Saturday, May 21, 2011

Talking Hockey

A trip home to Toronto on Victoria Day weekend, the "official start of summer" in Canada has given Barb and yours truly the chance to visit my family, celebrate my mother's 81st birthday and talk a little hockey with one of Canada's most respected hockey analysts.

Bob McKenzie, in addition to having his finger on the pulse of the NHL, is your typical hockey dad. In fact, he's written about it in "Hockey Dad - True Confessions of a (Crazy?) Hockey Parent."

Come to think of it, aren't all hockey parents a little off kilter? I can think of several in the Icers family, and I mean that in a good way.

Bob and I played the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, since we both grew up in Scarborough in the late 60s and early 70s. He played with Al Avery, father of Rangers bad boy Sean. Al was one year behind me at Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

Bob is a close friend of NHL player agent Rick Curran, whose son Mike played at Rhode Island. I interviewed Rick a number of times, and we figured that we played against each other at some point in our minor hockey careers. Rick is also a very good friend of Steve and Nina Zodtner, the parents of former Icer Paul.

I lived around the corner from Hall of Famer Brad Park. Brad's father coached Bob early in his minor hockey career.

The hockey world is a small one indeed. While at TSN, I also met TSN's Darren Dreger. My brother Rick refereed one of Darren's sons - Darren asked if my brother threw him out of the rink.

Former Michigan State Spartan and NHL veteran Aaron Ward was also in the studio. Aaron had just flown in from his North Carolina home to be in the studio on Saturday afternoon. He told me he was happy to see Penn State going varsity.

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