Fascinating Fact # 1 I owned a sports bar for awhile in Powell River, and during this time the infamous Hanson Brothers came to town for a promotional thing at the arena. Afterwards, they came into my pub and at midnight, I locked the doors and drank beer and talked hockey with them until about 5AM.
Fascinating Fact #2 A small scrap of paper signed by Bill Barilko, who scored the Cup-winning goal for Toronto against Montreal in 1951 and died later that year in a plane crash in northern Ontario, recently sold on ebay for $750.
Fascinating Fact #3 Frank Mahovlich came into my pub after an NHL Oldtimer’s game with his niece, who lives in Powell River. I had to tell customers who clamoured all over him to cool it so the guy could eat his meal.
Fascinating Fact #4 When I was 12, my pee wee baseball team played in a tournament in St. Catherines, Ontario. For one game, goalie great Gerry Cheevers was the umpire.
Facsinating Fact # 5 Years ago, when I was about 11, I asked Foster Hewitt for his autograph. He signed for me, then, because he was in a deep discussion with some other guy, he kept my pen. I was too shy to ask him for it so my older sister had to get it for me.
Fascinating Fact #6 Howie Morenz was Toe Blake’s hero when Blake was a boy. He said he even called himself Howie. Years later, in 1937, Blake played for the Habs alongside his boyhood hero Morenz. This was the same year Morenz died from complications from a broken leg.
Fascinating Fact # 7 Toe Blake used such terrible profanity, he was barred from the Forum Billiard Hall.
Facinating Fact # 8 I collect old Montreal Canadiens kid’s wool sweaters. Not like some of the old ones in the photos above as these are extremely early Habs sweaters, but like the one in my photo at the top right, and other’s similar to that. They’re all from the 1940′s, ’50′s, and ’60′s but I’m still looking for ones from the ’30′s and ’20′s. I saw some in old Eaton’s catalogues recently, so I know they were around at that time. But are they around now?
Fascinating Fact #9 In the early ’60′s when I was about 13 or so, my buddy and I went to Barrie, Ont. for an exhibition game between the AHL’s Buffalo Bisons and the Rochester Americans. We were there early and somehow got talking to the Buffalo trainer, and he let us be stickboys for the game. The team gave us both sticks, although I broke mine later playing road hockey. And Don Cherry played that night for Rochester.
The final Fascinating Fact goes to Toe Blake, who said this: “Hockey has been my life. I never had the opportunity of getting one of those million dollar contracts, but hockey was worth more than a million to me in plenty of ways.”
(For more delicious and delightful facts, just click on ‘Fascinating Facts’ over in the category section and get a whole bunch of stuff.)