Saturday, September 1, 2012

Murray Keogan Autographed Card

Another day, another story about CBA uncertainty. And another story about Greg Jamison being unable to afford purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes, let alone run the team on a $60M budget for next year.

I think the Phoenix Roadrunners of the WHA were a more solid franchise - and we're talking about a team that folded before being awarded a shot at joining the NHL...

The franchise began as the (minor pro) WHL's Victoria Maple Leafs in 1964-67, but after three seasons in British Columbia, moved to Phoenix to become the Roadrunners. They remained there and won the Lester Patrick Cup twice before the league folded in 1974, and from there made the move to the newly-formed WHA. It was customary back then for minor pro teams to jump from league to league...

When they changed leagues, their roster remained intact, and rookie Murray Keogan, who had gone 31-56-87 (in 78 games) in the WHL produced a respectable 35-29-64 (also in 78 games) in the NHL-expat-heavy WHA.
That jersey  and the team logo especially - was an aberration. For those familiar with Topps' 1974-75 WHA O-Pee-Chee set (of which this was card #44) will notice the lack of facsimile autograph on the card, which Keogan signed and personalized (''Best wishes'') for me in person at a Québec City event in the mid-to-late-1990s (he's from the area, despite his card claiming he was born in Saskatchewan); that's because this is his rookie card and the manufacturer hadn't yet gotten their hands on his signature.

Then again, because he hadn't yet played in the league, the back of his card doesn't even display actual statistics:
Keogan would only end up playing 124 WHA games (with 42 goals and 84 points to show for it, 18 of which coming with the Calgary Cowboys), and never played in the NHL. He also played with the AHL's Springfield Indians and the WIHL's Spokane Flyers.

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