I managed to find a little time during these holidays to scan and put away 21 new NHL autographs that came in the mail this past month. The grand total now stands at 6,023 unique NHL signatures for 79% of everyone to every play in the league. View the whole collection here.
The stars of this mail post are a couple tough 1990s autographs in Jeff Batters and Sasha Lakovic as well as a couple nice vintage signatures in McCreedy and Dame. I managed to find those at a steal of a low price on a signed Trail Smoke Eaters senior hockey sheet.
From 1960 to 1973 Dave Balon played nearly 800 games in the NHL. He was a multiple time NHL All-Star who won the Stanley Cup twice as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Multiple Sclerosis forced him to retire early and he suffered from the disease for decades. Balon passed away in 2007.
John McCreedy was a long time senior hockey player who won the Allan Cup in 1938 and 1940. In 1939, he represented Canada at the World Championships and brought home Gold. McCreedy played two seasons in the NHL, with the 1941/42 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1944/45 Maple Leafs. He took time off between those seasons to serve his country in World War II. McCreedy's Maple Leafs actually won the Stanley Cup in both seasons he played for them. The two-time Stanley Cup winner scored 17 goals and 29 points in 64 regular season NHL games. He passed away in 1979.
Napoleon "Bunny" Dame scored 2 goals and 7 points in 34 career NHL games with the 1941/42 Montreal Canadiens. Military service ended his NHL career and while he returned to pro hockey, Dame never made it back to the big leagues. He's also notable for winning Gold with Canada at the 1939 World Championships. He led the whole tournament with 8 goals and 12 points in 7 games. Dame passed away in 2006.
This was a Christmas gift to myself. With my 1990s wantlist slimming down, I stepped up a little bit to get this one knocked of my wantlist. I paid a little more than I wanted because I knew that if I missed it, it might be kicking myself down the road. From 1993-1995 Jeff Batters played 16 games in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues. He died tragically young in a 1996 car accident. Batters was a defenseman who never had an NHL card made so there's very little of his stuff around.
From 1987 to 1989 Paul Beraldo played 10 games in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. A Canadian, he became an Italian citizen while playing pro in the country and represented Italy at the 1994 World Championships.
Darcy Regier is best remembered as General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres from 1997-2013. He also spent time as interim GM of the New York Islanders in 1995 and before that was an NHL assistant coach. From 1977-1984 Regier played 26 games in the NHL. The defenseman dressed with the Cleveland Barons and New York Islanders.
Matthew Peca has spent this season as a full time member of the Montreal Canadiens. Prior to joining the Habs he had played 20 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His is not related to longtime NHL player Mike Peca.
Boston University product Wade Megan has played in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. The forward was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in 2009.
Connor Jones is an undrafted Qunnipiac University alumni who played 4 NHL games with the 2016/17 New York Islanders. His twin brother, Kellen, is also a pro hockey player.
Sean MaloneSean Malone graduated from Harvard at the end of the 2016/17 season. He joined the Buffalo Sabres, who had drafted him in 2013, for then end of the year and played 1 NHL game with the club. Its funny, I get many players write me little notes back, especially since I ask them all if they have a favorite memory from their time in the NHL. Malone's response struck me as particularly well written, which made a whole lot of sense when I double checked his background and saw he went to Harvard!
Defenseman Robbie Russo was originally drafted by the New York Islanders in 2011. He attended Notre Dame then signed with the Red Wings. He played 19 NHL games with Detroit in 2016/17. Russo also helped Detroit's farm team with the Calder Cup in 2017. He's is currently under contract with the Arizona Coyotes but has spent the season thus far in the AHL.
Defenseman Michael Kapla made his NHL debut late into the 2016/17 season. He was an undrafted UMass-Lowell grad who signed with the Devils after the college season had ended. He dressed in 5 NHL games with the Devils at the end of that year. Kapla started the next season in the AHL and hasn't made his way back up to the NHL club.
Undrafted Czech forward Tomas Nosek came to the NHL via the Detroit Red Wings. He played 17 NHL games with Detroit before being claimed by Vegas in the expansion draft. Nosek became a regular for the Golden Knights, helping them reach the 2018 Stanley Cup finals.
Patrik Laine was drafted 2nd overall in 2016 and has been a star with the Winnipeg Jets ever since. The sensational Finn scored 44 goals last season with Winnipeg. I was actually surprised I was able to afford this signature. Even as a superstar, his popularity and hobby value is nowhere near that of Auston Matthews, whose certified signature is still way expensive for me to pick up.
Scott Darling was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007 but was left unsigned by the team. He spent a couple years at the University of Maine then worked his way up the professional hockey ranks from the SPHL to the ECHL to the AHL and finally to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup in 2015 as Chicago's backup. Darling was signed by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2017 but couldn't transition from backup to starter. Internationally, he won a Bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships with USA.
Swedish forward Lucas Wallmark made his NHL debut with the 2016/17 Carolina Hurricanes and is currently a full time member of the NHL club. Internationally, he represented Sweden at the 2014 and 2015 World Juniors, bringing home Silver in 2014.
A University of Michigan alumni, Zach Hyman was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in 2010 and traded to Toronto in 2015. Hyman made his NHL debut with the 2015/16 Maple Leafs and has been a regular on the team, already having played over 200 NHL games.
Jared CoreauFrom 2016 to 2018 Jared Coreau played in 21 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings. He was recently signed by the Anaheim Ducks and has dressed for the team as a backup but has yet to see any official time with the club. He was recently invited to represent Canada at the Spengler Cup.
From 1986 to 1992 defenseman Kevan Guy played over 150 games in the NHL between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.
From 1981 to 1988 defenseman Rik Wilson played over 250 games in the NHL, dressing with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks. He was originally drafted 12th overall by the Blues in 1980. Wilson passed away suddenly in 2016 due to a brain aneurysm.
I'm very happy to add a Sasha Lakovic autograph to the collection because they aren't easy to come by. Lakovic passed away in 2017 at just 45 from brain cancer. From 1996 to 1999 he dressed in 37 NHL games between the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils. Lakovic was a feared enforcer during his pro hockey career. He's also notable for having a small role in the 2004 film Miracle.
A real assortment of 'other' hockey autographs this post.
I was very happy to get this return back because Rob Laurie is one of my favorite stories in hockey. A retired former pro goalie, he got the opportunity to dress as an NHL emergency backup goalie on 3 occasions. He dressed as an NHL backup goalie with the Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild.
November 17, 2016 Michael Garteig dressed as an NHL emergency backup goalie with the Vancouver Canucks in a game against the Arizona Coyotes. Canucks goalie Ryan Miller had come down with a sudden case of the flu so Garteig dressed as his replacement, spending the whole game on the bench. Garteig and Laurie both go in my "NHL Backups Only" collection.
Defenseman Stephen Richardson played 72 games in the World Hockey Association, dressing with the Indianapolis Racers, Michigan Stags/Buffalo Blades and New England Whalers. Richardson is added to the WHA collection.
Sarah Nurse represented Canada at the 2018 Olympics, bringing home Silver. Her cousin is Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse.
Bailey Bram has represented Canada at 5 World Championships and at the 2018 Olympics. Bram and Nurse both go in to my Women of Hockey collection.
Fritz Peterson has a very cool hockey connection. Not only did he play hockey growing up, he spent time as a color commentator in the WHA with the 1972/73 New York Raiders during the baseball off-season.
Mike noted in a return letter that he still plays recreational hockey. This card notes that he played it in high school. You can see my full collection of baseball/hockey signatures here.
Joe Fleming is one of the most notable hockey/football players from recent history. The longtime CFL star was actually drafted by the NHL's St. Louis Blues in 1990. The only other pro football player who was drafted in the NHL was a guy named Don Dufek (got his autograph years ago).
An NFL player with a notable hockey background. I've found a number of CFL players with hockey backgrounds but very few NFL players.