About the Stick
My parents have owned a Sports Memorabilia and Collectible Store [TemDee] in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area since before I was born Back in the 80’s, my dad promoted his own Autograph and Sports Card Shows featuring athletes from the local Philadelphia sports teams. This was in the days when athletes would make appearances for moderate fees and expenses. While the shows were designed to promote his business my dad enjoyed spending a few hours with the various athletes that made appearances at his shows. My dad especially enjoyed hearing stories about the origins of their nicknames. He loved to hear the player’s stories about themselves and their teammates. His favorite stories were those that centered around the origin of player’s nickname. Over time my dad started a collection of autographed baseballs with a unique twist. When meeting various players, my dad would ask if they’d mind signing a baseball for his personal collection and tried to see if they player would including their nickname in the signature. [Or for players known only by their nicknames, he’d want them to use their given name along with the common moniker everyone was familiar with. My dad’s collection began to grow to several hundred nicknamed-autograph baseballs. In some cases finding out the player’s nickname proved to be more difficult then trying to get the autograph in the first place.
What I’ve always admired about my dad’s collection isn’t the nicknamed autographed baseballs themselves, but the fact that my Dad can recall a story about each and every ball. Those balls in his collection that don’t feature a player’s nickname still tell a story about my dad’s various attempts to convince those players to include a nickname in the autograph. Some of the most interesting stories end up being more about how my mom along with myself, my brother and sister were involved in helping my dad with his collection. It’s been quite awhile since he’s added additional baseballs to his collection, but it doesn’t stop him from recalling and sharing those stories about each and every ball. When I talk about my dad’s unique collection, I let people know my dad doesn’t collect ‘autographs’, he collects ‘stories’. Each baseball is merely a ‘souvenirs’ of the exciting memory it represents.
Despite growing up in a sports collectible store, it wasn’t until recently that I took an interest in any sport in particular. My parents business takes up almost all of their time as the store is open 7 days a week for 8 hours a day. With their health declining and little thought to retirement, I’m always trying to find ways to help them get away from work and encouraging them to enjoy themselves a little more. For my dad especially, complex medical issue with his feet make it difficult for him to walk more than a feet on his own without falling. I wanted to find something that would ensure my dad could get away from work a couple of times a week so last year I purchased season tickets to our local NHL team [Philadelphia Flyers]. To make sure he wouldn’t have an excuse to stay a work, I picked him up for every game, loaded his wheelchair into my car and pushed him around the arena for over 40 games last season including the Winter Classic & Classic Alumni game. While attending those games with my dad, I developed somewhat of an appreciation for the game and it’s history, specifically for those sexy masked men crouching down in the line of fire. My dad would tell me stories about the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ days [long before I’d been born]. I’d look up more stories and records online and read them to my dad on our way to games.
In addition to the games themselves, my dad enjoyed the entire atmosphere of the arena, especially being able to see some of his ‘Bullies’ heroes hanging out on the man concourse before games. Through his store, my dad came across a team photos of the Broad Street Bullies [taken after their second Stanley Cup victory] that was signed by a few of the bullies themselves. We started bringing it to some of the games to get autographs from some of the players whose signatures were missing on the photo. Eventually we were attending local signing events to collect some of the additional autographs he still needed on the photo. While helping my dad collect his BSB photo signatures, I thought about how I could start a unique autograph collection that represented my favorite aspect of the game. As a fan of ‘cute-NHL-goalies, I decided I’d try to collect NHL goalie-graphs from each team on one goalie stick. Even if I wasn’t able to get all of the goalies to sign, I was sure [like my dad’s nickname baseball collection] I’d certainly collect a lot of stories trying. I picked out a pretty white Warrior Swagger Stick. The white color would show off the goalie-graphs and that model stick seems to be the model of choice for many of the goalies.
This site, is dedicated to sharing the progress of ‘theGoalieStick’ and the stories to go along with each of the goalie-graphs [or those goalie-graphs I couldn’t get]. I’ll provide updates of the stick’s travels across the US and [possibly] Canada as my dad and I [and theGoalieStick] attend signings and charity events for the various NHL teams collecting our souvenir ‘graphs along the way.
I’m just about caught up to date of those goalie-graphs I’ve collected so far, and will be adding stories for those ‘graphs I wasn’t able to collect shortly.
Antti Niemi – San Jose Sharks
Sergei Bobrovsky [aka Bob] –
Philadelphia Flyers Columbus Bluejackets
Ilya Bryzgalov – Philadelphia Flyers
Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
Al Montoya –
New York Islanders Winnipeg Jets
Rick DiPietro – New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov – New York Islanders
Martin Brodeur – New Jersey Devils
PS: One of these days I’m hoping to convince my dad to start a blog to tell the story for each of his nickname autograph basesballs.