Fascinating Facts Are Back! Will Your Heart Handle It?

Fascinating Fact #1  I saw Bobby Orr twice in my home town of Orillia. Once, when I was sitting in the park down by the lake, he and his wife strolled by. He had a hockey school with Mike Walton in Orillia at this time.  The other was out at one of the local beverage rooms, and he and a bunch of people I knew a lttle, sat near us. There’s a strong chance my table drank more beer than their table.

Fascinating Fact #2  Gary Lupul, a great ex-Canuck and a good friend of mine who passed away last year, introduced me once to goaltender Richard Brodeur. Gary told Brodeur I was a Habs fan, and Brodeur said “Oh, I don’t want to talk to you.”

Fascinating Fact #3  I was once introduced to the Hanson Brothers’ manager. I held out my hand and he asked “Do you wash your hands when you take a crap?” I said of course, and it was only then that he shook my hand.

Fascinating Fact #4  A kid I played minor hockey with for four or five years, John French, ended up getting drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and played a couple of years with the club’s farm team, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. But it was the early 1970’s and to crack the Habs line up, you pretty well had to be a Guy Lafleur, so French decided to sign with the New England Whalers of the newly-formed World Hockey Association instead. He played with Gordie Howe and another good Orillia boy, his old friend Rick Ley, who had played for the Leafs before jumping to the WHA.

Fascinating Fact #5  Rick Ley lived around the corner from me growing up. We sometimes skated on the big outdoor rink near us, before school. Ley also pitched a ball to me one summer which the batter fouled off into my mouth and knocked my front tooth out. 

Fascinating Fact #6  The best seat I ever had at a game was in the first row at the Montreal Forum, behind the net, just to the right of the goal judge. This was in the late 1970’s.

The worst seat I ever had was at Edmonton’s Northland Coliseum for a game between the Habs and Oilers, and we were in the very first row behind the Oilers bench. John Muckler and his two assistant coaches stood right in front of us, so the only time we could see was when the play was down at one end. 

Most games I’ve gone to, however, were usually way, way up. 

Fascinating Fact #7  Canada’s greatest pool player, Cliff Thorburn, is a long-time Habs fan.

Fascinating Fact #8  Gary Lupul told me once that the guy he made sure he didn’t piss off on the ice because the guy was simply too big and scary,  was Clark Gillies of the Islanders.



11 thoughts on “Fascinating Facts Are Back! Will Your Heart Handle It?”

  1. DK,

    I’ve got a year on you so I know all those names …. I like these facts in that they really do capture the times and the game, you have simply and effectively evoked what hockey was, what it was about, and why it was so central to our lives – we were very much a part of it. Hmmm, maybe you should be thinking book here ……

  2. All I remember about Rick & Ron Ley was they tried to cutoff my long hair behind Dino’s Pool Hall in Orillia back in 1969 ! They failed !!
    GO HABS GO !!!!!!!!

  3. Sadly, the closest I’ve ever been to any NHL player was sitting in the one-hundred level of a game in the HSBC (My father did play a pick up hockey game with a couple NHL guys in Canada once but I wasn’t born yet.). If I would’ve stuck my hand through the photography holes I probably could’ve gotten a puck from Peters. He gave this little boy at least three pucks. I was jealous until I remembered I have a signed puck from Rick Martin. He’s a little better. A little…

    By the way, if you happen to get that job, you must get me one too. I’m pretty sure interning as ice girl/flag waver for Montreal would look fantastic on my resume for my major.

    Devil Hab: Pominville was nominated for Lady Byng, he’s not dopey! He does seem like he would be extremely gullible though. Maybe you’re right.

  4. Ron Ley (Rick’s brother) threatened to cut my hair behind Dino’s pool hall too. He was a redneck deluxe.
    And Dani, you have to be a Habs fan to be be ice girl/flag waver. There’s still time, but you’ve got to pay some dues. Anyway, when I become an Almost Montreal Canadien/flag guy, I’ll put in a good word.

  5. Hi Dennis,

    You left out Gerry McNamara. (heh heh)

    Were you were referring to the old South Ward rink when you were skating with Ricky? Oh and Ronnie? Is he still with us I wonder. I remember him grabbing hold of Charley Hatley once in Deano’s….wasn’t good.

  6. Hi! The old outdoor rink was at McKinnel Square, across from the Dairy Queen, in the west ward.
    It’s great to hear from an Orillian, I must say.
    Ron Ley died about ten years ago. A neighbour of my Dad’s told me.
    Happy New Year!

  7. Thanks Dennis. All the best to you as well in the New Year. Great site….a real credit to the game….no kidding. If Mike Williamson drops in on you again let him know I still owe him $5.00 for loaner he and Diane gave me long long ago one fine sunny day in April ’69.

    Go Habs !!

    Iain MacNeill

  8. Dennis this truly is a great trip down memory lane. Ricky and Ronnie, McKinnell Square rink…..shovel it yourself sit in the little cabinhouse with the woodstove heater, play way past the point of your toes freezing together or mitts being soaked and then walk home in the dark, in minus (whatever) temperatures………and we thught all the time that we were having fun!
    I played some rec and oldtimer hockey with Ronnie…..he’d mellowed abit by then…sometimes not much though. Not enough guys in the Oldtimer dressing rooms to ‘cut the hair off of I guess’!
    Ronnie and the boys were a couple years older than me so don’t have the fond memories out behind Dino’s that these guys had but certainly spent some very valuable hours at the hall.

  9. Hi Warren. You were a great hockey player yourself.
    Am I ever glad you found my site. Please let me know, even by email at dlkane@shaw.ca how you are and where you are and also about Wayne. Thanks.

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