Category Archives: Gaston

That LeBois

Today I’d like to present another star from days gone by, Gaston LeBois.

Looking back now, Gaston LeBois admits it was his father who was mostly responsible for his hockey career.

The senior LeBois would flood the backyard for hours on end, alone and in the dark, and it was unfortunate that he chose July and August to do this. Young Gaston would play and play on this homemade rink, but after coming close to drowning, eventually abandoned it for an arena in winter.

His dad never forgave him, but Gaston found that he enjoyed frozen water over unfrozen water.

In 1962 Gaston was finally called up to the big team and never looked back. He became one of the finest mediocre benchwarmers in the history of the game, and it’s something he’s proud of, even to this day. “It was just nice to be dry after playing on my dad’s rink,” he admitted in a recent interview.

But he wasn’t always a bench warmer. During the 1972 series against the Bulgarians and with the team desperately needing a goal, LeBois jumped over the boards when coach Sinders wasn’t looking, called for a pass but missed, but carried on. Big Bill Esponosa grabbed the puck and threw it out to LeBois, and with just 34 seconds left in the game and a nation holding its collective breath, LeBois fanned on it, punched out the referee, and because his team lost, a riot ensued outside Rue Ste. Carla as thousands of angry fans wanted to find Gaston and kick him in the balls.

They say no one was better inside the blueline and I agree. I’ve been to the Blueline Tavern and to this day, oldtimers gather round and drink and spit and tell stories about how Gaston could chug-a-lug and womanize for days on end and still be a mediocre bench warmer when called upon.

LeBois also scored six times in one game. Their names were Lola, Brigitte, Gloria, Xaviera, Penelope, and Sophia. Gaston has always said that this feat ranks up there as one of the biggest moments in his career.

Yes, he was a beauty, all right. Part of a dying breed. He’d kick and punch and take on all comers to get what he was after. Of course, the team wished he had this much spirit and drive playing hockey as he did with bartenders.

Gaston’s retired now and living a simple life on the west coast. But many fans and teammates still remember him, and they all agree on one thing…… that he was such an asshole back then.

 

 

Old Faithful

I’d like to give a quick shout-out to someone who’s been part of this blog since the beginning, but in the past few years has been rarely seen and is now mostly forgotten.

Gaston.

Gaston was made by a friend of my dad’s. I don’t know how many the man made, but he gave two to my dad, who promptly painted them in Habs uniforms, gave them faces, and handed one to me and one to my brother. I named mine Gaston because it thought it was a solid French-Canadian name.

I used Gaston often. I often took him on trips with me, and on these pages showed him outside of San Quentin Penitentiary, at the corner of Haight-Ashbury and at the site of the Woodstock Festival and various other places, all the while explaining that although he was a great Habs fan, he was also quite an asshole with a checkered past.

Gaston doesn’t make an appearance very much anymore. I think he wore out his welcome. But there’s a bunch of stories involving him over in the Categories section if you feel so inclined.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and say thank you to Gaston. He was a major player on this site for a long time and he deserves it.

One Man’s Junk Is…..

Under the well-used heading of “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, are two things I found during my recent trip to Woodstock (Bethel) and Cooperstown.

First, from the dairy farm of Max Yasgur, the man who let organizers use his land for the 1969 Woodstock festival, is this Yasgur milk bottle.

It’s not an original 1950s/60s bottle, those sell for about $500. Mine came later, I’m not sure when, and I paid $8 for it. But it’s a real Yasgur milk bottle, I’m sure there was milk in it at one point, and it looks just dandy on my shelf.

Milk bottle

From Cooperstown, I found this. In the 1960s, Yankee Stadium sold popcorn in these and when one removed the cap, it became a megaphone! It’s perfect for my vintage popcorn box collection.

Yankees

I showed some of the photos below on Facebook recently, so basically, these are for folks who aren’t on Facebook. The rest of you, just go for a beer. There some different ones, though.

Festival organizers were truly lucky to find Yasgur’s land after previous sites near the villages of Woodstock and Wallkill fell through. The site is huge, with a nice sloping hill down to the stage area, it has a nearby forest to go to the bathroom or get frisky in, and White Lake is just down the road to go skinny dipping.

It’s also been called a natural amphitheater. Just perfect, and Max Yasgur loved the kids who invaded. Many of the Bethel townsfolk didn’t though.

Lucy and I spent several hours there and came back again the next day. There’s also a beautiful museum on the site.

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Below, Lucy’s video.

The peace sign at Woodstock, done with some sort of grass cutter, reminds of one I did behind my backyard in Calgary years ago. I got shit from the city for that because it was on municipal property.

Calgary

Roadrunner In Action

Photo from my scrapbook of a peach-fuzzed rookie Yvan Cournoyer during the 1964-65 campaign, with Dickie Moore (as a Leaf), Jean Beliveau, Jean Guy Talbot, Bob Pulford, Ted Harris, Ron Stewart, and Charlie Hodge.

And below, although I never scrambled for a foul ball or flying puck, I did manage (very quietly) to get a Cournoyer goal puck through a trade, a goal he scored on Oct. 26, 1972, only a month after the ’72 Summit Series in which Roadrunner played a major role.

Yvan would retire at 35 after 15 seasons, all with the Habs, and 10 Stanley Cups.

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Yvan

“Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot! Henderson makes a wild stab at it and falls. Here’s another shot. Right in front. They score! Henderson has scored for Canada!”

Roadrunner '72

And then there was that time he played on a line with Gaston.

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Habs Needing A Super Sunday

I distinctly recall the idea that if the Canadiens can get through the early stages of the season playing .500 hockey with all their injuries involved, then they’re doing fine.

They’re 8-8-1 right now. Not great but it could be worse. They could be the Buffalo Sabres.

Today it’s the Islanders (6 pm EST) with a backup goalie in nets, star left winger Tomas Vanek on the shelf, and star left winger Matt Moulson gone, traded for Vanek.

The Canadiens are now on the playoff spot bubble, in eighth spot in the East with 17 points, with the Islanders just behind with 15. Even someone like Gaston, who blew his brains out smoking gunpowder, should be able to figure out that this is a game the Habs need to win. But Montreal has to score more, has to have guys punch the clock and hit the net much more, and crash and bang and get the Bell Centre walls shaking.

Brian Gionta has four goals in sixteen games. Lars Eller and Rene Bourque five in seventeen, Max has two in eight, DD of course is stalled at zero in sixteen, and although Ryan White isn’t expected to light the lamp or do much offensively, the fact remains he’s zero points in fifteen games.

Alex Galchenyuk, someone we all expect huge things from in future years, is third in team points, but is showing just two goals to go along with his nine assists in seventeen games. But he’s only 19-years old so there’s not much I can say. I just want him to become a superstar as soon as possible, that’s all.

“We’re getting a lot of our shots blocked right now, so that’s a big factor,” says Bourque. Which I think is a feeble excuse. Find a way not to have them blocked. The Canadiens block a lot of shots and other teams manage.

Five straight losses would be dismal, and the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning are here on Tuesday. It could become six.

It’s an important game, this Islanders clash. Even Gaston knows that.

 

It Happened Like This

It was May when Brandon Prust called Senators coach Paul MacLean a “bug-eyed fat walrus”, not long before the Canadiens bowed out to the Sens in five games.

What does that mean? Nothing. I’m just babbling. And I like the quote.

In June, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the Canadiens grabbed lanky forward Michael McCarron along with Jacob de la Rose, goaltender Zachary Fucale, and Artturi Lehkonen in the 2013 Entry Draft, Brendan Gallagher was edged out by Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau for Calder Trophy/rookie of the year honours, and P.K captured the Norris Trophy and rightly so.

And Luci and I hopped in the car and moved to Montreal.

July saw big George Parrros and little Daniel Briere signed by the Habs, I started my new job, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and Fred Shero were announced as new Hall of Famers, and P.K. and Carey Price were officially invited to Canada’s National Team orientation camp which would ultimately become a ball hockey game.

In August, Douglas Murray was signed by the Canadiens, I bought Dylan’s Blond on Blond CD, my brother came to visit me, and hoodlum Whitey Bulger, whose ex-girlfriend’s daughter was once married to Knuckles Nilan, somehow ended up with a 1986 Stanley Cup ring. (Whitey’s about to get sentenced to life).

September saw rookie camp get underway at Brossard, a guy robbed a bank in Orillia wearing a Habs hat, the Canadiens pre-season exhibition games kicked off, Danno sent me a hockey card I didn’t have, and Michael Bournival and Jarred Tinordi got the news they were staying with the big club. (Tinordi’s down in Hamilton at the moment).

October began with a loss to the Loafs during which George Parros conked his head in a fight and was gone for a month, Ryan White shaved his long blond locks, Daniel Briere suffered a concussion, Max got hurt, Leaf great Allan Stanley passed away, the Red Sox won the World Series, Alexei Emelin signed for four more years, and the Hockey Inside Out Summit kicked off at Hurley’s on Crescent St.

In November, Parros came back with his mustache missing, I bought a sports jacket, Toronto’s mayor made a whack of headlines, a Michel Therrien/PK Subban soap opera picked up steam, Gaston’s still an asshole, and the Canadiens have lost all four games they’ve played this month.