When the original Hockey Hall of Fame, which was located inside the CNE grounds in Toronto, opened on August 26, 1961, I was there with my dad and my sister. I was almost 11 at the time.
I guess it was after the ceremony, after PM Diefenbaker and other dignitaries had said their speeches, when we went inside where there were all kinds of legendary hockey figures milling about. I had a HOF booklet with me, and I walked around getting autographs, with the help of my dad who would point people out. Later on, I cut the autographs up and displayed them against a black background, which I thought was cool at the time.
Most of the autographs are gone now, but I’ve managed to hold onto three from that day – Foster Hewitt, Conn Smythe, and Clarence Campbell, which you can see here.
The one clear memory I have from that day concerned Foster Hewitt, who was talking to people when he signed my book and absentmindedly kept my pen. I was too shy to ask for it back, so my sister went over and got the job done.