Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guy LaFleur

It's playoff  hockey time. Next to the NFL playoffs, pro sports doesn't get any better than that. A fellow by the name of Guy LaFleur (the Flower) comes to mind. So let's talk about him.

I became a hockey fan in about fifth grade. I remember buying a hockey sticker book at the local grocery store. I think it was for the 1987-88 hockey season. I could be off by a year. This helped me learn the rosters and remember all the logos and uniforms. I was always fond of the old Vancouver Canucks and Quebec Nordiques sweaters (as they call them).

Of course I was/am a Penguins fan, but occasionally WWOR would broadcast NY Rangers games on the MSG Network. At that time, Marv Albert was calling the games. He still may be doing that, I don't know.

While watching some of the Rangers games I noticed a right winger skating around, a little different from the rest, greeted by fans cheering "GHEEE!", not wearing a helmet, at a time when everyone else was (a rule that was mandatory, but "grandfathered" in, if you will). Quite graceful, there was something beautiful and at the same time comical about his presence on the ice, with the blond receeding hair flowing as he would skate back and forth and up down the rink, crossing over here and there. I can respect a man who doesn't wear a helmut, that's old school style.

This guy was clearly a bit more mature than the others and I've always been a fan of the old guys going up against the young (Jimmy Connors was another hero of mine). You know, those who have already proven themselves and come back strictly for the love of the game, not as fast and as strong as they once were, but still hauling ass. That's admirable. On some level, most of us can relate to that.

I probably only saw a few games in which he played but I do distinctly remember seeing him score on a slapshot from the blue line. I knew very little about his career and comeback, but his name was often referenced around me and my friends during intense street hockey games. I tried to model my game around the little I knew about his approach. It always brought laughs.

I had a poster of him which hung in my bedroom for quite sometime.

Thanks Guy.

(forgive the cheesiness of this post, but it's truth)

***sidenote: I believe you can youtube a disco album he put out in the 1970s. It's worth checking out.

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