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Notable Characters of the 70s

10 Notable Characters (listed alphabetically)

Harold Ballard - (Toronto Maple Leafs owner)
  • In protest to the new NHL rule of putting players' names on the backs of their game jerseys, Ballard had players' names stitched on the jerseys - but in the same colour as the jersey itself, making the names unrecognizable (fined $10,000 by NHL President John Ziegler)
  • Fired coach Roger Neilson and reinstated him two nights later

Don "Grapes" Cherry - (NHL coach)
  • Once signed autographs during a timeout he called in a game
  • Regularly brought his bull terrier into dressing room, frightening players

Bill "Cowboy" Flett - (NHL forward)
  • Fashioned a thick beard and sideburns on the ice
  • Wore cowboy boots and a feather in his Stetson off the ice

Dave "The Sign Guy" Leonardi - (Philadelphia Flyers season-ticket holder)
  • Would stand up hoisting a large sign (24" x 30") after key moments of play
  • Lugged 100-plus signs in a filing box to each game

Mike Palmateer - (NHL goaltender)
  • Flamboyant style of play (loved wandering out of his crease and exaggerating glove-hand saves)
  • Ate popcorn before every game

Peter Puck - (Cartoon figure)
  • Introduced as an intermission feature on NBC to explain hockey rules and fundamentals
  • Supporting cast included Sneaky Snodgrass, Tommy Toothless and Buster Bonehead

Derek "Turk" Sanderson
  • The decade's Mr. Nightlife
  • Boston radio station held a "date Derek Sanderson" contest and got over 13,000 entries (contest winner was a 76-year-old grandmother)

Eddie "The Entertainer" Shack - (NHL forward)
  • Instigated fights and then raced around ice in retreat
  • Named most colourful character of the century

Gary "Suitcase" Smith - (NHL goaltender)
  • Religiously took off entire equipment between periods
  • Played for seven NHL organizations in 1970s and lost a record 48 games in 1970-71 yet remained unflappable - met press after trade to Vancouver with "Everything you've heard about me is true. I'm a fantastic goaltender"

Dave "Tiger" Williams - (all-time NHL penalty leader)
  • Renowned for goal celebration (rode his stick à la toy pony number)
  • Involved in two on-ice incidents that went to court
Did You Know?
Buffalo Sabres selected Tara Tsujimoto in the 12th round of the 1974 Entry Draft. Weeks later, Sabres GM Punch Imlach confessed it was all a joke and that he had actually plucked Tsujimoto's name from the telephone book.

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