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John, Valerie's father, was an enthusiastic hockey fan and, living near Chicago, he naturally followed the Blackhawks. Around 1971, his wife, Evelyn, bought the family a gift that was mainly for Dad but turned out to be a hit with both Val and her sister, Vicky, as well. In this photo, part of Vicky's head is visible as she was trying out the new Eagle Coleco NHL Stanley Cup 5330 Table Top Hockey Game with her dad in their Lemont, IL, house on State St. The whole contraption was rather ingenious. The metal figures slid along their tracks and could be turned, controlled by rods with knobs on them. The little puck could be scooted and shot around the entire rink, in a pre-computer-era version of a sort of pinball machine/video game hybrid. Play was fast-paced but, while almost violent, it never reached the hazard level of playing life-sized hockey with real sticks, a heavy puck, and that hard ice. For several years, the game resided on our dining room table, where we could enjoy a casual game whenever we had a spare moment.

In trying to find out a little more about this game, research on the internet led to eBay. The first resulting "vintage 1969 antique" hockey game that was quite similar was being offered for $435 and, in a very surprising coincidence, by a seller in Lemont. That particular game had different teams represented, but a little more searching turned up another game with the same rivals as those pictured above: the Chicago Blackhawks (red and black uniforms) and the Los Angeles Kings (purple & gold). That particular game, also sold by the person in Lemont, went for $375 in 2013. As our family sold the game at one of our garage sales sometime during the 1980s, it is not impossible that the eBay lot was one and the same.