Since starting my Reliv business, I've been reconnecting with people I haven't spoken to in quite awhile. Two of those people were born and raised in Philadelphia, although they both now live elsewhere. Anyway, last night the Philadelphia Flyers earned a place in the Stanley Cup finals (that's hockey for those of you who are uninformed).
We got to talking about hockey in the 1970's. Back then, players did not all wear helmets, mouth guards or face masks. High-sticking and hooking and tripping the opponent was a normal part of play, as was a good, bench-clearing brawl. A game wasn't a game unless somebody was bleeding or had lost a tooth. And the amount of time a player spent in the penalty box was worn like a badge of honor.
Having been raised in the Buffalo area, Sabres hockey was a huge part of life. After listening to these two Flyers fans go on and on about the impending Stanley Cup victory - and the series hasn't even started yet - I got to reminiscing about Sabres hockey in the seventies. Our stars were Gil Perreault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin, an offensive line collectively known as The French Connection. On defense there was Don Luce and Craig Ramsay, both of whom lived on my street!
The Sabres and the Flyers met in the 1975 Stanley Cup finals, which boasts the only time fog almost ended a hockey game. Oh, and then there was the bat incident.
My family relocated to Atlanta in 1977. That winter, the Buffalo Sabres came to town to play the Atlanta Flames and I was so excited because it was im-possible to get a ticket to a game when we lived in Buffalo. I was devastated when my father told me he was taking my brother. I mean, seriously!!
My despair was somewhat assuaged when my dad came home from that game and presented me with a program nearly covered in autographs from nearly the entire Sabres team. Apparently, after the game in Atlanta all the fans clamored outside the Flames locker room, but hardly anyone wanted to meet a Sabre. So, the two of them were able to catch the eye of our former neighbor Don Luce and were given free reign to hang out with the whole Buffalo team in their locker room! I had teen fantasies about that until I was probably in my mid-twenties.
I think I'm going to have to figure out which cable channel here in the Deep South is broadcasting the Stanley Cup this year...