Saturday, June 13, 2020

Welcome

Gerry Meehan is a former National Hockey League player and executive. Meehan contributed to six NHL teams over his 14-year career -- and then had a successful run in the Sabres' front office. While you can get basic information from Wikipedia and other sites, this site features rare memorabilia from my personal collection. I'm always looking for other unusual items, so please feel free to contact me

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Meehan Shares Memories as Sabres Mark 50 Years

As the Buffalo Sabres celebrated their 50th anniversary at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Dan Dunleavy interviewed Gerry Meehan. In this interview, he talks about memories including being the first Sabre to record a multi-point game and how he came to replace Scotty Bowman as general manager of the team. See some great footage of the first years of the Sabres, one of the first former players to become an NHL executive.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Meehan Enters Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame

Gerry Meehan, softball pitcher Dr. Robin Mackin, and Bernie Salter of the Newmarket Soccer Club.
Gerry Meehan was inducted into the Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 4, 2018. Meehan's family moved from Toronto to Newmarket in 1953, and he reflected on his time growing up playing on local rinks and frozen fields. "You have to understand there were no officials, no rules," he said. "You had nothing but your own skills and character to get you by. There were bullies out there too, but you had to survive somehow."

While growing up in Newmarket, Meehan attended St. Michael's College School, which had ended its junior hockey team (the Toronto St. Michael's Majors) after its 1961-62 season. The team transferred to the Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons, operated by Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough, Ontario, and Meehan played seven games for that team, which finished first in the Metro Junior A League. However, that league folded in 1963, and Meehan and seven other Maroon players transferred to the Toronto Marlboros, with their coach, Jim Gregory. The 1964 team was one of the top teams in Canadian junior history, and the team won the Memorial Cup in 1967.

Read "Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame Says Hello to Three Newest Members," from YorkRegion.com.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gerry Meehan and the Defection of Alexander Mogilny

Gerry Meehan was recently featured in a documentary called "Defector," about Alexander Mogilny, the first Russian hockey player to defect and play in the NHL. At the time, Meehan was the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres. On May 10, 2016, Meehan participated in a discussion on the topic at the Robert H. Jackson Center. It's 50 minutes long and well worth watching.


Watch the 23-minute film, "Defector," here:

Monday, April 10, 2017

50 Years Later, Toronto Marlies Reflect on 1967 Championship

If you ask most Toronto hockey fans about May 1967, they'll probably remember it as the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. But in that same month, another local team, the Toronto Marlies of the Ontario Hockey League, also won the Memorial Cup. In April 2017, the team recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of that winning team. Gerry Meehan led that 1966-67 team with 68 points in 48 games. "I just remember a very busy, energetic team," Meehan said at the reunion. "I think 80 to 90 percent of us were attending university or high school while playing." Read "Looking Back on the 1967 Toronto Marlboros" from the Toronto Sun.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Meehan Enters Etobicoke Hall of Fame

On Oct. 26, 2010, Gerry Meehan was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted with fellow NHL star Brendan Shanahan. According to an article from InsideToronto.com:

"After a solid playing career, Meehan became general manager of the Buffalo Sabres and selected Pierre Turgeon with the first overall pick in the 1987 entry draft, instead of highly touted prospect Brendan Shanahan. Meehan said that choosing between the playmaking Turgeon and the power forward from Mimico was 'the toughest decision I ever made in my life... I think we made the right choice, but I can't be sure.'

" 'Growing up in Toronto and being a big Maple Leafs fan, I hated the Buffalo Sabres,' Shanahan later told Meehan, as the crowd chuckled. 'You made the right pick.' "

In this photo, Meehan is the next to last on the right, next to Shanahan who's on the end. Read more at the Hall of Fame's website.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"...Bring Back Meehan"?

On his Buffalo Sabres Now blog, blogger "Moto" reflects on his "first real memory as a Sabres fan, and one of the greatest...when captain Gerry Meehan scored the game-winning goal with :04 left. Buffalo had eliminated Philadelphia from the playoffs with a 3-2 victory. I can still remember the excitement I felt, running around the kitchen 'Meehan! Meehan!'" (See post below for more on that historic goal.)

In an April 24 post titled "Maybe It's Time to Bring Gerry Meehan Back into the Fold," Moto reflects on his successful run as GM -- the team made the playoffs all seven years he was in charge -- and wonders if he'd consider a return. "Bringing in Meehan could certainly help this organization on a number of levels," he suggests. "First off, hiring Meehan would further enhance [owner Terry] Pegula's reputation for healing strained relations with former players. One only need look at Rene' Robert coming back into the fold, and the French Connection reunion at his first home game as owner, as a major step towards bringing all Sabres together....Pegula needs a trusted voice to be the face of his hockey operations. A voice they can connect with once again. It's not uncommon for an owner to go after a former player. The player, of course, knows the culture of the team and the area and also has a finger on the pulse of both the fans and media.


"Meehan has had fairly recent success and his roots in Buffalo stretch all the way back to the Sabres formative years with Punch Imlach. It also encompasses the genesis of Pegula's love of hockey dating back to the 70's, initially with the Broad Street Bullies, then with the French Connection soon after. 
Those are the roots of Buffalo Sabres hockey. Meehan also has ties with and/or bridges three exciting times for the franchise, from the French Connection to the offensive juggernaut of Lafontaine and Mogilny to 'the hardest working team in hockey.' "

"Even if his career as a lawyer is still going strong, maybe there's a sense of unfinished business in hockey, and more specifically with the Sabres. And with Buffalo in need of a hockey guy, I don't think there's a Sabres fan anywhere who would dislike Meehan coming back into the fold and taking the reigns of the hockey department. 
Wonder if he's interested?"

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Historic Goal That Made Meehan a "Flyer Killer"

Today's New York Times featured an interview with Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers. One of the reporter's questions was this painful reminder:
"In 1972, Gerry Meehan of the Buffalo Sabres scored a goal with four seconds left in the season finale that knocked your team out of the playoffs. Clarke told me you went down into the dressing room after the game and told the players, 'Don’t worry, we’ll be the stronger for this.' True story?"

You can read the interview and his response here -- but more important, watch Meehan's most historic goal in this video:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rare, Odd, and One-of-a-Kind

Original Comics for 1970s Hockey Cards
In August 1989, the Topps Company opened its "vault" to auction off unique items like the original cartoons drawn for the 1971-72 series of hockey cards. This is the original cartoon Topps used to print Meehan's card.


This is the original cartoon for the Topps 1976-77 card.


1968-69 Tulsa Oilers Schedule
This 40-year-old schedule, printed on heavy paper stock features Meehan as a Tulsa Oiler.


Toronto St. Michael's Majors Ticket
During the 1997-98 season, the Toronto St. Michael's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League honored alums on their tickets. Meehan was featured on the ticket for a game against Oshawa on Dec. 4, 1997 at St. Michael's Arena. After the 1961-62 season, St. Michael's College discontinued its hockey program, and the Toronto St. Michael's Majors team transferred to Neil McNeil High School, becoming the Toronto Neil McNeil Maroons. In 1962-63, Meehan helped the team finish first in the Metro Junior A league. The 1997-98 season marked the team's return to junior hockey after more than 35 years.


Toronto Marlboros Program, 1965 Playoffs
Gerry Meehan is featured on the cover of this program for a playoff game against the Montreal Jr. Canadiens on March 17, 1965. Interestingly, the Jr. Canadiens were coached by Scotty Bowman, who would hire Meehan about 20 years later. Bowman had a successful NHL coaching career with the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings, winning a record nine Stanley Cups. In 1979 he became the general manager for the Buffalo Sabres, and in June 1984 hired Meehan as assistant general manager. After the team fired Bowman in December 1986, Meehan replaced him as general manager.



Original Charles Linnett Drawing
8.5x11 prints of these portraits of NHL players were distributed regionally in the 1973-74 season. The artist, Charles Linnett of Quincy, Mass., also created sketches of baseball and basketball players. They were packaged in sealed packages of three. The text reads: "Officially licensed by the NHL Players Association and by NHL Services, Inc. All rights reserved by Charles Linnett Studios, Inc., Walpole, Mass. 02081."


Linnett negotiated with each team and made the illustrations from black and white photos. This is the photo the Meehan sketch was based on, with a handwritten misspelling of "Gerry."


And this is the 1/1 original sketch of Meehan used to produce the prints, which I purchased at a National Sportscard Collectors Convention.
 
Buffalo Evening News Insert
This full-page foldout poster was an insert in the Buffalo Evening News on Jan. 13, 1973.


Signed Hockey Banquet Flyer
On May 5, 1973, Gerry Meehan was the guest speaker at a hockey banquet for the Massena Minor Hockey league, held at Holy Family High School. Someone who attended got his autograph and years later contributed it to my collection. Massena is a tiny town in upstate New York, along the St. Lawrence River, and despite a population of less than 12,000, Massena Minor Hockey and Massena Red Raider High School Hockey have produced several state championship teams.


1971-72 Toronto Sun Insert
During the 1971-72 season, the Toronto Sun included inserts of NHL players -- 5x7 pages with two holes punched, I guess so you could keep them in a binder. Bio information is on the back. These are very fragile, since they are on newspaper stock.


Buffalo Sabres Patch
This original, unused iron-on patch (3x5) was issued by Labatt beer in the 1971-72 season.

In the Community
In 1972, Gerry Meehan represented the Buffalo Sabres to kick off the annual Girl Scout cookie sale. In this original photo, Meehan appears with 12-year-old Girl Scout Ellen T. Carney, daughter of Mrs and Mrs. Bernard W. Carney of Buffalo. The photo was published in the Alden Advertiser on January 20, 1972, with the article "Girl Scout Cookie Starts January 21."


A Young Fan
Rich Sander sent me this photo of a photo of Gerry Meehan with a young fan. He writes: "It was taken on my cell phone at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Sabres last year. They had a great exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (in Buffalo)." Read Erik Brady's article in the Buffalo News about tracking down the origins of this photo nearly 50 years after it was taken.



Friday, May 9, 2008

Team-Issued Portraits, 1966-1978


Toronto Marlboros, Ontario Hockey Association, 1966-67


Toronto Marlboros, Ontario Hockey Association, 1966-67


Seattle Totems, Western Hockey League, 1969-70


Seattle Totems, 1969-70

Toronto Maple Leafs, 1968-69


Philadelphia Flyers, 1968-69


Buffalo Sabres, 1970-71

Buffalo Sabres 1971-72

Buffalo Sabres 1972


Buffalo Sabres, 1973-74


Buffalo Sabres, 1974-75


Vancouver Canucks, 1974-75


Atlanta Flames, 1975-76


Washington Capitals, 1976-77

 
Washington Capitals, 1977-78

See more autographed photos (Marlboros, Maple Leafs, Flyers, Sabres, and Capitals).

Rare and Signed Cards

Uncut Strip
This rare uncut strip of three blank-back cards is from the 1972-73 Topps hockey card set. It was acquired directly from the Topps Vault.




Autographed Cards

Signed 1970-71 rookie card


Other signed cards, 1971-1978


PSA-Graded Cards
The full collection of NHL Topps and OPC cards, each graded Near Mint/Mint or Mint by PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator)


Proof Card
This is a 1976-77 slick proof card acquired from the Topps Vault. Because it was a test printing, the back is blank. These cards were produced as part of the printing process to ensure the quality of the printing.


Stickers
Clockwise from upper left: 1974-75 Loblaws Action Stamp, 1971-72 Sargent Promotions Stamp, 1970-71 Sargent Promotions Stamp, and 1970-71 Esso Power Plays.


Even rarer is this 1974-75 Loblaw's sticker below showing Meehan as a Vancouver Canuck. The original 324-card set included Meehan as a Buffalo Sabre, but he was traded to Vancouver after playing just three games. Look at the two stickers below -- like most of the stickers in the update set, this photo was airbrushed to make it look like he was wearing a Canucks jersey. But you can see it's a close-up of the original photo.


Custom Cards
These four unlicensed cards from the Compleat Toronto Maple Leafs Card Compendium fill a gap, because Meehan didn't have officially released cards for the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Canucks, or Flames. Here's what those cards might have looked like for the 1968-69 and 1974-75 seasons.

And another custom-made card, with a blank back (source unknown):

Buffalo Sabres Postcard, 1972-73, photo by Robert Shaver


Buffalo Sabres Postcard, 1973-74, photo by Robert Shaver

Buffalo Sabres Postcard, 1970s


4x6 Signed Vancouver Canucks Card


3.5 x 2.5 Signed Philadelphia Flyers Card


3x5 Signed Toronto Maple Leafs Card