Chronicles

Over several decades, I’ve known many special "hockey days" in Canada. Some of those memories are wonderful, others bittersweet and some of them forgotten by those old enough and unknown to the next generations.

This is Frank Mahovlich. I don’t know how many of you (if any) remember the trade that sent him from Toronto to Detroit in March of 1968. This was just a few months after Toronto won the Stanley and although Mahovlich would sip from the Cup after that, Toronto waits for Stanley.

The initial reaction to the deal was not good:

I’m here to tell you that housewives and grown men who worked 6 days a week had a few things in common when the trade broke. The Leafs were (and still are) the team of choice for older Canadians across the country, the tradiition dating back to their parents and their parents. The Leafs for the protestant English, Habs for the catholic French. It broke down just that way for decades, and frankly without the Mahovlich trade the tradition may have continued for more generations in my family.

The Mahovlich trade broke the spell at my house. I wasn’t yet 10, but the change in Saturday night tradition was fairly immediate and long running. I honestly don’t recall my Dad or Grandpa talking Leafs as they had before, and in fact there were Saturday nights afterward when it was just Grandma and me (Grandma had to watch to make sure the goalies stayed in their crease. She damn near died during the Mike Palmateer era). It sounds silly to suggest a hockey trade had that kind of impact in any home, but it happened just that way.

TIME ENOUGH AT LAST

My Oiler memories go all the way back to the 1972 WHA team. Bill Hunter by the billboard, Al Hamilton and Jim Harrison and then Rusty Patenaude, Ken Baird, Norm Ullman, Mike Rogers and more. Those were great days, they really were.

My NHL Oiler memories are the best. Oilers-Flames in the 80s was the most exciting hockey I’ll ever see, you honestly couldn’t take time away from the television for fear of missing a two-on-one or three-on-one in both ends. The Gretzky goal above may well represent the climax of that wonderful team, although the memories flood back (Messier with the deke and blast at the blueline, McClelland’s goal and Fuhr’s shutout, Kurri’s brilliant read of the situation and lazer pass to 99 to make it 1-0 in the game that would bring Stanley to Edmonton the first time, Tikk in OT, Coffey on a rush, Anderson a thousand times) from all era’s.

For me, hockey day in Canada is tied to family. Me watching the game, my family playing whist on Saturday night and asking me "what’s the score?" when things got busy.

Beer, smokes, laughter, family when everyone is together and Dad wasn’t working.

Hockey.

 

NATION RADIO!

I’m hoping you’ll email your memories of past hockey days that made a big impact on you; email me and I’ll read them on the air.  Nation Radio is back on the air, we’ll talk about hockey day in Canada (sharing memories) and talk trade deadline with:

  • Jason Gregor who conducted a dynamite interview with Bobby Holik this week.
  • Jonathan Willis who had some great insight into Jordan eberle’s season.
  • Kent Wilson who will pass along the latest from the Flames nation.
  • Cam Charron who will give us an update from Vancouver and some WHL inside stuff.

Noon, Team 1260 and the entire show will be up at Oilers Nation in the next day or so. Early game, don’t forget. Emails with comments or questions for our guests are always welcome at nationradio@theteam1260.com and you can also check out twitter @ItsNationRadio or @Lowetide_  this afternoon. 

  • Milli

    Man oh man LT, you are a beauty! I love your walks down memory lane!!!! I was young, 10 years old when they won there first, so the memories are (kinda) there, but you take me back!!!! My step dad, poor fella, was a flames fan back then….Me and my bro, OIL ALL THE WAY!!!! Thanks!!!!!

  • Helmethead

    As a long-time Oiler fan most of my favourite hockey memories involves Edmonton and not surprisingly, Stanley cup playoff games.

    I have a small list and in no particular order.
    As mentioned in the article, Gretzkys blast over Vernon’s shoulder from the top of the circle. Sather giving Flames fans a one armed “shove it” salute.

    Peter Klimas OT winner in Boston. It was my birthday weekend (Yes Victoria Day and my birthday meant 3 day celebrations) I remember yelling at the TV for a period and a half before that asking “ Where’s Klima?”

    The fallout from Gretzkys comment about New Jersey being a “Mickey Mouse organization” The Oilers played in Jersey and the fans were wearing Mickey Ears during the pre-game skate.

    Gretzkys 39 in 50. Enough said..
    Gretzkys 77th goal against Don Edwards in Buffalo.
    Gretzkys 92 goals that same year.

    The Massacre on Madison.

    Edmonton losing 11-0 in Hartford.

    Mark Messer’s elated victory celebration in the corner by himself when the Oilers won their 1st cup. That elation continued when he was awarded the Conn Smyth.

    Todd Merchant’s goal seems to be a fan favourite. From a team aspect it was huge but overall I wouldn’t rate it as one of my top memories. I bring it up because most fans put Marchant on a pedestal for speeding around a slow and falling Grant Ledyard. Ya great accomplishment. I’m surprised Marchant got a shot on goal with his terrible hands.

    Dave brown starting a lawn mower on Jim Kyte and Craig MacT skating over to save Kyte cause the refs were attending to other business.

    Andersons game clinching goal against the Flyers in ‘87. That summer, Edmonton was hit with a deadly tornado.

    Obviously The Gretzky trade. I was at work stocking shelves at Superstore and my Manager told me about it. He and I went into the lunchroom, turned on the radio and heard Terry Jones spew the words “Gretzky’s Gone…” I got sent home because my boss was a bigger Gretzky Fan than I was.

    The 2006 run to the finals. I have never seen a city come together like that. Kids on the streets holding signs that read “Honk if you’re an Oiler Fan” There was an excitement and pride I haven’t felt about being an Edmonton Ian in years. Carolina Management had gone public with it’s parade route plans on Game 5 day. Pisani scores the OT winner and I’m yelling at the television “Plan you’re F***ing parade you b@st@rds but you’re coming back to Edmonton first!!”

    These are just a few that popped into my head.
    Enjoy!