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February 5th 2014 8:33 am
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Strong, stable leadership has been a hallmark of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than 100 years, as only three groups/individuals have owned the facility since it was built in 1909.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in the spring of 1909, the result of a creative vision of Carl G. Fisher and his three partners in the venture, James Allison, Arthur Newby and Frank Wheeler.

The track’s original purpose was to serve as a common testing facility for the rapidly growing local automobile industry. With dozens of companies like Marmon, Cole, National, Marion, Overland and American Underslung operating in and around the city limits – Stutz and Duesenberg would come later – Indianapolis had by 1908 risen to fourth in the country in terms of numbers of automobiles produced. By 1913, it would rank second.

Indiana roads were generally not yet developed, and automotive technology had increased so rapidly that many passenger vehicles had become capable of greater speeds than any dirt road would permit.

Recognizing that something far more substantial was needed for testing purposes, local businessmen Fisher, Allison, Newby and Wheeler joined forces to build a huge “motor parkway” on which long straightaways and gradual turns would permit any automobile to be stretched to its fullest extent. In addition to private testing, they reasoned, occasional automobile racing events in which the entrants were the manufacturers would give the general public an opportunity to witness competition by stripped-down versions of the same vehicles one could purchase from the showrooms for personal transportation.

The founding partnership was spearheaded by Fisher, a Greensburg, Ind., native who would eventually develop Miami Beach from swamplands into an exotic resort area. Later, he would form the Lincoln Highway Commission, which built the first drivable highway across the United States.

Fisher’s partners in the track project were Newby, head of the prestigious National Motor Vehicle Company; Wheeler, of the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor firm; and Allison, who six years later started the operation destined to become the massive Allison Engineering Company.

While IMS was built in 1909, Fisher’s vision of such a facility was outlined to the general public as early as November 1906 in an issue of Motor Age magazine. A detailed letter that he wrote appeared in the magazine, describing the advantages of a circular track of 3 or 5 miles over the traditional 1-mile fairgrounds ovals of the time.

In autumn 1908, Fisher and his friend Lem Trotter drove from Indianapolis to Dayton, Ohio, in an automobile. It was a tough trip, as the rough roads required numerous stops to repair punctured tires. Frustrated, Fisher insisted that his proposed track would help solve the problems of low-quality tires and automobiles.

A day or two later, Trotter and Fisher went for another automobile ride from Indianapolis, this time about 5 miles northwest of the city into the countryside. They arrived at the corner of the Crawfordsville Pike and a little cart track that eventually became Georgetown Road and saw four adjoining 80-acre tracts that were for sale.

The outgoing Fisher then convinced the flamboyant Wheeler and more reserved Allison and Newby to become his partners in the purchase of the land. The land was purchased in December 1908, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company officially formed March 20, 1909.

Fisher originally wanted the track to be a 5-mile oval, but his plan was modified to feature a 3-mile, rectangular-shaped oval, with a 2-mile road course inside that when linked to the oval would create a 5-mile lap.

New York civil engineer P.T. Andrews, who was hired to oversee the project, said a 3-mile outer track was possible on the available land but that the outside of the straightaways would be so close to the edges of the property that there would be no room for grandstands.

Andrews suggested an outer track of 2.5 miles would fit perfectly. The road course section was abandoned soon after grading began at the site in March 1909, leaving the 2 .5 miles that became the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Greatest Race Course In The World.

In 1927, American World War I flying ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and his associates purchased the Speedway for $750,000.

The Speedway fell into disrepair from 1942-45 when it was closed during America's involvement in World War II. But then the most prosperous and longest period of IMS ownership began in 1945.

In this era of mergers, takeovers, buyouts and bankruptcies, it’s close to an anomaly that the Hulman-George family still owns and operates the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1945.

Until the modern era of major league sports, it was quite common for one person to buy a team, run it for a number of years and then hand control to his or her descendents. But the advent of television and the ensuing tremendous hike in team monetary value as cities across the country and wealthy business people eagerly bid for ownership has reduced the family-run operations to a scant few.

On Nov. 14, 1945, Terre Haute, Ind., businessman Tony Hulman purchased the famed but rundown 2.5-mile racetrack located 5 miles from downtown Indianapolis for $750,000 at the urging of Wilbur Shaw, who won three of the last five Indianapolis 500 Mile Races held there before the U.S. entered World War II. Hulman bought the track from famed Rickenbacker and named Shaw as its president and general manager.

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February 1st 2014 6:54 am
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The Coronation Ceremony Sent: Sat Feb 1

The Castle grounds at Catster Castle were miraculously free of snow, moreover spring flowers bloomed in abundance lending a festive air to the cool morning, the storms had abated and the day promised to be beautiful.
Thundie was nervous as his brothers helped him dress for the big day. They had enjoyed light breakfast, served to them in the suite, and they were ready for the momentous day.
Thundie walked to the balcony and could see that even now, over an hour before the beginning of the ceremony, crowds had gathered in the courtyard. Banners flew from every pinnacle and turret and the scene was one of Regal Majesty.
The sound of jets arriving at the airfield continued as it had all night long. Thundie glanced up and recognized Hot Rods aircraft descending toward the airfield.
There was a knock at the door and Baron Sir Shadowfoot went to answer it. It was Q Cherish, who would be by Thundie’s side during the ceremony. She came in and gave Thundie a hug. She asked if he was nervous and he replied that he had been awake since 4:00 AM going over what he would say when the Angels placed the Crown on his head and the Royal Scepter in his paw.
Cherish said, “I just wanted to give you this, It is a magical medallion that one of the angels gave to me before my Coronation. It seems to calm and soothe you.” She pressed the small golden disc into his paw and he held it up by the chain to examine it. It was old, very old. Cherish took it from him and placed it around his neck. In truth he did feel calmer. Cherish kissed him and said, I’ll meet you in the Grand Hall when it is time.
Thundie, Shadowfoot and Josie Mae made their way downstairs their Angel siblings flew over them. As the approached the anteroom to the Grand Hall they could hear the murmur of a crowd. Angel Sylvia Seville approached them and said, Good morning your Highness. Every thing is ready for the ceremony. What will happen is that we’ll walk out onto the platform and you will stand on the left facing the audience. Q Cherish will then enter from the right and face the crowd.
Q Cherish will say, ”Welcome, Kitties of the Feline Empire, we are gathered here to begin a new Era of Inclusion, Friendship, and yes, happiness! We have had a rough month, and we have come through it, but now we can move forward under the auspices of a loving and benevolent leader.”
Angel Sylvie paused and said “When she finishes her remarks, you will turn to face her and she will walk over to you and face you. At that point, Angel Lucy will come out on to the stage, followed by an escort of angels. She will have your Crown and Scepter on a velvet pillow. Queen Cherish will then turn to her and take the Crown and place it on your head. She will raise the Scepter and hand it to you. Angel Lucy will then Proclaim, “The Angels of the Feline Empire are honored to Present His Highness King Thunderfoot, Monarch of the Feline Empire.”
Angel Sylvie continued, “Angel Lucy will step back, you will step forward and make your remarks. There is going to be huge applause, so give it a moment to settle down before you start. No matter what you say, As long as you end with the announcement that the All-Day Coronation Ball is about to begin, your speech will be a success.”
Thundie nodded. He felt strangely calm and yes he felt strong and proud. This was his moment in Feline History.
Let the Coronation Begin!

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January 28th 2014 10:13 am
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On Saturday February 1st, at 10:00 AM Eastern Time Prince Thunderfoot ( will receive his Royal Crown.
The ceremony will take place on King Thunderfoots Diary page and all Catster Kitties are invited. Please tell your friends in any groups that you belong to.
Following the ceremony there will be a Coronation Ball and Formal dinner. The menu follows:

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• FABULOUS FRITES - Large cut Russet potatoes coated with truffle oil, asiago cheese & herbs
• IMPORTED GOURMET CHEESE PLATE – A blend of Stilton, Wensleydale, cheddar & blue cheese, port wine cheese, Dried Fruits, Mixed Nuts, Served with gourmet crackers & thinly sliced Granny Smith apples.
…………………………………………… ……? ?…………………
• French Onion Soup -, Sweet onions, Gruyere Cheese on a toasted baguette round, in a rich beef stock.

• SPINACH SALAD - Organic baby spinach with red onions. Toasted hazelnuts, grape tomatoes and goat cheese dressed with a tomato vinaigrette
……………………………………… ……? ??……………………
• Prime Rib - served with delicious mashed potatoes & a mouthwatering Au Jus gravy
• BEEF WELLINGTON - Tenderloin of beef with duck liver pate wrapped in puff pastry, w/ cheddar smashed potatoes
• BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN – served w/ braised greens and a sweet potato cream
• VEGETARIAN COTTAGE PIE- A hearty barley and lentil pie topped w/ mashed potatoes
………………………………………… ……? ??…………………
* All meals served with Fresh Rolls & Butter, Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, Herbal Tea & Iced Tea.
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• CHOCOLATE FONDUE – with strawberries, bananas, raspberry and cake

There will be dancing until with music provided by the Royal Orchestra and Misty the Mystifying our internationally famous DJ
Please come and celebrate with us!



January 20th 2014 5:07 am
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Message Body:

Walter Camp:

Father of American football
Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", pictured here in 1878 as the captain of the Yale football teamWalter Camp is widely considered to be the most important figure in the development of American football. As a youth, he excelled in sports like track, baseball, and soccer, and after enrolling at Yale in 1876, he earned varsity honors in every sport the school offered.

Camp became a fixture at the Massasoit House conventions where rules were debated and changed. Dissatisfied with what seemed to him to be a disorganized mob, he proposed his first rule change at the first meeting he attended in 1878: a reduction from fifteen players to eleven. The motion was rejected at that time but passed in 1880. The effect was to open up the game and emphasize speed over strength. Camp's most famous change, the establishment of the line of scrimmage and the snap from center to quarterback, was also passed in 1880. Originally, the snap was executed with the foot of the center. Later changes made it possible to snap the ball with the hands, either through the air or by a direct hand-to-hand pass.

Camp's new scrimmage rules revolutionized the game, though not always as intended. Princeton, in particular, used scrimmage play to slow the game, making incremental progress towards the end zone during each down. Rather than increase scoring, which had been Camp's original intent, the rule was exploited to maintain control of the ball for the entire game, resulting in slow, unexciting contests. At the 1882 rules meeting, Camp proposed that a team be required to advance the ball a minimum of five yards within three downs. These down-and-distance rules, combined with the establishment of the line of scrimmage, transformed the game from a variation of rugby or soccer into the distinct sport of American football.

Camp was central to several more significant rule changes that came to define American football. In 1881, the field was reduced in size to its modern dimensions of 120 by 53⅓ yards (109.7 by 48.8 meters). Several times in 1883, Camp tinkered with the scoring rules, finally arriving at four points for a touchdown, two points for kicks after touchdowns, two points for safeties, and five for field goals. In 1887, game time was set at two halves of 45 minutes each. Also in 1887, two paid officials—a referee and an umpire—were mandated for each game. A year later, the rules were changed to allow tackling below the waist, and in 1889, the officials were given whistles and stopwatches.

After leaving Yale in 1882, Camp was employed by the New Haven Clock Company until his death in 1925. Though no longer a player, he remained a fixture at annual rules meetings for most of his life, and he personally selected an annual All-American team every year from 1889 through 1924. The Walter Camp Football Foundation continues to select All-American teams in his honor.[12]

Expansion (1880–1904)
1902 football game between the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan
University of Wisconsin football team, 1903College football expanded greatly during the last two decades of the 19th century. In 1880, only eight universities fielded intercollegiate teams, but by 1900, the number had expanded to 43. Several major rivalries date from this time period.

In 1879, the University of Michigan became the first school west of Pennsylvania to establish a college football team. Other Midwestern schools soon followed suit, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Minnesota. The first western team to travel east was the 1881 Michigan team, which played at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.[15][16] The nation's first college football league, the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (also known as the Western Conference), a precursor to the Big Ten Conference, was founded in 1895.

The first nighttime football game was played in Mansfield, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1892 between Mansfield State Normal and Wyoming Seminary and ended at halftime in a 0–0 tie.

Led by legendary coach Fielding H. Yost, Michigan became the first "western" national power. From 1901 to 1905, Michigan had a 56-game undefeated streak that included a 1902 trip to play in the first college football post-season game, the Rose Bowl. During this streak, Michigan scored 2,831 points while allowing only 40.

Historical college football scoring Era Touchdown Field goal Conversion (kick) Conversion (touchdown) Safety Conversion safety Defensive conversion
1883 2 5 4 – 1 – –
1883–1897 4 5 2 – 2 – –
1898–1903 5 5 1 – 2 – –
1904–1908 5 4 1 – 2 – –
1909–1911 5 3 1 – 2 – –
1912–1957 6 3 1 – 2 – –
1958–1988 6 3 1 2 2 1 –
1988–present 6 3 1 2 2 1 2
Note: For brief periods in the late 19th century, some penalties awarded one or more points for the opposing teams, and some teams in the late 19th and early 20th centuries chose to negotiate their own scoring system for individual games.



January 17th 2014 6:26 am
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seeing as the next big event is the superbowl!!

The history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origin in varieties of football played in Britain in the mid-19th century, in which a football is kicked at a goal and/or run over a line.

American football resulted from several major divergences from rugby, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, a Yale graduate and considered to be the "Father of American Football". Among these important changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and of down-and-distance rules. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, gameplay developments by college coaches such as Eddie Cochems, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne, and Glenn "Pop" Warner helped take advantage of the newly introduced forward pass. The popularity of college football grew as it became the dominant version of the sport in the United States for the first half of the 20th century. Bowl games, a college football tradition, attracted a national audience for college teams. Boosted by fierce rivalries, college football still holds widespread appeal in the US.

The origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892, with William "Pudge" Heffelfinger's $500 contract to play in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. In 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formed. This league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and eventually became the major league of American football. Primarily a sport of Midwestern industrial towns in the United States, professional football eventually became a national phenomenon. Football's increasing popularity is usually traced to the 1958 NFL Championship Game, a contest that has been dubbed the "Greatest Game Ever Played". A rival league to the NFL, the American Football League (AFL), began play in 1960; the pressure it put on the senior league led to a merger between the two leagues and the creation of the Super Bowl, which has become the most watched television event in the United States on an annual basis.

Early games
A Native American college football teamAlthough there are mentions of Native Americans playing ball games, modern American football has its origins in traditional ball games played at villages and schools in Europe for many centuries before America was settled by Europeans. There are reports of early settlers at Jamestown, Virginia playing games with inflated balls in the early 17th century.

Early games appear to have had much in common with the traditional "mob football" played in England, especially on Shrove Tuesday when they used a lemon instead of a ball. The games remained largely unorganized until the 19th century, when intramural games of football began to be played on college campuses. This was when Walter Camp, a Yale graduate and "The Father of American Football", invented certain rules (such as system of downs) to provide singularity in the sport. Each school played its own variety of football. Princeton students played a game called "ballown" as early as 1820. A Harvard tradition known as "Bloody Monday" began in 1827, which consisted of a mass ballgame between the freshman and sophomore classes. Dartmouth played its own version called "Old division football", the rules of which were first published in 1871, though the game dates to at least the 1830s. All of these games, and others, shared certain commonalities. They remained largely "mob" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area, often by any means necessary. Rules were simple, violence and injury were common. The violence of these mob-style games led to widespread protests and a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860, while Harvard followed suit in 1861.



January 16th 2014 9:26 am
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Labor Unrest and Further Expansion:

The 1990s were yet another decade of great change in the NHL. When the ‘90s began, there were 21 teams in the NHL. When the calendar changed to the year 2000, there were 30. Two sets of expansion created a larger league than ever before; the first set began in 1991, when the San Jose Sharks joined the league. The next year the Tampa Bay Lightning were added along with the Ottawa Senators (with no connection to the old Senators other than the name). The following year, the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks brought the NHL’s total to 26. The Mighty Ducks inclusion was a source of great contention, particularly among hockey purists. The Ducks, owned by the Disney Corporation, were named after a team of children from a 1992 Disney film. Hockey fans thought this embarrassing; despite their objections, the Ducks stayed around, though the team was later sold, and their named changed from the Mighty Ducks to just the Ducks – it was only after this change that the team finally won a Stanley Cup.

The second wave of expansion occurred at the close of the decade. In 1998, hockey came to Nashville in the form of the Predators; a year later, the Thrashers brought hockey back to Atlanta. Finally, the 2000-01 season began with two new teams: the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. Of the nine teams that were added to the NHL lists in the ‘90s, only two have won the Stanley Cup finals: the Ducks and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In addition to adding teams, the NHL moved several teams around in the 1990s. .The Minnesota North Stars packed up and moved to Dallas in 1993, becoming the Dallas Stars. In 1995, the Quebec Nordiques headed southwest, making their home in Denver and calling themselves the Colorado Avalanche. The Winnipeg Jets also left Canada, moving to Phoenix and renaming themselves the Coyotes in 1996, while in ’97, the Whalers abandoned Hartford and relocated to North Carolina, rebranding themselves the Carolina Hurricanes.

However, as the league enjoyed unprecedented expansion in the ‘90s, it also suffered through its first significant labor disruptions. The first came in 1992, when, after new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could not be reached, the players announced, on April 1, that they would go on strike, the first league-wide player strike in NHL history. It would last ten days, as an agreement was signed on April 10. Of the 30 remaining regular season games, 11 were played. The playoffs were not interrupted. The second, and more serious disruption, came just two years later. In 1993, the CBA that had been negotiated in ’92 expired, and the entire 1993-94 season was played under the expired CBA. On October 11, after months and months of fruitless negotiating, the owners announced a lockout. This would not last a short time; the lockout lasted over 90 days, with the owners and player’s association finally reaching an agreement on January 11. The season began on January 20, lasting only 48 days.

While the ‘80s belonged to Gretzky, the early ‘90s belonged to Mario Lemieux. Lemieux had been the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first round pick in 1984, and as the ‘80s wound down and the ‘90s started up, “Super Mario” came into his own, winning three Hart Trophies, winning the Art Ross Trophy six times and winning the Conn Smythe trophy in both of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup finals appearances (which they won both times). In the minds of many, Lemieux’s talent was second only to Gretzky’s.

The other star of the ‘90s was undoubtedly Patrick Roy. The goaltender began playing for Montreal in the mid-‘80s, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy his rookie year, 1986. He would go on to win two more, though one was not for the Canadiens. In the middle of the 1995-96, Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, and that spring backstopped them to a Stanley Cup championship. He would win a second with the Avs in 2001, winning his third and final Conn Smythe. He also won three Vezina trophies, all while with Montreal. When he retired, Roy held almost several major goaltending records and was considered by many to be the best of all time. Since then, he has lost some of those records to a new challenger to the throne of greatest goalie of all time, Martin Brodeur.

Hockey’s Darkest Days:

As the new millennium dawned, hockey’s fortunes appeared bright. They had finally reached a level of stability – no new teams were added or moved in the entire decade, while only one team changed its name (the Mighty Ducks to the Ducks). Parity had reached the NHL as well: only two teams won multiple titles in the 2000s, the Devils and the Red Wings, and those victories were three and six years apart, respectively. Several teams made or won the Finals for the first time, including the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators, the Ducks and the Lightning. However, the middle of the decade saw a dark cloud descend on the sport.

Leading up to the 2004-05 season, the CBA had expired, and negotiations between the league (led by Commissioner Gary Bettman) and the NHLPA hinged primarily on the issue of a salary cap. Contracts had been going up and up, and with no kind of cap, there was no end in sight. The players stood firm, refusing to back down, and on September 13, 2004, the owners imposed the second lockout in history. This one, however, would be far more damaging than the first. This lockout lasted 310 days, causing the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season and playoffs, the first time the Stanley Cup had been cancelled since 1919, when the flu epidemic shut it down. When the lockout finally ended in July of 2005, severe damage had been done. Only in the last few years has the NHL finally been able to recover somewhat from the lockout, in attendance, TV ratings and revenue.

Out of the lockout, the NHL got itself a hard salary cap (including significant pay cuts for its players). The NHL also, in an attempt to win back fans (and perhaps gain new ones) also changed some of its rules, opening up the ice (by shrinking the neutral zone), prohibiting contact in the neutral zone and introducing “touch-up offsides,” all in an attempt to increase scoring.

Hockey Today:

As the NHL and professional hockey enters the next decade, it is in a far better place. Its new stars, including Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, are major figures in the sports world. The Detroit Red Wings returned to dominance in the late part of the decade, winning the 2008 Stanley Cup. In fact, the 2008 and 2009 Finals included both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Red Wings, with the Wings winning the first matchup and the Penguins the second, the first time since ’83-’84 that’s happened, and only the fourth time in history. The next season, the most recent Stanley Cup finals, the Chicago Blackhawks captured their first Cup victory since 1961. Interestingly, winger Marian Hossa, one of the major NHLers of the 2000s, played in all three Stanley Cup finals from 2008 to 2010 – each for a different team, the first time in NHL history that has occurred. Hossa played with the Penguins when they lost in 2008, played for the Red Wings when they lost in 2009, and finally took home the title with the Blackhawks in 2010.

With the NHL finally starting to recover, they are starting to see TV ratings and revenues pick up. However, another CBA expiration is looming, and if the NHL fails to learn from its mistakes of the mid-2000s, it could spell doom for the sport. Time will tell.



January 15th 2014 10:04 am
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International Hockey:

For years, the balance of power in hockey resided in North America. European teams simply did not have the talent to compete. However, as the WHA showed by recruiting European players and as the Soviets showed in the Summit Series, the rest of the international hockey world was finally catching up (with the rest of the hockey world being essentially Europe). The European game developed into a different entity than the North American game, emphasizing speed and skill with less focus on physicality. While North American hockey liked speed and skill just fine, they also loved their bruisers, and Europe didn’t play that style very much.

In international hockey tournaments (both the World Championships and the Olympics), the Soviets ruled, though this was helped greatly by the fact that both the World Championships and Olympics were played by amateurs and not NHLers. Still, no one could deny the Soviet might; almost all of the Soviet stars of the ‘70s and ‘80s could (and should) have played in the NHL, but were barred from doing so by the Iron Curtain. In particular, Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak was considered by most to be the greatest goaltender in the world (and is still thought of that way in many circles). Their international dominance – from 1956 to 1988, the Soviet Union won seven out of a possible nine gold medals – is a major part of what made the 1980 Olympic games such a surprise. The United States, made up of a group of college players, beat the Soviets in one of the greatest upsets in sports history, 4-3, in the semifinal match of the tournament. The U.S. went on to beat Finland in the gold medal game.

In the ‘90s and ‘00s, international teams started using their professionals to play, and in 2002, Canada won its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years, beating the U.S. in the gold medal game. Eight years later, in the Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada succeeded on home ice, winning another gold medal – again, beating the U.S. in the final. In the last fifty years, only five teams have won gold medals: the Soviet Union (and, in 1992, the “Unified Team,” a squad made up of the former Soviet republics and Russia), Canada, the U.S., the Czech Republic and Sweden.

The Great One: The ‘80s:

The 1980'smarked the first decade since the ‘50s that the NHL did not add a single franchise, though the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary (where they still reside) in 1980 and the Rockies moved to New Jersey to become the Devils (where they remain to this day) in 1982. 1980 also saw the end of an era: Gordie Howe, who had moved from the Houston Aeros to the New England Whalers two years before the WHA merged into the NHL, played one season with the Whalers (in their new location, Hartford), retiring for the final time after the season. At 52 years old, Howe led the Whalers in scoring for the vast majority of the season, finishing with 41 points and playing in all 80 games.

Early in 1981, after two years with the new WHA teams, the NHL realigned itself. Although they kept the conference and divisional names, the conferences and divisions themselves were reorganized geographically: previously, the Wales and Campbell conferences (which had been, respectively, the East and West Divisions) were a mish-mash of east and west teams. Now, the Wales Conference was made up of teams entirely from the eastern parts of the U.S. and Canada, while the Campbell Conference was made up of teams from the west and Midwest. The playoffs were also redone: teams now competed with teams in their own division in the division semi-finals and finals, then advancing to the conference finals before reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Additionally, the Prince of Wales trophy and Campbell Cup were now awarded to the team who won their conference in the playoffs.

But perhaps the biggest addition of the 1980s was two players who came over from the WHA with the Edmonton Oilers: Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky. Messier, considered one of the all-time great captains of the game, ended his career with six Stanley Cup victories (including five with the Oilers in the ‘80s and 1990's) and would probably have finished with a large number of NHL records if not for Gretzky. Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One,” ended his career considered the greatest hockey player of all time. He won the Art Ross trophy an unmatched ten times, including seven in a row in the ‘80s, won the Conn Smythe twice, won the Hart Trophy nine times, including eight in a row (only one other player won a Hart Trophy in the 1980s: Mario Lemieux) and won the Lady Byng five times. To this day, Gretzky holds or shares 61 different NHL records, from the regular season, playoffs and All-Star game, including career points, goals and assists. Messier is second to Gretzky in many of those records.

However, before Gretzky and Messier’s Oilers could dominate in the later half of the decade, the New York Islanders had something to say first. Following the Canadiens’ four-peat to close out the ‘70s, the Isles opened up the 1980s with four straight Stanley Cup championships, coached by Al Arbour (who, ironically, won his only Adams award the year before the Islanders went on their run). The Islanders streak ended when they lost in the Stanley Cup finals to Edmonton in 1984. The Oilers would win back-to-back titles twice in the decade, their string of four Stanley Cup victories interrupted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. The ‘80s also marked the end of long-lasting dynasties in the NHL; in the two decades since, no team has won more than two consecutive Stanley Cups.

The Oilers success, however, clearly did not rest solely on Wayne Gretzky; theirs was a complete team, from Messier to winger Jarri Kuri, from defenseman Paul Coffey to goaltender Grant Fuhr, all of them Hall-of-Famers. Still, a shockwave was sent through the hockey world when, on August 9, 1988, Gretzky was traded from the Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Many blamed penny-pinching Oilers owner Peter Pocklington for Gretzky’s departure, while others also pointed fingers at Gretzky’s wife, the Los Angeles native Janet Jones. Whatever the reason, Gretzky’s trade stunned both Oilers fans and hockey followers across the globe. While the Oilers would go on to win one more Stanley Cup, however (in 1990), Gretzky would never win another.



January 14th 2014 9:26 am
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Canadian (and Canadien) Domination:

The 1950s had been primarily controlled by two teams: the Red Wings and the Canadiens. The ‘60s would be no different, only this time, it was Toronto who shared the decade with Montreal. Of the 10 Stanley Cup series in the decade, all but one were won by a team from Canada. Montreal won five titles, Toronto four and the Chicago Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 23 years when they hoisted the Cup in ’61 – and would not do so again for 49 years. Until 1968, only four teams even played in the Stanley Cup finals: Montreal (who won in ’60 and ’65-’66), Toronto (who won from ’62-’64 and in ’67), Chicago and Detroit (losers in ’61, ’63, ’64 and ’66). Finally, in the last two years of the decade, a new team arrived on the scene, the St. Louis Blues (a new team to the league, as well). However, the Blues could not get past the Canadiens, who finished the decade with back-to-back wins. The Blues were coached by Scotty Bowman, who, when his career was done, would have more Stanley Cup victories than any coach in history with nine (compiled with three different teams, none of them the Blues, who have never won a Stanley Cup).

The Maple Leafs, however, enjoyed their success in the ‘60s without a familiar face at the helm: in 1961, Conn Smythe, now 66 years old, decided to sell his shares of the team to his son. His son immediately sold the team and the arena away. Though Smythe stayed on as chairman of the board until 1964, his days of running the team were over. In 1964, upon his retirement, the league awarded a new trophy at the end of the Stanley Cup finals, the Conn Smythe Trophy, to the player voted most valuable in the playoffs.


The St. Louis Blues were not the only new hockey team to appear in the late 1960s; 1967 saw the first large-scale expansion in league history, with the NHL adding six teams to its existing six. The existing six teams (the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks) were nicknamed the Original Six, a moniker that has stuck to this day. The expansion was spurred by a league that had formed in the 1950s, the Western Hockey League. The WHL, which began in 1952, focused its attention on California, and experienced early success there. The WHL even intended to establish itself as a major league, competing for the Stanley Cup. They never reached that status, and in 1974 went under. However, their success on the West Coast (in addition to the NHL’s desire to cash in on the TV market there) led to NHL expansion.

The six new teams were the Los Angeles Kings, California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. The Seals would, in the span of just ten years, change their name to the Oakland Seals, California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons (after moving to Cleveland) and then merge with the North Stars. The omission of a Canadian team from the expansion caused considerable ire in Canada, made worse by the addition of St. Louis. Vancouver had been considered a strong candidate for expansion, but Montreal and Toronto reportedly didn’t want to share TV revenues. St. Louis hadn’t even put in a bid, but Chicago Black Hawks owner Bill Wirtz owned a stadium in St. Louis, and therefore supported putting a team there. The Blues were easily the most successful expansion team early on, making three straight Stanley Cup finals.

The addition of the six new teams also divided the league for the first time. Previously, the league had only one division; now that six more teams were added, the league split into two divisions, the East and West. With expansion also came an increase in the number of regular season games, which went up to 74 in the 1967-68 season. Just one year later, they increased to 76. New to the divisions were awards for regular-season triumph: the winner of the East Division received the Prince of Wales Trophy. The winner of the West got the Clarence Campbell Bowl, named for a former president of the NHL.

Ups and Downs: the 1970s:

The ‘70s were a tumultuous time for hockey in North America. In the ‘70s, seven different professional leagues closed down operations. The Western, Eastern, North American, Pacific, Southern and Northeastern Hockey Leagues all closed up shop, as did the World Hockey Association. Each league was either set up as a rival to the NHL or as a minor pro league. The World Hockey Association, however, had a far greater impact on the league than any other. The WHA, which began operations in 1972, was mostly made up of teams from cities that had been rejected by the NHL for being too small-market: the New England Whalers, Alberta Oilers, Houston Aeros, Calgary Broncos, Ottawa Nationals and Quebec Nordiques. The new league received a boon when they successfully challenged the NHL’s reserve clause, which allowed NHLers to move to the WHA. The most high profile of these defections was that of Bobby Hull, the Black Hawks star who signed with the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA for a then-record ten year, $2.75 million deal (worth $12.8 million today). Another notable name to join the WHA was Gordie Howe. Howe had retired from the NHL in 1971, but returned with the Houston Aeros in 1973 to play on a line with his two sons. Howe tallied 100 points in his first year back (at age 46), and would play six seasons in the WHA. The WHA also began recruiting European players, something the NHL had not yet done, believing European hockey players to be inferior to North American players. In 1979, the WHA folded, but not before agreeing to a merger with the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers (whose name had been changed from Alberta to Edmonton), the Winnipeg Jets, the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford (nee New England) Whalers all joined the NHL. All four teams still play in the NHL, though only one (the Oilers) still play in the city in which they originated. The WHA also helped end the reserve clause, raise player salaries and give credence to Canadian teams (who didn’t happen to be located in Montreal or Toronto).

The four WHA teams were not the only ones to join the NHL in the ‘70s. In 1970, the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks joined the league, in ’72 the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders joined the fold and in 1974, the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals were added. Each of those franchises still exists, though some have moved/changed their name, including the Scouts, who moved to Denver just two years after they came into the league and became the Rockies.

The increase in the number of teams also altered the landscape of the NHL’s number of games played and divisions. In 1970, the games had increased to 78 in the regular season, and in ’74, they went up further, to 80. They would remain at that number for almost 20 years. Additionally, no longer would teams play in the East and West divisions; now, the NHL was divided into two conferences, with two divisions in each. The Prince of Wales Conference, with the Norris and Adams divisions, and the Campbell Conference, with the Smythe and Patrick divisions made up the new NHL. The conferences got their names from the trophies awarded to their regular-season winners. The divisions were named for significant figures in hockey: James Norris was the former owner of the Red Wings, while Jack Adams was the former coach and manager of the Wings (the Adams trophy was also introduced that year, awarded to the league’s top coach). The Smythe division was named for Conn Smythe, and the Patrick division for Lester.

The ‘70s also saw the first Summit Series played, a matchup of a Canadian national team (made up of NHL stars) and the Soviet Union national squad. Helped along by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the Summit Series was a worldwide event, with all eyes of the hockey world turned on the eight-game series. The Canadian public (and most of the press and players) expected to win easily. Though they won, it was not easy, as the Soviets proved to be an incredibly fierce opponent. However, it would be years before a Soviet hockey player laced up skates in the NHL.

Also in the ‘70s, Bobby Orr came to the forefront of the sport. Orr, a young defenseman playing for the Boston Bruins, helped lead the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title since 1941 when, in 1970, he won the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Norris Trophy. No other player in history has even won all those awards in the same year. The Norris Trophy had been give to the NHL in 1953 to recognize the late James Norris, awarded annually to the player considered the best defenseman. Orr’s 1970 win was his third, and he would go on to win five more, winning it an unmatched eight times (all in a row). No player before or since has accomplished that feat. Orr also collected three Hart Trophies in his career, the last defenseman to win the award until Chris Pronger did it almost 30 years later. Orr is credited with revolutionizing the defense position, making it a more offensive position than it had ever truly been.


momma's blog

January 13th 2014 7:06 pm
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my name is deb I am hooman momma to prince thunderfoot,baron shadowfoot, queen josiemae and my two angels countess lafdy scooter and doodlebug I am wanting to speak with all of u .. ihave had some really hard times in my life. I know most of my attention here at this time is with thunderfoot cause he is doing his catpaign, bmy heart lies with all my cats, but my soul belongs to queen josiemae. look her up if u don't know her u can find her by going to thundie's page jjust click on her picture and bring her up and read her story of how I became her "moma" I am sitting here in my floor listening to alianes morraset and she got in my lap. I look into her beautiful eyes, and I see the soul of my friend joe reed.
she has the most intense, soulful, loving eyes I have had the pleasure of looking into.

she feels my pain of my everyday life and cuddles up next to me every nite to sleep, well that is except for the three to five nites she decides to ramble and I don't see her ,till she comes back home.
regardless of that, we have a bond from my lost friend. she is the only living link I have to them and we share that cause I saved her

I just wanted to let all of u know she is my soul

mommqa deb



January 13th 2014 10:11 am
[ Leave A Comment | 2 people already have ]

Mr. Hockey: the ‘50s:

The latter part of the 1940s belonged to the Maple Leafs; since the NHL assumed control of the Stanley Cup in ’26, no team had won it more than twice in a row. That changed in the last three years of the ‘40s, when Toronto won three straight, and four times in five years (winning in ’45 and ’47-’49). Their opponents in the last two Stanley Cup victories were the Detroit Red Wings, a sign of things to come. In the first year of the new decade, the Red Wings took home the Stanley Cup, and would go on to dominate the first half of the 1950s. Of the first six Stanley Cup finals in the ‘50s, the Red Wings would win four of them. The Winged Wheelmen were led by Gordie Howe, a brilliant hockey player who began his career in the NHL in the 1946-47 season, and would go on to play professional hockey for 31 more season, spanning four decades. Nicknamed “Mr. Hockey,” Howe won six Art Ross trophies, six Hart Trophies and when he retired held the records for goals and points, considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time (before Gretzky came along, anyway).

Just as the Detroit Red Wings had faced the Maple Leafs twice at the end of the Leaf’s string of Stanley Cup wins in the ‘40s and went on to form their own dynasty, the Montreal Canadiens did the same, facing the Red Wings in ’54 and ’55, losing both times. However, the rest of the decade belonged to the Habs (their nickname, short for “Les Habitants”). Beginning in 1956, the Canadiens went on a string of five straight Stanley Cup victories, unmatched either before or since. The Canadiens even switched coaches twice during their run, but remained unbeatable for that stretch. Just as the Red Wings were led by Gordie Howe, the Canadiens were led by Maurice Richard and a newcomer, the young (and handsome) hockey star Jean Beliveau.

Three innovations that changed the game forever appeared in the 1950s, and two of them actually began in the same year. The first was television. Though televised hockey had actually appeared as far back as 1939, it was an extremely rare occurrence. In 1952, however, as more people began to own televisions, hockey waded into the pool of TV. The first to dip their toes were the Chicago Black Hawks, who decided to broadcast weekend matinee games on Saturdays (not wanting to compete with Saturday night television programs. The Saturday matinees became a staple for the Hawks for years. That same year, a program began in Canada that goes in to this day: Hockey Night in Canada. The first airing was on November 1, 1952, showing a game between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs (beginning in the second period, as Conn Smythe didn’t want to show it all). Smythe had sold the rights to Imperial Oil for $100 per game that first year (just $808 today), but after seeing it was a smash success, Smythe sold three years’ worth of games for $450 thousand dollars beginning that next year (worth $3.6 million today).

The second innovation (and arguably just as significant) was the invention of the Zamboni. The Zamboni, the ice-smoothing tractor used at ice rinks around the world, was created by Frank Zamboni, who opened an outdoor ice rink in southern California in 1940. Zamboni, with backgrounds in both auto repair and refrigeration, wanted a less time-consuming way to resurface the ice, coming up with the machine that drives over the ice, shaving it, smoothing and squeeging it with clean water and recycling the dirty water for reuse. The first Zamboni used in an NHL game was between, again, Montreal and Toronto in 1952.

The last innovation occurred at the very end of the decade. Canadien goaltender Jacques Plante, winner of five Vezina trophies and five Stanley Cups, had been hit in the face by a puck in 1955, sidelining him for five weeks, and again in 1956. After the ’56 strike, Plante mentioned in an interview he’d be interested in a facemask of some kind. A Quebec fan sent Plante a plastic facemask that Plante used in practice for the next three years. In ’57, a man named Bill Burchmore sent Plante a letter, telling him about a facemask made of fiberglass that could be molded to fit Plante’s face that Burchmore had been working with. Together, Plante and Burchmore perfect the design, but it wasn’t until 1959 that it finally made its debut in the NHL. Plante’s coach, Toe Blake, refused to allow Plante to wear the mask, worried it would distract him. On November 1, after Plante was hit in the face with a slapshot, he refused to go back in unless he could use the facemask. Blake finally agreed, and after the Canadiens went on a 10-game winning streak with Plante wearing the facemask, it became a permanent fixture, both in Montreal and across the league.

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