Category Archives: Bobby Rousseau

Late Apology to the Chaputs

Who is the best Habs golfer of all time? Maybe Bobby Rousseau.

Rousseau was a golf pro in St. Hyacinthe during his playing days, at a time when many players were driving trucks and throwing cases of beer around in the off-season. So being a golf pro must have been a nice and cushy summer job.

St. Hyacinthe, a city about an hour east of Montreal, holds a place in my heart but also makes me cringe somewhat at something I did there, which I’ll get to in a second.

I lived there for a month when I was 14 on an English-French student exchange, with a warm and friendly French-Canadian family, the Chaputs. Then the kid in the family, Normand, came to Orillia for the following month.

It was a fine experience. They had a river running behind their backyard so we did lots of good shit there. Mr. Chaput took us to his textile plant where he worked, and Normand and I hitchhiked up to Quebec City and slept in our sleeping bags on the Plains of Abraham.

We did the same sort of thing in Ontario too, and were even involved in a fairly serious accident when a car we were in smashed into a stopped car on the 401 and we both got a bit of a jolt. But we simply got out of the back seat, said thanks for the ride, and continued on our way to Niagara Falls and Buffalo as the two drivers dealt with their fender bender.

A few years later an Orillia buddy and I hitchhiked to Expo 67 in Montreal, stayed about five minutes because we didn’t have any money, and decided to continue on to St. Hyacinthe to visit Normand and his family once again.

It’s at this time now that I would like to formally apologize to all of the Chaputs because, although it seemed funny at the time, I realize just how much of an asshole I could be back then.

The family spoke minimal English, almost none I thought, and so I thought I’d get a big laugh from my friend by asking at their dinner table if they would pass the f*****g potatoes. That’s what I said – “Please pass the f*****g potatoes” because they wouldn’t understand anyway and I got a fine yet stifled laugh from my surprised friend.

I may have even repeated this incredible immaturity a few more times at the table. That’s how it is when you get that first big laugh. You go for more.

Sadly, I realize now, after being around many French-Canadians in my life, that they all know the word ‘f**k and to this day I feel huge shame and embarrassment. The Chaput family, a beautiful family, must have thought I was such an asshole, and they were absolutely right.

That first visit, I got off the train in St. Hyacinthe right here.

Rousseau’s Blast

It was the early 1960s, and Montreal speedster Bobby Rousseau, a slapshot specialist and off-season golf pro in Ste. Hyacinthe, Quebec, was awarded a penalty shot in a game against Boston.

Rousseau grabbed the puck at centre ice, took it just inside the blueline, and to the surprise of everyone, including his coach Toe Blake and Boston goalie, Bruce Gamble, wound up, fired, and scored.

Has a penalty shot or shootout goal ever been scored from so far out?

From my old scrapbook, a photo of the moment.

More To the Lennon/Habs Sweater Saga

A fellow named Ed sent details the other day of the time John Lennon held up a Habs sweater, which looked to be number 5 but was actually Bobby Rousseau’s number 15.

You can get the lowdown here – Update on John Lennon’s Habs Sweater.

Now, to add to the festivities, Ed has sent a picture of him actually giving the sweater to John at the time!

John and Ed

I’ll Take Several Please

Further to the John Lennon/Habs sweater update posted yesterday John Lennon’s Habs Jersey.

Ed, who filled us in on the details, paid $15.00 in 1969 for a Bobby Rousseau game-used Habs sweater. Besides the John Lennon aspect, that in itself is a mind-blowing detail.

In 1969, according to Calculator.net, $15.00 in 1969 is equal to about a hundred bucks today.

Fifteen bucks ($100) for Rousseau’s sweater. But If I’d known back then it wouldn’t have mattered much anyway because I had no money and neither did my parents.

In those days, when I was hitchhiking around the country with almost nothing to call my own except my clothes and a cool jean jacket, my mother would sometimes send me a five-dollar money order to help me out. I still have her letters.

Al McNeil’s early 1960s Habs sweater sold recently for $6700.00. Henri Richard’s from 1973-74  was $15,000.

Rousseau’s late ’60s gamer might be close to the McNeil price. Unless a couple of very serious bidders went at it and drove the price through the roof. Like Paul Henderson’s 1972 Summit Series sweater, which went for $1.25 million.

In 1969, people didn’t collect memorabilia like they do today. If everyone saved their sports and music treasures from back then, everyone would now be lounging on easy street.

But most never thought of it. And so at McNiece’s, which was located in the Forum before the 1968 renovations and eventually moved across the street, a brand new unused Habs sweater sold for more than a game-used sweater worn by a hard shooting star like Bobby Rousseau.

It’s amazing to think about, but it’s how our society has changed. Memorabilia from all walks of life is now big business. It’s also why I have a job.

Here’s a picture I took of McNiece’s in about 1965. I never realized until now that part of my finger is in it.

McNiece's

 

The Original Six In Splendid Quality

I’m out of town for the day and thought I’d just re-post this because it’s so freakin’ unbelievable. Enjoy the Original Six, with Beliveau and the gang, in splendid quality.

I don’t know how often this has ever been in circulation, but it’s one of most greatest ten minutes of hockey clips you’ll ever see.

It’s from 1967, the quality is sensational, like it was filmed today, and we see Jean Beliveau, as smooth as smooth can be, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Jacques Laperriere, Terry Harper, Ralph Backstrom, Terry Sawchuk, and just about everybody else from that time, all from the old Montreal Forum with the pillars in the background.

It’s called Blades and Brass, is set to music of a Mexican brass band, and comes from the National Film Board of Canada. So just sit back and enjoy the Original Six at the old Montreal Forum, in perfect quality.

Going Back To St. Hyacinthe

Luci and I spent part of Sunday in the city of St. Hyacinthe, 50 kilometres east of Montreal.

I wanted to go back and see it because when I was in grade nine we were asked if we wanted to do a French-English exchange during the summer and I volunteered. Several towns and cities were available to choose from, and I chose St. Hyacinthe because it was near Montreal and Habs right winger Bobby Rousseau was a golf pro there.

I think the Canadiens also held their training camps there from time to time, which gave it extra bonus points.

I spent a month with a nice French family, the Chaputs, and then my new friend Normand Chaput came with me to Orillia for a month. We had  hitchhiked all over Quebec and even slept in our sleeping bags on the Plains of Abraham, and from Orillia we thumbed down to Niagara Falls and Buffalo, and up to Bracebridge to see a charity hockey game starring a kid from the Oshawa Generals playing for the Orillia team that day, Bobby Orr.

Today in St. Hyacinthe Luci and I went to Frontenac St., where the Yamaska River flows behind, and I saw that the old Chaput house is now gone, as well as the complete neighborhood, which isn’t surprising considering it was about 48 years ago.. In place are beautiful and expensive homes, a far cry from when the street was a blue collar street with men coming and going who punched clocks and got their hands dirty.

We went downtown and it looked familiar, because Normand and I would go there from time to time to see live music in a teen club, including seeing a band I can still picture, with long, bleached white hair and singing Beatles tunes. I can almost remember their name.

We also accidentally drove by the old train station where the Chaputs greeted me when I stepped onto the platform all those years ago.

I’ve inclosed a couple of links from previous stories I’d written about that time, including the day we saw Bobby Orr, and also when I went back to St. Hyacinthe few years after that first time and did something I’m not proud of.

I wish I could find Normand Chaput or any of his family now. But I think it’s impossible to do.

Seeing Bobby Orr and George Chuvalo All In One Day

My Late Apology to the Chaput Family