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Forget the Canucks Tribe for a Second, Who was Jim Pappin?

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It’s OK to learn a bit about NHL and hockey history when it doesn’t involve the Vancouver Canucks. All teams’ fan bases tend to be somewhat tribal, which is understandable, but one of the great things about the greatest game in the world is that the history transcends one team or another. It’s an endless source of fascination and tradition.

Along those lines, why not learn a little something about Jim Pappin, who died on June 29th at the age of 82. In the attached video, we were fortunate back in 2002 to not only learn everything we could about him, but we also serendipitously ran into legends Peter and Frank Mahovlich who happened to be visiting ‘Pappy’ to play golf.

After winning two Stanley Cups in the 1960’s with the Toronto Maple Leafs, including their last one in 1967, three years before the Vancouver Canucks came into existence (had to sneak that jab in there), Pappin spent a bulk of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1968 to 1975, losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and 1973.

He was a prolific winger, yet somewhat short of being considered Hockey Hall of Fame material.

Two oddities or contradictions exist about Pappin and the postseason, which represent a couple of those quirks of hockey history.

First, one could argue that Pappin was robbed of the Conn Smythe Trophy for Stanley Cup playoff most valuable player when the Maple Leafs won the chalice in 1967. Both he and first-line centre Dave Keon were 26-years-old, but the political nature of the voters gave the nod to Keon and his eight playoff points. Pappin finished those playoffs with seven goals, eight assists for almost twice as many.

They didn’t vote with the 1967 playoffs in mind, they voted with the previous six years and the regular season in mind.

Pappin had no problem with it whatsoever.

“If it’s not for Dave Keon, the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t win any of those Cups,” he said.

Completely counter to that, is Pappin insisting he scored the Cup winning goal in 1967, rather than Pete Stemkowski. I think we watched the tape with him, and the puck clearly goes in off ‘Stemmer’. There was no video review at the time, and the goal remains credited to Pappin.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter, it just became a playful chirp, as the team had won the ultimate prize.

Pappin finished his career with 278 goals and 573 points. He passed away in Palm Springs where we did the playful profile two decades ago.

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