Tag Archives: Oakland Seals

More To The Roy And Brian Spencer Story

Spencer

A new email adds greatly to an old story.

In 2008 I wrote about former NHLer Brian Spencer and the tragic events surrounding his dad when CBC decided to air a Vancouver-Oakland game instead of the Leafs and Chicago, which was Brian’s first NHL game.

Brian’s dad, Roy, furious at not being able to see his son in this huge moment in time, decided to bring a rifle to the local TV station, where he would be gunned down by the RCMP.

You can see the full story here – The Sad Story of Roy Spencer and his son Brian.

Today I received an email from a woman named Carole Fawcett who was working at the TV station when Roy Spencer burst in, and I appreciate very much her taking the time to describe those horrific events.

Here’s her email:

Hello

I was at the actual event in Prince George, where I worked for CKPG Radio and Television. Just wanted to clarify a few details about the Roy Spencer incident.
He had actually been calling the station all day asking where the game was going to be showed. He was very abrasive and rude I remember being told. He came to the station that night, and once in the door, lunged toward me (I was at the reception desk), wrenched the phone from my hands, banging it against my face in the process. Then he went further into the station. Fast forward to the TV studio where he had us all lined up with his gun pointed toward us and told the TV Switcher to shut down the TV which he did – so all people watching in Prince George would have had their TV’s go black. He told us he had killed (said he was a commando in the war) and would do so again and that we were NOT to put the TV back on the air. He threatened one of the staff members and then subsequently all of us. Unbeknownst to him, Fiori D’Andrea had managed to call the police before he got to the television studio. So, when he went outdoors, the RCMP said – “Halt – or we will shoot”……………and he ended up wounding three RCMP officers. He was killed in the process. He was suffering from serious mental health issues…………………..and his ability to be rational was long gone.

Of course in those days there was no help for staff and we were expected to be back at work the next day.

Just thought you may want some details from someone who was there.

Carole Fawcett, MPCC, CHt
Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling
Clinical Hypnotherapist

Just Some Facts

Facts from a 2011 Scotiabank Hockey Club magazine:

The 1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks failed to score a single goal in eight consecutive games.

Latvian-born Helmut Balderis is the oldest player to be drafted by an NHL team. He was 36 when chosen by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1989 draft.

Detroit’s franchise, which was known as the Cougars before becoming the Red Wings, played its first NHL season, 1926-27, in Canada, at Windsor’s Border Cities Arena.

Patrice Lefebvre scored a whopping 200 points in his final junior season. But the former Shawinigan Cataractes’ star, who holds the CHL record of 595 points in his junior career, played just three NHL games and was pointless. (Maybe because he was only 5’6″, 160 lbs.)

Phil Esposito scored his 50th goal three times on his birthday – Feb. 20.

There are ice hockey associations in India, Thailand, Mexico, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.

A rare doubleheader was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 3, 1968. The Philadelphia Flyers, who had their home rink damaged in a storm two days earlier, played the Oakland Seals in a matinee contest. That was followed by a match that night between the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Cheering For The Kings I Guess

It’s taken the Los Angeles Kings only nine games to remove the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues from the playoff picture, and when is it going to get hard for them? If they keep going like this, the major studios will come calling.

I’ve decided that I’m hoping the Kings go all the way. They’re the one NHL city I can almost accept right now, I suppose because they’ve been around since 1967, the first year of expansion, and for me that’s some solid history. Along with Orillian Jiggs McDonald handling the first play-by-play.  (The other new teams were St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Minnesota).

Heck, I’m just trying to find a team to cheer for. And it wasn’t going to be Philadelphia.

So why not L.A.? And besides, they win by default  because I could care less about the other teams playing and I like going to Los Angeles. It’s that simple. I thought I might be cheering for the Rangers because the Big Apple is so great, but I haven’t seen many Ranger games, and the ones I have seen, I forget.

And of course, L.A. has magnificent palm trees.

The L.A. Kings were born when the Sunset Strip, a few miles west of the Fabulous Forum, was filled with long haired youth toking and provoking and often forgetting underarm deodorant. The Doors and Janis Joplin blew it out at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, the streets were abuzz, crowds gathered at the Troubadour and Pandora’s Box and at the theatres to see Dustin Hoffman seduced by Ann Bancroft. Things were hopping, and definitely, the players from that first year in LA were in their new city at a very cool time.

Although I suppose being on the hockey team got in the way of a lot of things.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were my favourite baseball team back then, but I see in checking the Dodgers 1967 season that they finished 28 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, so I guess they sucked at that time. But regardless, palm trees grew behind the outfield walls at Dodger Stadium and the team once boasted the sensational pitching duo of lefty Sandy Koufax and the righthanded Don Drysdale, who were even more important than palm trees.

L.A.s a good place with great weather. It hardly ever rains, unlike where I live. It’s on the ocean, and there’s some nice neighborhoods, and of course some not-so-nice neighborhoods. I’m sure you’ve seen both in the movies. Also, the freeways are ridiculously packed and drivers on regular streets are on their horns to the guy in front of them about a millisecond after the light turns green. I know about this quite a bit.

But aside from that and a few other things, (okay, a lot of things), it’s a lively and interesting place to visit. I think it always has been. Humphrey Bogart liked it.

For me it would be fine to see the Kings go all the way. Why not?

Keep it going, Kings. Go Dodgers. Go Habs, next year!

 

 

 

 

Max A Finalist

Max Pacioretty is one of three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, presented to the one who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

Great for Max. Our guy rebounded from the infamous Chara assault and enjoyed his best season ever, leading his team with 33 goals and 32 assists for 65 points. Max has become a bonafide power forward, and will be a key guy, of course, in the Habs success next season.

The other two finalists are Joffrey Lupul of the Leafs and the Sens’ Daniel Alfredsson.

Bill Masterton played just one season in the NHL, 1968 with the Minnesota North Stars, and it was during this campaign that he was checked hard in a game against the Oakland Seal, fell back and cracked his head on the ice, suffering a brain hemorrage. He died two days after the event.

Masterton hadn’t been wearing a helmet, and his death got the ball rolling for players to finally put protection on their heads. But it still took years before everyone got on board.

The Sad Story of Roy Spencer And His Son Brian

Imagine how proud Roy Spencer must have been. Imagine the thoughts that swirled through his head. The phone call had finally come, and when he would see the game, there would be no words to describe it.

Roy’s boy Brian was about to play, on national television, for the fabled Toronto Maple Leafs in his first NHL game.

Brian Spencer had been no angel growing up, not by a long shot. The boy was quick-tempered, and quicker to fight, but everyone in Fort St. James, a dark, blue-collar town in northern British Columbia, knew he was a chip off the old block. After all, old man Roy was known in those parts as a fiery, hard-living, no-nonsense type of fellow, and his family, for all intents and purposes, was a tough family in a tough town.

Brian had a twin brother and the two played for hours each day during the cold winter nights on the backyard rink Roy had built behind the simple log cabin they lived in. Roy would often go out with the boys and slowly teach them the finer points of the game, especially how to play with an aggressive edge, because, as Roy would explain, this way would lead to the pros the fastest. Forget about being the next Dave Keon or Jean Beliveau. Forget about smoothness, concentrate on toughness.

Those hours in the backyard paid off, because in 1969, the Toronto Maple Leafs chose young Brian and he was sent to the Tulsa Oilers, a farm team of the Leafs, for grooming. Brian played hard, and in 1970, with the Leafs facing Chicago in the playoffs, the call came. Brian Spencer was being brought up to play for the big team.

When Brian learned he was going to Toronto, he quickly made his own call. It was to his dad Roy back home who, by that time, was dying from kidney disease. He was playing, he told his dad, and his game was to be aired on Hockey Night in Canada from coast to coast!

Bad kidneys or not, it must have been one of the best days of Roy’s life. For a proud hockey dad, something like this just doesn’t get any better.

In the end, it couldn’t have gotten any worse.

The CBC knew nothing about Roy and Brian Spencer and the big debut in the Leafs uniform, and for whatever reason decided to air the Vancouver-Oakland game instead. It was a decision that led to tragedy.

Roy, once he realized what was happening, rose from his chair in front of the television, got into his car with his rifle, and drove 85 miles to the nearest television station, in Prince George.

At the station, Roy demanded they show the Leafs game, a demand that was refused, and the RCMP were called. Roy found himself in a shoot-out with the police, and the proud dad, who only wanted to see his boy playing in his first NHL game, was quickly shot and killed.

In Toronto, young Brian was wearing the famous blue and white uniform of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and between periods, he was interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada. It was the biggest night of his life, and he was sure his dad was watching and smiling, with chest pumped with pride.

What Brian didn’t know was at the same time he was being interviewed, his dad was being shot to death. He learned after the game.

Brian Spencer’s career lasted 10 years, with stops after Toronto in Long Island, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. In 1987, Spinner, as he was known, while living a drifter’s life in Florida, was charged with kidnapping and murder but was acquitted for lack of evidence. Three months later, while he was beginning to get his life back in order, he was murdered by a young hoodlum trying to rob him.

Lovely Habs Wives in the 1960’s. (Part 4 of 5)

 

Canadiens goaltender Charlie Hodge and lovely wife Sheila. Charlie had the unfortunate luck of being on the same team as Jacques Plante, so he basically was a career backup goalie with the Habs. But he was a great backup. He eventually went to Oakland when expansion came into being in 1967, as each team had to surrender a goalie for the new upstarts. (the original six teams were allowed to protect only 11 skaters and one goalie.)

Charlie now lives just east of Vancouver. 

John Ferguson with wife Jean and daughter in this really nice family photo. As much as Fergie was a bruiser on the ice, he was known as a gentle pushover at home.

Fergie would go back to Nanaimo BC in the off-season to play professional lacrosse and he also had a long-time love affair with harness racing. (athletes’ wives put up with a lot, don’t they?)

Fergie’s son, John Ferguson Jr., who would grow up to become GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs until he was fired last year, wasn’t born when this picture was taken. This is from the early 1960’s, and John Jr. wasn’t born until 1967.