Here are the Group C and D Winners of the Seals/Barons Uniform Playoff

Hi everyone!

This week, I’ve added a few cool new photos courtesy of Elliot Lowe, a San Francisco photographer who generously allowed me to include some of his work in my book.  Back in the mid-70s, during the Seals last season, I believe, he took several shots of the Seals.  About a week ago, he sent me a few pictures of an old Seals puck he had found in an antique store.  Judging by the fact it says “Oakland Seals” on it, it likely comes from the 1968-70 era.  The other new photo this week comes from Greg Lamont.  It is of an old Booster Club pin that he received back in 1974.  You can read all about how he received it in my book.  Greg is looking to sell his pin, so if anyone is interested in buying it, let me know and I’ll send you his e-mail address.

I’m also adding the final segment of the Seals/Barons Uniform Playoff, which, this week, features only Cleveland Barons duds.  In group C, the winner was the 1971-74 Seals home jersey with 60% of the vote, while in group D, the winner was the 1974-76 away jersey with 67% of the vote. Back in September it was announced that the winner from group A, representing the WHL years, was the Seals’ 1966-67 away jersey, while the group B winner was the 1969-70 Oakland Seals away jersey.  Just one group left to decide, and then the five winners will fight to the death to determine which uniform was the best!  Or maybe they’ll just lay there somewhere and do nothing at all since they’re just jerseys and have no will power, muscle mass, or ability to inflict harm on anything, but who knows.

I’m also adding a link to an interview I did this past Sunday for Overtime Hockey Talk.  Host Mark Paul and I talk about the Seals’ history, from the team’s origins in the Western Hockey League, to the team’s difficult first season and successful second season, Charlie Finley and the white skates (of course!), and some of my favourite Seals stories.  It’s 52 minutes, so just perfect for that morning or afternoon commute.  You can access the interview here.

One last new addition this week is a brand new Overexposed entry featuring Larry King (?).  Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but considering the other crazy crap I’ve featured in the Hockey Hall of Shame these last eighteen months, are you really surprised?

As usual, I like to finish my weekly entries by reminding everyone to cast their votes for the 2018 Seals Hall of Fame inductees.  You can vote on the right side of the page by simply clicking on the players (up to 3) you feel deserve to be inducted.

Until next time, stay gold!

Finally, the Hockey Hall of Shame Has a New Induction!

Hi everyone! Yes, it’s true, after a long hiatus, there finally is a brand new induction to the Hockey Hall of Shame this week.  I have been collecting ideas for future inductions for a while, but haven’t had the time to actually write anything because of my busy home, work, and book promotion schedule, but I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel, which means I should be able to get back to doing what I love most: mocking stupid, stupid things that have flown under the radar for lo so many years.  This week, Golden Seals Hockey presents the 1990 Team Canada World Women’s Hockey Championship uniforms, quite possibly the most insultingly awful uniforms in sports history.  I always remembered seeing the odd clip of this tournament on sports shows featuring great goals, and thinking how putrid these uniforms looked.  They just didn’t say ANYTHING about Canada, and you’ll see why this week.

Also new this week is another Overexposed beauty, this time featuring Minnesota North Star Claude Larose, and a little connection to a notorious California Golden Seals owner.  Hint: it’s the dude who came up with the “Golden Seals” moniker.

Don’t forget to cast your votes for the 2018 Seals Hall of Fame.  The survey is on the right side of the screen, and you can vote up to three times per device.

Thanks again to everyone who has gone out and bought a copy of my book.  If you haven’t done so already, please leave some feedback somewhere on the Interweb, whether it is on Amazon, Library Thing, Goodreads, or some other site.  Feedback will only drive up sales, and will get me one step closer to getting that Porsche or maybe a speedboat if I have some change leftover.

Until next time, stay gold!

It’s Hall of Fame Selection Time Again!

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again, folks! Time to vote for the next three inductees to the Seals Hall of Fame.  I’m opening the poll today, so make sure to cast your vote now.  Or should I say “votes”?  That’s right! This year you can vote for up to THREE people you feel should be inducted into the Seals Hall of Fame.  Like last year, however, you can only vote once per device, but since almost everyone and their dog now has an iPhone, iPad, laptop, PC, and 67 other fancy computer doodads, that’s a pretty sweet deal!  The results of the survey will be announced in July 2018, when Golden Seals Hockey celebrates its second anniversary.  You can find the survey on the right side of the webpage, so head on over there right now!

There is also a brand new addition to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame, a strange card from the 1988-89 AHL Maine Mariners team set.  If you’ve got a thing for dude’s wearing wool sweaters and dreaming of hitting it off with a middle-aged Bob Eubanks, THIS is the card for you!  Enjoy!

Thanks again for all your support and for going out to find my book on the Interweb.  If you happen to like it, or even if you don’t and you just want to make me happy, please go to Amazon, or Library Thing, or Goodreads, or some other book review site, and leave some positive feedback.  Steve wants to buy himself that Porsche someday, so let’s all make that happen, shall we?  Awesome.

Until next time, stay gold!

The Virtual Publicity Tour Continues This Monday!

Hi everyone! Thanks to everyone who has gone out and purchased a copy of my book!  So far, reader reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, so thank you to everyone who has written positive feedback on various websites.  As I continue my (virtual) publicity tour, I’d like to draw your attention to a few things that may be of interest to you. First, is a great piece about me and how I came up with the idea of writing a book about the California Golden Seals from Society for International Hockey Research member and author Greg Oliver (Gratoony the Loony: The Wild, Unpredictable Life of Gilles Gratton, Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey, and Don’t Call Me Goon: Hockey’s Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad Boys). You can read Greg’s story on the SIHR website: http://www.sihrhockey.org/__a/public/column.cfm?cid=4&aid=488.  And while you’re at it, think about signing up to the organization so you can have access to tons of great hockey material, including blog entries, statistics databases, and the SIHR yearly research journal.

I will also be doing a Reddit AMA on Monday, November 20, from 9-10pm EST, if any of you are interested in asking me questions about the Seals, Barons, or my book.

I will also be getting the podcast treatment this Monday morning as well from Tim Hanlon of Good Seats Still Available, so be sure to check it out here.

As for new material on this site, there is a new Overexposed for you, and it features Hall-of-Famer Jean Ratelle in a classic 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee catastrophe. Enjoy!

I’ve also added a new section to the website where I will review review all sorts of hockey books, many of which will have some sort of connection to the Seals.  This week, I review Dennis Maruk: The Unforgettable Story of Hockey’s Forgotten 60-Goal Man.

Until next time, stay gold!

 

And Now the Promotional Tour Begins!

Hi everyone!  As you can read by the title above, it’s now promotion time for my book, The California Golden Seals, so this week’s update will be small, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t cool new things for you to look into.  First, I will be doing a Reddit AMA on Friday, November 10 (that means tomorrow, if you’re reading this Thursday), from 9-10pm, so if you’re interested in participating, make sure you sign up for a Reddit account here.  I will be answering questions involving the Seals, my book, the state of hockey, what toppings I like on my pizza, and why the Alphabet Song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star are the EXACT SAME THING…

Ok, I have to digress just a minute here.  My son was watching the Wiggles the other day, and as I’m washing the dishes, I hear the Alphabet Song come on, and I’m thinking, “Holy crap, this is Twinkle, Twinkle!” It just totally blew my mind!  I never noticed that in 38 years; these two songs, which I’ve heard hundreds of times each, are the exact same thing. Seriously, sing the alphabet while replacing the words to Twinkle, Twinkle…

See what I mean? Weird, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the task at hand… Reddit tomorrow night, 9-10pm.  Come one, come all!  Got that? Ok good.

As you may remember, I was interviewed by Tim Hanlon of Good Seats Still Available last weekend, and he is going to be posting the hour-long (!) interview on his site very soon, likely around November 13, but he will let me know for sure.  In the meantime, check out the other interviews he’s done with other writers promoting some very cool books about very obscure sports teams and personalities.  There is a gold mine of killer stories here, so check out the site here.

I also plan on writing a review of Dennis Maruk and Ken Reid’s new book on the career of the Fu Manchu-wearing 3-M Line star.  I thought I had pre-ordered it in September, but Amazon informed me that that was not the case, so I re-ordered it and just received it yesterday.  From the first twenty pages I read yesterday, it looks like an interesting read.

Finally, a brand new induction to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame.  This week, we feature one Randy Wood making his second appearance on this site.  Unfortunately, his second appearance isn’t any better than his first.  You can see what I mean right here.

Until next time, stay gold!

Official Book Launch Today!

Hi everyone! HUGE update today, folks!  First of all, my book, The California Golden Seals: a Tale of White Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams is now officially available, and if you haven’t already pre-ordered it, you can pick it up from the University of Nebraska Press for $36.95 US… no, wait, we can do better than that.  If you order in the next 30 minutes, you can get the book at a 30% discount!  Come to think of it, I always wondered how that “30-minute” thing made any sense.  Considering these commercials are probably always on somewhere in North America at any time of any given day, couldn’t you just order the product in question at any time and get the special offer.  Is it even possible to buy the product at the regular price?  Suddenly, that special offer just seems like a regular old offer, and that doesn’t seem so special to me. Oh, well… anyway, you can download the order form for my book here and then you just have to follow the instructions to get the book delivered to your home; it’s that simple!  Don’t forget to include the promo code to get the discount.  You can also visit my book detail page at the University of Nebraska website for more information on what’s inside.

Most important, and I can’t stress this enough, if you like the book, please leave some feedback and a rating on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com, depending on the country where you live.  Other good places to leave comments are Goodreads and Library Thing.  You can create an account and rate all of your favourite books and join groups of readers with similar interests to share insight on what books you should read next.

And if that isn’t enough good news, there is a brand new interview featuring yours truly now available in the video and audio section!  It’s only 12 minutes long, so it’s not very time-consuming, so give it a listen.  There will be other interviews in the coming weeks as well, so come back to the site for more updates on when those will start appearing online.  This Saturday, I will be taping an hour-long interview with Tim Hanlon of Good Seats Still Available.  You’ve probably already heard his two interviews with Mark Greczmiel and Krazy George Henderson, but if you haven’t, check those out as well in the video and audio section.

I will also be doing a Reddit AMA on Friday, November 10, from 9-10pm after my son goes down for the night.  Hopefully, he won’t be climbing out of his crib and forcing me to put him back in while holding my laptop and typing all at the same time.  It might make for an interesting experience, so check it out.

Oh, and there is so much more this week!  There is a Len Haley expo in the photo section, thanks to subscriber Dave Martell.  He sent along some great rare photos you will want to check out.

Wow, that’s a lot of new stuff.  That should keep you guys busy for a little while.  Until next time, stay gold!

Seals/Barons Night Recap

Hi everyone! I’m back from the big Seals/Barons Night, and I’m pleased to announce that the evening went off without a hitch, and that it was an overwhelming success. Due to the length of today’s entry, I won’t be adding anything else to the site this week, but rest assured, there are plenty of new things coming your way.  There will be a Len Haley photo gallery added in the near future, not to mention several other photos and articles I promise to post once I can get my idiot printer to stop acting like a moron.

Today, however, I wish to share a few thoughts about the big Seals/Barons night, which also happened to be my very first opportunity to sign some books for anyone interested in buying them. I could say “my fans”, but that just sounds weird.  Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to say that, but certainly not now.  No, right now, they are people interested in buying my book, and maybe hoping that once I signed it, they might be able to get an extra nickel from selling it on eBay.  Seriously, that’s what I was going to sign in the book, but I think I was so nervous, that I, well… lost my nerve, and so I just signed something more normal.

Anyway, the following paragraphs are what I submitted to the University of Nebraska Press for their blog.  I’m not sure if they’re going to trim it down before posting it to their website, but I thought you might like to read an unedited, all-access, X-rated (OK, not really) version complete with photos (also not X-rated) from the event…

When I was invited in May 2017 to participate in a special evening commemorating the California Golden Seals’ 50th anniversary, I happily accepted even though I really am a homebody who never travels alone, mostly because I have a wife and young son now, and where I go, they come along, and vice versa.  I knew the time was upon me to begin promoting my new book, The California Golden Seals: a Tale of White Skates, Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams, and I must say, the event organizer, Dr. Gene Willis, was pretty convincing as we spent a good half-hour talking about Seals history and how he planned on celebrating it.  This is my blog entry detailing my very first promotional event.

The question most people probably wonder when they pick up my book is, “Why in the world would you want to delve into the history of the California Golden Seals?” For those of you unfamiliar with the most maligned franchise in National Hockey League history, the Seals were the real-life equivalent of the Charlestown Chiefs from the classic Paul Newman film Slap Shot. 

I think what initially attracted me to the Seals, and their successors the Cleveland Barons was that unlike every other NHL team of the modern era, they are the only one frozen in time.  When the Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978, it ended the possibility of ever seeing any of the franchise’s records matched or broken.  This was a team that would remain in its time period forever, much like Jimi Hendrix will forever remain in our minds the headband wearing, feedback obsessed guitar god.  We will never know him as an old man, and we will never see him on tour again; we can only imagine what might have been had he not died so suddenly.  The Seals and Barons are the NHL’s Hendrix, chock full of what-ifs, and still possessing some of the most loyal and loving fans.

It took a lot of careful planning and stressful evenings trying to figure out where I would be going the day of the big event, and more importantly, how I was going to get there, since I absolutely refuse to drive on those twelve-lane freeways that stretch out into every corner of Toronto.  So, off to the train station.

The day of the big event was quite hectic.  I left Ottawa at about 8:45am, and then spent the next four hours writing down ideas for a new book.  I hadn’t been on a train since my then-new wife and I travelled from London to Edinburgh during our honeymoon three years ago.  This trip to Toronto also felt like a little vacation, a little “me” time, which as a parent of a two-year old, doesn’t occur often.  My wife will confirm that too, especially since our son has now taken to climbing out of his crib when it is time to sleep.  Most afternoons and evenings, either my wife or I spends an hour or so lying on the floor next to his crib until he falls asleep.  Translation: no “me” time for mommy or daddy ever.  But I digress…

I wasn’t nervous at all on the train, probably because I was so immersed in my work that I had little time to think about my first solo trip to Toronto.  I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Union Station. I didn’t know where to go to grab lunch.  I didn’t know how to get from point A to point B.  Should I walk?  Cab it?  Take an Uber?  A bus?  Subway?  I decided that taking the subway was definitely the best route, and a hell of a lot cheaper than taking a cab. 

I found my hotel, took a shower, and read for a little while in my room before heading out for a quick bite at the pub next door.  I should have ordered a few shots of Tequila while I was at the bar, or maybe brought along a mickey in my backpack (There’s an idea for next time…) My nerves started to get the better of me once I arrived at St. Mike’s College arena for the event.  With me humbly being the center of attention in a room full of strangers, this was a particularly weird feeling.  It wasn’t particularly hot in the room, but I was sweating bullets.  I hadn’t even finished setting up my table when people were coming up to me asking to buy copies of my book and sign them.  This was all new to me, and I really didn’t know what I was doing.  I broke out my invoice pad, and started looking for a pen, because of course, that was the one thing I forgot to bring to a book signing.  I quickly scribbled an invoice and as a tore it off the pad, a drop of sweat fell onto the paper.  So that folks, was my first sale!  Not only does the guy get a signed copy, but a sweaty invoice too.  Could be a collector’s item!

Once I got my table set up, and signed a few more books, I started to feel at ease and enjoyed the spotlight, no matter how microscopic it really was.  The event wasn’t so much for me, but for the players who were going to be in attendance.  I met writer Greg Oliver, who had just finished writing a book about goaltender Gilles “Gratoony the Loony” Gratton, and who asked to set up at my table.  He and his son asked me a few questions for a short feature for the Society for International Hockey Research blog.  I think I stared at the microphone for the entire first answer I gave when I realized I was being interviewed and, just for good measure, I should probably look the interviewer in the eye to, you know, have a sort of conversation.  I’m quick like that, you see.  After a question or two, I felt relaxed and somewhat satisfied with the answers I gave.

They always say that on your wedding day, you won’t even have time to eat a piece of your own cake.  That’s a little how my first book signing felt.  There was pizza and soda to be consumed, but I was running around so much, shaking hands, signing books, talking to people, trying to make personal connections, that I never even got around to grabbing something to eat.  It really is a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. 

I was asked to participate in a Q&A with the four other guests, former Seals Marv Edwards, Reggie Leach, Joey Johnston, and Wayne King.  I never even thought to bring a copy of my book and place it on the table in front of me.  Greg helpfully went to the back of the room, brought a copy over to the table and helpfully suggested, “You need to learn to shill more.” Point taken. 

Seated from left to right are Wayne King, Joey Johnston, and Marv Edwards.  That’s my left elbow next to Wayne.

Marv Edwards was the first player introduced, and he stepped up to the podium to say a few words.  At 82 years old, he still looks and sounds great, and he’s still quick with a quip.  He wanted to take the time to thank his wife of 60 years for going along on his hockey journey all those years.  He said that together they had lived in 28 different cities over the years, and as he thanked her for her love and support you could see how touched she was.

Marv Edwards with event organizer Dr. Gene Willis

Joey Johnston, Reggie Leach, and Wayne King were then introduced one by one, and they each addressed the crowd for a few minutes.  The players were asked how they felt about today’s players receiving millions of dollars to play hockey, while in the 1970s, they played for peanuts.  To a man, they all believed today’s players get the money they deserve, but that back in the 1970s, and in the years before, they put up with low salaries because they loved the game, and they would have played it for free, if they had had to.

When the subject of Fred Glover and his infamous scrimmages came up, one of the guys in the crowd asked the players if they believed a different coach like Scotty Bowman could have turned the Seals around.  Reggie Leach believed Bowman would have made no difference because he believed he was not a coach who could transform a team into a winner.  All the teams Bowman won with – Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Detroit – had a great roster already established before he arrived, but when Bowman went to Buffalo, who were not at the same level as the Canadiens, Penguins, and Red Wings, he couldn’t lead them to a Stanley Cup.  So, Leach believed even the legendary Scotty Bowman would have been unable to lead the Seals to greatness.

Former linemates Joey Johnston and Reggie Leach

Then it was my turn to stand up and address the crowd of about 40 people.  I felt surprisingly at ease by this point knowing that these folks had actually come here to listen to me drone on about why I wrote my book.  For those of you who have never heard me at my daytime job as a French as a second language teacher, I usually don’t prepare what I say in advance.  I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of guy.  I just go up and wing it, usually because I like to sound natural and unrehearsed.  I usually know my material like the back of my hand anyway, so winging it has always felt right for me, and that’s what I did here too.  I just spoke about why I had written the book, about how as an 11-year-old I sent a letter to the NHL office in New York naively asking them to send me information about all of the defunct franchises from the 1970s.  Someone at the league office took the time to photocopy the entire 1975-76 Seals media guide and send it to me.  To this day, it is the greatest piece of mail I have ever received.  I scoured the pages of that guide.  I brought it to school for days and constantly read it over when I finished my work.  I learned about these strange sounding players like Norm Ferguson, Dave Hreckhosy, and Joey Johnston.  I had the Seals’ entire history in my hands, and I wanted to know more about them.  Had that person at the NHL office sent me a media guide from, say, the Atlanta Flames, as I told the crowd, I probably would be in front of a bunch of Flames fans giving this same speech.  It must have been fate that drew the Seals and I together.

That’s me, learning to shill…

After a short viewing of clips from Mark Greczmiel’s documentary about the Seals, there was a free-for-all autograph session, which was unusual for me because for the first time, I had people, including real NHL players, asking me to sign their copy of my book.  It was also neat to ask Reggie Leach, Stanley Cup champion, for an autograph, and then him asking to buy two more autographed copies of my book for his kids.  He mentioned that his daughter had found his old California Seals ring he had received when he played for the team.  I then showed him a picture of it in my book, and I mentioned that I had noticed his Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup ring while we were doing the Q&A.  You can’t miss one of those bad boys, let me tell you.

Reggie Leach addressing the crowd.  His Stanley Cup ring is on his right hand.

The great thing about the evening was that it really felt like I had made a personal connection with the players.  They were all incredibly friendly, and they really are just regular people who happened to live more interesting lives than most of us.  But they are real people.  This will probably be my lasting impression of the evening.

Wayne King and Reggie Leach

Wayne King, Joey Johnston, Marv Edwards, and Reggie Leach

All above photos courtesy of Greg Oliver.

The following photos were taken by me.

This is part of Gene Willis’ collection of Seals memorabilia, which he brought to the event.

Dr. Willis also made two collages featuring some classic photos from all eras of the franchise’s history.

As I close what has become by far the longest entry in this website’s history, I’d like to remind everyone that if you enjoy reading about the Seals, you can get a brand new hardcover copy for $36.95 US from the University of Nebraska Press.

Until next time, stay gold!

 

Whew! Busy Week!

Hi everyone!  Just to let you all know that there won’t be an update to the site this week (except for this short post, which I guess is a sort-of update, so I suppose that kinda makes me a liar).  As you know, the big Seals/Barons night is coming up in Toronto this coming Monday, so I’ve been busy preparing myself, not to mention the fact it is super busy at work right now, meaning I haven’t had the time to create any new material or find new articles to post.  I’m really hoping to get my idiot printer/scanner working again so I can post all of the new photos and Hockey News articles I have accumulated (trust me, there are lots!), but unfortunately, technology has let me down once again…

Hope to see you all at the big event!  Bring my book with you if you already have a copy and you want me to sign it or personalize it for someone else.  Also bring photos and cards of Joey Johnston, Wayne King, and Marv Edwards so they can (hopefully) sign them too.  Not quite sure who else may be coming as far as Seals fans, well-wishers, media members, and writers go, but it should be a fun night nonetheless.  The event starts at 6:30 at St. Mike’s College arena.

Until next time, stay gold!

The Quickest Site Update in GSH History!

Hi everyone!  Just a quick note to let everyone know that Bobby Plapinger has a HUGE selection of Oakland Seals game programs for sale on eBay.  The auction started on October 12, and it will continue until October 22, so if you’re looking for some rare Seals memorabilia, this is the time to get crackin’ and break out the credit card!  To find Bobby’s (eBay name: tekkienow!!) programs just go to the Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop and type “Oakland Seals programs” in the search bar, and everything should show up on the screen.

Ping-Pong Dreams and Other Musings

Hi everyone! It’s been an exciting few days at Steve’s house! I received a package today that really made my day.  A visitor to this site sent me a copy of my book asking me to autograph it for his father-in-law’s Christmas present.  I won’t give any information away to avoid spoiling the surprise, but the father-in-law in question is a former member of the California Golden Seals.  That was a fun surprise for me, but even better was the fact that this was the first actual copy of my book to fall into my hands.  It was a pretty exciting moment, to say the least, to finally see a finished version of my book after so many years of cobbling it together.  Other people have begun writing me to let me know they have received their gratis copies either as a thank you for writing blurbs for the back cover or for agreeing to interview me and/or review the book for their website or publication.

There’s also a special new edition of the Hockey News featuring the 50 greatest players from each NHL franchise.  The Seals also get a bit of coverage in the back pages of the magazine, but since the Seals and Barons only played 11 seasons, only the 10 greatest players in franchise history are listed:

1-Gilles Meloche

2-Carol Vadnais

3-Ted Hampson

4-Dennis Maruk

5-Bob Stewart

6-Al MacAdam

7-Bert Marshall

8-Joey Johnston

9-Gary Smith

10-Bill Hicke

What do you guys think?  Who would you put in the Seals’ all-time Top 10 list?

If you’re looking for new material this week, we’ve got you covered, as usual. New to the Overexposed wing of the Hockey Hall of Shame is a spectacularly awful piece of cardboard featuring Calgary Flames legend Jarome Iginla.

In the articles section, we have a new newspaper clipping about the time Gilles Meloche was forced to miss several weeks of action after Reggie Leach accidentally skated over his exposed hand during practice.  For a guy who had already played two non-playoff seasons in Oakland, he was pleasantly optimistic about the Seals’ chances of making the playoffs.

Until next time, stay gold!