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How good could Tony Hand have been on the 80's Oilers?

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Old
06-28-2013, 10:10 AM
  #26
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Originally Posted by Halpysback View Post
The real question is what kind of numbers Wayne Gretzky could have put up in the BHL. What could've been?
I would assume that Gretzky would probably score on nearly every shift he took against fifth-tier competition. 20-30 points per game IMO isn't a stretch.

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06-28-2013, 01:47 PM
  #27
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To be honest, I didn't follow hockey at the time and saw him in some international games later in his career, but I think he is one of the most overrated player of history and his case is grossly exaggerated by one quote.

Probably level of average star in Europe.

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06-28-2013, 02:02 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Frank the Tank View Post
Actually Sather said:

"At the training camp I could see that he had a great ability to read the ice and he was the smartest player there other than Wayne Gretzky. He skated well: his intelligence on the ice stood out. He was a real prospect."

http://internationalhockeylegends.bl...tony-hand.html

Being considered a real prospect is different than being considered a competitive NHL player. Also, how much of his dominance was from playing against a lower level of competition? I see that he played in the top level of WHC once and there he scored 0 points in 6 games.
I like the Hand story, and I have no idea how he would have progressed.... its straight conjecture. Let's be fair, though - he played for BRITAIN at the highest level of hockey, and went 0 for 6. There would be only one suggestable reason that Britain got there, and I doubt that that reason had much for linemates!

He had 8 points in 3 games for Victoria in his short stint in minor hockey, I think that suggests more as far as small sample conjecture goes. At least his team would be in the same ballpark as the teams he played against there.

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06-28-2013, 02:11 PM
  #29
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Just as an aside - I heard the Tony Hand story 5 years ago, mentioned it to my friend, who said, "I haven't heard that name since my assistant coach in Trail, Wayne Naka, told me that the best player he ever coached was a skinny Scottish kid named Tony Hand, and that Victoria would have won a Memorial Cup if they had done what it took to keep him there"

I related that story to my parents, because I thought it was very small-world, and interesting. Turns out when we moved form Vancouver to Peachland, we bought Wayne Naka's house, and he was on his way to Victoria to coach. Small world.

Anyways, between Sather's words, Naka's words, his short dominance in Victoria, and his his utter dominance of a very bad league, but a league that employs guys who appeared briefly in the NHL, my guess is he had the talent to be pretty good to really good. Whether or not he could take being a third liner, adjust to a completely different/rougher game, and whetehr he stuck with the Oil, or ended up somewhere crappy would determine how he might actually have done.

But I think he had the talent, and, if nothing else, that blows my mind. Where the hell did he learn hockey well-enough to be even noticed by Sather like that?? They say that iron sharpens iron, and this guy grew up playing against pudding....

Maybe a better question about Tony Hand is... "what if his parents had moved to Canada when he was 10?"

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06-28-2013, 03:54 PM
  #30
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I believe the Rob Brown reference might have big value to it. It's really hard to know becouse of the utterly ****** opposition Tony Hand had 99 percent of his career. But still, we'we heard about some numbers here in this thread about players in the BIHL that could not fit in the NHL, and as we know, Brown at least DOMINATED the IHL and AHL at least almost to the same degree Hand did in Britain.


Last edited by Darth Yoda: 06-28-2013 at 04:00 PM.
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Old
06-28-2013, 04:35 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
I believe the Rob Brown reference might have big value to it. It's really hard to know becouse of the utterly ****** opposition Tony Hand had 99 percent of his career. But still, we'we heard about some numbers here in this thread about players in the BIHL that could not fit in the NHL, and as we know, Brown at least DOMINATED the IHL and AHL at least almost to the same degree Hand did in Britain.
Funny thing about Brown is that he acctually played in the WHL the same season Tony made his 3 games going 63 76 136 212.

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06-28-2013, 06:46 PM
  #32
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Hand didn't exactly impress when Britain was in the A pool of the Worlds in 1994. He had zero points and the British were blown away by the likes of even Austria and Italy.

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06-28-2013, 07:20 PM
  #33
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It's a peculiarly Scottish athlete thing. The amount of times a promising Scottish soccer player has gone abroad, excelled briefly and then run back home after a year or two. Most say (and I'm pretty sure I remember Hand saying it too) that they just missed Scotland too much. Many can handle living in England, but even that is too much for some.

There was a guy at my school who was being sought by Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. I think it was Chelsea who offered him a contract after a trial and he turned them down. He said he was homesick after the week he was there. He played for the local team for a while, but went on the drink and that's the last I've heard of him.

I find it all very annoying.

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06-29-2013, 11:36 AM
  #34
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Hand didn't exactly impress when Britain was in the A pool of the Worlds in 1994. He had zero points and the British were blown away by the likes of even Austria and Italy.
That's not to surprising though. Hand would have been by far the best player on Great Britain in 1994, so I would think most teams would have guys covering him the entire game. As he would be the centre of attention of the opposition, its not hard to believe that Hand couldn't score any points, and since he was so far ahead of the other British players, it was not hard for other teams to defeat them.

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06-29-2013, 11:46 AM
  #35
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Still playing at the age of 45. Put up 10G 67A in 47 games for Manchester in the 2nd tier EPIHL last season, acting as a player-coach.

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06-29-2013, 06:37 PM
  #36
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Originally Posted by El Cohiba View Post
I'm fairly confident that anyone who has ever put on an NHL sweater would have lit up that league
Wade Belak played 549 games in the NHL and didn't score a ton. Went to the EIHL and didn't score much more.

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06-29-2013, 07:10 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmythescot View Post
It's a peculiarly Scottish athlete thing. The amount of times a promising Scottish soccer player has gone abroad, excelled briefly and then run back home after a year or two. Most say (and I'm pretty sure I remember Hand saying it too) that they just missed Scotland too much. Many can handle living in England, but even that is too much for some.

There was a guy at my school who was being sought by Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. I think it was Chelsea who offered him a contract after a trial and he turned them down. He said he was homesick after the week he was there. He played for the local team for a while, but went on the drink and that's the last I've heard of him.

I find it all very annoying.
Very true. I was going to state same earlier but felt it better left said by someone from Scotland itself. Here in Canada a similar peculiarity as it relates to players from New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland & Nova Scotia. Some serious Junior talent, potential gone unfulfilled & over several generations. Same from the nordic European countries, be it Norway, Sweden, Finland etc.

In addition to being "run at" and guttersniped, culturally, everything rather overwhelming. I played on a team in Junior with several guys from the Maritimes and another from Scandinavia late 60's early 70's. The abuse they took from opponents was bad enough, at training camps really pretty deplorable. All of them returning home early in the season after making the clubs. Just a waste really as we were talking some serious innate hockey skills & IQ. But who needs that? Rednecks calling them out due to accent or origination? Even Francophones from Quebec, unwelcome in Ontario during my era.

Its really little wonder that Tony Hand left early. Nothing to do with not wanting to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond & ultimately asking himself if the price is worth the pain. Upon arrival on the ice: The Code: your just not right. Talk funny. Dress a bit differently. Drop em.... and yet it continues with the Import Draft, with the Outlaw Jr. League in Ontario. Kids from Murmansk or wherever parachuted in to small, blue collar towns on the fringes of Major Jr. markets, pursuing dreams that'll never happen, despondently returning home and after seeing & tasting just enough, messed right up, solace in drink, drugs or whatever. Unprepared. Made to feel as an Alien Invader. Dreams can Die Hard and with a Vengeance.

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06-29-2013, 10:00 PM
  #38
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Looks like the next coming of Lonny Bohonos (and I loved Lonny)

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06-29-2013, 11:01 PM
  #39
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Looks like the next coming of Lonny Bohonos (and I loved Lonny)
Lonny. How the Hell could you not LOVE Lonny Bohonos?

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06-29-2013, 11:49 PM
  #40
tombombadil
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Very true. I was going to state same earlier but felt it better left said by someone from Scotland itself. Here in Canada a similar peculiarity as it relates to players from New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland & Nova Scotia. Some serious Junior talent, potential gone unfulfilled & over several generations. Same from the nordic European countries, be it Norway, Sweden, Finland etc.

In addition to being "run at" and guttersniped, culturally, everything rather overwhelming. I played on a team in Junior with several guys from the Maritimes and another from Scandinavia late 60's early 70's. The abuse they took from opponents was bad enough, at training camps really pretty deplorable. All of them returning home early in the season after making the clubs. Just a waste really as we were talking some serious innate hockey skills & IQ. But who needs that? Rednecks calling them out due to accent or origination? Even Francophones from Quebec, unwelcome in Ontario during my era.

Its really little wonder that Tony Hand left early. Nothing to do with not wanting to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond & ultimately asking himself if the price is worth the pain. Upon arrival on the ice: The Code: your just not right. Talk funny. Dress a bit differently. Drop em.... and yet it continues with the Import Draft, with the Outlaw Jr. League in Ontario. Kids from Murmansk or wherever parachuted in to small, blue collar towns on the fringes of Major Jr. markets, pursuing dreams that'll never happen, despondently returning home and after seeing & tasting just enough, messed right up, solace in drink, drugs or whatever. Unprepared. Made to feel as an Alien Invader. Dreams can Die Hard and with a Vengeance.
Stranger in a Strange Land. We didn't try to spread the game, really. Better to be the best by discouraging competition than to welcome people and then beat them. Not that I was there, in any form, but it seems pretty obvious, and you have mentioned it a few times.

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06-30-2013, 03:42 AM
  #41
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Better to be the best by discouraging competition than to welcome people and then beat them.
... thats Evil, true enough, still wicked. Passive aggression.

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06-30-2013, 12:12 PM
  #42
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And sadly still going on today. See: CHL and European goalies.

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07-01-2013, 12:24 AM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Ace14 View Post
Wade Belak played 549 games in the NHL and didn't score a ton. Went to the EIHL and didn't score much more.
Wade had 33 points in 549 NHL games, 8 being goals.

I'd say his 7 goals and 17 total points in 42 EIHL games was a major increase in offensive productivity.

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07-01-2013, 08:22 AM
  #44
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Originally Posted by beauchamp View Post
Tony Hand very rarely lead the BHL in goals/assists/points.

I just verified 1993-94, the year when he had the most points in his career.

The highest scoring team had 485 goals in 44 games, an average of 11 goals a game.

The worst defensive team had 743 goals scored against them, an average of almost 17 goals per game.

That's the league where Gary Unger finished his career.

At the age of 39, he finished with an average of almost 8 points a game for the season: 30 games - 95 goals - 143 assists - 238 points.

Source: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...y.php?pid=5518
On the contrary; Hand was leading scorer three or four times. Excellent a site as hockeydb normally is, it suffers a curious blind spot with the British League prior to 1996. The leading scorers lists make no distinction between players who played in the first and second tiers.

For instance, Unger's 238 point season occurred in the second tier, as is borne out by the link below.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...l19971987.html

In 85-86, an eighteen year old Hand outscored Unger by thirty points, having played three games fewer. (Mitigating factors: Hand's team was better, Unger was just out of retirement. Incidentally, it was Unger, an ex-Oiler, who recommended Sather take a punt on Hand).

In 87-88, Hand outscored Unger by 111 points. Playing four more games helped, no doubt.

As for 93-94, not only are second tier players included, but other top flight players have had their points for the Autumn Cup and playoffs included, whereas Hand's are league only. (British hockey's structure was influenced more by rugby league or soccer back then, inasmuch as there was a league and playoffs, but whoever won the league was considered British champions).

The link below helps bear this out, and if you're inclined, by hunting around a bit you can examine in detail the scoring records of such British hockey heroes as Hilton Ruggles.

http://www.eurohockey.net/players/sh...gi?serial=3284

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07-01-2013, 08:47 AM
  #45
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Originally Posted by jimmythescot View Post
It's a peculiarly Scottish athlete thing. The amount of times a promising Scottish soccer player has gone abroad, excelled briefly and then run back home after a year or two. Most say (and I'm pretty sure I remember Hand saying it too) that they just missed Scotland too much. Many can handle living in England, but even that is too much for some.
In his autobiography, Hand states not only that he was homesick, but that the media attention he received in Canada took him aback.

During the peak of his career he didn't make much money comparatively speaking, and I remember him complaining that he might have to join the police force to give himself greater economic security. Furthermore, his club, the Murrayfield Racers, lacked depth, so he didn't win as much as his talent deserved.

One reason for Hand's scoreless showing in 94 was that British hockey made the most dismally half-arsed preparations for playing Pool A. The clubs, you see, weren't keen on making concessions to the national team, such as concluding the domestic season earlier to give the players time to regroup physically and mentally too. Hand was unhappy that GB selected large numbers of dual national, Canadian-raised players. (Not least when one of his teammates sang along to the Canadian anthem before the two teams played each other). For a few years he made himself unavailable for selection altogether.

All told, it would be simplistic to say that he chose an easier life by staying in Britain.

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07-01-2013, 08:55 AM
  #46
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the real question is what kind of numbers wayne gretzky could have put up in the bhl. What could've been?
over 9000!!!!!!

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07-01-2013, 09:34 AM
  #47
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Interestingly Tony and Ken reunited playing for the Sheffield Steelers 96-99 with quite similar results:

Tony Hand
1995-96 Sheffield Steelers BHL 35 46 77 123
1996-97 Sheffield Steelers BISL 41 13 32 45
1997-98 Sheffield Steelers BISL 44 14 44 58
1998-99 Sheffield Steelers BISL 36 11 27 38

Ken Priestlay
1995-96 Sheffield Steelers BHL 36 58 40 98
1996-97 Sheffield Steelers BISL 34 25 12 37
1997-98 Sheffield Steelers BISL 43 19 33 52
1998-99 Sheffield Steelers BISL 41 19 24 43

I guess the most reasonable answer is that Tony was worse than a player who was no longer able to play in the NHL and similar to players who never made it or made it as a short term fringe player in the big league.
In 96-97 Ken Hodge Jnr. (once a 30-goal scorer in the NHL), scored 16 goals and 29 assists in 34 BISL games. Make of that what you will.

You'll notice that after 95-96, the British Hockey League became the Super League. Money flooded in (relatively speaking), and, coupled with the Bosman ruling, it became easier to sign imports. Teams had greater depth and quality, so players enjoyed shorter shifts and the game speeded up a little. Scoring plummeted, because defending and goaltending improved. Hand was 29 by then, and he found it harder to adapt to the new circumstances, having previously played 45+ minutes per night game in, game out. But adapt he did, and he was second in scoring in the 97-98 season. This while most of his compatriots were either warming benches or dropping into the second tier to find playing time.

Too much emphasis can't be placed on the fact that British hockey circa 81-96 simply wasn't fit for producing NHL-calibre players. Teams practiced a couple of times a week (usually late at night, because most players were amateur or semi-pro and hockey teams had to fit around ice skating activities at rinks) and played on weekends. Pretty much every North American who came to Britain had had enormous developmental advantages over Hand, regardless of their skill set. Hand said that the intensive practicing and playing schedules of North America exhausted him.

In a sense, the remarkable thing about Hand is that he should have had a natural talent so far ahead of his fellow Brits.

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07-01-2013, 12:38 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by Stray Wasp View Post
In 85-86, an eighteen year old Hand outscored Unger by thirty points, having played three games fewer. (Mitigating factors: Hand's team was better, Unger was just out of retirement. Incidentally, it was Unger, an ex-Oiler, who recommended Sather take a punt on Hand).

In 87-88, Hand outscored Unger by 111 points. Playing four more games helped, no doubt.
But would being outscored by Garry Unger be worse than being outscored by Rick Fera?

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07-01-2013, 12:44 PM
  #49
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Hand was unhappy that GB selected large numbers of dual national, Canadian-raised players. (Not least when one of his teammates sang along to the Canadian anthem before the two teams played each other). For a few years he made himself unavailable for selection altogether.
GB started loading up with Canadians in 1990, which led to their quick rise to the A pool.
1990- 6
1991- 6
1992- 8
1993-10
1994-15

By contrast, I've only been able to find 2 Canadians playing for GB between 1953 & 1990.

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07-01-2013, 01:02 PM
  #50
DisgruntledGoat
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Very true. I was going to state same earlier but felt it better left said by someone from Scotland itself. Here in Canada a similar peculiarity as it relates to players from New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland & Nova Scotia. Some serious Junior talent, potential gone unfulfilled & over several generations. Same from the nordic European countries, be it Norway, Sweden, Finland etc.

In addition to being "run at" and guttersniped, culturally, everything rather overwhelming. I played on a team in Junior with several guys from the Maritimes and another from Scandinavia late 60's early 70's. The abuse they took from opponents was bad enough, at training camps really pretty deplorable. All of them returning home early in the season after making the clubs. Just a waste really as we were talking some serious innate hockey skills & IQ. But who needs that? Rednecks calling them out due to accent or origination? Even Francophones from Quebec, unwelcome in Ontario during my era.

Its really little wonder that Tony Hand left early. Nothing to do with not wanting to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond & ultimately asking himself if the price is worth the pain. Upon arrival on the ice: The Code: your just not right. Talk funny. Dress a bit differently. Drop em.... and yet it continues with the Import Draft, with the Outlaw Jr. League in Ontario. Kids from Murmansk or wherever parachuted in to small, blue collar towns on the fringes of Major Jr. markets, pursuing dreams that'll never happen, despondently returning home and after seeing & tasting just enough, messed right up, solace in drink, drugs or whatever. Unprepared. Made to feel as an Alien Invader. Dreams can Die Hard and with a Vengeance.
Interesting perspective.

Especially as Maritimers have dispersed all over the country (and really the world) to find employment (although that's not why I'm out here).

As a Maritimer in Alberta, I always shake my head at Westerners who consider a five-hour drive to be, 'a long way from home'.

I guess its the 'big fish in a small pond' mentality when it comes to atheletes, though. A lot easier to go back home and be a star, than it is to go back home and be unemployed!

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