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The Display Case: Stick With The Stick! (60's Era Leafs Auto Stick)

October 18, 2021, 12:51 PM ET [1 Comments]
Shawn Gates
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Many of the things in life are about context. Case in point: socks and underwear. This was the worst thing EVER in the stocking at Christmas as a kid. Give me candy and toys, not tighty-whities! Now? Love refreshing the supply of boxers and socks! Any better feeling than some fresh, non-stretched, hole-less gitch and footware? I think not! Just took a few decades for my appreciation to get there!

They way in which we appreciate something as a child versus an adult definitely shift in notable ways above perspectives on underwear as a giftable object (and thank god for that). Our ideas around so many objects and experiences evolve over the course of our lives such that we can find ourselves reminiscing with an air of amazement as to how we came to view things a certain way at different stages. Our hobby lives are no exception to this, with many an adult sadly lamenting over their choice to draw on their cards (I mean, we had to place some type of identifying mark to distinguish our favourite players, right?), use checklists as checklists, or wear/wash autographed jerseys (I still cringe seeing adults doing this…). We’ve been there, wishing we could have known then what we know now, while also forgetting that we were having fun in the way we knew how then!

I raise this given today’s feature piece from Bill. Here we have an incredible collectors item gifted to him at a young age: a signed stick with some real legends (Horton, Armstrong, Baun, Keon, Kelly, Bower, Imlach, Mahovlich) having inked it up. While he still has his, others were not so lucky as he shares…

The story behind the stick….well I was 7 or 8 when I was given the stick by a good friends father. There were three of them: One for my friend, one for my older brother, and one for me. This is the only one still around - my brother used his for both ice and street hockey (yikes!!) and the other…who knows! I still see my friend and he has no idea where it went!

I think it’s (the stick) from the 1961 or ‘62 team…Dave Keon, Alan Stanley, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Bobby Braun, Al Stewart, Bob Nevis, Bob Pulford, Billy Harris, Al Arbor, Johnny Bower, George Armstrong, Ed Shack, Leo Kozak, and Bert Olmsted ….also Punch Imlach….the only player to sign in pencil was Frank Mahovlich and as you might see it’s smudged!

Many years ago I met Ken Dryden when he was president of the Leafs and told him of the stick. At the time the Leafs were putting together memorabilia to be displayed at the ACC. He seemed quite interested and suggested I call his office and speak to his assistant. Never heard back and when I met Dryden a year later he gave some lame excuse and asked that I call his office again….so I did….and I got crickets again!! So the stick has stayed in my closet - it has yellowed a bit, probably due to the fact that it was shellacked, but otherwise is in great shape.

As you can see from the video and pictures, the quality and condition of so many of these autographs are stunning. To have such a great group of Maple Leafs legends together on one piece is incredible, and yet Bill here is the only of the three kids to still have his! The other two were played into the ground and misplaced/lost to the ages, as kids will do! Enough to make an adult cringe, while standard fair for the typical kid. In many ways a “right of passage” gut punch for so many of us who destroyed, lost, or had our parents throw out what could have been something of decent value. Tears to my eyes folks. Happy for Bill though, and thank him again for sharing this great piece of history with us today!

Positive vibes to you all. Please put some care into you and yours this beautiful day and look out for one another where possible! Our impact on others with even the smallest of actions, is far greater than we tend to realize. My best your way…


Do you have a piece of treasured memorabilia that has a great story behind it? Let me know and you can be featured in an article. Doesn't matter how big or small the piece is, how valuable it may be, or whether it's a common item or more oddball. If you think it has a story, contact me via the information below and we'll chat. In the meantime, check out some previous "Display Case" articles via the links below to see what others have submitted in the past...

Shawn Gates

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Facebook: ShawnMcShawn

Previous ”The Display Case” Posts
#1: The “Frankenstick!”
#2: Your desk has the right to remain collectable!
#3: Have Pads, Will Travel
#4: Pick a Pekka (Rinne) Autographed Mask
#5: Ted Lindsay Gets Kronwalled?
#6: The Only Thing We Have To Fehr Is Fehr Himself
#7: “Hungary” For Team Canada Swag
#8: The Soldiers Kid and “The Kid”
#9: Fan Appreciation & Player Humility Via The '72 Series
#10: Bobby Orr and....Birth Control?!?!?!
#11: Johnny Bower The “Portrait” Of Health At 88!!!
#12: Scotty Bowman – Stick Detective!!!
#13: Touch 'Em All Joe!!!
#14: Joey and Sergei's European (Lockout) Adventure!!!
#15: I’d Give The Jersey Off My Back For You…
#16: The Case Of The 1940’s Era Leafs
#17: Scrapping The History Of The Isles...
#18: Gretzky “Re-Signs” in Edmonton
#19: Gilmour Is Such A Caricature!!!
#20: Toys In The Attic
#21: The Right King Place At The Right King Time
#22: Momma Bear Takes On A “Killer”!!!
#23: Leafs Lunch Stool
#24: The 50 Goal Stub
#25: Scoring From The Rafters
#26: Junior Jersey Mail Order Mayhem!
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2005-06 ITG Heroes & Prospects
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