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Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Yale

It is a Friday or Saturday night sometime between 1995 and 2005. I’m driving into Vancouver from the burbs out in Richmond, BC. It is raining out. I cross over the Granville Street Bridge, pass the Cecil Hotel and there it is with the neon sign with the saxophone on the corner of Drake and Granville, the 3 story building that dates back to the 1880s, the home of the blues in Vancouver for many years, The Yale Hotel.
I drive a little further up Granville Avenue. I can see the run down shops to my left and the second hand bookstores. Ahead of me is the movie theatre area that runs to West Georgia Street. The many neon signs are reflected on the wet pavement. I make a right turn and then another right turn and start heading in the direction I just came from. Off to one side of me I can see a line-up outside of some huge nightclub that caters to people in their twenties. The name of the nightclub escapes me. Parking is at a premium in this area on a weekend night.
I park my car underneath the Granville Street Bridge or on Pacific Boulevard. It isn’t exactly a well- lit area. I wait for a break in the traffic on Pacific Boulevard and run across the street when the chance comes along. There is a curved pedestrian walkway that leads up to Granville Street that I take. I pass the Cecil Hotel that is renowned for its strippers. As I near the front door to the Yale I peak in the front windows and can see some folks playing pool. A few people, maybe street people, are milling about the entranceway. The outdoor hotdog stand that is usually on the corner is just setting up for business.
Just inside the front door of The Yale is a small coat check room with a thin counter. Most people keep their coats with them if they are wearing one. An older gal behind the counter collects the cover charge. I walk up a few steps. I can see the stage at the far end of the room. It is about 7:30 p.m. and the joint is just starting to fill up. The carpet on the floor is well worn. The walls are made of brick. Off to the right is the bar seating area with about 20 stools. These are some of the choicest seats in the house. The service bar wraps around and faces the area where the two pool tables are. Behind the pool tables, on the brick wall, are some photographs of musicians who have played at The Yale in the past. There is a small area by the bar with a metal railing where the waitresses pick up their drinks.
Over by the pool tables is a chalk board. People write their names on the board to indicate who gets to challenge the winner of the pool game that is currently going on. You might very well see a guy in a suit and tie playing against a gal in her thirties with black hair with purple streaks. The crowd at The Yale is very eclectic. People came from a wide variety of backgrounds. The Yale has a bouncer or two, usually guys around 40 years of age or older, but there are hardly ever any fights or disturbances. It isn’t that kind of place. Drunk or not, patrons tend to mind their Ps and Qs.

The Yale drew people from all kinds of walks of life. On any given weekend night you might see older guys with pony tails who still had a bit of the 1960s in them, middle aged suburbanites or tourists out for a night on the town, the occasional pimp, businessmen in suits who hadn’t gone home to change into more casual clothes, some shuckers and jivers, old friends of the band that was playing that night, every now and then a few bikers, university kids who had had a few brewskies at the nearby Cecil Hotel as warm-up to the evening, mysterious looking guys in raincoats, gals in their forties and older who still had it going on, and younger couples on date night. To some well to do yuppie types this joint might be considered as “slumming”.
The Yale was also a great singles bar, particularly if you were getting up there in years. The first gal I went out with after splitting up with my ex was an Italian lady I met at the Yale. It was a short lived relationship that I just wasn’t ready for after 14 years of marriage. I hope her life has gone well.
Every once in a while a waitress would try and short change me. It would take me more than a few beers not to be able to count and I never had more than a few beers. In a way, I kind of found it funny that they would try that on me. My guess is I didn’t catch them every time. The smoking ban came in and the ashtrays were removed and for a year or two the staff would look the other way if you lit up a smoke. I am sure somebody along the way picked up a beer bottle with a few wet butts in it and gagged.
By around 9:00 p.m. the joint would be close to full with a line-up outside waiting to get in. Up on the stage the band for the night would be tuning up their instruments. There was a fair amount of noise in the room with people talking, glasses clinking, and some piped in blues music. A roadie or two might be seen scurrying around the stage doing last minute sound checks. The lighting guy was ready to go.
I think the stage had a curtain but I don’t remember ever seeing it. The band for the night would walk out on the stage, make sure their instruments were tuned. This was usually about 10-15 minutes before they started playing. At around 9:15 or 9:30 the music started. Usually there wasn’t any introduction. The music just began blasting. Almost always the first tune was kind of peppy to get the crowd in the mood. Those that were more confident about their dancing skills and others that couldn’t give a shit about those skills were often the first on the dance floor. If you were looking at picking someone up it was a good idea to make an early move. If you were a single guy you probably had the place pretty well scoped out way before the music started.
Rocking the joint.
So what is this thing called “rhythm and blues”? If the “blues” means sadness it hardly ever was reflected in the music played at The Yale. It was far more like party time. 
If you came of age like I did in the 1960s, you were aware of the folkie years and coffee houses and hippie joints where people like B.B. King played. Even if you knew very little about R & B you had probably heard the song “The Thrill Has Gone”. If you were a little more curious you might have listened to 33-1/3 albums by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, or Willie Dixon. You might be familiar with Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, or Taj Mahal. You might have heard something by Bobby “Blue” Bland.
B.B. King
Around 1980 in Vancouver there were two local bands that created a local following and got some exposure across Canada and the US. Both bands played at a small club in Gastown called the Spinning Wheel. One of the groups was Doug And The Slugs (Doug Bennett had a unique voice and died way too young) and the other group was a band called Powder Blues headed by Tom Lavin. His brother Jack was also in the band along  with a cool saxophone player, David Woodward, who had previously been with The Downchild Blues Band. Probably more than anyone else, the Powder Blues created a wider interest in the blues in Vancouver.
Powder Blues Band early years.
If you followed the British invasion back in the 1960s at all you knew that bands like the Rolling Stones were heavily influenced by imported blues music records from the US. At one time Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Long John Baldry played in the same blues band in the UK.
It is interesting to note that many who have played The Yale over the years had settled in Vancouver after growing up and living in other places. Tom Lavin and his brother grew up in Chicago. Jim Byrnes came from the St. Louis, Missouri area. Long John Baldry was from the UK. I have to wonder if they still see Vancouver as the same city they discovered many years ago. That they decided to call Vancouver their home must have a lot to do with the friends they have met over the years. I don’t think they watch The Real Housewives of Vancouver and I don’t think they are probably totally thrilled when they see another hi-rise condo being built.
When you think about it, most of those who play R & B are in their 50s and 60s. You hardly ever see a younger guy up on the stage. I think R& B is kind of like Viagra to a lot of them. Most of these musicians like jazz but probably find it too sedate. Rock and roll kind of died a long time ago and a lot of it was kind of saccharine. Playing R & B shows that you have made a long time commitment to a music that can’t be learned in 5 minutes. It also shows that you still have some shit disturber in you. You have seen the good and the bad times and R & B was always about the good times.
Over a period of about 10 years, I must have been in The Yale 50 times. I saw Brickhouse, Russell Jackson, Widemouth Mason, Doc Fingers, Long John Baldry, Jim Byrnes, Powder Blues, Gerry Doucette, and many others. I was never ever disappointed.
The late Long John Baldry
Jim Byrnes
The dance floor has filled up. Occasionally somebody will go bouncing into a nearby table. The place is packed with people standing on the emergency exit steps and it is standing room only. If you were going to make your move it is now probably too late unless you are standing beside some good looking gal. A young lady in a long dress wanders through the place selling roses. Buying some flowers for some gal you had just met moments before might just be a tad on the cheesy side.
I used to have a routine at The Yale. I drank a maximum of 3 beers (usually Heinekens) and about an hour before I planned to leave I would order a coffee. One night I went out and got into my car for the trip home. I rounded a corner and lo and behold I was faced with a police roadblock. When it was my turn to answer some questions a women cop said to me “Have you got decals for this rig?” I thought for sure I was going to have to blow into breathalyser. It turned out that I hadn’t put the decal on my back plate. I got out of the car and started fumbling with the backing on the decal. It was raining out and the woman cop came over and gave me a rag to dry off the area where the decal was supposed to go. I lucked out that night.
The last time I was at The Yale was about 4 years ago. The billing for the night was Jim Byrnes and Bill Henderson and Chilliwack. I went with my girlfriend Linda and my son Dean. Up ahead of us in the line-up was Jack McIlhargey, the former Canuck player and coach. The Yale was a popular spot for the famous and near famous. One night a gal I danced with claimed to be professional Canadian golfer Sandra Post. It was great evening with Linda and Dean and the joint rocked. I was very glad to expose some more people to the unique place that the Yale was.
Bill Henderson and Chilliwack
Nobody ever got rich playing the Yale. Rich or not, a lot of the musicians had big hearts. A lot of fund raising was done over the years at The Yale for good causes. When I was doing a bit of research on this story I went through some videos on YouTube. One of the videos had Dave Woodward on it. He was one cool looking guy back in the day with his head bobbing when he wasn’t playing his sax. He spent 20 years with Powder Blues and 10 years before that with The Downchild Blues Band. For the past several years he has been working with senile older folks and involving them in music. The dude seems like a class act.
I highly recommend looking at Youtube videos of the great musicians who played at The Yale. It will bring back a lot of good memories if you ever happened to stumble into The Yale.
I left Vancouver for Vancouver Island several years ago. About 4 years ago we went a club in Nanaimo called The Queens. The joint reminded me a lot about The Yale. The Queens Hotel dates back to the 1890s. In all the dives and nightclubs I have been to over the years, this particular night was one of the best. Buckwheat Zydeco was the entertainment for the evening and the place shook. Our seats were just a few feet away from the band. I got to shake hands with Buckwheat (Stan Dural) as he left the stage after their last song. As he would say….”It don’t get much better then dat!”
Last Christmas Linda bought me guitar lessons for Christmas. I already had a guitar that my son had let me have that wasn’t being used. My guitar teacher’s name is Doug Thring. Doug is a pretty laid back type. After my first lesson Linda asked Doug if he could find an acoustic guitar at a reasonable price. He did just that. We see Doug about once a week for an hour and there are always a few laughs. That G Major is a bitch! I don’t have big expectations. I don’t think I will ever be on any stage but I will learn how to play a few tunes….”Scotch and soda, mud in your eye, baby do I feel high”?
The Yale closed on November 20th, 2011. I have no idea when the new Yale Hotel is supposed to open. As I understand it a deal was cut where the old Yale would be updated and incorporated into a new condo complex.
I’m no R & B expert, but I actually do know how to walk my dog. I will close this story with a song recommendation for people who like the blues. Look it up on YouTube. It is the blues version of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five by Jimmy Johnson……
“Right now ladies and gents we’re going to take 5 so we can stay alive.
We might take 10 but we’ll be back again.
We might take 20 but when we come back we’re going to play a plenty.
We’re not going to take 30 because that would be kind of dirty.
So if you want to be somebody, get yourself another beer and stay here.
Don’t be a clown and go to town or be a square and walk out and go somewhere.”
One last note…I used to make a lot of homemade CD’s that had themes to them.  If I was doing something on bluesy stuff I would often run the following 3 tunes back to back.
#1 Somewhere Down The Crazy River- Robbie Robertson…”I followed the song of a jukebox coming from up the levee.”
#2 Blue Bayou-Roy Orbsison…”I feel so bad, I’ve got a worried mind…”
#3 Blues In The Night-Peggy Lee…”From Natchez to Mobile, from Memphis to St. Joe…”


I was in Vancouver a few days ago and took the following photo of The Yale. The restoration is way behind schedule. I had a brief look inside and it looks like the place has been gutted. A security guy told me I couldn't come in. He also told me that he thought it was a waste of time rebuilding the place and if it was up to him he would have levelled the building. The Yale was built in the 1890's. Vancouver has very few buildings that old. It is well worth restoring as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

1960-61 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

The NHL hockey play-offs are just around the corner and I got to thinking about the time many moons ago (53 years?) when the Chicago Blackhawks ended the string of 5 straight Stanley Cups won by the Montreal Canadiens.
Growing up in the mostly English speaking community of N.D.G. on the west side of Montreal, I quickly learned that pretty well almost everyone was a Montreal Canadiens fan when it came to hockey. Like kids all over Canada we played street hockey in the winter often using frozen grey lumps of ice as goalposts. Of course someone would yell “car” occasionally and we would scuttle to move our goalposts out of the way so they wouldn’t get run over.
Some boys had the red woolen Montreal Canadiens sweaters with the CH crest in the middle. At grade school out in the school yard there was lots of talk about the young Jean Beliveau, Rocket Richard, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey, and Dickie Moore.
Most of the big stars on the Montreal Canadiens were French Canadian but many English speaking Montrealers knew that their success was in part due to a supporting cast of Anglos including Harvey and Moore, and reliable players like Floyd Curry, Donnie Marshall, Bert Olmstead, Ken Mosdell, Ralph Backstrom, Tom Johnson and others. A few English speaking dads dared to speak up and express their admiration for Gordie Howe. 

Other than the year 1951, when Toronto won the cup, the decade of the 1950s in hockey was mostly centred on the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings. There were only 6 teams in the NHL back then (often referred to as “The Original Six”). For many years there were 3 tiers in the NHL. The Canadiens and Wings were la crème de la crème. Toronto was usually in the middle of the pack. The New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and the Chicago Blackhawks shuffled around in the bottom tier of teams.
NHL hockey players didn’t make great money back then. Most needed to find other work in the off season. There was no player’s union and they were completely at the mercy of the owners. Expansion didn’t happen until 1967 and part of the reason that eventually came about was because the owners wanted to secure those cities before a new rival league came along and scooped those places up. In addition there was good money to be had for the original six owners in flogging off franchises.
Sometime around 1956 or 1957, a few players like Ted Lindsay, Doug Harvey, and Tod Sloan tried to form a players union. Most NHL players were in favour of a player’s “association” but were frightened by the owner’s wrath if they formed a “union”. (Unions=Communism? It was the 1950s!) For their efforts, Lindsay was shipped off from Detroit where he was the captain (it was stripped from him) to Chicago, Doug Harvey was sent to New York from Montreal, and Tod Sloan went from Toronto to Chicago.
Of all the teams in the NHL in the 50s, Chicago had the roughest go of it. During the decade they had losing season after losing season. They were led by players who were hardly household names like Jimmy Peters, George Gee, Al Rollins, Pete Conacher, Lou Jankowski, Jack McIntyre, Red Sullivan, Johnny Wilson, and Glen Skov. Things got so bad in Chicago that it wasn’t a certainty that the team would survive. Montreal pretty well gave the Blackhawks Eddie Litzenberger for nothing to help save the franchise. He would go on to have three 30 goal seasons for Chicago and become their team captain.
There used to be a section in the Montreal Star newspaper in the 1950s called The Weekend Magazine. Each week one of the pages was dedicated to an NHL star hockey player. There was a large photo about 18 inches from top to bottom with a player in his hockey gear posing. You couldn’t find a picture as big as this anywhere else with your favourite hockey player smiling at you. One weekend the magazine did an article on Bobby Hull. One of the pictures showed Hull pitchforking hay by his family home in Bay St. Anne, Ontario. Hull looked like the Incredible Hulk and at the tender age of about twelve I had a man crush.

Bobby Hull.

There were a few things back then other than Bobby Hull that made me a Chicago Blackhawk’s fan. One of those factors was that I liked pulling for the underdogs in sports. I was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates who won The World Series in 1960. I also really liked the Blackhawk’s uniform with the Indian head logo and the tomahawks on the shoulders. In the early 1960s I drew that logo more than a few times. I also listened at night to Blackhawks games from Chicago Stadium in Montreal. The sound would come in and fade away and come back in. I can still remember their organ revving up the crowds.

Chicago Stadium.

The foundation of the 1960-61 Stanley Cup champions was slow in developing. In 1954 they acquired Eddie Litzenberger. In 1955 defenceman Pierre Pilote joined the team. In 1956 Eric Nesterenko and Elmer “Moose” Vasko were added. 1957 was Bobby Hull’s rookie year. In 1959 Stan Mikita had his first full year in the NHL.
When all was said and done the team that had both Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita would only win the cup once. They won it in 6 games over the Detroit Red Wings. That year they finished 3rd in the standings behind Montreal and Toronto.
A number of the players on the Chicago Blackhawks of 1960-61 have since passed away. Some are now in their 80s. The following is my salute to them.
Glen Hall. #1
Back then each team really only had one goalie. There was no switching around with a back-up. It seemed that almost every year Glenn Hall would turn up late for training camp from his farm home in Humbolt, Saskatchewan. Hall was known to sometimes throw up before a hockey game he was that anxious about playing. In the earlier part of his career, like all other goalies at the time, he didn’t wear a mask. How he ever ended up a Blackhawk is beyond me. He came over from Detroit along with Ted Lindsay in a trade. In Detroit he replaced the great Terry Sawchuk and was named Rookie of the Year. In his first year in the NHL he had 12 shut-outs. In his 2nd year his record was 38 wins and 20 losses. In his 3rd year he found himself in Chicago. What was Detroit thinking? Hall played a total of 10 seasons in Chicago before he was picked up in the hockey expansion draft by the St. Louis Blues. He was often referred to as “Mr. Goalie”. He truly was one of the all-time greats at his position.

Glenn Hall.
Pierre Pilote. #3
Pierre ran the Blackhawk’s offense for years. He was a rushing defenceman. He won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman 3 times. He spent 13 years on Chicago’s blue line. He was only 5-10” and about 180 lbs. but somehow managed to play 8 full years without injury. I would place him in the top 10 hockey defensemen of all-time.
Pierre Pilote.
Elmer “Moose” Vasko. #4
At 6’3” and about 225 lbs. Elmer Vasko was a big man as a hockey player for the times. He was “home grown” in that he came up through the Blackhawk’s farm system that included teams like the St. Catherine’s Tee Pees and the Buffalo Bisons. He was usually partnered with Pilote and was “a stay at home” defenseman. Vasko was probably the first hockey player that NHL fans mimicked a player’s name in unison. “M-m-o-o-o-o-s-e!!!”
Elmer "Moose" Vasko.
Dollard St. Laurent. #19
St. Laurent won 3 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens before he was sold for cash to the Blackhawks in 1958. He was mostly a reliable stay at home defenceman. He spent 4 seasons in Chicago. 
Dollard St. Laurent.
Jack “Tex” Evans. #5
Evans was born in Wales but grew up in Alberta. He started his hockey playing career in 1948 and ended it in 1971-72 playing for the minor pro team The San Diego Gulls where he was a player coach. He was a head coach in the NHL with The Oakland Seals and The Hartford Whalers. Never a big points getter, Evans could lay out some really punishing body checks.
#5 Jack Evans with Bobby Hull & Stanley Cup.
Al Arbour. #2
One of only a few (if any) hockey players to wear eye glasses while playing pro hockey. Over a 20 year career, Arbour bounced around the NHL and the minors. He played 3 seasons for the Hawks. He was to later have greater fame as the coach of the New York Islanders who he led to winning four straight Stanley Cups. He is 2nd to only Scotty Bowman in all-time coaching wins in the NHL.

Al Arbour.
 Reggie Fleming. #6
Reggie Fleming was one hardnosed S.O.B. If he played for your team you probably loved him. If he played for somebody else you probably hated him. In the earlier part of his career including the 1960-61 season he mostly played defence. He was only 5’8” and built like a fire hydrant. While with Chicago he was converted into a defensive forward. He really liked to get under opposing player’s skins and was in the middle of a number of bench clearing brawls. After 4 years in Chicago he spent time with the Boston Bruins where he scored 18 goals one year and with the New York Rangers where he had 17 goals one year. When his NHL career was over he hung on in the minors for several more years. The latter years of Reggie’s life were pretty miserable. He had a stroke and a heart attack and his brain was scrambled. Before he died in 2009 he was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He may have suffered as many as 20 or more concussions in his life. His son Chris videotaped a number of chats he had with his father in his final years and those talks are both touching and disturbing.

My own autographed Reggie Fleming postcard.
There is an old adage in hockey that you build a team down the center. If that is the case the 60-61 Blackhawks had some damn good centers.
Stan Mikita. #21
I would rate Stan Mikita in the top 15 professional hockey players of all time. Although he retired about 34 years ago, he ranks 14th in all-time scoring in the NHL. I can’t think of another NHL player who spent all of 21 years playing for one team. Stan (known to his teammates as Stash) was born in Czechoslovakia but grew up in St. Catherines, Ontario where he played his junior hockey. He centered the “Skooter Line” with the Hawks with wingers Kenny Wharram and Ab MacDonald (later to be replaced by Doug Mohns). For the first few years of his career Stan was a feisty player who often got into scraps. At 5’9” he wasn’t a particularly big guy and he learned that fighting was taking him away using his talents. He changed his game around and twice was awarded The Lady Bing Trophy which was given for good sportsmanship. Over his career Stan won the Hart Trophy twice as the league’s MVP. He won the Art Ross Trophy 4 times as the league’s leading scorer. He also played in 9 all-star games. A goal scorer, a great set up center, Stan could do it all. He is still my favourite hockey player of all time.

Stan Mikita in front of Red Wings net.
Bill “Red” Hay. #11
Back in 1960-61 Bill Hay was one of only a few players with a college background. He was the center on “The Million Dollar Line” with Murray Balfour and Bobby Hull as his wingers. His 8 year career was all spent in Chicago before he retired and went into the family oil business in Alberta.
Bill "Red" Hay.
Eddie Litzenberger. #12
In the late 1950s, Eddie Litzenberger was the best forward the Chicago Blackhawks had. For 3 straight years he had over 30 goal seasons. He was named team captain. By the time the 1960-61 season rolled around Litzenberger had been relegated to 3rd or 4th line center behind Hay and Mikita and played more of a defensive roll. He played a total of 7 seasons for the Hawks.

Eddie Litzenberger in 1950s uniform.
Eric Nesterenko. #15
Nesterenko was perhaps the most fascinating hockey player to ever lace up a pair of skates. He was originally a Toronto Maple Leaf and they had expectations that he might be the next Jean Beliveau. During his 15 years or so in Chicago Nesterenko was a defensive center often matched up with the opposing team’s best scoring line. A durable hockey player, his activities away from the rink were unlike any other hockey player, particularly in the variety of jobs he held in his life in both the off season and after the end of his hockey career. At one time or another he was a stockbroker, a skiing instructor, disk jockey, university professor, travel broker, and freelance writer. His life story would make an excellent movie. During part of his career he was actually a full time university student and didn’t travel with the team. Years ago I saw a documentary show on TV where they did a segment on Nesterenko. They showed him doing figure eights at an ice rink by himself late at night after he had retired from hockey. If I had to choose one word to describe Nesterenko it might be “cerebral”. This guy was one fascinating dude.

Eric Nesterenko checking Rocket Richard.
 Tod Sloan. #9
Tod Sloan spent 8 years with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1950s. He 1958 he was shipped off to Chicago. It is thought that his exile to Chicago was due to his involvement in trying to form a player’s union. In Chicago he was an elder statesman and in his early 30s when Chicago won the cup in 60-61. It was his last year in professional hockey. For some unknown reason his name on the Stanley Cup says Martin A. Sloan.

Tod Sloan.
Bobby Hull. #16
He was one of the all-time greats in hockey.” He had big time name recognition like Howe, Richard, Orr, Gretsky, and Lemieux. “The Golden Jet”, he was the first hockey player to get a million dollar contract. With his explosive slap shot he terrorized opposing goalies. I once heard a story about him winding up to take a slap shot and Boston goalie Gerry Cheevers ducking behind a defenceman so he wouldn’t get hit with the puck. Hull played for the Chicago Blackhawks for 15 years and it would be hard to blame him for going for the money and jumping to the upstart WHA. He never played a game in the the minors and it didn’t take him long to establish himself as an NHL superstar. He was a big part of the Hawk’s 1960-61 Stanley Cup win. When I was a kid he was my idol. Unfortunately, in later years, I lost some respect for him when I heard stories about his involvement with domestic abuse. There is hockey and there is real life . His brother Dennis was said to have had as good of a slap shot as Bobby’s. His son Brett became a superstar in his own right.

Bobby Hull.
 Kenny Wharram. #17
Kenny Wharram kicked around the minors for 7 or 8 years before coming up to the Blackhawks to stay. At only 5’9” and 155 lbs. he was still a feisty guy who dug in the corners and went to the net. In the 11 years he spent with the Hawks almost all of that time was as a winger to center Stan Mikita. In his last year with the Hawks he had 30 goals but was forced to retire at training camp the following year when it was discovered that he had heart problems.

Kenny Wharram next to #21 Stan Mikita.
Ab McDonald. #14
Ab McDonald joined the Blackhawks in the 1960-61 season and became the right winger on the Scooter Line with Stan Mikita as his center. He came over from the Montreal Canadiens where he had been a part of two Stanley Cup championships. The Stanley Cup win with Chicago was his 3rd in a row. He later went on to play for several other NHL teams. He finished his career in the WHA.

Ab McDonald with Glenn Hall.
Murray Balfour. #8
He was one of two brothers who were forwards for the Hawks in 1960-61. He played on a line with Bobby Hull and Red Hay. He had a short NHL career that lasted about 5 years. His best year was 1960-61 when he scored 21 goals.
Murray Balfour.
Earl Balfour. #20
He had a fairly short NHL career and played in less than 300 games. In his best year he potted 10 goals. He was a defensive forward.
Earl Balfour
Ron Murphy. #10
Ron Murphy had a long NHL career playing almost 900 games. He spent 7 years with the Hawks. His best year was the 1960-61 season when he scored 21 goals.

Ron Murphy.

Players who were on the team but didn't play in the playoffs. Wayne Hicks, Chico Maki, Wayne Hillman, Denis Dejordy, Roy Edwards.
Chico Maki.
Rudy Pilous.
He coached the Chicago Blackhawks for six years starting in the 1957-58 season. Back then the original six only had one coach. Almost all of the coaches at the time including Punch Imlach, Toe Blake, and Rudy Pilous wore fedora hats behind the bench. In the year that Chicago won the cup the team finished 3rd in the league. Pilous later became the general manager of the expansion Oakland Seals team.
Rudy Pilous with Glenn Hall.
In my opinion there were 4 players that were the nucleus of the rebuilding of Chicago Blackhawks in the late 1950s. Glenn Hall, Pierre Pilote, Bobby Hull, and Stan Mikita.
After the Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL in 1970, the Blackhawks became my 2nd favourite team. It made sense to me. After all, there was almost no chance of Canucks going anywhere in the play-offs for close to 25 years after they came into the league.
Some of my favourite Blackhawk players over the years were Keith Magnuson who died way too young, the cigarette smoking scoring machine Denis Savard, and the off the wall Jeremy Roenick. Honourable mentions to Doug Wilson, Tony Esposito, Chris Chelios, Dennis Hull, Tony Amonte, Steve Larmer, Tom Lysiak, Pat Stapleton, Phil Russell, and Dirk Graham.
Who knows what the Blackhawk’s fortunes would have been if in 1967 they hadn’t traded away Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Fred Stanfield for Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte, and Jack Norris?

Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.

Funny thing. I've never actually been to Chicago. I've been close a few times while traveling across the US. I will have to put it on the bucket list.


Chicago, Chicago that toddling town

Chicago, Chicago I will show you around

Bet your bottom dollar you lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago

The town that Billy Sunday could not shut down


On State Street, that great street, I just want to say

They do things they don't do on Broadway

They have the time, the time of their life

I saw a man, he danced with his wife

In Chicago, Chicago my home town