No, I am not mixed up with my sports terminology! The picture and title don’t match, but you will see the connection soon!
The passing of Johnny Bower, the hockey goalie (shown above), brought back memories of my Dad. He was a diehard hockey fan and I became one as well watching it every Saturday night at dinner. It was the only time we could eat and watch TV!
Dad knew everything there was to know about the old-time players like Bower, Bobby Hull, the Richard brothers, and so many others. In his later years, he would forget current players but he never forgot the ones from his past!
But his love of the game didn’t stop at watching NHL games on TV. In his university days, Dad was the 3rd string goalie for the College of Pharmacy team. Being 3rd string meant he didn’t have to dress in uniform and skates unless one of the other two goalies wasn’t there. However, he got to play in practice games and be considered “one of the team”.
My parents attended most of the games and Dad was asked only once to suit up and sit on the bench but wasn’t called into the game.
Now, this was in the mid to late 1940’s and there were no rules about helmets or goalie masks. Also, being a college league things were usually pretty tame.
Then there was the game like no other. It started off with the first goalie getting hit in the face and knocked out on the second shot of the first period. He was taken out and his replacement took some practice shots.
My Dad asked if he should go get ready and the coach said no, he was sure it was not going to happen again. Famous last words as they say. When the new goalie was warmed up and ready, the game resumed. On the third or fourth shot on goal by the opposing team, once again the goalie got a puck in the face and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.
My Mom begged my Dad not to go in. She liked his face the way it was. But Dad did suit up and stopped some practice shots like a pro. The game once again resumed and sure enough, the first shot by the visiting team hit him right in the nose. He didn’t have a concussion but apparently, he had a big black eye for a little while and got very little sympathy from my Mom! LOL
One thing for sure, that was Dad’s first and last hockey game. He left the goaltending to the likes of Johnny Bower, Jaques Plante and in later years Roberto Luongo (when he was a Canuck) to name a few.
PS Oh, ya, Dad’s team had to forfeit as they didn’t have any more goalies!