Last year when I was in Orillia, I spent a sensational day with some of my old buddies, and we did what old buddies do – we talked about the old days. And it confirmed just what I’ve suspected – that I’ve misplaced my memory and I can’t remember where I put it.
One of the guys in the group, Mel St. Onge, took the bull by the horns and not only gave us a tour down memory lane of the streets of Orillia, but also arranged for my oldest buddy Ron Clarke to come up from Waterloo to surprise me.
It was just excellent. These guys are salt of the earth. The whole bunch of them.
Mel also told me about the time he was hurt in a game, and to this day he doesn’t understand why I wasn’t there to witness it. I was on the team, but I don’t remember it. Maybe I was hungover.
It was a Juvenile game, and my Orillia team was in Elmvale to play….yes….Elmvale.
And on the Elmvale team was a player who may or may not have become a serial killer, or worse….a Broad St. Bully.
I don’t know what Mel did to deserve this. Cripes.
Mel was playing defence and this guy came over the blueline with his head down, and as Mel was about to rock him with an Alexei Emelin-type hit, the guy smashed his stick into Mel’s face. Mel hit the ice like a ton of bricks, got up to chase him, but back down he went again, with blood gushing all over the place.
Mel was quickly taken to a doctor in Elmvale where he was stitched up with 57 stitches, and then was rushed to the hospital in Barrie where doctors pulled his broken jaw and teeth back from halfway down his throat. They then pulled four teeth and sent him on his way.
In that same game, the player who did all this also bit Orillia’s Andy Rowe on the ear, and in the end, the guy was banned from hockey for life. You have to be a pretty greasy dude to be banned for life.
It was bad, this incident, and Mel also lost 20 pounds while recovering. But he said it had a silver lining. He was excused from taking his Christmas exams.
Something else about Mel. He was an excellent ball player and at one time was scouted by the Kansas City Royals organization. He also, for many years, wrote a sports column for Orillia’s Packet and Times. But best of all, he’s simply a great guy.
And the Elmvale guy? Come to think of it, one of Gaston’s buddies in San Quentin was from Elmvale.
(If you’re not familiar with Gaston, he’s under ”Gaston” over in Categories. He’s quite an asshole).