Tag Archives: Parry Sound

The Old Phone Book, With Orr And….

My old Orillia and area phone book that I grabbed years ago, just before my old man threw it out.

Paging through the Orillia section, I see the GM Lightfoot household at 283 Harvey St., where young Gordon grew up. The singer would’ve been about 20 when this phone book came out, and had moved out of the house just the year before.

My good buddies Kerry Baker and Robin Metcalfe also lived on Harvey St, and my dad worked for awhile at a dry cleaners in Orillia with Gordon’s father.

You see the Lightfoot listing halfway down, and further up is former NHLer Rick Ley’s dad Norman at 47 Wyandotte.

The book also features the area surrounding Orillia, including Parry Sound, and I found Bobby Orr’s family home, listed as Douglas Orr, (his dad) at 21 Great North Road. And Bobby’s grandfather, Robert Orr, is at 67 River. Bobby was about 11 at the time of the phone book.

Searching further, I went into the Sundridge pages and found Bucko McDonald on Main St. Bucko had not only been a star in the NHL in the 1930’s and 40’s with Detroit, New York, and Toronto, but had also coached Bobby Orr in squirt and peewee in Parry Sound. Bucko decided to make the young fellow a defenceman even though Bobby was small and had great skills up front. When dad Doug questioned Bucko about this odd decision, Bucko told him “Bobby is born to play defence.”

Sundridge is also where my mother came from.

Also listed in the pages of this old phone book is the Roger Crozier household in Bracebridge, writer Paul Rimstead’s dad’s farm outside of Bracebridge, the family home of respected Canadian writer Roy MacGregor in Huntsville, (who played minor hockey against Orr and the Parry Sound team), and John MacWilliams’ home in Huntsville.

And finally, the old homestead at 5 Elmer Ave.

003

Those Darn Kids

Guy Lafleur was a punk kid here as a member of the Quebec Jr. Aces of the Quebec Junior A Hockey League. He was with the Aces for three years, from age 14 to 16. In his third year, he scored 50 goals, and the next two seasons with the Remparts he notched 103 and 130 goals. After that, it was the Habs.

Guy 1

The little kid in the front row, holding the trophy, would one day….

1962-Parry Sound Bantam BOMHA Champions Team Photo

B. Orr

bobby-orr-shares-the-ontario-bantam-play-off-honors-with-the-scarboro-team-captain-syl-apps-jr

young Orr

And this kid was a Habs fan.

Sidney-Crosby-Timbit

Sid

The Habs Let Orr Slip Away

Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, and Guy Lapointe were the Canadiens’ Big Three defencemen in the 1970s. Three of the best, all on one team.

Then imagine having Bobby Orr in the mix. The Big Four.

With those four taking care of the blueline, with Ken Dryden in goal, and with Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Steve Shutt, Bob Gainey, Yvan Cournoyer and the gang up front, it just wouldn’t have been fair.

Orr as part of the powerhouse Habs of the ’70s. It boggles the mind. And it could have happened.

Stephen Brunt, in his 2006 book “Searching for Bobby Orr” writes about that historic first sighting of Orr, when Wren Blair and other Bruins brain trust went to a bantam tournament in Gananoque, Ontario in 1961 to have a look at a couple of players, and soon forgot about the two they’d come to see because a little 12-year old blond-haired kid from Parry Sound was skating rings around everybody.

It’s magical hockey lore, one of the game’s great stories, forever to be told. Until global warming melts the rinks permanently.

But Blair and his gang weren’t the only NHL people in the Gananoque rink that day. Scotty Bowman, the Montreal Canadiens young head scout for eastern North America, was sent by Sam Pollock to Gananoque to have a look at not only the two players everyone else was watching, Doug Higgins and Rick Eaton, but to also check out a kid named Orr that the Canadiens had gotten wind of through an old friend of Frank J. Selke.

Bowman watched the little kid, wearing number 2 for Parry Sound, and was impressed. “He was dominating,” Bowman says in Brunt’s book. “But he was very small – much smaller than all of the other guys. He could really skate and fly around. I’d never seen a guy that good at that young age.”

Soon after, Bowman visited the Orr home in Parry Sound, but it was mostly just a social call. The Habs had nothing to offer, they weren’t in the practice of handing out signing bonuses then, and they wouldn’t commit to a kid still in grade school. And as soon as Scotty learned that Doug and Arva Orr had no intentions of Bobby leaving home, Scotty left it at that.

When Bobby got a little older and was more prepared to join the Junior Canadiens in Montreal, then maybe they could continue their chat. Just not at that time. He was too young.

Wren Blair of the Bruins didn’t give up, though. He diligently courted the Orr’s and finally got the papers signed. Orr joined the Oshawa Generals and not the Junior Canadiens, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just think how it might have turned out. He might not have damaged his knees. Put him in a Canadiens uniform, and Montreal certainly wouldn’t have missed the playoffs in ’69-’70, which they did because although they were tied with New York for the fourth and final playoff spot, they had scored two less goals.

With Orr wearing the CH they would’ve been off to the races and might not have stopped until the 1980s were in full swing. But he wouldn’t have worn number 4. A big fellow named Beliveau owned it when Orr was breaking in.

Is it crazy to think that maybe it could’ve been ten straight Stanley Cups for the Habs in the 1970s with a healthy Bobby Orr in the lineup? Maybe it’s not so farfetched. But instead, those bastard Bruins got him and that was that. And anyway, the last thing I want to do is sound greedy.

But if only Scotty Bowman had made more trips to Parry Sound. Like Wren Blair did.

And thanks to Don in Texas for sending me Stephen Brunt’s book as a gift. It was a great read for sure.

Bobby Orr

 

 

 

 

Apparently This Guy Played Hockey

From Sudbury we stopped in at Parry Sound, and I guess there was a guy named Bobby Orr who comes from there and was a hockey player.

I dunno. It seems this was the case.

If anyone can fill me in on this, please do. Was he good? Was he better than Mike Milbury?

I was also under the impression that all Boston Bruins players have big tremendously big noses but he doesn’t seem to, so I’m really confused.

I took some pictures though, because somebody said he was famous, and here they are.

-A sign on the highway.
-The house Orr grew up in, although a lady passing by on a bicycle said it’s changed quite a bit.
-The name of his street, Great North Rd. (He lived just three houses around the corner from the main drag).
-Orr’s Deli, owned by his dad’s brother.
-A big wooden sign in the deli.
-And outside the Orr Hall of Fame, which was closed.

Orr sign

Orr's house

Orr street

deli

Inside deli

Orr hall of fame

Bobby Orr And The Phone Book

 

I came across this while rummaging through boxes in preparation for another contest I’m going to throw at you.

Years ago my dad had this old 1959 Orillia and area telephone book hanging around his house which he was planning on tossing out until I asked him if I could have it because I knew Gordon Lightfoot’s family home is listed in the pages. 

Turns out there are others too.

Paging through the Orillia section, I see the GM Lightfoot household at 283 Harvey St., and young Gordon, who would be about 20 when this phone book came out, had moved out of the house the year before. I used to have a couple of buddies who also lived on Harvie St, and my dad worked for awhile at a dry cleaners in Orillia with Gordon’s father.

The book also has listings of the area surrounding Orillia, which includes Parry Sound, and I found Bobby Orr’s family home which you can see at Doug Orr, (his dad) on 21 Great North Road. Bobby’s grandfather, Robert Orr is also listed at 67 River.  Bobby would be about 11 at the time of the phone book.

Searching further, I went into Sundridge and found Bucko McDonald on Main St. Bucko had not only been a star in the NHL in the 1930’s and 40’s with Detroit, New York, and Toronto, but also coached Bobby Orr in squirt and peewee in Parry Sound. Bucko decided to make the young fellow a defenceman even though Bobby was small and had great skills up front. When dad Doug questioned Bucko about this odd decision, Bucko told him “Bobby is born to play defence.”

Sundridge is also where my mother came from.

Also listed in the pages of this old phone book is the Roger Crozier household in Bracebridge, writer Paul Rimstead’s dad’s farm outside of Bracebridge, the family home of respected Canadian writer Roy MacGregor in Huntsville, (who played minor hockey against Orr and the Parry Sound team), and John MacWilliams’ home in Huntsville.

Bruins Fans Have Bobby Orr. They’re A Lucky Bunch

001

The Boston Bruins may not have won as many Stanley Cups as Montreal over the years, but they have one thing they can call their own that the Canadiens can’t. One unbelievable thing to call their own: They have Bobby Orr.

There he was at Fenway looking good, healthy, happy, wearing his number four Bruins sweater, holding a hockey stick in his hands, out on the ice with the Bruins where he should be.

They’re a lucky bunch, those Boston fans. Bobby Orr would’ve looked great in a Montreal uniform. And when I see him now I also see the young guy from Parry Sound, a town an hour away from my hometown Orillia, and Bobby Orr was a legendary name in all the area as a sterling graduate of minor hockey and a player like no other.

I saw him play in Bracebridge when he was still an Oshawa General, and he played an exhibition game for the Orillia seniors against a Muskoka all-star team. The hockey was good, these were seasoned men playing, but young Orr, who was about 16 or so, dominated the game and I remember players from the Muskoka All-Stars shaking their heads and almost laughing at how good this young thoroughbred was.

As cool as the Winter Classic game at Fenway Park was on this first day of 2010, the best part was seeing Orr, and seeing him look good.

Like I say, he would’ve looked great in a Canadiens uniform.

Oh, and the Bruins beat the Flyers 2-1 in overtime. I’ll bet Bobby Orr was smiling.


Geez, Oshawa. Do You Think It’s Time Yet To Do This For Orr?

The Oshawa Generals have finally decided to retire Bobby Orr’s sweater in a ceremony to be held on November 27.

 

That makes the Oshawa Generals only about 40 years too late.

 

When none-Oshawa residents around the world think of Oshawa, they think of maybe two things -General Motors and Bobby Orr. (I don’t know what else they would think of). He WAS Oshawa, even though he was a skinny little kid from Parry Sound living away from home.

 

When he was 16 years old, everyone in hockey knew he was going to be the best. And he was.

 

But only now, 40 years later, will his sweater be retired.

 

Heck, three long-time Powell River Regals, the local senior team, have their sweaters hanging from the Powell River Rec Centre. They were good, but they weren’t Bobby Orr. It only took Powell River a few years to get these done.

 

(Come to think of it, after those fine years as a smallish yet shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers bantam and midget teams in Orillia, maybe my sweater…..?)

 

The Generals raised Eric Lindros’  last March. Mr. Lindros, although a forward, was no Bobby Orr. Although his mother and father may have thought so. And maybe him. 

 

I noticed on CBC online sports news, a long-time Generals fan told people to quit critizing the Generals for only doing this now because they’ve been trying for ten years, but Orr was never available.

 

But lady, what about the other 30 years?

 

And I’m repeating what I’ve said many times before. Bobby Orr would’ve looked great in a Montreal Canadiens sweater.

 

But I guess Sam Pollock was too busy telling me I couldn’t be a stickboy to get around to getting in a car and driving to Gananoque to scout young Orr before Boston got to him.

It’s A Shame Bobby Orr Never Played For The Habs

Another old game was on the tube the other night, this time from April, 1971, and it involved the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Boston Bruins at Maple Leaf Gardens. But forget about the usual cast of characters. There was only one player to watch, and it was Bobby Orr, in his prime.

 The first thing you noticed about Orr is that even though he was a defenceman, he was the most beautiful skater on the ice, a notch above the rest. He would take the puck from behind the Bruins net, wind up, and in only a few strides, it seemed, he was entering Leaf territory, skating like the wind, skating like he was still on a frozen lake back home in Parry Sound, and outskating even the quickest of the quick like Dave Keon and Darryl Sittler.

 When Orr bumped into someone, the other went down because Orr was as solid as a rock. His shot was low and accurate. He played the power play, killed penalties, took his regular shifts, and mesmorized at every turn. The Toronto crowd booed him every time he touched the puck, but that’s what happens when you’re a player of his calibre.

 Time after time he would rush with the puck, and when the occasion was called for, he would turn sharply, retreat, and start over. The Russians in the 1960’s and ’70’s were known for this, but never did any of them do it at full speed the way Orr did. And for the Russians, it was a practised play. Orr did everything on instinct. He was Michelangelo, Pavarotti, Fred Astaire, and Northern Dancer. He was born to be better than everyone else.  

 Don Cherry has always maintained that Orr was the greatest ever, and I have no qualms with this statement. He was such a beautiful player who made everyone else look ordinary. What a shame his career was cut short with knee problems. What a shame he didn’t play in the 1972 Canada-Russia series.

 And what a shame he never played for Montreal. Imagine.