If the video doesn't show up click this link.
EDIT: The video doesn't seem to be working. It's a wonderful video, check it out.
This tribute video sums up anyone can say about Pat LaFontaine. However I am going to still say words about him so don't think you're getting off that easy.
Growing up with this guy was one of the best feelings any hockey fan can ever have. As in my other blog my mother used to wake me up to let me watch some hockey since it was past my bed-time when I was a kid. I also forgot to thank my Mother for that in the last one so here goes. Thanks again Mom for all of the times you woke me up to watch hockey. Yeah it's nothing to make anyone cry over but it's the way I thank my Mom, she's a tough cat and understands.
Pat had some very exciting goals in his day. The most memorable goal I have watched him score was when he dived as he did a backhand into the net to score a goal.
In 1993, Pat was on fire. Anything he touched was golden. He would of been the mother Theresa of hockey if that wasn't such a poor comparison to what each have done in their lives.
Pat scored 53 goals, 95 assists, and a total of 148 points back when it was 84 games a season. That's insane. Those numbers are a now Sidney Crosby like numbers which are insane. In fact I will go out on a limb and say that Pat, at least that season was better than Crosby so far.
I know this blog series is about 91-92 but even though he did rack up a impressive 93 points, his year to shine in his whole NHL career was 92-93.
In some ways I saw Daniel Briere to be a mirror image of LaFontaine last year. Not only was it the similarities in their look but their leadership skills and intense way of playing with our team and their passion for not only our hockey team and it's players and staff, but for the community and people that are less fortunate. They both have done a lot for this community and I want to recognize that right here right now.
Pat LaFontaine was a leader of the team and a leader for the City of Buffalo. Everything he has done off the ice and on the ice has gained him an immense amount of respect to the community here and the players of yesteryear that still have great things to say about him.
The first time I got to meet Pat was when I was 10 years old in 1993. I was at a charity even downtown in Buffalo and my mother brought me to it. I saw a crowd standing around someone and was acting a bit nosy. As I get closer and the crowd splits a bit I see someone who I can't help but seem familiar and it seems like I know him very well and he might be my uncle's friend? That's how familiar he was to me and probably everyone in Buffalo at that time.
I walked up to him still staring at him trying to figure out who it was. Then DING! the light bulb lit up and I realized who he was and got real nervous instantly. Feeling my heart race extremely fast I walked slowly up to him was one of the worst feelings of not wanting to embarrass myself (This is not a melodramatic version either, this is exactly how I was) and asked him if he would sign my Sabres t-shirt. He looked down at me and at the time I had a bruise on my chin from getting slap shotted by someone in hockey a few days prior to this charity event.
The first words out of his mouth were "Looks like you took a shot to the chin from a street hockey ball buddy, what's your name?" My answers came with stuttering and I told him he was right that's exactly how I got it. I then starting to relax and asked him how he knew it was a ball. He told me that it had the shape of it and he got one when he was a kid as well. I felt as though I shared a really lame bond with a hockey hero, and I have never forgotten that to this day.
I have talked to my mom in the past few years about meeting him for the first time. She recently told me that she had told him about me and what I was wearing and to strike a conversation with me because I am nervous around people at first. Come to find out my mom did charity work with him a lot and she wanted to surprise me. Again thanks again mom for giving me memories I will never forget with you and hockey.
The last time I got to see Pat was in 2006. Since I have grown up quite a bit I wasn't nervous to talk to someone I had seen 13 years earlier as a kid who loves hockey. Now I was a 23 year old that loved hockey. I walked up to him at a convention I went to in NY and he was there speaking with people as a special guest speaker.
I walked up and shook his hand and thanked him for giving me the memory I will hold forever in my childhood days. He seemed a bit confused and as I explained to him who I was and who my mother was he started to realize how much it meant. He knows how much it meant to my mom and started describing to me how she was so excited to be doing charity work with him and how she went on and on of how good of a hockey player I was and yada yada yada.
Needless to say we parted ways closing that chapter of my life while letting him know that even though he touched a lot of people's lives and created a lot of memories, I was one to find him later in the years to personally thank him and tell him how much he is appreciated.
Yeah I'm a bit mushy at times but hey we all have memories of hockey in our past that sparks passion for your entire life about the sport. This was one of them that did it for me.