Goodbye Eddie Palchak.
31 Years with the Montreal Canadiens, beginning in 1966, as trainer, equipment manager, babysitter, confidant, friend, big brother, skate sharpener, and massager of egos. He was part of the team for ten Stanley Cups, was in the room during highs and lows and the angry throwing of skates and sticks when things weren’t going well for some. He dished out numbers, pulled out needles and thread to stitch sweaters, and kept tape from running short.
He was a guy the players needed for their everyday problems at their hockey factory, in some ways he replaced moms and dads, and when you’re being relied upon for 31 years, you know you’ve done a great job.
Thanks for helping the Montreal Canadiens win ten Stanley Cups, Eddie. And tell the boys in Habs heaven that we think about them.
Eddie was 71.
And this, from Ken Dryden’s “The Game”
“Eddy Palchak left the Forum at 3 o’clock this morning. When our charter from Boston landed, as we walked to cars to take us home, Palchak, with assistant Pierre Meilleur, was unloading equipment bags from the plane into a van that would take them to the Forum. There, he and Meilleur unpacked the bags, hanging the equipment to dry, piling underwear, socks, jocks, and sweaters in the laundry room to be washed by a Forum assistant when he arrived early in the morning. Then, with only a few hours’ sleep, at 9:30 a.m. he was back, setting out a second set of underwear, sharpening several pairs of skates for the noon practice. By 3:30 this afternoon, more than an hour after the last player has left, he will leave the Forum again. Tomorrow, with a game at night, he will arrive for our morning skate an hour earlier than usual, at 8:30, leaving again at 1, arriving back at the Forum at 5, finally finding his bed in a Philadelphia hotel, after the game, after the plane ride, after unpacking the bags and changing up the wet equipment at the Spectrum, some time after 3 a.m.”
“For Palchak, a friendly, conscientious man with a round pillow face and wonderful Buddy Hackett-like smile, it is a familiar routine.”