I worked way too hard one Orillia summer, a 15 year old with my buddy Ron Clarke, hauling creosote-soaked railway ties a hundred feet to the shoreline so these evil things could be pounded into place to make some sort of breakwater. The job paid $1.75 an hour, and by the end of August I’d saved enough money to buy a pair of C.C.M. Tackaberrys, the skate, along with Bauer Supreme, that the pros wore.
I remember taking a bus to Toronto to the C.C.M factory because I’d heard that if you went to the factory, they would sell skates fitted to your feet. And I was disappointed when the man simply pulled out a normal box and found me a normal pair, which could’ve been done in Orillia. But I still felt like a million bucks as I swooped and swirved with my shiny new blades. And eventually the creosote burns would heal.
The Habs and Leafs used C.C.M Custom Pro sticks, while players from the four American teams went with Northland. My main weapon of choice wasn’t C.C.M., it was Hespeler Green Flash, although I would use C.C.M. sticks often along the way. Unfortunately, there was no stick from any company that would improve my shot.
And no matter how great any of the C.C.M. (from “Canada Cycle and Motor Co.”) equipment was, it didn’t help, and I wound up a truck driver instead of the new Ralph Backstrom.