Last year, in a moment of hard reflection and sad regret, I wrote about how I should have at least tried to get a job at the Montreal Forum when I was a teenager, doing odd jobs, cleaning gum off seats, taking out the garbage, and thereby working my way up from there to become zamboni driver or ticket manager or the guy who picks up hats after a hattrick. A job at the Montreal Forum.
All of which in turn would eventually lead to team president or owner.
It had hit me one day when I was watching on television as they were announcing the players from Team Canada and the Soviets in game one of the 1972 Summit Series, and I’d noticed Forum workers in their Forum sweaters standing on the ice by the boards, like they were part of the festivities.
I thought, you lucky bastards.
And now I find out that when Jacques Lemaire, who we all know and love as the fine centreman with the nasty shot of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1960’s and ’70’s, and presently assistant coach of the Canadian Olympic team when he isn’t coaching the New Jersey Devils, had done just what I lay awake at night regretting I didn’t do.
When Lemaire was 17, he had a job washing the steps in the Forum.
I could’ve done that. I would’ve been a good step washer. Maybe the best step washer the Forum had ever had.
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap into the team front office. And yes, as the Sinatra tune goes, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”