Cooperalls, CCM ProPacs, and (Finally!) the Cooperall Cup

1983-84 O-Pee-Chee – Darryl Sittler

For a brief time in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the long pants known as Cooperalls ruled the hockey world.

Well, not really, but looking back through the rosy lenses of nostalgia (which I love, of course), they were pretty damn cool.

1991-92 Upper Deck Heroes – Brett Hull

They were even sported by a young Brett Hull when he played with the BCJHL’s Penticton Knights, though I’m not sure what’s more impressive, his pants or that haircut.

While Cooperalls were popular in the Junior and College ranks, the Philadelphia Flyers (1981-82 and 1982-83) and the Hartford Whalers (1982-83) were the only NHL teams to sport the long pants before the league banned them for being unsafe. Apparently they caused players to slide really quickly when they fell on the ice, which I guess isn’t ideal.

However, the Flyers and Whalers didn’t actually wear Cooperalls. They wore the CCM “ProPac” version. But just say Cooperalls. Don’t be weird about it. It’s like saying Kleenex, or Walkman, or even AstroTurf. They’re Cooperalls, don’t ruin it for everyone else.

1983-84 O-Pee-Chee – Risto Siltanen

During that magical 1982-83 season, the three most significant games were obviously between the Flyers and Whalers as they battled for the Cooperall Cup, a trophy which should have existed in the first place and which I will now create and award retroactively.

The games were played as follows:

December 12, 1982 – Hartford, CT: Whalers 7, Flyers 4
January 8, 1983 – Hartford, CT: Flyers 7, Whalers 4
January 9, 1983 – Philadelphia, PA: Flyers 8, Whalers 4

Therefore, with a 2-1 record and 19 goals scored in the three game series, the Philadelphia Flyers are hereby declared the first – and only, at least for now – champions of the Cooperall Cup.
Congratulations, Flyers. Everyone’s proud of ya.

1983-84 O-Pee-Chee – Bill Barber

And thank you, Cooperalls, for your brief but brilliant existence.


Looking Good Losing with the Hartford Whalers

1990-91 Pro Set - Ron Francis
1990-91 Pro Set – Ron Francis

Today, in Uniforms I Miss, the Hartford Whalers.  Whether it’s the green beauty modelled above by Ron Francis, who was pretty good, or the blue one sported below by Robert Petrovicky, who is 41 years old and still plays professional hockey, the Whalers had a great look.

1993-94 Upper Deck - Robert Petrovicky
1993-94 Upper Deck – Robert Petrovicky

A few things that are worth noting about the Whalers franchise:

  • They were originally based in Boston for the first two years of their WHA tenure, throughout which they were known as the New England Whalers.
  • They had a theme song.  It was called “Brass Bonanza
  • They were the first Avco Cup winners as WHA champions in 1972-73, but when the trophy wasn’t yet ready, the team had to use their divisional trophy instead for their celebration.
  • They missed the playoffs in ten of their 18 NHL seasons, but, in a magical run in the 1985-86 season, made it all the way to the second round before losing.  In fairness, they lost game seven in overtime to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, but the point is they were never very good.  But they looked good.

All this and I didn’t even mention the Cooperalls!