Quality beats out quantity in this mail post. With the recent purchase of our first house, my buying has been stalled but I have some additions to share thanks to a couple trades and a gift. Thanks to Gary, Ken and Jerry for helping with these additions and making this mail post possible.
With these 10 new NHL players signatures, the grand total now stands at 5,888 unique NHL player signatures for 77% of everyone to ever play in the league.
From 1969 to 1979 Brian "Spinner" Spencer played over 500 games in the NHL. His career was marked by personal tragedy. Spencer's father was shot and killed when his father demanded the local tv station play his son's first NHL game. Spencer's life after hockey quickly spiraled out of control. He was an alcoholic who became addicted to drugs as well. He was shot and killed in 1988 in a drug deal gone bad. Spencer was only 38. His life was so turbulent that it became a movie, Gross Misconduct: The Life of Brian Spencer. I find his life an incredibly interesting/sad story and had been looking to add his signature for some time. Very happy to add this one.
So many things I like about this addition. Nienhuis's story, how I came to add it and the fact that he has such a kick ass signature. A big thanks to Ken, who emailed me letting me know he'd be meeting Kraig at a golf tournament and would be able to get a signature for me. A fellow hockey fan, Ken sent this to me expecting nothing in return. Thanks again Ken! From 1985 to 1988 Nienhuis scored 20 goals and 36 points in 87 NHL games with the Boston Bruins. He played pro hockey for another decade after that then retired from hockey to become a rock star. He's the front man for his band, 9 House, and has opened for a number of legendary musicians.
Harvey Bennett Sr.
Harvey Bennett tended net in 25 NHL games with the 1944/45 Boston Bruins. That was his only season in the NHL but he kept playing professionally, mostly in the AHL, until 1959. The AHL Hall of Famer has one notable feat in the NHL. He surrendered Maurice Richard's 50th goal, making the Rocket the first ever player to accomplish the 50 goal mark. Bennett had three sons; Curt, Bill and Harvey Jr. who went on to play in the NHL as well. Harvey Sr. passed away in 2004.
Jimmy Peters Sr.
From 1945 to 1954 Jim Peters was an NHL regular. He scored 275 points in 574 games playing for the Canadiens, Bruins, Red Wings and Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup three times, with the Detroit Red Wings in 1950 and 1954 and with the Montreal Canadiens in 1946. His son, also named Jim Peters, would go onto play in the NHL as well.
From 1967 to 1969 Joe Szura scored 10 goals and 25 points in 90 NHL games with the expansion Oakland Seals. He later played over 100 games in the WHA, dressing with the LA Sharks and Houston Aeros. Szura passed away in 2006.
Kerry Ketter played 41 NHL games with the 1972/73 Atlanta Flame and 48 WHA games with the 1975/76 Edmonton Oilers. I had tried writing to Ketter a couple times but to no avail so happy to finally add his signature.
Paul Shakes spent 1 season in the NHL, playing 21 games with the 1973/74 California Golden Seals.
Larry Wright was drafted 8th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1971. From 1971 to 1978 he played 106 games in the NHL, dressing with Philly, California and Detroit.
From 1938 to 1943 Alvin "Buck" Jones played 50 games in the NHL. The defenseman played for the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Jones passed away in 2007.
Rich Leduc was a fringe NHL player on a strong franchise when the WHA gave him, like many other players, a huge opportunity. Leduc fully embraced that opportunity and became a WHA Hall of Famer. From 1972 to 1974 he played 33 NHL games with the Boston Bruins. From 1974 until the league folded, Leduc was a point-per-game producer in the rebel league. In 1976/77 he scored 52 goals and 107 points in 81 games with the Cincinnati Stingers. In 1979, Leduc returned to the NHL, playing a couple seasons with the Quebec Nordiques.
Rene Rancourt just retired but for over 40 years he sung the national anthem before Boston Bruins games. The team even awarded him a Stanley Cup ring in 2011. He's very well known to Bruins fans. When my girlfriend and I were in Boston a few years ago, we attended a Bruins came and met Rancourt between intermissions. We got a photo but he was too busy to sign then and I had wanted an autograph since. This was a very quick return and he seems to be a class act all the way.