NOSTALGA IS A MAGIC THING
The other day my son and I went out with hockey sticks and a ball to play a game of hockey. We got into a penalty shot game like Shoot out in the NHL. Of course, he went on to skunk me; his shot is harder than mine. So why am I writing about my son kicking my butt in hockey?
It is really because it got me being nostalgic, remembering a show called “Show Down” during the intermission. Now, for you young folk that don’t know what I am talking about, it was like a shoot-out mini game that occurred during the intermission. I used to love watching the intermission, instead of dreading it. It would involve a high scoring forward i.e. Reggie Leach against a Premier goaltender i.e. Ken Dryden. I think it was the best of 5 with the winner getting 3, whether it was three saves or three goals. I might be wrong on those details; so maybe someone can refresh my memory on that part.
Another hockey program they used to show was on Saturday afternoons. It was like “Legends of the Game”, where the original 6 teams would play regular tournament, playoffs, and a championship. The games would be three periods of 10 minutes non-stop time. I really enjoyed watching the legends and how they played. The only bad thing was that the game was only an hour long.
I loved hearing the legends talk about their experiences and the practical jokes they played on each other. I really admire the legends for how they played and the injuries they played through. The goalies playing without a mask all those times, suffering injuries and getting stitches and then coming right back to finish the game. Old time hockey in its purest form had some real characters.
I remember sitting down with my dad when he was alive and him letting me know some of the legends he used to watch; players like Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuck, Eddie Shack, and of course the big M. (He was a huge Leafs fan, which is why I am such a huge Leafs fan.) My dad had two favorite teams: the Leafs and anyone who played against the Habs. I remember watching Hockey Night in Canada listening to Foster Hewit with my dad at night; that just made me happy that I had a dad. Memories of the nights that my dad would console me in time of losses and the nights of celebration in times of winning. I can never think of a happier time spent then watching hockey with my dad.
I remember playing road hockey with my friends and pretending that I was Dave Keon. I grew up in the days of Sittler, Macdonald, Earl Thomson, Ian Turnbal, and Mike Palmateer. I use to hate the names like Guy Lafleur, Robison, Ken Dryden ,Guy Lapoint, Jacques Lemaire, and Steve Shut. Now I respect and honor their names. I watched the game where Sittler scored his 10 point night; six goals and four assists, and I remember Ian Turnball scoring 5 goals in a night as a defensemen. I watched Bobby Orr's knees give out, forcing him to retire at an early age. I watched Phil’s 76 goal season with the Bruins. I remember Nystrom's overtime goal in the finals against Philly, and Lanny's overtime goal against the Islanders.
I have many more memories of great players and great goals. Of course, Bobby Orr‘s overtime goal against the Blues, which gave the Bruins the cup. I remember the years of watching Brad Park, who would have been the best dman in the NHL in any other era, if it wasn’t for Bobby Orr. I remember thinking of how good JD was the year that he carried the Rangers to face the Habs in the finals. In fact, I remember John Davidson playing junior hockey here in Calgary, The years of the Broad Street Bullies: the Flyers, in the days of Regie Leach, Rick Macleash, and of course Bad Boy Davie Shultz, and the toughest dmen in the game: guys like Moose Dupont and Ed Van Emp.
The NHL somehow has to bring back the memories. Kids have to know these players and how they paved the way for the players of today. We should honor the players of yesteryear more often, so kids can remember what hockey was like in our day. We should be proud of the players in our days, and tell our children of our hockey heritage, so they can really understand why we love this game; to steal a slogan from the NBA.
Which brings me back to my shootout game with my son. I hope my days with him bring back good memories and motivate him to play hockey with his son. May it help him to remember his hockey heroes with fondness? May I give him the bonding time watching hockey as my dad has given me? But most of all, may he enjoy his time with me as I did with my dad. Nostalgia is a magical thing.