Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wax Stain Wednesday - A Tale of Two Steves

Wax Stain Wednesday will be a regular feature on Dirty Dangle. Our pal Dave at Wax Stain Rookie is an avid autograph and card collector and has some amazing experiences to share with us. These posts may make you want to buy a Beckett and get those dusty hockey cards out from under your bed that you hide from your girlfriend like a secret porn collection.
This week, I am going to tell you a tale, a tale that began in 1961 and would span several decades and continues even today. Over 50 years ago there were two families. One family was living in Peterborough and the other in Etobicoke. Each would welcome a baby boy during the spring of 1961. First, it was the Ludzik's on April 3 and they named their son Stephen, and then the Larmers would follow on the 16th of June and they too would name their son Steven. However, as time would go on, both boys would be called Steve.

Like many Canadian boys, the Steves would play hockey. As fate would have it, in 1978, at the age of 17, the boys would be playing together for the Niagara Flyers. Ludzik would lead the team in points that season with 97, where Larmer would finish third on the team in points with 84 point, but would have 5 more goals than Ludzik. Over the next two years, the Larmer and Ludzik show would step it up a notch with each breaking 100 points for the next two years including their final year where they both broke 50 goals and 130 points.

Attracting the attention of NHL scouts, the Steves were both drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. Ludzik, the more prolific of the two, was drafted 28th overall and then Larmer was picked later that draft going 120th overall. Scouts clearly felt that Ludzik was going to be the better of the two. Both Steves would get a few games in the NHL before playing full-time in the 1982-83 season. However, what happened in that first full season I don’t even think the scouts could have predicted. A Steve would go on to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL, but it would be Steve Larmer who posted the 43 goals and 90 points. That was good enough to beat other rookies like Ludzik, Phil Housley, Brian "Lay Like a Broad" Bellows, Mats Naslund and Pelle Lindbergh.

Ludzik would post solid numbers, 6 goals and 25 points in 66 games. However, it seemed that from that point on, the two Steves would diverge a little. Larmer would be an offensive star in the NHL and Ludzik would be a reliable defensive forward. Both would remain with the Hawks until '89 when Ludzik would be traded to the Buffalo Sabres. The 89-90 season would be Ludzik’s final year in the NHL and he would retire from playing professionally in 92', but Ludzy would quickly became a coach and made his way into an NHL coaching position with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His career numbers were 424 games, 46 goals and 139 points.

Larmer would play 11 seasons for the Hawks', including 884 consecutive games - an NHL record for consecutive games played with the same team. Larmer would continue to play until the '95 season when he would finally call it a career and finish with 441 goals and 1012 points (averaging a little more than a point a game). Steve Larmer, would be the only one of the two to win a Stanley Cup when he won as a member of the ’94 Rangers.

Today, Ludzik is still very busy as he has his own website called www.ludzy.com and is also the author of “Been There, Done That” - a book that has been called the most honest book abour hockey. When not writing, he is also a hockey analyst for The Score. Meanwhile, Larmer is currently living in Peterborough and I am not sure how he spends his time, but I do wish him a happy retirement.

I recently wrote both Steve Larmer and his brother, Jeff Larmer, and have since received back Steve’s cards. What makes this story even stranger is the fact that in 1983, only OPC produced hockey cards. That year, Steve Larmer, Jeff Larmer and Steve Ludzik all had their rookie cards created. OPC nailed Jeff’s card correctly, but mixed up the photos of the Steves. So, Steve Larmer’s photo is on Steve Ludzik’s card and Steve Ludzik’s photo is on Steve Larmer’s card.

Here is the rookie card of “Ludzik” which features Steve Larmer’s photo.
I asked Steve Larmer to sign this one, pointing out to him that I knew it was his picture on the front and he was more than willing to do so!

These other two cards were ones that I really liked from my collection and he was nice enough to sign all three cards in total I sent.
This was a 1990-91 OPC Premier card.
This was a 1990-91 UD card.

I own two Steve Ludzik rookies and I think it would be pretty cool if I send my other Ludzik rookie card to Steve Ludzik and asked him to sign it. That way, I could have both Steves autographs represented on a Steve Ludzik rookie card. I just need to wait for this Canada Post strike to get resolved!

30 comments:

  1. Use to love watching Ludzy when he was teamed up with Steve Kouleas on the score.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Growing up for some reason I always thought that Steve Larmer was American

    ReplyDelete
  3. “Been There, Done That” is the best hockey book around.
    Huge Ludzy fan and met him once a few years back at boston pizza. We talked hockey for 10 mins and he went back to his table. He was also with one of the hottest blondes I have ever seen:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Larmer was awesome in the '91 Canada Cup... definitely no Yank!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keep up the great posts Wax Stain Dave.
    I love seeing these old cards that I use to collect.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I saw the two Steve's play for the Niagara Falls Flyers. They both were amazing talents and such great guys in the Community.

    Niagara Falls needs to get an OHL team. Having the Niagara Ice Dogs play in St Chatherines just doesn't make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have that Steve Larmer upper deck card. Need to start collecting again.
    What are some new sets I should start collecting?

    ReplyDelete
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