Nothing major in the hockey news department today, but some interesting developments as teams try to sort out their lineups with a little less than three weeks remaining in training camps. We’ll look at the hypocrisy of the National Hockey League when it comes to player endorsements and an innovation by a young Toronto forward that may provide headaches for goalies.
What’s Good for the Goose…
In a ruling that is as hypocritical as anything the National Hockey League has ever done, president Clarence Campbell has put the kibosh on participation in a beer commercial by Boston Bruins forward Eddie Shack.
Shack, who is not wearing a hockey uniform or equipment, and is not identified in any way, is seen for a few seconds in a Carling Red Cap spot. He simply mugs for the camera with his familiar countenance. Gives a smiling thumbs-up. Nothing more.
It’s not known whether Campbell received a complaint from the thousands of mothers who must not want their little boys emulating Shack’s choice of libation or if he just took it upon himself to protect the integrity of the league. What we do know is that he has invoked a rule that dates back to 1948 that prohibits the endorsement of products containing alcohol or nicotine.
So Eddie’s advertising appearance, as innocuous as it is, now must be banned. Well, a rule’s a rule, isn’t it? And the league must be seen to be consistent in applying its by-laws, correct?
Not so fast. Consider the following facts:
The Montreal Canadiens are owned by….Molson’s Breweries! On every televised Montreal and Toronto game we are constantly reminded that for a good time, we must drink Molson Canadian! (and I can’t get that damned jingle out of my head now!) All over Maple Leaf Gardens, and in both Montreal and Toronto programs, Export A cigarette ads are impossible to miss. In every bar, general store and other meeting place in Canada, those famous Export A calendars with the team photos prominently displayed adorn the walls.
It gets better. Fast Eddie can’t appear in an advertising campaign, but Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard and many others can spend their summers working for the Brewery! And in many cases, those jobs are not much more than paid promotional positions.
So it’s okay if a player’s activity on his own time enhances the income of the club. It’s not okay if a competing company enhances the income of the player and not the club, or league. Not very consistent, is it?
Maybe poor Eddie just picked the wrong brand of beer.
White Tape Gives Goalies Headaches
Young Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mike Walton has taken to using white tape on the blade of his hockey stick, rather than the traditional black. He had it on display in the Leafs workout yesterday and the unusual look garnered considerable attention.
Johnny Bower, the Maple Leafs veteran goaltender, doesn’t like it.
“I told Mike I don’t like it. I find it tougher. Maybe it’s because I’m used to seeing black coming off black. It’s a bit harder to judge, the white stick on the white ice.
“It’s something different all right. Maybe if I was used to it, it would be easier.”
Walton told Lou Cauz of the Toronto Globe and Mail that he started using the white tape while playing for Tulsa Oilers of the Central Professional Hockey League.
“The puck is easier to see on a white-taped stick. Another reason is the black tape we’re using here is too heavy. It’s made in Japan.”
Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see if this is something that will become Mike Walton’s trademark, or if it will catch on league-wide. Maybe they’ll come up with coloured tape, to match team uniforms. Maybe they’ll even start painting the sticks…nahh, that would look ridiculous.
Hippies vs Squares at Pens Camp
The “Hippies” edged the “Squares” by a score of 4-3 in the Pittsburgh Penguins intra-squad game yesterday in Brantford, Ontario. Over 1200 fans jammed the new Civic Centre to take in the match, which was played to benefit local charities.
The Hippies won on a pair of last-minute goals by Ab McDonald and Noel Price. Dick Mattiussi and Art Stratton also scored for the winners.
Dunc McCallum, Gil Gilbert and Peter Loveless connected for the Squares.
- Stan Mikita won the Chicago Black Hawks team golf tournament yesterday. He shot an 83.
- Johnny Bower convertible update: It reportedly cost Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach $152 to have Bower’s wife’s car painted a nice, shiny black. Imlach and Rochester manager Joe Crozier had painted the car in a psychedelic colour scheme that infuriated Mrs. Bower.
- Tim Horton thinks he and the Maple Leafs are close to agreement on a new contract.
- Philadelphia Flyers will use Doug Favell and veteran Al Millar in goal for this week’s exhibition games in the Toronto area. Bernie Parent, thought to be the Flyers number one man between the pipes, is still suspended for not signing a contract to which he had previously agreed.
- Flyers have promoted defencemen Jimmy Morrison and John Hanna from Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League to the main squad for the next few exhibition games.
- Gary Dornhoefer won the Flyers team golf tournament, shooting 74. Dornhoefer is an assistant golf pro at a Kitchener golf club.
- There are reports that New York Rangers star Rod Gilbert is demanding a salary of at least $35,000. That would be the largest contract in team history.
- The thigh injury that sidelined Ranger forward Don Marshall isn’t as serious as was first suspected. He should be back on the ice in three or four days.
- Detroit Red Wings have signed forwards Peter Mahovlich and Floyd Smith.
- Red Wings are taking a long look at two young defencemen, Jim Watson and Bart Crashley. Watson was with San Diego of the Western Hockey League last season. Crashley spent most of last season with the Memphis Wings of the CPHL. He’s a graduate of the Hamilton Red Wings.
- By the way, is there a better name for a defenceman than “Bart Crashley?”
- Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forwards Ab McDonald and Bobby Rivard. McDonald is a veteran NHL’er who spent most of last season with the Pittsburgh Hornets of the AHL. Rivard played for Quebec Aces in 1966-67.
- Penguins GM Jack Riley is very high on a young Chinese player, Bill Lecaine. With Port Huron of the International Hockey League last year he had 26 goals and 38 assists.
- Minnesota North Stars bombed their Memphis CPHL farm team 10-4. Dave Balon scored three times for the Stars.
- Jean Ratelle is passing out cigars at Rangers camp to celebrate the birth of his second daughter.