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Old 10-19-2009, 07:23 AM   #1
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Default Woody Gottburg takes hockey obsession to new levels

Crazy about pucks: Woody Gottburg takes hockey obsession to new levels

Woody Gottburg. a former announcer for the Sioux City Musketeers, talks about collecting his hockey memorabilia, some of which includes the early days of the Sioux City Musketeers, in the conference room at the Sioux City Journal. .

..Prized possessions
Woody Gottburg listed the following as among his favorite hockey mementoes:

-- Musketeers jersey with his name attached, presented by team in 2002, his last full year as team announcer and the last year the team won the Clark Cup league championship. (Coincidence?)

-- Omaha Lancers hockey jersey signed by NHL great Mario Lemieux, Lancers' co-owner.

-- 1980 Sports Illustrated which featured U.S. Olympic Team as Sportsman of the Year, personally signed by coach Herb Brooks and players Mike Eruzione and Dave Christian.

-- 1998 plaque from Musketeers, inducting him into Inkster Hall of Fame. Along with '70s goalie Ralph Kloiber, the last two hall inductees.

-- The 1999-2000 D'Artagnan Award from the Muskies, awarded to nonplayer, kind of a Sixth Man award.

-- Three Wayne Gretzky rookie cards.

-- Set of 1974 Musketeer hockey cards, now listed in Beckett catalog, which Woody put out as head of Muskies' souvenir department.

-- 1969 T
Most boys collect sports cards, treasuring their rookie cards of Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, John Elway or Bobby Orr. But most boys grow up and stop collecting such things.

Terry "Woody" Gottburg of Sioux City isn't most boys.

In 40-plus years, he has seen his modest hockey card collection explode into a phenomenal -- if cluttered -- amassment which has pretty much taken over the basement of the home he shares with his wife and two card-collecting boys. It has gone way beyond cards to jerseys and programs, coins and action figures, signed photos and hockey pucks and even some personal honors, thanks mostly to his 30 years' employment with the Sioux City Musketeers -- many of those years as the Voice of the Musketeers, both on radio and as the team's public address announcer.

"I have somewhere around 50,000 cards, a few hundred programs and yearbooks, over 100 pucks. I never really counted, but it's a lot," he said.

Some of it is on display. A lot of it is boxed up. And a few pieces, like three of the four treasured Wayne Gretzky rookie cards he got in a trade with a Canadian collector in 1979 (Gretzky's rookie year), well they're in a safe deposit box. The fourth card he traded away. Several years ago, burglars once made off with his old baseball and football cards, leaving the hockey cards behind because they thought no doubt they were worthless. Nobody said burglars were smart.

Woody has been working fulltime in radio and TV for 30 years, but has been away from the spotlight since mid-March when he lost his job at KMEG-TV when it laid off about a third of its staff. He is working part-time in the Elections Department of the Woodbury County Auditor's Office, hoping eventually to get back into media work.

He was in high school when the Musketeers started in 1972. He and a buddy thought it would be great to get involved with the new hockey team, a successor to the old Sioux City Eagles, a semipro team. Then-team owner Gary Lipschutz hired both to sell programs.

"Being involved with a hockey team made it real easy for me to start collecting hockey memorabilia," Woody said. "I just started collecting little by little, and it snowballed over the years. I had a lot of fun doing it and part of the fun of collecting has been all the neat people I've met in hockey over the years."

The key word is memorabilia. By the early '70s, Woody was way beyond cards.

He got into puck collecting, acquiring every variation of a Musketeer puck and a wide variety of other minor league and NHL pucks. Connections with players, coaches, fans and other collectors helped build his collection.

For instance, John Saville, the Muskies' second coach, decided to get rid of some old mementoes he had collected as a kid. "So he gave me a set of hockey coins of the old original six NHL teams that were put out in 1961 when John was growing up as a kid back in Ontario. It's a complete set of coins that was issued in boxes of tea and cookies up in Canada by Salada Foods," he said. "So I've got his full set of six (Maple Leaf) shields of those."

He then showed, with true fan boy enthusiasm, the coins featuring the Detroit Red Wings with Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and other stars of the '60s.

His collecting days mostly behind him now, Woody still picks up a few pieces here and there, but most of the stuff he really might want, like the 1966 Bobby Orr rookie card, is simply out of his price range anyway, he said. Not that he's complaining. He prefers the more personal stuff.

An ongoing thrill, he said, is the memorabilia he received from former Musketeer players who went on to play in the NHL -- players like Ruslan Fedetenko, Dieter Kochan, Rotislav Klesla and David Hale.

"Getting to know those guys, strike up friendships with them and see them go on and succeed, that's been pretty special," he said.

Crazy about pucks: Woody Gottburg takes hockey obsession to new levels
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