Fans in the world of mixed martial arts may be familiar with an American middleweight by the name of Stoney Hale.
But hockey had it's own Stoney Hale. He played nine seasons of big league hockey back in the 1970s, with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Houston Aeros (WHA).
Stoney was his nickname. Larry James Hale was a tall but slender defenseman out of Summerland, British Columbia. He played his junior hockey with the powerful Edmonton Oil Kings of the early 1960s, challenging for the Memorial Cup. Unfortunately for Hale, the Oil Kings finally won the junior championship the year after he graduated to the pros.
After a season with the Minneapolis Millers of the IHL, Hale headed west to Seattle where he played five solid seasons with the Totems.
NHL expansion opened up jobs for many hockey players in the minor leagues. Hale joined the Philadelphia Flyers in 1968 and played 3 full seasons. His break into the lineup came thanks to an injury to Dick Cherry - Don Cherry's brother.
In 1972 the World Hockey Association opened for business and began bidding for player services. Hale cashed in and jumped to the Houston Aeros. He would play with the Aeros for six seasons, and would be a teammate of Gordie Howe and his sons Mark and Marty.
With his career winding down Larry Hale headed back west in 1978 to play one more season of hockey with the Spokane Flyers of the little known Pacific Hockey League.
Despite playing a decade in the big leagues, Larry Hale only had one hockey card. And it was with a team he never even played with.
This 1972-73 O-Pee-Chee/Topps airbrush special features Hale in, sort of, an Atlanta Thrashers jersey. He was briefly Atlanta property after the Flames drafted him in a special intra-league draft in 1972. However Hale never signed with Atlanta and jumped to Houston instead.