Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jean-Paul Parisé Autograph Card


Jean-Paul ''J.P.'' Parisé, Zach Parise's father, died last night of lung cancer. Like Pat Burns two years ago, Parisé had previously beat one form of cancer 1999, but quit his chemotherapy earlier this winter because he wanted to enjoy what time he had left without feeling so nauseous and sick all the time, knowing the difference between continuing to treat it (at Stage 4) meant at best extra weeks at this point.

It has affected Zach a lot since the beginning of the season, and the Minnesota Wild star even sat out the last game to be at his father's side.

J.P. may not have been as much of a household name as his son has become, but he was an important player in the 1970s. Undrafted, he was signed by the Boston Bruins, but didn't hold a regular roster spot until he hit his stride with the Minnesota North Stars, with whom he spent 8 and a half seasons. He represented them in two All-Star Games and captained them in his last season, his return to the team after stints with the New York Islanders and Cleveland Barons. He hit the 70-point mark twice with the North Stars, but was most efficient in the playoffs, with five near-point-per-game postseasons among the eight times his teams participated in the Spring Dance.

Canadians remember him from the 1972 Summit Series, where he represented Team Canada and played on a line with star center Phil Esposito, notching four points in six games. More than what he accumulated on the score sheet and his impressive defensive play, however, he is best remembered for his reaction following this penalty:

Islanders fans - and probably New York Rangers fans even more so - will remember this goal:

I met him when I was in high school, and I didn't know who he was because he'd retired two decades earlier and wasn't the household name Esposito, Ken Dryden, or Vladislav Tretiak were, but I loved hockey and learning about the game's history, and I was happy to talk to him and learn from him. He may still have been running Shattuck-Saint Mary's' high school hockey program at the time (say between 1993 and 1995), which is pretty much the Hogwarts of hockey, spawning 21 NHL regulars as well as three womens' Team USA Olympic medalists in the past decade.

Anyone who dresses in the NHL gets my respect, but he had that extra thing good teachers have that grabbed my attention even more. He signed a sheet of paper at the time, with a message attached to it, which I lost in a flood in 1998.

But I ended up with this card, showing him in the North Stars' classic green (away) uniform - showing him as captain - years later, as karma is wont to happen (like Zach going back to Minnesota when he became a free agent two and a half years ago):
It's from Upper Deck's 2006-07 Parkhurst set (#128, the same card as the regular version, but airbrushed white at the bottom so he can sign it in blue sharpie, and no statistics on the back, just a message from UD guaranteeing its authenticity).

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