My Golden Age of Hockey

It has been reported that Ken Dryden stated that the golden age of hockey was whenever you were 12 years old. Well, I was 10 years old during my golden age of hockey, back in 1972.

Our family had moved from St. Catharines ON to the Toronto area and I attended the last few weeks of the ’71-’72 academic year at Brian Drive Public School in North York ON. When I Google that school today, I see that it is called Brian Public School. Did they change the name of my school or are my 50 year old memories fading faster than I care to admit? I remember being seated at a table with the smartest kids in the class and feeling like I really didn’t belong. Hey Bruce, you really made me feel unwelcome and I couldn’t wait until the school year ended.

My big brother, Jack, was 4 years older and he and I were huge hockey fans, since 1968. My little sister, Leah, 1.5 years younger, didn’t matter and had no clue about hockey. My brother played hockey as a kid and 50 years later, he still plays two or three times a week as he continues his quest to make the NHL. I didn’t start playing hockey until I was 30, as an old-timer, and I retired around 40.

In the summer of ’72, my brother and I continued building our hockey card collection and growing our hair long, just like our hockey heroes wore theirs, but definitely not like Al Arbour. We had so many extra Al Arbour cards that my brother took a pair of scissors and cut around the outline of Al’s head and called his creation a Shawoowee. We laughed until we cried and laughed even more. Still not sure what a Shawoowee is? Have a look at my Shawoowee pic that my big brother recently made for me.

Summer was quickly coming to an end and it was time to get ready for school. Little did we know it, our father had his own back-to-school plans for us. He loaded us up in the car, drove us to a distant barbershop and instructed Ivan the Butcher to give us brush cuts. We took our turns, sat in the barber’s chair, quiet and stunned, as all of our hair fell to the floor. I’m guessing a haircut cost about $4 back then, $1 for each side, because when Ivan was done with us, we both looked like blockheads. We hustled back to the backseat of the car where we both burst out in tears. We were shocked, embarrassed and humiliated, all at the same time. We lowered our heads below the level of the car windows so that no one else could see us. At some point in time, we looked at each other and started to laugh. His ears were so big that he looked like the flying nun. I had no idea what my brother was laughing at. We cried until we laughed and laughed even more.

Up next, the Summit Series begins, even before school started. I will get back to this story when time permits.

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