Along with the usual health reasons for wanting to lose weight (17 pounds so far) was the fact that I wanted to fit into my jacket again.
This old Habs team jacket from the 1950s was owned by a Northern Ontario scout named Joe Delguidice, and now belongs to me. Team photos from back then show the trainers wearing them, Toe Blake would have his on during practices, and players like the Rocket and Beliveau would sometimes be photographed wearing theirs.
I had one of my kid sweaters from the late-’50s-early’60s for Lyla to wear, but it was too itchy for her. (I remember the feeling). So she’s wearing a non-itchy number from a few decades later.
Below, Toe and the trainers wearing the same type of jacket.
Joe Delguidice was a Montreal Canadiens scout in Northern Ontario from the early 1950s until the mid-sixties.
I wonder if he had anything to do with Kirkland Lake’s Ralph Backstrom joining the Canadiens organization.
$250 wasn’t much, but most of these guys had normal jobs and scoured the area only in the evenings or on weekends. Their honorariums would cover gas, coffee and hot dogs, and yes, they were expected to drive to see hotshots like Backstrom regardless of winter storms and such.
Of course the odd perk would come along, like a free team jacket, or tickets to the Forum, but all in all, I think it was done mostly out of love of hockey.
My friend Gary Lupul was a full-time scout for the Vancouver Canucks, up until his passing almost six years ago, and he would drive from town to town throughout much of Ontario, living on junk food and spending most of his days either on the road or in arenas. He loved it but it wasn’t something he wanted to do for a long time.
It’s not a glamorous job, but an important one. They’re the ones who keep the league stocked.
I can remember when I played bantam and midget hockey, and from time to time we’d hear rumours that scouts were in the stands. Of course this is when I’d play like a bum and could barely stand up.