Memorabilia Memories with Rick Ackerman
It is truly an honor for me to contribute this article for this 20th Anniversary edition of Game Time. Although I was living in Ohio in 1995, I came in often for Blues' games and do remember picking up a copy of Game Night Revue. I also recall how cool I thought it was that some dedicated fans started a non-official magazine, replete with negative, caustic opinions and some occasional raunchy language. Little did I know that some fifteen years later I would be contributing to such a great hockey publication. So, it is entirely appropriate that I offer a short list of my ten most personally valued pieces of hockey memorabilia.
10. 1984-85 game worn, signed Mike Liut road Blues jersey - Thanks to my fellow collectors and close friends, Kevin Jones and Mike Hartman, I acquired this unique piece of Blues' history at a nominal price. I consider this version of the Note to be my favorite, with BLUES spelled out on the front with a small Bluenote underneath and absolutely no red on the jersey at all.
9. 1968-69 Blues yearbook - This rare keepsake was signed by every member of the team with the exception of coach Scotty Bowman, including broadcasters Dan Kelly and Gus Kyle, as well as the father and son owners of the team, Sidney Salomon, Jr. and "Sid da turd" (as Noel Picard called him). I traded five of my father's Cardinal World Series programs from the 1940s for the yearbook and $800 cash.
8. 2006-07 game worn, signed Barret Jackman Blues jersey with the Brett Hull retirement patch - "Jacks" has always been one of my favorite players, old-school and tough as nails. It was gratifying to learn that he is one of Brett Hull's favorites, too. I happened to meet Hullie in the coffee aisle at Dierberg's recently and in the course of our short conversation, I told him I had the jersey and he said, "Yeah, you've got to love Barret, old-school tough and sharp as a skate-blade." Good one, Brett...
7. 2010-11 CSKA Moscow (Red Army) signed Yan Stastny jersey - I first met Yan at a Peoria Rivermen game sometime in 2007 and had many occasions over the years to see him again, including a Tip-a-Rivs dinner (he was my waiter) and on the same team at a Blues Fantasy Camp. Upon his return after playing in the KHL, Yan gave me this Russian beauty and a signed stick as a memento of his year he spent enduring the Russian winter.
6. 1988-89 game worn, signed Adam Oates home Blues jersey - The guy at the Blue Note Shop on Woods Mill swore Oates wore this jersey for one game, his first in St. Louis after being acquired from Detroit (the equipment manager apparently took a Dave Lowry jersey and put "Oates" on the nameplate as Adam's wasn't ready yet). However, Oates swore he never wore a #10 jersey and refused to sign on the numbers. He did sign the nameplate, though.
5. 2008 game worn, signed Peoria Blades (Rivermen) Jonas Junland jersey - This was my first win at the Jerseys-off-their-backs auction to benefit Children's Hospital. The Rivermen paid homage to one of the early teams in Peoria's illustrious hockey history with this throwback, and it cost me a pretty penny as a rival fan kept upping the bid. Jonas was very appreciative that his jersey went for so much, and he graciously gave me his stick from the game as well.
4. 1968-69 game worn, signed Frank St. Marseille home Blues jersey - This old-style treasure was purchased straight from the hands of Blues GM and President Emile Francis at the Arena Garage Sale in 1982. It boggles the mind to think it was worn 47 years ago when the Blues were the class of the NHL's Western Division. St. Marseille authenticated this jersey when he signed it for me.
3. Framed 28" X 26" photograph of "The Goal", Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup winner in OT of game four in 1970 - Signed by goaltender Glenn Hall and defenseman Noel Picard of the Blues and Orr, this famous picture will always remind Blues' fans of how close they came to Lord Stanley's Cup, only to fall short when the arguably best player in NHL history broke our hearts with this magnificent effort.
2. Hand-written personal letters and a Maple Leaf picture-postcard signed by Jacques Plante - My hockey buddy in Peoria, Billy Dann, gave me these museum-quality pieces of hockey history when he was forced to vacate his house and was afraid he might lose them in the process of moving. When he was a young teenage goaltender learning to play the game in St. Louis, Dann wrote Plante for advice and was rewarded with two letters and a postcard from the legendary net minder.
1. Brett Hull game worn, signed Blues gloves - Even though I hadn't played hockey in over 20 years, I nevertheless signed up for and played at the Blues Fantasy Camp in 2007. I had to borrow all my equipment from the alumni, and the equipment manager graciously let me keep everything, including Hull's gloves. When I scored a beautiful, top-shelf goal in a game, I knew some of Hull's DNA must have rubbed off on my hands!
Raise your glasses high and toast 20 more years of Game Time for St. Louis hockey fans. I feel very privileged and proud to have been part of the first 20 years.