Tag Archives: Ivan Irwin

Canada Storms Back Against Slovaks

Team Canada found themselves down 3-1 to the Slovakians midway through the second period before switching to fourth gear, pumping in five unanswered big ones, and ending up with a nice, convincing 6-3 win over this somewhat disciplined Eastern European club that favours a bottling-up type of game that can often be effective, as shown in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Russians the other day.

It certainly didn’t work today, though, because Canada showed patience, wherewithall, and the proverbial intestinal fortitude to storm back. It’s what Canada does. Always has, always will. We’re proud of this.

Canada also showed a bit of an edge which will have Nail Yakupov saying “See, I told you so!” J.C. Lipon took a five minute penalty, plus a game misconduct, for a crisp elbow to a Slovakian noggin, and later on, Anthony Camara was sent off with a five and game for charging which saw Slovak Patrik Luza leave on a stretcher. Not good, but anyway……

Canada now meets the U.S.A. on Sunday (4:30 a.m. eastern), which should be fun, with Alex Galchenyuk suiting up for the enemy. Galchenyuk managed one assist in his U.S. team’s 2-1 loss to Russia, and hopefully on Sunday he shines in a losing cause..

Little Known Fact:

The city of Ufa’s original name was Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad, but was shortened to Ufa when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad was founded by Ivan the terrible, also known as defenceman Ivan Irvin, who played four games with Montreal during the 1952-53 season. Irvin ended up in what would become Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad after Montreal veterans Doug Harvey and Butch Bouchard hilariously decided to put the drunken rookie on a ship bound for Europe instead of the team train going to Chicago, as a rookie initiation joke.

Players back then were certainly a fun-loving bunch.

 

Lunching With Greats!

Susan Foster is such a lovely lady and I can see why Leaf great Carl Brewer fell head-over-heels for her, with the two of them becoming long-time life partners.

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.