Friday

International Hockey Legends

Australia
Dave Cunningham
Russell Jones

Austria
Del St. John
Dr. Blake Watson

Canada
George Abel

Hank Akervall 
Moe Benoit
Roger Bourbonnais
Connie Broden
Sean Burke
Jack Cameron

Billy Colvin
Bill Dawe
John Devaney
Murray Dowey
Frank Frederickson
Chris Fridfinnson

Bill Gibson
Randy Gregg

Wayne Gretzky

Wally Halder
Paul Henderson 

Boat Hurley
Fabian Joseph 
Vaughn Karpan
Mario Lemieux

Chris Lindberg
Eric Lindros
Barry MacKenzie

George Mara
Seth Martin
Mark Messier

Morris Mott
Dunc Munro

Steve Nemeth
Adrien Plavsic
Hugh Plaxton
Beattie Ramsay

Ab Renaud
Don Rope
Brad Schlegel
Wally Schreiber
Reg Schroeter
Gord Sherven
Darryl Sly

Harry Watson

Stelio Zupancich

Czech Republic
Jiri Bubla

Vlastimil Bubnik
Josef Cerny
Jaroslav Drobny
Jiri Dudacek
Miroslav Dvorak

Karel Gut
Dominik Hasek

Petr Hejma
Milos Holan
Jiri Holecek
Jaroslav Holik

Jiri Holik

Martin Hostak
Jiri Hrdina

Jaroslav Jirik
Stanislav Konopasek

Oldrich Machac
Vladimir Martinec
Bohumil Modry

Eduard Novak
Jiri Novak
Milan Novy

Pavel Patera
Jan Peka

Frantisek Popisil
Robert Reichel
Frantisek Sevcik
Bohuslav Stastny
Jan Suchy
Frantisek Tikal
Vladimir Zabrodsky

Finland
Tony Arima

Matti Hagman
Raimo Helminen

Aarne Honkavaara

Arto Javananian
Erkki Laine

Pekka Rautakallio
Simo Saarinen

France

Pierre Allard
Philippe Bozon

Germany
Rudi Ball
Karl Friesen 

Petr Hejma
Gustav Jaenecke
Udo Kiessling
Erich Kuhnhackl
Robert Mueller

Great Britain
Jimmy Foster
Tony Hand

Pep Young
Chick Zimick

Hungary
Attila Ambrus

Bela Ordody

Israel
Max Birbraer



Italy
Rino Alberton
Mike Rosati


Latvia
Helmut Balderis
Elmars Bauris
Viktor Khatulev 
Harry Mellups
Leonids Vedejs
Harijs Vitolins

Norway
Stephen Foyn

Espen Knutsen
Anders Myrvold
Bjorne Skaare
Petter Thoresen
Poland
Ralf Adamowski

Wieslaw Jobczyk 

Romania
Constantine Cantacuzino

Russia
Venjamin Alexandrov
Alexander Almetov
Vyacheslav Anisin
Yevgeny Babich 

Sergei Babinov
Evgeny Belosheikin 

Viktor Blinov
Yuri Blinov
Vsevolod Bobrov
Alexander Bodunov
Vyacheslav Bykov
Nikolai Drozdetsky
Viacheslav Fetisov
Anatoli Firsov
Edward Ivanov
Alexander Galimov
Alexei Guryshev 

Alexei Kasatonov
Valeri Kharlamov

Nikolai Khlystov
Vladimir Krutov 

Valentin Kuzin
Viktor Kuzkin

Sergei Lantratov
Igor Larionov
Konstantin Loktev

Vladimir Lutchenko
Sergei Makarov
Alexander Maltsev

Nikolai Maslov
Boris Mikhailov 

Grigori Mkrtychan
Vladimir Myshkin
Victor Nechaev
Vladimir Petrov

Stanislav Petukhov 
Sergei Priakhin

Nikolai Puchkov
Alexander Ragulin
Anatoli Semenov 

Vladimir Shadrin
Sergei Shepelev

Viktor Shuvalov
Alexander Sidelnikov

Genrikh Sidorenkov
Nikolai Sologubov

Sergei Svetlov
Anatoli Tarasov
Ivan Tregubov
Vladislav Tretiak

Gennady Tsygankov
Alexander Uvarov

Valeri Vasiliev

Vladimir Vikulov
Alexander Yakushev
Viktor Zinger

Slovenia
Janez Albreht

Ernest Aljancic
Rudi Hiti

Slovakia
Jiri Bicek

Vladimir Dzurilla
Jozef Golonka

Igor Liba
Vaclav Nedomansky
Ladislav Trojak

Sweden
Monte Afzelius

Lasse Bjorn
Anders Eldebrink
Leif Holmqvist

Tumba Johansson
Jorgen Jonsson

Kenny Jonsson

Eje Lindstrom 
Mats Naslund
Nils Nilsson
Carl-Goran Oberg

Sigfrid Oberg
Borje Salming
Ulf Sterner 

Roland Stoltz
Lennart Svedberg
Einar Svensson
Hakan Wickberg


Switzerland
Ferdinand Cattini

Hans Cattini
Paul Dipietro
Pauli Jaks

Robert Meier
Gebi Poltera
Uli Poltera
Richard "Bibi" Torriani 

Hans-Martin Trepp

USA
Tony Amonte

Hobey Baker
Dave Christian

Roger Christian
Bill Cleary
Bob Cleary

Jim Craig
 

Herb Drury
Mike Eruzione
Moose Goheen

Willard Ikola
Steve Janaszak
Mark Johnson
Ray Leblanc 

Joe Linder
Tom Martin
John Mayasich

Jack McCartan

Weldy Olson
Winthrop "Ding" Palmer
David Quinn
Mike Richter

Andy Roach 
Jim Sedin
 

Coddy Winters
Scott Young

Ken Yackel
 

Monday

Tom Martin

Tom “Red” Martin, a former U.S. Olympian and New England ice hockey legend who went on to excel both in the business world and in the game of life, passed away on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at the age of 79.

Martin may be best known as a very successful businessman and philanthropist in the New England area, but in his youth sport was very important part of his life.

A three-sport standout athlete at Cambridge High and Latin School, Martin went on to play both hockey and baseball at Boston College in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

On the ice he was a two-time All-American defenseman  earning MVP honors and scoring the winning goal in the 1961 Beanpot Tournament championship. He was named the winner of the Walter Brown Award as the top U.S.-born college hockey player in New England in his senior season.

On the baseball diamond, Martin was described as a steady left-handed first baseman and played on the Eagle teams that reached the College World Series in 1960 and 1961.

He was later inducted into the BC Hall of Fame and his hockey jersey hangs in the rafters at BC’s Kelley Rink.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1961, Martin joined the U.S. National hockey team and he went on to serve as assistant captain for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team that competed in Innsbruck, Austria. Of note, Martin was Herb Brooks' roommate. There was no Miracle on Ice in 1965 though, as the American team finished in 5th place.

Following his hockey career, Martin spent five years as a CPA at Arthur Andersen & Co. in Boston before taking a job as a corporate controller at Cramer Electronics of Needham. He was subsequently promoted to national sales manager, and in 1979, after the company was acquired by Arrow Electronics, Martin took out a loan and purchased the company’s video operations division, which he renamed Cramer Productions.



Friday

Brad Schlegel


This is Team Canada captain Brad Schlegel just moments after winning the silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France.

If the defenseman does not look overly happy in that moment he can be forgiven. After all his team just lost a gold medal game. Hockey players tend to be like that, and it is understandable.

Two years later Schlegel went through the same story all over again, winning a silver medal at the Lillehammer Olympics in Norway. The photos look quite similar.

Many years later Schlegel looks at his collection of Olympic medals with great pride. They are the highlight of a career full of highlights, many of them with Team Canada.

Brad Schlegel was a mainstay with the Canadian National Team since the 1988-89 season. The London Knights stayed committed to Dave King's Olympic vision for four straight years, forgoing opportunites to join the Washington Capitals who drafted him 144th overall in 1988.

"It's taken a tremendous amount of dedication for Brad to make it to this game (the gold medal game)," said Dave King's assistant coach Wayne Fleming at the time "Sometimes six months with our program is too tough for some guys because of the travel and the schedule. But he epitomizes the Olympic program, the Olympic dream. I mean those two years right after the 1988 Olympics . . . nobody knows about you. You're like a shadow in the dark. But Brad has stuck with it and that says a lot about him."
"He's not a flashy kind of player," insists Fleming. "He's the guy who settles us down in our end and keeps things steady. He never gets impatient."
"Four years ago, I really didn't think of the Olympics," said Schlegel. "I was just trying to make the team. I just wanted to improve daily and see where that took me. Definitely, it's been worth all the hard work. The coaching has been excellent and playing against world-class competition has made me a better player."

Schlegel finally joined the Washington Capitals after the 1992 Olympics, but found himself buried on the depth chart. After playing sparingly, he welcomed a trade to the Calgary Flames, where Dave King was now coaching.

 'I don't think I would have been buried in Washington, but I don't think I would have played that much there because they have probably the most talented defence in the league. If you are a sixth defenceman on that team, you aren't playing that much. That situation is behind me now and I haven't thought much about it.'

Calgary had decent depth on their blue line, too, but Schlegel battled a groin injury and the always present lack-of-size issue

Having King on his side was beneficial, though by no means something to be taken for granted.

"I think it is an advantage. You know what is expected. You don`t have to figure that out. You just have to go do it. That`s not always easy but at least it takes some of the guesswork out of it," said Schlegel of his relationship with King. "He expects a lot and that`s why it is not easy. You have to put your workboots on everyday and go do it."
It wasn't Schlegel's work ethic that kept him out of the Calgary line up. His lack of size may likely have played a role in his spot on the depth chart. He only played 26 games with the Flames in 1993-94.

The Flames agreed to loan Schlegel back to the Canadian National Team, now coached by George Kingston, mid-season so he could participate in his second Olympics. The Flames needed to make a roster move as their defense corps were all coming off the injured list. With Schlegel the only rearguard on the list who did not need to pass waivers, he was likely to be demoted to the minor leagues. The Team Canada assignment came at an opportune time for all those involved.

"I`m happy and excited. I`m looking forward to it. The first time I officially heard anything about it was after the New Jersey game Friday. They told me the Olympic team was interested and the Flames wanted to accommodate them. I had heard the rumors before that, but it all happened so quickly."

Schlegel never returned to the NHL. The next season he headed to Austria to play for a season before moving to Germany to play for more than a decade.

"I really enjoyed the hockey over there. It's better hockey than you'd think," Schlegel said. "Hockey gave me the opportunity to see much of the world. I'm very grateful for that."

Gratitude is something that comes with age and experience. Schlegel always had it, along with other variables he always considered key to anyone's success.

'If you don't set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve something that is important to you while you're young, you are missing a lot of opportunities,' Schlegel preached. 'To achieve the things you want to achieve there are three important things. The first is direction, then hard work and the third is dedication and courage.'

After hockey Brad returned to his hometown of Kitchener, Ontario and worked in the family business his father established. Ronald Schlegel was a very successful business man and philanthropist in the area, making his fortune in senior housing development.

Vaughn Karpan


Vaughn Karpan was "the least talented player" to the Canadian national team for the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, as well as for five years with the Canadian National Team from 1983 to 1988.

Those are his words, not ours.

"I was, without a doubt, the least talented player on both (Olympic) teams, but I ran into a guy, (head coach) Dave King, who saw the strengths in my game and I guess I was smart enough to figure out what he wanted and it was important enough for me to be part of that team that I did it."
King liked the role Karpan filled so much that he became a regular with the team, playing in 224 official international games.
"I was a penalty-killer and a checker, usually against one of the other team's top two lines. That was my role and I did it to the best of my ability," he said.
"I wasn't so impressed with myself to think that I was anything different than what the coach thought, and that (playing a role) is part of being on a team."
Canada did not win a medal in either of those Olympics. Karpan's proudest memento is the white cowboy hat he wore during the opening ceremonies in Calgary. 
"For me, the Olympics was about the journey there, not the two weeks there. It was surviving day to day, week to week over a period of three years and never having a guarantee. I just wasn't one of those guys who could get comfortable. The Olympic movement was typically a four- or eight-year process to get to your moment in the Olympic Games."
Karpan was never drafted by a NHL team and never got an opportunity even to attend a training camp despite his Olympic reputation. 
Though Karpan played briefly with the Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Royals in junior hockey, his back ground was at the Canadian collegiate level which is not known for producing many future NHLers.
Karpan earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Manitoba while helping the Bisons win two Great Plains Conference championships
Karpan said he's owes a lot to his university hockey days. The Bisons won two Great Plains Conference championships when he was there.
"Truthfully, I really wasn't going to have much of a career in hockey if I hadn't gone to the U of M. I never would have been a national team player," said Karpan.
"Wayne Fleming (former Bisons head coach) deserves all the credit in the world. He was a guy that saw the positives in me as a player and a person and gave me every opportunity to grow. It was just a special time."
Fleming, of course went on to be a big part of the national team program, too.
Karpan left the ice after the 1988 Olympics and settled in the Vancouver area. He served as a long time western scout for Winnipeg/Arizona and Montreal before joining the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights as Director of Player Personnel in 2016

Thursday

Wally Schreiber



Few Canadian hockey players devoted themselves to Team Canada as completely as Wally Schreiber.

The three time Olympian may not rank high in the hierarchy of Canadian international hockey history. Paul Henderson, Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby probably have never even heard of him.

But in the 1990s Schreiber was a mainstay and in many ways the heart of the Canadian men's national team.

But it was never easy for the small speedster from Edmonton. 

The late bloomer only played one season of major junior hockey, scoring 56 goals and 124 points with the Regina Pats in 1981-82. That got him drafted by the Washington Capitals in the very late stages of the 1982 Entry Draft. 152nd overall, in the eighth round, to be exact.

Schreiber attended a couple of training camps but never signed with the NHL team. Instead he toiled in anonymity for four seasons as a leading scorer for the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League.

In 1986 Schreiber redirected his goals and committed to Dave King's Canadian National Team. With 40 goals in that 1986-87 season in international competition, Schreiber provided badly needed offense. He could skate with the best on the bigger ice surface, and his defensive game began rounding out under King.

Schreiber returned to the Nats the next season, with high hopes of Olympic glory on home ice. The 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary, Alberta that year.

There was only one problem - the International Olympic Committee changed their rules to allow professionals to represent all nations.

Hockey fans would have to wait another decade before the National Hockey League allowed its best players all to represent their homelands. But Team Canada, looking to medal on home ice, forged alliances with NHL teams in hopes of landing some borrowed help. And they did, landing the likes of Jim Peplinski, Tim Watters and Steve Tambellini. The team also had Randy Gregg (wishing to return to the Olympics) and Andy Moog (NHL contract dispute) for the balance of the whole season.

But that was tough on the National Team players who committed to the Olympic goal all season but always fearing they would get bumped by a big league loaner. 

"That's in the back of everybody's mind," Schreiber said. "I've been with the team for nearly two years and it certainly would hurt to be dropped.
"The coach has explained the situation to us, that it could happen if somebody better comes along. He laid it down and we have to accept it. It's logical.
"Nobody on this team would be ready for it, but it would have to be accepted as part of the game. I'm sure if it does happen there will be a few people really pissed off."
For Schreiber it ended up not being a concern. Though his offense shrank in that second season, he remained a vital part of Canada's offense, along with the likes of Brian Bradley, Marc Habscheid and Serge Boisvert.
In the end, Schreiber scored just once, and Canada, despite promise, finished out of the medals in fourth place.
Immediately after the Olympics Schreiber jumped to Minnesota North Stars and showed good promise with six goals and eleven points in sixteen games to end the NHL season. But he would have trouble sticking with the North Stars the next season, scoring just twice in 25 games. In the final year of his contract he badly injured his shoulder and only played in five games in the minor leagues. 
With no NHL contract offers coming his way, Schreiber headed to Germany where he starred until the turn of the century. It was a good living, making significantly more money than he would in the minor leagues, tax free at that. The teams would often provide a house and car on top of it too. Eventually Schreiber became a German citizen and raised his kids there.
Throughout his European adventures, Schreiber always remained loyal to Team Canada. He played in the occasional games with the National Team when his schedule allowed, though surprisingly never got the chance to represent his country at a World Championship tournament.


But Schreiber did get the chance to return to two more Olympics, helping Canada win hard-fought silver medals in 1992 and 1994. 

Adrien Plavsic


This is Adrien Plavsic. He is like so many Canadians he is a first generation Canadian from immigrant parents who fell in love with the country and it's wintery game.

Plavsic was born in Montreal, but his parents came from a country that does not even exist anymore - Yugoslavia. He is three-quarters Croatian, though his last name is actually Serbian.

His father, Branka, was a sailor who came to Canada in the 1960s. Wife Majda came soon after.

After centuries of fighting, Yugoslavia fell apart in the 1990s. Though Adrien kept an eye on the developments of his parents homeland, he forever appreciated the sacrifices his parents made to give him a better future.

Adrien was unmistakably Canadian, and, like so many other Canadian kids, he grew up at the local rink chasing pucks and dreams. Sure Plavsic enjoyed the family's traditional game of soccer as well - his uncle Drago Rora played for the Yugoslavian national soccer team - but hockey was Adrien's love. 

Plavsic was one of the rare Canadians to have his hockey dreams came true.

Those dreams included a scholarship education at the University of New Hampshire, though, much to his parents' concern, he left after just one season to pursue hockey goals. 

After being drafted 30th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1988 NHL draft, Plavsic decided to fast track his development as a prospect. 

"Getting drafted was one of the biggest thrills of my life," he said. "I always knew I wanted to play in the NHL and I finally saw my dream come true."


Before he reached the big leagues he was recruited by Dave King to play for Canada's national team. Plavsic, a powerful skater with strong instincts for the game, learned much about the defensive side of the game under King.
"Playing for the national team was an excellent opportunity for me," he said. "I got to play top-quality hockey and, at the time, I thought it was the fastest route to the NHL."
Plavsic joined the Blues' organization the next season, but never stuck. He would join the Vancouver Canucks by season's end and would play the bulk of his 214 NHL game career on the west coast.

Plavsic would leave the Canucks and return to the Canadian national team for the 1991-92 season. He was seeking further development and ice time, as well an Olympic medal. Plavsic helped Canada win the silver medal at the 1992 games in Albertville. 

"The Olympics really helped me gain my poise," he said. "I'm a lot more comfortable on the ice now. I really owe a lot to Dave King. He taught me a lot."

Plavsic returned to the Canucks before embarking on a vagabond career that saw him play in Tampa and Anaheim before settling in Switzerland.

You never know where life will take you. In Plavsic's case he played mostly in Zurich where he met the woman who would become his wife. He remains in Switzerland as a hockey coach but also shares his vast experiences as a life coach and integrative nutrition for people in and out of hockey.

Fabian Joseph


Fabian Joseph faced heart break and set backs, but he persevered with heart much bigger than his tiny size. He never fulfilled his dream of playing in the National Hockey League but probably wouldn't trade his 11 year career hockey career for anybody else's, either. 
The undersized Joseph became the first Nova Scotian to represent Canada at the Olympic hockey tournament. He won silver in 1992 and in 1994 after being one of the final cuts for the 1988 team.
Joseph, the youngest of fourteen siblings, was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, but he travalled far away to play his junior hockey. He split three seasons between the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League and Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey League. In total the scoring sensation had 292 points, including 126 goals, in 201 career games in major junior.
"Victoria from the WHL took me, so did the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario League and the Quebec Remparts of the Q. I went to Victoria and had a real good first season, setting a rookie record with 42 goals and had some great teammates, guys like future NHLers brothers Russ and Geoff Courtnall."
A real big reason why Joseph went so far west as his youth hockey friend Jack MacKeigan was Victoria bound. When MacKeigan decided to switch to the OHL Marlies Joseph followed, too, though it was not easy.
It might have been better to stay in Victoria because I knew the league, and I was one of the top scorers," he said. "Going to Toronto, everything was new and there was an adjustment factor. Also, it was one of my most difficult years injury wise.
"I always say it's not so much the injury, but the timing of the injury. I had my nose shattered at the Marlie training camp so I missed the Maple Leafs' camp later on. Then I got invited to the Team Canada world junior camp in December, but two weeks before it started, I sprained my ankle. For sure, it was one of the most disappointing times in my career. You always hear the story that if you play on the Canadian world junior team at Christmas time, you have to work your way off an NHL team in the future."
Regardless Joseph's junior resume was good enough to get Joseph drafted as a sixth-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1984 NHL draft. He never really came close to making the big leagues, but enjoyed many stops along the way in his hockey journey. 
"After finishing my junior career, I had an opportunity to sign with Toronto or go with the national team program," he said. "I felt that I wasn't ready for the AHL (with Toronto's farm team). My game was speed and skill and I thought the best place for me to develop at that time was the national team program."
Joseph dedicated himself to the Canada's national team program in 1985-86 and 1986-87. But then he was dealt devastating news when he was released from the team before the 1988 Olympics in Calgary because the IOC changed the rules to allow NHL teams to lend players to national team rosters. 

Joseph's tenure with the national team was broken up with stints in Italy and Switzerland, as well as a three year stint in the Edmonton Oilers organization. Though he never got a chance to play with Gretzky and the boys, he jumped at the opportunity to play with the Oilers farm team near his home in Nova Scotia.
Undeterred, he rejoined the national team program in 1991-92 and 1992-93 and experienced the ultimate thrill by suiting up in the 1992 and 1994 Olympics. He was Canada's captain when the country lost to Sweden in a shootout in the gold medal game in 1994.
"Both were very special experiences. Being on the global stage and representing your country at the Olympics is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. I have so many great memories of my time with the Canadian national team. That was a very special time in my life."
"We were fortunate to get to the gold medal game in both Olympics, losing to Russia in 1992 and Sweden in 1994," he said. "We were very proud of the fact that we were ranked seventh going into both Olympics and we made it to the championship game in both of them.
"The 1994 Olympics was extra special for me because I had family there for it. My brother and his wife were there. My wife was also there and she was pregnant with our first child."
Of course those '94 Olympics ended in dramatic fashion as Sweden's Peter Forsberg ended the game with a memorable shoot out goal. 
Joseph's thoughts on the shootout are predictable.
"I can see games being decided in shootouts in the regular season, but you shouldn't win or lose a championship that way," he said. "I think if you asked all the players before the Olympics they would say they want to decide games as a team and not with an individual skills competition.
"It took me a long time to get over that, but it's like anything else in life. Time heals."
Playing for the National Team, even in non Olympic years, was very special to Joseph, too.
"Back then, it was amateur players in the Olympics and we had an ongoing national team based out of Calgary," he said. "We played 60 games per year. Probably 10 were in North America and the rest were in Europe so it was an extensive travel schedule.
"I played over 200 games for the national team in my four years there. I was very fortunate to play in two Olympics. It was definitely the highlight of my career. I got the chance to develop as a player and see the world. I saw a lot of different cultures and had great experiences."
Joseph extended his career in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League, as well as playing seasons in Italy and Switzerland.
He returned to the Canadian maritime provinces after retiring and coached at many levels of hockey, including major junior and university.

Saturday

Viktor Blinov

The 1968 Olympic gold medallists. Viktor Blinov is 2nd from the left in the front row.

In 1968 one of the up and coming stars of Soviet hockey was a fellow named Viktor Blinov (not to be confused with Yuri Blinov). However that year the 23 year old Olympic star died during a training session.

Tass, the Soviet news agency, said "the hard shooting defenseman" fell while practicing with his club team, Moscow Spartak. He lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital where he died. It was later ruled to be a heart attack.

He played three seasons with the Soviet national team, scoring 10 goals in 32 games. Blinov starred at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics, where the Soviets won a gold medal.

An arena in his hometown of Omsk is named after him. The arena also hosts the Viktor Blinov Memorial Hockey Tournament.


Pavel Patera

A lot of people are making a big deal about old man Jaromir Jagr playing in his 5th Olympic Games at Sochi 2014. Sure, he is 41, but he is a true legendary superstar after all.

But did you know that Jagr isn't even the oldest player on the Czech Republic team? Both Martin Rucinsky and Pavel Patera are 42!

All three were members of the Czech Republic's 1998 gold medal team. Jagr and Rucinsky were regular NHLers. Patera didn't last nearly as long - playing just 32 games over two seasons, one with Dallas and one with Minnesota.

"There are a lot of mental obstacles for him," said Craig Button, then the Stars director of player personnel. "It takes time and you can't speed it up."

But the Stars scouting staff liked him a lot. They drafted him following the Olympics, thanks largely to the advice of former NHLer Jiri Hrdina.

"He's a quiet leader who scores the big goals," Hrdina said, who also acted as Patera's translator in Dallas. "He's a very skilled offensive player who sees the puck very well. His teammates will be surprised he finds them with his passes."

The whole organization saw potential.

"He's not a dazzling player. He just makes smart plays," Stars chief amateur scout Tim Bernhardt said. "He has great knowledge of the game and the ability to read the ice. We see him as a third-line player, but maybe more if he can really adjust."

He was talented enough to play many years in the NHL, but he did not make the adjustment to North American life very well, neither on and off the ice. On the ice Patera struggled with the heavy physical demands of the NHL regular season. He also played a foreign position defensively. In Czech hockey the center was expected to stay high, but in Dallas he was expected to be first in on the forecheck. Off the ice he struggled with the language.

"I'm getting a lot of help from the other players, but I feel I will be able to communicate in English with them in three or four months," Patera said at training camp. "Mike Keane has helped me the most. He just explains things, and talks slowly to me."

After being a star in Europe, Patera really wanted to test his game in the best league in the world. Coach Ken Hitchcock gave him a vote of confidence early by playing him on a line with the great shooter Brett Hull.

"I never dreamed I would be on a line with Brett Hull and Mike Keane," Patera said. "It didn't just happen that this team won the Stanley Cup. This is a team of great players, and I know it's going to be tough to crack the lineup. This is another challenge for me in my hockey life."

"We're going to have to complement him with people who are able to read off of his vision," Hitchcock said. "If you just have grinders who don't read off his vision, then I think you're not going to accomplish the things you can with this player."

But Patera never clicked with Hull, and never did find chemistry with anyone else. After 12 games and 1 goal, he left to finish the season back in the Czech league.

He came back to the NHL the following year, now with Minnesota thanks to an off-season trade. His stint in Minny wasn't much better - 20 games and one more goal, with the rest of the season spent in the minor leagues.

Pavel Patera headed back overseas after that. First he went to Russia to play in the KHL and then he returned home to play for many more seasons in his hometown of Kladno.

Stephen Foyn


This is Stephen Foyn, a Swedish born Norwegian hockey legend. In addition to starring with club team Sparta, Foyn played with Norway at the 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympics as well as 3 World Championships.

Foyn scored 6 goals in 16 games at the various Olympics. Norway was never much of a hockey power, so it makes Foyn's goal against Canada in 1984 a real highlight. It was Norway's only goal in an 8-1 loss.

In fact, it was the last goal scored by Norway against Canada in the Olympics. In 30 years since, they have yet to score again.

Norway will try again on February 13th, 2014 in Sochi.


Sunday

Del St. John

Adelbert St. John - Del to all who knew him - is a legend of hockey in Austria. Hey, what more can a kid from Pincher Creek, Alberta ever dream of?

Del was born in Pincher Creek (some sources say it was Westlock) on October 6th, 1931. He played junior hockey in Edmonton with Oil Kings and went on to a professional career in the minor league circuit for the 1953-54 season, bouncing around from places like Johnstown, Louisville, Toledo and Milwaukee.

The minor league life must not have been to the liking of the pint-sized St. John. There is no statistical record of him playing anywhere for the '54-55 season. Then in 1956 he headed overseas to embark on a long professional career before it was all that common for Canadians to do so.

The first three seasons he jumped around, trying out Britain then Holland then Italy. In 1960 he moved to Austria and he never left.

St. John played 20 more seasons in Austria, retiring in 1980 at the age of 49. Twice he represented Austria at the Olympics, and six times he led the nation at the World Championships (albeit it was at B and C pool levels).

Del St. John passed away at the age of 79 in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Thursday

Anatoli Tarasov




Anatoli Vladimirovitch Tarasov is regarded as the architect of the Soviet Union's powerful hockey empire. Yet he alienated the Soviet hockey higher-ups enough to land him in hot water several times, including for the 1972 Summit Series.

Tarasov was a product of Soviet hockey himself. He was a workmanlike winger who was overshadowed by the flashy Vsevolod Bobrov. Tarasov lacked Bobrov's natural skill, but made up for with an incredible understanding of the game and a willingness to experiment. 

The two would continue their mostly friendly rivalry for years off the ice as well. Both became successful head coaches. Tarasov coached his country's national team to nine straight world amateur championships and three consecutive Olympic titles before he retired after his team's gold win at Sapporo in 1972. He was the undisputed king of Soviet hockey until he was abruptly unseated shortly after the 1972 Olympic win and shortly before the 1972 Summit Series showdown with the Canadians. He was replaced by Bobrov.

But why?

According to Lawrence Martin's book The Red Machine, the final straw was a rivalry between Tarasov and the political bosses he answered to. Tarasov, with a history of insubordination if he felt it was beneficial for the team, clashed with the head of the Soviet Sports Committee, specifically a fellow named Mr. Pavlov, over money accepted from the Japanese. The Japanese offered Soviet players $200 a piece to play 2 exhibition games prior to the Olympics. This of course was very unacceptable in the Communist world and in the thinly veiled amateur sports world. Pavlov, who was closely monitored by the Kremlin, was furious.

Following the Olympics Tarasov, and his national team assistant coach Arkady Chernyshov, asked for time off to rest from the rigours of coaching. Pavlov agreed, but gave them both a permanent break. In essence they were fired from the national team. Tarasov was replaced by the skating legend Bobrov behind the bench.

Initially it looked like a bad move for the Soviets. Bobrov led them to the silver medal in the World Championships. For most nations that would be a major accomplishment but that marked the first time the Soviets had finished without the gold in a decade. To make matters worse key players  Anatoli Firsov and Vitaly Davydov protested by not playing for the national team.

Bobrov ultimately wouldn't last long. He relaxed the stringent and rigid game Tarasov had preached and was so successful with. The players quickly grew to appreciate the freedom and responsibility, and it showed in the performance at the 1972 Summit Series. However the political bosses would favour a young up and coming coach named Viktor Tikhonov.

Tarasov seemingly disappeared from hockey after his dismissal. He continued to coach the Red Army club team until 1974 and supervised the Soviet Gold Puck tournament for boys. More than 1,000,000 youngsters were registered for the various youth competitions. 

Tarasov also travelled the world attending seminars and making personal appearances. In 1987 he served as a coaching consultant to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks during training camp.

Monday

Ferdinand "Pic" Cattini

This is Ferdinand "Pic" Cattini. He teamed with his brother Hans "Joe" Cattini and Swiss hockey legend Bibi Torriani to lead HC Davos and the Swiss national team for the better part of the 1930s and 1940s.

Pic, considered to be the most personable of the three, was said to be an elegant player with great anticipation for the game. He and his brother were considered to be the most "Canadian" styled players in Europe in these early days.

Pic scored 87 goals in 107 games with the national team. The brothers' greatest accomplishments was helping Switzerland win gold at the home Olympics in St. Moritz in 1948.

The Cattini brothers were electricians by trade. Pic later operated a hotel in Davos, but died at the age of 52 in 1969.

Hans "Joe" Cattini

This is Hans "Joe" Cattini. Together with brother Ferdinand (aka Pic) he formed a line with Bibi Torriani, generally regarded as the early legend of hockey in Switzerland. The trio led HC Davos to 18 league championships and the starring role on the national team.

"Joe," who doubled as an electrician, was the most underrated of the three. He did switch to defense towards the end of his career, dulling his statistical output. In 111 games with the national team he scored 54 goals.

Inducted to the IIHF hockey Hall of Fame in 1998, Cattini's greatest accomplishment was helping Switzerland capture the bronze medal at the home Olympics in St. Moritz in 1948.

The Cattini brothers were considered to be very "Canadian" in their style of hockey.


Uli Poltera


Ulrich "Uli" Poltera (sometimes known as Ueli) was the older brother of Geb Poltera and cousin of Hans-Martin Trepp. 

The three grew up playing the game as a youngsters and went on to lead EHC Arosa to seven consecutive Swiss championships in the 1950s. he also was a mainstay on the Swiss national team, serving as captain at times and scoring 112 goals in 111 games.

Hockey researcher Patrick Houda described Uli as an "unpredictable player who caused a lot of trouble for opposing defensemen with his shifty moves and criss-crossing.|

Uli Poltera passed away at a hospital in Chur, Switzerland on March 22, 1994.

Hans-Martin Trepp

He was a hair dresser by trade but a sportsman by heart. Hans-Martin Trepp was said to be an excellent skier as well as a golfer and tennis player. But he was best known as a hockey player. 

Born November 9, 1922 in Arosa, Switzerland, he grew up playing the game with cousins Gebi and Ueli Poltera. The trio would play together through childhood and as pros with EHC Arosa and of course on the national team. The trio led Arosa to seven consecutive league titles. Trepp represented Switzerland 94 times.

An elegant and speedy skater and clever stickhandler, Trepp was a showman who, unlike his cousins, could be accused of playing too individually at times.

Hans-Martin Trepp died as a result of a skull fracture when he fell down from the stairs at his home. he passed on August 17, 1970.

Gebi Poltera



Gebhard "Gebi" Poltéra was born on December 14, 1923, in Arosa, Switzerland. He grew up by an outdoor rink where he learned the game alongside his brother Ueli and his cousin Hans-Martin Trepp. It was the beginning of a legendary line for EHC Arosa, a top team in Switzerland until the 1980s. And of course he was a mainstay on the national team.
The trio was the answer to the line of archrivals HC Davos with IIHF Hall of Famers Bibi Torriani and the Cattini brothers, Ferdinand and Hans. It was an epic though friendly rivalry. Poltéra debuted in the top league in 1939 as a 16-year-old and won seven consecutive championships (1951-1957) with EHC Arosa. 

Poltéra had 108 international appearances and scored 98 goals. He played in two Olympic Games and six World Championships. His résumé includes a bronze medal at the 1948 Olympics on home ice in St. Moritz. He also won bronze in three World Championships.
Poltéra played until 1965 when a wrist injury forced him off the ice. He briefly tried coaching before starting a successful career as an interior decorator. 


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