My column on Feb. 27 that mentioned Shirriff hockey coins drew a lot of e-mail from fellow baby boomers. Here is a sampling:
Your reflections about collecting hockey coins in today's article bring back lots of fond memories of my childhood in Toronto in the late '50s and early '60s. I recall Shirriff having the best quality coins and a complete set was 120 players (six teams of 20 each). There were also plastic wall mount "shields" available for purchase for displaying the coins.
I'd go to school with my pockets loaded with traders. We also created various schoolyard competitive games with coins as the stakes. Near the end of each promotional season, my mother, grandmother and other relatives were urged to load up on Shirriff purchases in an effort to help me complete my collection, leaving their cupboards stocked with enough pudding to last for months.
I'm pretty sure Hostess was the potato-chip brand that also ran collectable hockey coin promotions. I think they picked this up after Shirriff stopped.
Also popular at that time were the black-and-white hockey player photos which Bee Hive Corn Syrup made available by mail when you sent in the special collar from their packages.
As a Leafs fan, my most treasured coins and photos were Frank Mahovlich's and Dave Keon's. Sure wish now that we didn't pitch all of that stuff out a long, long time ago.
Dan Crumpton Shoalts responds: Dan - I became a Frank Mahovlich fan when my mom got me a poster of him which came by mail, I believe, after you sent in something from a can of tomato juice.
Shirriff did metal hockey coins in the early '60s and the plastic ones in the late '60s. I have a Ken Schinkel! They came in Jello and pie filling - ask my brothers and sisters. We had jello every night for dessert so Mom could use up all she bought for my collection. I don't remember anything in chips. Esso, of course, had the NHL Power Players and Post had plastic marbles with players pictures in them. Bob
Shoalts responds: Bob - If I can find a Val Fonteyne coin, you've got a trade.
I'm cracking up about the coins: I used to get them via chocolate and butterscotch pudding. My brother and I then used them for floor hockey with 12-inch rulers. They really flew. They are probably still around somewhere in my parent's basement. If they surface and there's a Ken Schinkel, it's yours.
I had a childhood friend in Montreal named Rick Morton. Rick moved into the neighbourhood (NDG) and used to talk about a friend that he missed from his old neighbourhood. It was Ken's son and I'm almost certain that the boy's name was Rick Schinkel. Sound familiar?
Shoalts responds: Scott - Ken Schinkel's son was Ken Schinkel Jr. and his nephew was Rick. I'm sure neither one of those guys remembers me.
[Shirriff]had the puddings with the hockey coins. The pudding also had a magic flavor bud in the package. Kids would steal them from the grocery stores and throw away the package and keep the coin. Barry Trebell
I believe the coins evolved into potato chips, but the originals were in Shirriff jellos and puddings. The latter came with a rosebud that mom had to melt. The famous scenes in later life were cleaning out a food cupboard and finding a years-old pudding box opened, the packet having been squeezed out and the coin removed. It was purchased just for the coin. Bronco Horvath on Boston and J.C. Tremblay were the tough ones to get in my era. Thanks for the memory. Peter Willson
Shoalts responds: Peter - Funny you should mention Bronco Horvath. The summer after I was denied the Ken Schinkel coin, both his family and mine moved to new towns. Horvath came from Port Colborne, Ont., next to my new town. He was the celebrity speaker every year at our minor hockey banquet and every year he said the same thing - "Kids, get your education so you won't wind up like Bronco Horvath."
And no, I never got a Horvath coin, either.