You were served your cold quarts of beer by middle-aged men in white shirts, at plain tables with ashtrays and cigarette burns, with framed artwork of different Canadiens’ players lining the walls around you. A thick haze of smoke lingered in the air, and people huddled at tables and talked and solved world problems.
Except for the pictures on the walls, it could’ve been just another plain and slightly rundown beer parlour in any town or city, filled mostly with men who took their drinking and hockey talk seriously. But of course it wasn’t just any old tavern. It was Toe Blake Tavern, where many went before the short walk to the Forum to see the big game.
I’ve read that Toe Blake himself would come in often, although it was never when I was there. It’s too bad I missed him. I could’ve said, “Toe, Sam says I can’t be stick boy. What’s up with that?”