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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

READ THIS: Slim and None My Wild Ride From the WHA to the NHL and All the Way to Hollywood by Howard Baldwin with Steve Milton Our Coverage Sponsored by Vermont Harvest

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This post is dedicated to Peachy's late grandparents, who loved the Hartford Whalers.
Grammy and Grampy, we know you are reading up there.

"Slim and None is a great book detailing how Howard achieved a dream that not too many people thought he could. It's an inspirational true story about how Howard started at the bottom of the ladder and climbed all the way up and was rewarded for it by winning the Avco Cup and the Stanley Cup. It's notable that Howard did not take advantage of his family's financial status and 'made it' on his own with diligent hard work. Slim and None is about the friends that Howard made along the way and helped him succeed in his endeavor, and he gives credit where it is due. Howard's loyalty for the people he brought along with him for the ride is admirable. Howard and I go back to my days with the Flyers and I am very happy that Howard could put his experience in writing and I also consider Howard a good friend."
Thank you Andre for your contribution!

We knew who Howard Baldwin was far before we learned of the word entrepreneur, and well before we understood its meaning.  The face of the ownership of hockey in the great State of Connecticut, the exceptional Howard Baldwin, has penned an autobiography that is a must-read for businesspeople anywhere that are interested in success.  Today, we know an awful lot about entrepreneurship, and Whom You Know is largely a celebration of the best entrepreneurs we have found worldwide.  However, there are no Hartford Whalers in 2014 despite Howard's best efforts; the story of the Connecticut Whale is a sad tale: like Gatsby, Howard and anyone that likes hockey in Hartford has learned you can't recreate the past.  The Hartford Whalers were the only game in town in Connecticut, and they were phenomenal for the community and happiness of the state.

Slim and None is a story of beating the odds with persistence, hard work, intelligence and networking-guess where we learned it's not who you know, it's Whom You Know.  And you'll learn it's a thankful miracle the Whalers ever came to be; the Chicago Blackhawks must think that because the existence of the Whalers provided for their superior coaching staff today (Quenneville and Dineen...Howard comments on alumni affecting the game today on page 149.)

Anyone successful will tell you that there's a lot of working your way up that happens.  Did you know Howard Baldwin experienced U.S. Marine training at Parris Island
Howard did play hockey himself at The Salisbury School, and went on to Boston University to play baseball.  
 His first job was at Alex Taylor and Company, a sporting goods store in New York at $75 a week.  His first job in hockey was in ticket sales-all gate sales and advance tickets in the age of paper tickets and no computer printouts, nevermind StubHub.  Tickets made 95% of a teams's income at the time. (page 31) The bottom line: no one starts on top!  (This paragraph is dedicated to the millennials and the helicopter parents...)

And for the record for all of our New York readers, Howard Baldwin is a New Yorker.  He is from the town of Mount Kisco in Westchester County.  Manhattan readers: when Howard was working at Alex Taylor, he lived in Hell's Kitchen.  Later, he worked on a skyscraper in construction at Central Park West and 74th Street.  We like that Howard is not a fan of the cheesecake here either.

Capital raising, selling, marketing, and finding an arena to play in are all challenges Howard faced, and you know in the end he was successful: however, to learn HOW he did it, you've got to read Slim and None.  We won't spoil it for you, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Did you know Sandy Weill played a role in this story?  You'll see what kind of partners you want to do business with here, and also learn lessons about what to avoid.   The brilliant involvement of the Insurance Industry in Hartford orchestrated by Howard is key to this success as well.  It's not all business, however, and the pictures included are phenomenal.

Clearly, if you like hockey and the Hartford Whalers, this is required reading.  "On January 11, 1975, the Whalers moved into the Hartford Civic Center, the arena part of which was called the Veterans Memorial Coliseum...What was so incredible was that the city leaders had built an arena in a mall and made it into an entertainment center. " (page 91)  This is the real reason why our site is about Fashion/Eating/Hockey: if Peachy behaved and got good grades, she got to go to the hockey games, and everyone shopped and went out to eat before the game started.  At 6:30pm the doors opened and at 6:50pm warm-ups started.  (Thank you Kevin Dineen for our puck collection.)  Now everyone has this kind of arena, but in the 70's, it was incredibly forward-thinking.  Also if you like sports in general, you'll find the story of the WHA and how it impacted the NHL entirely captivating.

"What I'm most proud of was that when the Hartford team was sold in 1988, we had the third-highest gross gate in the league, while playing the smallest market [21 teams in the NHL at the time we believe] and in an arena with the smallest capacity," Howard tells readers on page 93.

Did you know that Howard Baldwin has produced 30 films!  Howard's Hollywood tales comment on the new idea of Product Placement in Flight of the Navigator, and Russell Crowe's training for Mystery, Alaska.  A most interesting life!

The stories you won't want to miss include:
*Howard's trip to the Academy Awards turned up a Whaler fan: Adam Sandler, who sat beside Howard 
*Howard's little brother Philip dated John Lindsay's (Mayor of New York) daughter-the story is how Philip showered after also working on the Central Park West construction with Howard and before his date
*The first time Howard met Gordie Howe
*Even better, Howard's visit to Colleen Howe and her llamas...and the subsequent goat attack
*The Gucci loafer playoff story (and even better Quebec SWEEP!)
*ESPN was born during all of this down the road from Hartford in Bristol, and it is no accident that the first NHL game on ESPN was the Hartford Whalers vs. Washington Capitals 

Slim and None by Mover and Shaker Howard Baldwin is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know!

Peachy Deegan still wears a Whalers jacket, and she also has blue and green Paul Mayer Attitudes to go with it (that's Paul and her-he designed the shoes.)  She also wears a Chicago Blackhawks hat with a Whalers patch sewn on the back with an arrow pointing to it that says: "Strategy by."


Twitter: @HouseofAnansi 

Sports entrepreneur and Academy Award-nominated film producer Howard Baldwin recounts his experiences in the worlds of hockey and Hollywood. 

From his start as an owner in the World Hockey Association at the age of 28 (“slim and none” was a Boston sportswriter’s assessment of Howard’s chances when he was first awarded the New England Whalers franchise), to winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then on to Hollywood success, sports entrepreneur and film producer Howard Baldwin recounts his spirited and hugely entertaining life story 

Beginning with his move at the age of twenty-eight from an entry-level position in the ticket office of the Philadelphia Flyers to acquiring and building his own WHA franchise in New England, Howard has built an impressive reputation as a pioneer — and a maverick — in the world of professional hockey. As President of the WHA, Baldwin led the merger with the NHL, and then later became a key figure in the expansion of North American hockey into Russia. 

Topping his journey in hockey off with a stint as chairman of the Pittsburgh Penguins, he then moved successfully into the film industry, producing a number of outstanding films including the Academy-Award winning Ray. 

About the Author: Howard Baldwin is a sports entrepreneur and film producer. He was founder of the New England Whalers, president of the WHA, and chairman of the Pittsburgh Penguins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 1992. Along with his wife, Karen, he formed the Baldwin Entertainment Group and produced the Ray Charles biopic, Ray. Baldwin is the first person to have won the AVCO Cup, the Stanley Cup, and an Academy Award. He lives in Los Angeles, California. 

About the Author: Steve Milton has been a sports writer for thirty-five years. A National Newspaper Award finalist, multiple Ontario Newspaper Award winner, and Gemini Award finalist, Milton writes a daily column for The Spectator. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold. 

Title: Slim and None

Author: Howard Baldwin (with Steve Milton) 

Imprint: Anansi 

ISBN: 9781770893634

Advance Praise for Howard Baldwin and Slim and None:

“Howard Baldwin remains one of the most engaging people I have met in my close to forty years of covering sports.!”— Chris Berman

“An insightful read into the business side of sports from a man who has seen hockey from the ground up. Starting a professional league with incredible characters as players and owners makes for an enjoyable, hilarious read. The challenges of running a franchise and the daily interaction with all levels of hockey should be a must-read for anyone interested in the business of sport.”— Kevin Dineen

“The business of major league hockey didn’t evolve by itself — Howard Baldwin forced it forward, and the meat of Slim and None, the WHA years, shows exactly how he did it. I’ve enjoyed Howard’s book immensely.”— Timothy Gassen, President, WHA Hall of Fame

“Ever since Howard negotiated a contract to bring the Howe family to Hartford in 1977, he has continued to promote the Howe legacy. From raising a Howe family retirement banner at the Hartford Civic Center to producing Mr. Hockey: The Gordie

Howe Story, Howard has been a true friend to the Howe family and a great supporter of the game of hockey.”— The hockey Howes: Gordie, Mark, and Marty

“Few in hockey history have done more for The Game with less credit than Howard Baldwin. His leadership of the World Hockey Association led to the landmark merger with the NHL and grand expansion of the Ice Game. He was the man behind 
the Penguins’ first pair of Stanley Cups and has vigorously —indefatigably — pursued more creative sports ideas than anyone I know. His story, automatically, becomes a must-read.” — Stan Fischler, Madison Square Garden hockey analyst and author of more than ninety hockey books

“Howard was one of the true leaders in ownership in the modern era of the NHL. He has always been a risk-taker and someone unafraid to fail. I am proud to call him my friend.”

— Luc Robitaille

“It figures Howard would pick the toughest sport to fall in love with because he’s a warrior who is all heart!”— Sylvester Stallone

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