Christmas came early on October 27th, 2023. I've only been waiting for this moment since about 1983.
In 1983 the New York Islanders were winning their 4th consecutive Stanley Cup, Wayne Gretzky was rewriting the record books, and a nine year old me realized there was something called The Hockey News.
Long before there was 24 hour sports and hockey channels and something called the internet, The Hockey News truly was truly the top source of, well, hockey news available anywhere. It lived up to it's billing as the Bible Of Hockey and hockey's paper of record.
Back then my mom would get me the odd issue here and there, and I devoured it endlessly, studying every word. By the end of the decade I got a subscription for Christmas, which lasted about 4 years.
Then I discovered Vancouver Public Library had every issue from 1972 to 1992 or so. I flew down from northern BC specifically to study every page. There was no cell phones with amazing cameras back then. I travelled down with a back pack full of rolled quarters. I must have worn out the photocopier on the 5th floor of Vancouver's most beautiful downtown branch.
I wish I had access for the entire archives of The Hockey News for my entire adult life. I mused about bidding on a collection similar to that of VPL at a Classic Auctions offering, but didn't know where to store it all in my tiny condo. Years later I learned of a guy online who had personally digitized every page on multiple compact discs. I never could schmooze him into giving me copies.
Then a few years ago Graeme Roustan bought The Hockey News and quickly promised the archives would be available for subscribers only. I immediately re-subscribed. And then waited. And waited some more and some more. Covid came and the years went by.
Now 49, the nine year old me is jumping for joy tonight as I finally realize what is truly a dream come true. The Hockey News Archives are finally available. More than 75 years of hockey history is at my finger tips.
The only question is, with 75 years and 3000+ issues, where does one start? On page one, of course.