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Author Topic: Al Arbour Question  (Read 429 times)
JoeC
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« on: May 15, 2021, 05:49:58 PM »

Who else in the NHL beside Al Arbour, in the pre-helmet era, wore eyeglasses on the ice? Was he the only one?

He might've looked scholarly but was one tough defenseman. Great coach as well.

Who was his partner on Defense with the Black Hawks in the late 50s (that's when I recall him the most)? Were Vasko and Pilote a pairing, or did Al skate with one of them?

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Robb_K
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2021, 07:01:35 PM »

Who else in the NHL beside Al Arbour, in the pre-helmet era, wore eyeglasses on the ice? Was he the only one?

He might've looked scholarly but was one tough defenseman. Great coach as well.

Who was his partner on Defense with the Black Hawks in the late 50s (that's when I recall him the most)? Were Vasko and Pilote a pairing, or did Al skate with one of them?

Interesting question.  Not many wore glasses on the ice, even if they couldn't see well at all.  Tim Horton was almost blind.  That's why he muscled and knocked so many forwards into the boards, wher he could keep them out of the play.

I recall only Arbour and The Bruins' defenceman, Hal Laycoe.  Also, Tony Esposito wore them early in his career, with The Canadiens, and maybe his first year with The Hawks, but he quickly changed to contact lenses.
Arbour was mainly The Hawks 5th defenceman, as I recall, who changed partners a lot.  He paired with Dolly St. Laurent some, but mainly with Jack Evans.  He never played with Pilote on The First pairing.  Vasko paired with Pilote for several years.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2021, 09:35:20 PM by Robb_K » Logged

JoeC
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2021, 07:13:43 PM »

Robb, thanks. Vasko was 6'3, 215 and the biggest player in the NHL in the early 60s. He wouldn't be close to that today. Saw Moose interviewed once and he talked about the Memorial Cup he won with St Catherine's. Weren't Hull and Mikita on that team too? A real powerhouse.

Vasko also mentioned he was proud of never losing a tooth in hockey. Pretty amazing, especially with no helmet, mouthguard, etc.

Pilote was great. He could really move the puck up ice. Very much like Doug Harvey.

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Robb_K
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2021, 10:04:54 PM »

Robb, thanks. Vasko was 6'3, 215 and the biggest player in the NHL in the early 60s. He wouldn't be close to that today. Saw Moose interviewed once and he talked about the Memorial Cup he won with St Catherine's. Weren't Hull and Mikita on that team too? A real powerhouse.

Vasko also mentioned he was proud of never losing a tooth in hockey. Pretty amazing, especially with no helmet, mouthguard, etc.

Pilote was great. He could really move the puck up ice. Very much like Doug Harvey.

Yes, Hull and Mikita were on that team.  The St. Catherines Teepees (later Blackhawks) were The Blackhawks' #1 Major Junior A team, where they sent their best players from their sponsored Juniors system. It was their eastern Major Junior A team, in The Ontario (Junior) Hockey Association.  Their Junior A team in The West was The Portland Buckaroos, who later became The Portland Blackhawks.  That was The Western Canadian Junior Hockey League back then.  I played Midgets on a team in Northwest Winnipeg, near my home in West Kildonan. We fed The Winnipeg Rangers, which were The New York Rangers' Junior A team in The WCJHL, and they (like all 6 NHL teams) had teams in both of those Major Junior Leagues, as well as one in The Quebec Junior Hockey League (QJHL).  Montreal, Toronto and Detroit had more than 3 Major Junior teams(having teams in The Quebec Major Junior Hockey league, plus, they sponsored Senior Hockey teams, for players above Junior graduation age (which were quasi pro), where they stashed extra potential pro players, who could then move up to their AHL teams (of which Montreal owned 2 (Quebec and Cleveland), more than the others.  Detroit basically acted like a Canadian team.  So, those 3 teams had an advantage over Boston, New York, and Chicago before the 1967 NHL Expansion, in that they owned significantly more prospects and players in general, than the 3 US "Have Not" teams.  The Rangers team in The OHA was The Guelph Biltmores, changed to Royals in 1963.  Then moved to Kitchener to be named The Rangers.  I had made the first cut, to join The Winnipeg Rangers , just before my parents moved to Chicago, and had to decide if I wanted to stay with my aunt and uncle in Winnipeg, and pursue Hockey, or join them in Chicago.  I went with them, because I knew I couldn't pursue a high-level university course and get into an academic-based career in environmental science work (which didn't exist in a university major course of study at that time, but, I was going to form one on my own (which I did), if I was serious about Major Junior Hockey and possibly a pro or at least a College Hockey scholarship.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 10:28:57 PM by Robb_K » Logged

doctordoowop
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2021, 03:05:11 AM »

Vasko's nickname was Moose.

Horton's bad eyes maybe explains his fatal car wreck
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Robb_K
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2021, 12:07:43 PM »

Vasko's nickname was Moose.

Horton's bad eyes maybe explains his fatal car wreck

He really was a big guy for that time.  I was 6' 1 1/2".  That was quite a bit taller than average back then.  Now it's considered about average for pro sports. I had to work like a dog to finally barely get up above 180 lbs.  But that was considered a fine weight for a forward.  Only a few defencemen were over 200lb, and virtually no forwards.  Nowadays, a forward at 185 es really skinny and underweight.  We had a lot of 5 ' 9 " 160 lb players back in the 1950s.  But Moose was very strong, and built like a tank.  That's why he had that name.  Weight training was nothing like it is today.  It was very haphazard.  A lot of the players from The Prairie Provinces got really strong from lifting and pitching hay bales.  I was strong from lifting 100 lb potato sacks in my father's grocery store.   Wheat and potatoes are the 2 biggest cash crops in Southern Manitoba.
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2021, 01:26:58 PM »

Robb,

Love those "insider" stories. Good stuff!
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