed… pog? Yup, this week we dive head first into the world of pog, that overpriced cardboard coin fad that was all the rage for about six weeks in the early 1990s. What makes this week’s pog “not-so-great”, you ask? You’ll have to head on over to the Overexposed section to find out for yourself, but I can tell you for sure that it has something to do with the exaggerated use of sports terms we often take for granted. Think you know what a hockey “legend”? If you’re reading this now, and you were responsible in any way for this week’s pog, you most definitely have NO idea what the word means.
There is also a new article for you to read this week, this time featuring Wayne Merrick and the 1975-76 Golden Seals. Ah, January 1976 was a GREAT time to be a Seals fan. For the first time ever, the Seals put together a truly dominant stretch, a 7-1-1 mark that started on January 2nd and ended on the 25th. For the first time since 1972, the Seals actually had a realistic shot at the playoffs and looked to be gunning for their first-ever .500 season. Merrick went so far as to exclaim, “We’re going to make it this year.” Unfortunately, the team went into its usual late-season tailspin and ended up missing the dance by 18 points, but for a very brief period, it was indeed good to be a Seals fan.
One last reminder that the voting for the Seals Hall of Fame inductions will conclude in exactly one week. June 28 will be the last day to cast your vote, and the new inductees will be announced two weeks later, so if you haven’t done your Seals civic duty yet, you had better get crackin’.
Congratulations also to the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, the St. Louis Blues! Definitely didn’t see that one coming. With the Blues’ huge game seven win, it means that every team from the 1967 expansion, with the exception of the California Seals, has won the NHL’s championship.
Congratulations as well to the Toronto Raptors for their impressive regular season, stunning playoff and well-earned championship. Who would have thought that the 2019 NBA Finals would have a connection to the Seals? With the Toronto Raptors huge win in Game Six, an era came to end. The Golden State Warriors played their very last game at Oracle Arena, which you Seals fans probably know better as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which for a decade was the home of the California Seals/Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals. In the articles section, I have posted a piece on the very first game played at the arena, a 6-5 Seals win over the San Diego Gulls on November 9, 1966.
Finally, you should head over to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame for a bizarre card from a series of cards commemorating Team Canada’s legendary victory in the eight-game 1972 Summit Series. There has been a lot of talk about how wild the Toronto Raptors fans were throughout these playoffs, and while that may be true, in my opinion they got nuthin’ on the fans of Team U.S.S.R. What, you don’t believe me? Well, you have plenty of reasons to be skeptical, my friend. After all, this was the Soviet Union, but really, isn’t there a part of you that just wants to believe there’s a picture somewhere of a bunch of wild and crazy Russians from the Cold War era just whooping it up. Maybe you can find it just by clicking on the link below? Well… sorry, you ain’t gonna find that here, you’re right, but head on over to this week’s Overexposed section anyway to view a truly bizarre piece of cardboard.
Hi everyone! Lots to cover this week, so let’s get to it, folks!
The Society for International Hockey Research reported that “SIHR member Eric Weltner is pleased to announce that “International Incidents”, his documentary film, is slated to premiere in the autumn of 2019. The film chronicles Columbus’ three original professional hockey teams that called the city home between 1966 and 1977. The Checkers, Golden Seals and Owls of the International Hockey League blazed the trail for professional hockey in Columbus and deserve to have their history preserved.” You can check out the trailer here. I’m so looking forward to this documentary! As you may know, Columbus was home to the Seals’ farm team from 1971 to 1973. Unfortunately, the Seals’ cupboard was pretty bare since all of its best talent, including young draft picks, were up in the NHL for various reasons (to find out said reasons, which are too complicated to explain in a paragraph, I suggest picking up my book; you can click a link on the right to read a preview of it), leaving the IHL Seals pretty barren. In those two years, the IHL Seals went 25-117-4, if you can believe it.
Seals fan Pete Manzolillo e-mailed me this week and sent me a scan of a great article from the November 25, 1980 Cleveland Press. It’s all about the Cleveland Barons Booster Club, and as you read it, you may find many similarities to the legendary Seals Booster Club.
You can also head on over to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame to read all about the potential movie career a young Edmonton Oiler named Dennis Bonvie once dreamed about. Sadly, he was beaten out by a fourth-rate comedian, and as they say, the rest is history.
Finally, a quick reminder that time is running out to vote for your picks for the 2019 Seals Hall of Fame induction. Voting will close July 5, so get crackin’ if you haven’t done so already!
Hi everyone! What a crazy week this has been. My wife and I took our son to tour his new school (after hours), and he had a great time playing with all sorts of toys he had never seen before. I think he thinks the class room is going to be all his and not shared with 25 other kids. He might be in for a rude awakening come September. Work was also crazy busy this week after about a month of relative quiet. On another note, I had a great interview with Denis Herron, former goaltender for the Kansas City Scouts. As you may know, I’m writing a new book on the first few years of the Scouts and Washington Capitals, and I’m now in the process of scoring a few interviews with players. I’m looking forward to hearing some great stories and unearthing some real gems for the book. I also connected with John Robertson, the author of Too Many Men on the Ice, a book that details the 1978-79 Boston Bruins. I’ve only read about 30 pages or so, but it’s a great read so far. John’s in the middle of writing a new book on the 1969-70 season and is going to include a section on the Seals, so be sure to check that one out when it gets published (likely in 2020).
Now that the news is out of the way, be sure to check out the newest addition to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame. Since the Boston Bruins are currently in the Stanley Cup Final, I thought it was fitting to feature a card of one of Boston’s sadly mostly forgotten goaltenders, “Dandy” Doug Keans. OK, that wasn’t really his nickname, but it could have been, as you’ll see.
And if you like the rough stuff, there is a great new article from December 28, 1964 that describes the wild brawl that took place between the Seals and L.A. Blades. All sorts of records were set, skate blades went flying and feelings were hurt. You can read all about the game in the articles section.
Hi everyone! Well, we’re finally here… the Stanley Cup Final, and I think it’s safe to say that in January no one would have expected a rematch of the 1970 championship series between St. Louis and Boston. Boston isn’t much of a surprise, but St. Louis? Never expected that, especially considering they were dead last in the league around the mid-way point of the season. I’m glad to see the Blues overcame the awful refereeing they had to endure in their semi-final series against San Jose. It’s almost as though they got so peeved by that hand pass that they told themselves they weren’t going to let their season end because of it.
In doing some quick research hoping to find the attendance figures for the Seals’ WHL years, I came across an interesting article that details the Seals’ ownership history from their founding in 1961 all the way to the franchise being sold to Barry van Gerbig. I wish I had found this article before I finished writing my book because it would have made researching those early years so much easier. You can check it out in the articles section
You also have to check out the latest addition to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame. This week, we’re featuring a classic card from the 1998-99 Upper Deck Choice set. Hall-of-Famer Dino Ciccarelli is the man of the hour, but he isn’t one to hog the spotlight, however, as you will see. You can check out his contribution to our hallowed Hall right here.
Just to finish up this week, our weekly reminder to go and vote for your pick for the 2019 Seals Hall of Fame. Voting will be closed in early July as we get ready to announce the inductions at the site’s anniversary in mid-July.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, please spread the word about my book, The California Golden Seals: a Tale of Whites Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams either by leaving some feedback on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com or on some other site where hockey fans are found. Heck, even YouTube is a great place to place some comments, if you have an account there.