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1973-74 Bill Speer WHA New York Golden Blades Game Worn Jersey
Lot #20

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1973-74 Bill Speer WHA New York Golden Blades Game Worn Jersey
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1973-74 Bill Speer WHA New York Golden Blades Game Worn Jersey
Lot #20

This road purple dureen gamer by Cosby was worn by Bill Speer during the 1973-74 WHA season. Speer began his professional career in the early 1960’s and became an AHL regular, representing the Springfield Indians, Cleveland Barons, Buffalo Bisons and Baltimore Clippers before making his NHL debut with the expansion Pittsburgh Penguins in 1967-68. Following two seasons with Pittsburgh, Speer spent parts of two years on the Bobby Orr led Boston Bruins blueline. Speer’s first season with the Bruins saw them capture the 1970 Stanley Cup, the only Stanley Cup Championship of Speer’s career. In 1972, the WHA came calling and Bill spent the last 2 seasons of his career playing for the New York Raiders, New York Golden Blades and Jersey Knights before retiring.

Speer was an original member of the WHA’s New York franchise who began his WHA career at inception with the New York Raiders. During that inaugural WHA season, amidst ownership default and assumption by the league, this defenseman provided steady play and veteran leadership. The following season was another tumultuous one for the team and its players as well. They had been rebranded the New York Golden Blades and were under new ownership while still playing in the high rent district at Madison Square Garden. Ownership again defaulted and the league again assumed stewardship, this time just 24 games into the season. At that point the New York Golden Blades became a footnote in history as the franchise was relocated to Cherry Hill, NJ and were rebranded the New Jersey Knights.

When the franchise left New York and became the Knights, all of the team’s jerseys that remained in the locker room were sold to Verona Sports in NJ. The player names were removed from the backs and the Cosby tags were taken from the collars; replaced with a Verona Sports tag. This example followed that path.

Sewn into the collar of this gamer is the Verona Sports tag. The original numbers remain sewn to the back and sleeves while the original fight strap remains sewn to the inner verso. The striking three-color tackle twill crest is sewn to the chest and is completely original to the jersey. The game wear on this heavy dureen is solid and consists of stick and slash marks, board burns, board paint transfer, un-repaired burn holes, fine inner pilling and a couple of handfuls of team-sewn repairs including typical sew jobs to the body and sleeve as well as work at and around the front collar and the upper verso. The New York Golden Blades existed for just 24 games at the outset of the 1973-74 WHA season and were the last WHA team to represent New York, doing so at the outset of the WHA’s 2nd season of play. A beautiful example worn by this former Stanley Cup Champion during his final WHA season, choice!