Lunching With Greats!
April 6, 2011 in Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers Tags: Alan Eagleson, Carl Brewer, Frank Selke, Ivan Irwin, Pete Conacher, Ron Hurst, Susan Foster, Wally Stanowski
But Susan and Carl were not just a loving couple. They also fought the good fight for all NHL players, and in the end were the force that brought down Alan Eagleson and his cronies who were putting into their pockets millions of dollars which rightfully belonged to the players.
Her man Carl, who spoke like a professor and was an excellent defenceman, is gone now, but Susan remains close to the retired players from the era of the Original Six teams and continues to strive to help NHL widows who might not be getting their fair share.
(If anyone knows the whereabouts of Rhonda Lapointe, widow of deceased NHLer Rick Lapointe, please contact me so I can pass it along to Susan).
Susan invited my wife Luciena and I to a luncheon in Toronto where about 60 ageing gentlemen, who once upon a time were stars in the golden age of hockey, the 1930′s to 1960′s, gathered to swap stories and tell tall tales, and to eat and laugh and catch up on old times. It was like a warm family reunion.
Pete Conacher, from the famous Conacher family and who had played in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, sat with us, treated us with kindness, and was such a gentleman. Ivan Irwin, who wore number four in Montreal before Jean Beliveau, joined us and told great stories from his day.
Wally Stanowski now 92 years old and a Leaf and Ranger legend, was a friendly old fellow, and said he doesn’t watch much hockey anymore. Wally is the last surviving member of the 1945 Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ron Hurst, taking the mike, told bawdy jokes, and the cleanest I can get is the one he related about how a hunter had brought back a monkey and when asked if he wanted to mount it, replied that he’d rather just shake its hand.
Ivan Irwin recalled how he was the sixth defenceman in Montreal and told Frank Selke that it would probably be best if he was traded somewhere where he would play regularly. Selke promptly shipped Irwin to the minors in Victoria, which was the last thing the big defenceman expected. The next season he was dealt to New York. I mentioned that he probably only made about $4000 a year back then, and he said, “try half that.”
In the photos below, the wonderful Susan Foster poses with Ivan Irwin. Also, a look at the room full of long-retired greats, along with 92 year old Wally Stanowski in the red shirt, and Pete Conacher and Ivan Irwin with Luci.