January, 2020 saw 29 new NHL signatures arrive in the mail. My TTM returns lately have not been stellar but I have had success in finding some of the older, deceased guys. The grand total of unique NHL player signatures now stands at 6,453 for 83% of everyone to ever play in the NHL. Thanks everyone I dealt with this month, especially to Phil!
Toe Blake (d. 1995)
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toe Blake has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup 11 times. Blake was a star player, a member of the Punch Line with Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard. Blake later became a very successful coach with the Canadiens.
Jim Bedard (d. 1994)
Not to be confused with the goalie, this Jim Bedard, born in 1927, played 22 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks during the early 1950s. The signature didn't scan well but its actually very clear in person.
Ralph Nattrass (d. 1994)
From 1946 to 1950 defenseman Ralph Nattrass played over 200 games in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Stan Smrke (d. 1977)
Stan Smrke played 9 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1950s. He spent most of his professional hockey career in the AHL with the Rochester Americans.
Bucko McDonald (d. 1991)
From 1934 to 1945 Bucko McDonald played 448 regular season games in the NHL. He was a member of the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers. He won the Stanley Cup in 1936, 1937 and 1942. He later spent time as a member of the Canadian Parliament.
Jack McDonald (d. 1990)
John "Jack" McDonald played 1 season, 43 games, in the NHL with the 1943/44 New York Rangers. He scored 10 goals and 19 points.
Ken McAuley (d. 1992)
Ken McAuley spent 2 seasons as starting goalie of the New York Rangers. From 1943 to 1945 he played 96 games in the NHL with New York.
Red Almas (d. 2001)
Red Almas appeared in 3 total NHL games. 1 with the 1946/47 Red Wings, 1 with the 1950/51 Blackhawks and 1 with the 1952/53 Red Wings. He spent most of his career was a starter in the AHL.
Fern Gauthier (d. 1992)
During the 1940s Fern Gauthier played over 200 games in the NHL between the Rangers, Canadiens and Red Wings.
Buzz Boll (d. 1990)
From 1933 to 1944 Buzz Boll played 436 regular season games in the NHL. He scored 133 goals and 263 points between the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York/Brooklyn Americans and Boston Bruins.
Walt Atanas (d. 1991)
Walt Atanas played 1 season in the NHL. He scored 13 goals and 21 points in 49 NHL games with the New York Rangers.
Wayne Hall played 4 games in the NHL with the 1960/61 New York Rangers.
From 1979 to 1981 goalie Robbie Holland played 44 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Roger Pelletier played 1 game in the NHL with the 1967/68 Philadelphia Flyers. He spent nearly a decade in the AHL as a pro hockey player.
From 1983 to 1989 Ken Yaremchuk scored 92 points in 235 career regular season NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Internationally, he represented Canada at the 1988 Olympics.
Ron Anderson b. 1950
There were two players by the name of Ron Anderson who played in the NHL during the 1970s. This Ron Anderson scored 9 goals and 16 points in 28 NHL games with the 1974/75 Washington Capitals.
Jacques Deslauriers (d. 2018)
Jacques Deslauriers played 2 games in the NHL with the 1955/56 Montreal Canadiens.
Gordie Bruce (d. 1997)
From 1940 to 1946 Gordon "Gordie" Bruce played 28 regular season and 7 playoff games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.
Paul Terbenche (d. 2012)
From 1967 to 1974 Paul Terbenche played 189 games in the NHL, dressing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres. He then went on to play nearly 300 games in the WHA.
Jim Mayer played 4 games in the NHL with the 1979/80 New York Rangers. Before that, he played 74 games in the WHA, dressing for the Calgary Cowboys, New England Whalers and Edmonton Oilers.
Bob Kabel (d. 2016)
From 1959 to 1961 Bob Kabel scored 5 goals and 18 points in 48 NHL games with the New York Rangers. He had a long pro hockey career in the WHL and AHL.
Ron Talakoski (d. 2009)Ron Talakoski played 8 games in the NHL with the New York Rangers during the 1980s.
From 1981 to 1985 Mikko Leinonen scored 109 points in 162 NHL games. He spent most of that time with the New York Rangers but also briefly played for the Washington Capitals. Over his career he represented Finland at the World Junior Championships, World Championships, Olympics and Canada Cup.
During the 1980s this particular Steve Smith played 18 games in the NHL between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres. Not to be confused with the much more famous Steve Smith, who was also a defenseman and played in the NHL around the same time. That, and the fact that Steve Smith is such a common name, made this signature a challenge to find.
From 1990 to 1994 Bill McDougall played 28 games in the NHL, scoring 5 goals and 10 points. He played for the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning. He had a very interesting career and is known for his record setting performance during the 1993 AHL playoffs. He scored an incredible 26 goals and 52 points in just 16 games, leading his team to the Calder Cup.
An undrafted defenseman, Wade Skolney played 1 game in the NHL with the 2005/06 Philadelphia Flyers. Skolney was the last player I needed to complete the 2005/2006 Season in Autographs, one of the most significant years of debuts in league history.
Francis Belanger played 10 games in the NHL with the 2000/2001 Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 0 points but posted 29 penalty minutes. Belanger was the last player I needed to complete the 2000/2001 Season in Autographs.
From 1987 to 1989 Wally Schreiber scored 8 goals and 18 points in 41 NHL games with the Minnesota North Stars. He's most notable for representing Canada at the Olympics in 1988, 1992 and 1994.
Defenseman Jake Dotchin has played just over 100 games in the NHL between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks.
From 2009 to 2011 Cory Clouston was Head Coach of the Ottawa Senators.
Sasha PokulokOne of my more recent side projects is collecting NHL first rounders who never played in the NHL. I decided to start collecting them because they do have a notable piece of hockey history, as a team's first round pick in any given year is usually very notable. Futhermore, the large majority of them do play in the NHL.
I pair this Dick Littlefied autograph with the card show next to it that mentions he was "also a good amateur hockey player." A pitcher, Littlefield spent 9 years in the majors. This goes with my baseball-hockey autograph collection.
Glenn Kulka was predominantly a professional football player in the CFL and a professional wrestler in the WWF. He also played junior hockey in the WHL and then had a brief pro career in the ECHL. What I find interesting is that he came back to hockey to play in the ECHL after almost a decade of being a CFL player. He was a huge guy so he would have been quite the sight on skates. A fascinating career. This goes with my collection of football-hockey autographs.