Archive for 1960 OG Squaw Valley

Xaver Unsinn Hat Blyth Arena Besucht


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Vier deutschen olympischen Teilnehmer stehen ausserhalb des Eishockeyhauses, die BLYTH ARENA, waehrend der 1960 Olympische Winterspiele in dem kalifornischen Squaw Valley. Das Foto gibt von links : SIEGFRIED SCHUBERT, XAVER UNSINN, ERNST TRAUTWEIN und KURT SEPP. Alle vier Spieler kamen aus EV Fuessen, die sieben deutsche Titel in Folge von 1953 bis 1959 gewonnen hat.
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Es ist sehr traurig, dass XAVER UNSINN gegangen ist. Unsinn hat viel fuer Deutschland als beide Spieler und Trainer getan. Er bleibt immer, ein echte und ausgezeichnete Nationalheld.

KURT SEPP hat das 1960 deutsche olympische Mannschaft mit drei Tore gefuehrt. Sepp hat das einzige Tor fuer Deutschland in dem Spiel gegen die Amerikaner, die die Goldmedaille auf dem Haupteis gewonnen hat, an der Blyth Arena geschossen. Unsinn, der 30 Jahre alt jetzt war, hat die Vorarbeit mit diesem Tor gemacht.

Spaeter, Unsinn hat einen grossen Erfolg mit den Amerikanern an den Olympische Winterspiele als deutsche Trainer … aber dass ist ein andere Geschichte.

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Blyth Arena – A Barn For The Ages

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The legendary BLYTH ARENA was a most distinct as well as historical barn while serving as the site of the ice hockey competition at the 1960 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES in SQUAW VALLEY and is, all but assuredly, something which the world will never see again.

Although it must seem strange to contemporary fans of the sport, the facility on the West Coast of the United States was intentionally left open-faced for a very specific reason — the International Olympic Committee had a regulation at the time which stipulated that no official compeition could be conducted under an enclosed roof.

And so an entire side of the building spanning the entire length of the ice rink, itself, was actually completely exposed to the outside elements. Long ropes suspended from the roof sustained the Olympic symbol and were meant to form a sort of curtain which was supposed to lessen the impact of the sun’s glare on the ice. This measure, however, would prove to be only partly successful.

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The victorious UNITED STATES squad, including game-winning goal-scorer BILL CHRISTIAN (6) of Warroad, Minnesota, and team captain JACK KIRRANE (3) of Brookline, Massachusetts, celebrate their surprising 3-2 triumph over the defending Olympic gold medalists from the Soviet Union during the ice hockey tournament at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley.
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The memorable Winter Games at Squaw Valley actually marked the very first time that the Olympic ice hockey tournament had ever been played on an artificial, man-made surface. In the planning stages for the event in 1960, it had been historically noted that temperatures during winter in this mountain region of northern California could often reach the high 30s and low 40s (Fahrenheit) in the daylight hours. That would make for unwanted, if not unplayable, slushy conditions and so modern ice-making technology was called upon.

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A view from one of the two Olympic ski jumps on the mountain at Squaw Valley in 1960 provides an ideal vantage point for both the south side of the open-faced BLYTH ARENA as well as the 400 meter speed skating track just outside the ice hockey rink … Just two years after the Winter Games held in northern California, the speed skating track was replaced by a parking lot servicing recreational skiers in 1963. Meanwhile, the ski jumps made of wood were left to deteriorate with the passage of time.
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A splendid view, then, of the front (north) side of the BLYTH ARENA depicts national coats of arms for the competing countries at the 1960 Olympic ice hockey tournament in addition to a fine sampling of some of the contemporary automobiles to be found in the United States at that point in time.
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The following two pictures, if cut out and pasted side by side, create an outstanding sense of appreciation of what it must have been like to be in the audience at the open-faced Blyth Arena in Squaw Valley for the ice hockey tournament at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games; the facility boasted an official capacity for 8,500 spectators but after the United States upset neighboring Canada 2-1 behind the sensational goaltending of former University of Minnesota netminder JACK MCCARTAN, the final two games for the host nation against the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, repsectively, resulted in overflow, standing-room-only crowds of a reported 10,000 people.
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This particular piece easily affords one the opportunity to observe the ropes which hang down from the roof at the Blyth Arena to support ths Olympic symbol while attempting to stop the sun from creating too much glare on the ice. And the 400 meter speed skating track situated just behind the stands on the south side of the rink. One may also note that, here at the Squaw Valley Winter Games of 1960, the corners of the rink are not anywhere closed to being as rounded as they are now today.
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After rallying for six unanswered goals in the third period against Czechoslovakia on the final day of tournament play, the 1960 Olympic gold medal-winning squad of the United States gathers jubilantly for a photograph at the open-faced Blyth Arena in Squaw Valley.

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Six Unanswered Spurred U.S. Sextet

CZECHOSLOVAKIA (red shirts, blue pants) face-off against the UNITED STATES (white shirts, red pants) on the final day of competition at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA (red shirts, blue pants) face-off against the UNITED STATES (white shirts, red pants) on the final day of competition at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

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The UNITED STATES, after consecutive wins over Canada and the Soviet Union, still had to face CZECHOSLOVAKIA in a final, early morning match at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

Several Americans were reportedly so excited after the USSR win that they had trouble sleeping prior to their final game. United States JACK MCCARTAN, the unquestionable star of the last two U.S. shows, is said to have “seen nothing but flying pucks at him all night”. Perhaps a bit nervous, McCartan and the United States conceded a goal after just eight seconds the next morning to start the match with Czechoslovakia.

MIROSLAV VLACH’s goal still sets the record for fastest goal to start an Olympic ice hockey game.

A wild first period produced six goals and a 3-3 draw; matters settled in the second stanza, however, the United States again fell behind after Vlach scored his second goal of the game and eighth at the Olympics to put Czechoslovakia ahead 4-3 with twenty minutes to play.

After receiving a surprise visitor to the locker room bearing news of a secret weapon, the United States took to the ice for the final time at Squaw Valley and produced the most stunning third period ever seen at the Winter Olympic Games.

Six minutes in, ROGER CHRISTIAN grabbed the first of what would be SIX unanswered goals for the United States. A little over a minute and a half later, BOB CLEARY, who had a pair of goals for the game, put the Americans ahead to stay. Three goals in sixty-seven seconds later put the final nails in Czechoslovakia’s coffin.

Unbeaten and untied after all seven games, the unheraled United States, who had placed seventh at the previous year’s IIHF World Championships, accepted the very first set of gold medals for ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in their nation’s history.

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BILL CLEARY, Bob’s brother, added a goal for the United States in the 9-4 final day triumph over Czechoslovakia at Squaw Valley. The 25-year-old former Harvard University forward finished third in scoring at the 1960 Winter Olympics with seven goals and 14 points in seven games.

ROGER CHRISTIAN’s four-score effort against the Czechoslovaks is easily the modern record for most goals in an Olympic Gold Medal Match. Christian, whose brother, Bill, finished fourth in scoring at the Squaw Valley tournament with two goals and 13 points, led the United States with eight goals in 1960.

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Sologubov Stopped By

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV

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Trailing by a goal with but twenty minutes to play in their final match against Czechoslovakia at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, coach JACK RILEY’s United States squad greeted an intriguing guest between periods at Squaw Valley.

The captain of the USSR national team, NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, arrived and, unable to speak English, began to employ hand signals in an effort to provide aid to the Americans. The 35-year-old CSKA Moscow man was suggesting that the U.S. skaters, in the altitude of the northeastern California mountains, should take oxygen. Although at first unable to understand, the Americans ultimately were able to secure an oxygen tank and accept Sologubov’s advice.

The United States, suitably refreshed, stormed back with six unanswered third period goals to down the Czechoslovaks, who took no oxygen, 9-4.

Some say Sologubov appeared in the spirit of goodwill and sportsmanship that is part of the Olympic ideal.

Not to discredit the Soviet captain, but the theory is shaky at best. The USSR, standing on five points, were set to play a powerful Canada later in the day. Meanwhile, the Czechoslovaks, having four points, could have moved ahead of the Soviet Union with a victory over the United States.

Ultimately, both Eastern European rivals lost on the final day — this left the USSR with the set of bronze medals.

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If VYACHESLAV FETISOV was the Soviet answer to BOBBY ORR, then NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, if not quite as rough, was certainly the USSR’s version of EDDIE SHORE.

The original offensive threat from the Soviet blueline, Sologubov (5 ga, 1 go 8 as, 9 pts) earned his third career selection for Best Defenseman by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley for the bronze medalist from the Soviet Union.

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No Mask For McCartan

JACK MCCARTAN tending goal for the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the early 1960s. Two hallmarks of the era in which McCartan minded the nets were few NHL goaltending gigs and no facemasks.

JACK MCCARTAN tending goal for the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the early 1960s. Two hallmarks of the era in which McCartan minded the nets were few NHL goaltending gigs and no facemasks.

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Following Montreal Maroons goalkeeper Clint Benedict’s short-lived flirtation in 1930, the mask disappeared from the NHL scene for the better part of the next three decades. International ice hockey, not surprisingly, followed suit. In some respects for all involved, it was viewed as a matter of courage and commitment.

Nikolai Pushkov had no protection for his face when the Soviet Union first appeared at the Winter Olympics to claim the gold medal in 1956.

Neither did JACK MCCARTAN, the IIHF Directorate’s Best Goaltender in 1960 for the championship United States squad at Squaw Valley.

This despite the fact that, in November of 1958, Montreal Canadiens standout netminder Jacques Plante and been hit in the forehead and cut by a backhand shot from New York Rangers forward Andy Bathgate during a game. Following a 45-minute delay to get stitched up, the future Hall of Famer returned to the ice wearing a fibreglass mask molded to fit his face. Over the initial objections of his coach, Plante continued to wear this new-style facial protection through the rest of the 1958-59 season and, with improvements, into the next.

Still, it would take a while before the facial protection became standard equipment, however.

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Jack McCartan was signed by the New York Rangers shortly following the United States won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in February of 1960.

The former University of Minnesota All-America was initially dispatched to the Minneapolis Rangers of the Central Hockey League but was recalled late in the season to play four games (1.75 avg, 1 W, 1 L, 2 T) with New York in the National Hockey League.

McCartan was manhandled by NHL competition in eight games (4.77 avg, 1 w, 6 L, 1 T) early into the 1960-61 campaign and was sent to the Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers of the Eastern Professional Hockey League to finish the year.

McCartan never returned to the top flight and spent the next 11 seasons with various teams in assorted minor leagues before finally signing with the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the fledgling World Hockey Association, a rival circuit to the NHL, for the 1972-73 season.

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Tommy Williams Was The Only One

TOMMY WILLIAMS of Duluth, Minnesota, assisted on Bill Christian's winning goal in the United States' historic 3-2 upset of the Soviet Union at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Williams, at 19 years of age, was the youngest member of the Americans' gold medal-winning squad at Squaw Valley.

TOMMY WILLIAMS of Duluth, Minnesota, assisted on Bill Christian's winning goal in the United States' historic 3-2 upset of the Soviet Union at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Williams, at 19 years of age, was the youngest member of the Americans' gold medal-winning squad at Squaw Valley.

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Although goaltender JACK MCCARTAN joined the New York Rangers shortly following the conclusion of the Squaw Valley Games, TOMMY WILLIAMS (7 ga, 4 go 6 as, 10 pts) was the only player from the United States gold medal squad to graduate to the ranks of full-time regulars in the National Hockey League for most of the decade that followed the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Williams reported to the NHL’s Boston Bruins for training camp in the fall of 1961 and was assigned to the Kingston Frontenacs of the old Eastern Professional Hockey League, where the 5’11″ 180 lb right wing spent the first year and a half learning the ropes. 26 goals and 70 points in 87 EPHL games overall earned Williams 26 NHL games (6 go 6 as, 12 pts) with Boston for the latter half of the 1961-62 season.

This propelled Williams to a regular roster spot with Bruins, with whom the winger spent the next seven seasons. During most of this time, Williams was, in fact, the only American player in all the NHL; prior to the league’s major expansion in 1967-68 the National Hockey League consisted of just six teams. Williams most productive season in Boston was that 67-68 season with 18 goals and 50 points in 62 games for the Bruins.

Williams was shipped to his home-state Minnesota North Stars as part of a deal for Boston’s first round draft pick in the summer of 1969. What followed was a career year for the North Stars with 15 goals and 67 points from 75 games. Midway through the following campaing, Williams was traded to the California Seals, where his career stagnated.

Williams would jump to the fledgling and rival World Hockey Association for the 1972-73 season with the New England Whalers. Williams, with 17 points in 15 playoff games, helped the Whalers capture the first championship in league history.

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Squaw Valley ’60 : Christian Shoots Down Soviets

United States forward BILL CHRISTIAN shoots the puck past Soviet Union goalkeeper NIKOLAI PUSHKOV with five minutes remaining in the third period for the winning goal in the American's 3-2 upset victory over the USSR at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley, California.

United States forward BILL CHRISTIAN shoots the puck past Soviet Union goalkeeper NIKOLAI PUSHKOV with five minutes remaining in the third period for the winning goal in the American's 3-2 upset victory over the USSR at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley, California.

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“Tommy had knocked the puck out of the corner and Roger took a shot…I was getting shoved around in front of the net…The puck came out, and I put it back in.”

’60 Olympic hero BILL CHRISTIAN — “The First Miracle On Ice” by Kevin Allen

In front of a jampacked crowd at open-air Blyth Arena in Squaw Valley as well as a national television audience on a Saturday afternoon, 19-year-old TOMMY WILLIAMS picks up a loose puck to the left of USSR goaltender NIKOLAI PUCHKOV. The youngest of the American squad and the only Squaw Valley U.S.A. Olympian to claim a future regular National Hockey League place circles and starts along the boards behind the Soviet net. Confronted by a defender, Williams centers the puck.

ROGER CHRISTIAN, having assumed a dangerous position in the slot, sweeps the puck at Puchkov’s goal with his first touch.

Puchkov stops Roger’s shot but, although apparently covered by a USSR defender in front, brother Bill, the smallest of the U.S. players, is able to locate the disc and deposit such in the Soviet Union goal :

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Bill Christian’s second strike of the game gives the United States a 3-2 lead with 5:01 to go in the third period. 

The Soviets would make serious efforts to tie the score for the remainder of the contest. But former University of Minnesota goaltender JACK MCCARTAN, who had turned aside 38 shots in the United States’ 2-1 upset of Canada two days earlier, would not oblige. With the partisan crowd firmly behind him, McCartan finishes with twenty-five saves against the USSR.

And, thus, the Soviet Union fall to the United States for the first time at a major international ice hockey tournament.

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“Perhaps we would have won on a neutral rink, but naturally it is the right of spectators to cheer their team as much as they can and we just had to bear that handicap.”

NIKOLAI ROMANOV, Soviet Minister of Sport in attendance at Squaw Valley

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Squaw Valley ’60 : McCartan Was Majestic For Golden US

The 3-2 victory over the Soviet Union by the United States at Squaw Valley in 1960 is probably better remembered than the US win over Canada that year because a) it was the second last US game b) the contest was televised nationally on a Saturday afternoon and c) the Cold War Era was in full swing.

The 3-2 victory over the Soviet Union by the United States at Squaw Valley in 1960 is probably better remembered than the US win over Canada that year because a) it was the second last US game b) the contest was televised nationally on a Saturday afternoon and c) the Cold War Era was in full swing.

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The 1960 Olympic ice hockey tournament was projected to be a tussle between defending champions.

Canada arrived in California having won the 1959 IIHF World Championships in Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, had captured the last Olympic gold medal in 1956 at their first attempt.

It was the unheralded United States squad, however, who had stolen the show by the time the Olympic curtain came down in 1960.

The de facto gold medal match at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games came in the middle of the final round when the U.S. (7-0) faced off against Canada (6-1).

The Canadians, who featured the tournament’s two top scorers in Fred Etcher (9 go 12 as) and Bobby Attersley (6 go 12 as), would launch no less than 39 shots on target for the American goal.

But JACK MCCARTAN, the former University of Minnesota All-American on loan from the U.S. Army, turned aside 38 of those in what was certainly the 24-year-old’s signature performance at Squaw Valley as the United States nipped Canada 2-1.

It ranks as one of the best Olympic goaltending efforts of all time.

McCartan, who later played briefly with the New York Rangers before embarking on a long career in the minor leagues, followed that act up with 25 saves for the United States in the nationally-televised 3-2 win over the USSR, who ended up with the bronze medal.

The United States, powered by six unanswered third period goals, downed Czechoslovakia 9-4 in their final game to collect the gold medal.

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