Hey, the old league still has a life. And maybe there’s more reason to sit and watch to see what turns into a snoring fest too often these days — nevertheless, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews.
Of course, I’m referring to the NHL. There, on May 5, fans were able to see the old-style male bond between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. We call it code enforcement, and some guys do what they like. The Rangers have stepped up to protect their two teammates who were devastated by Capitals’ Tom Wilson in the previous game.
Don Cherry would have loved it.
A brief summary. Wilson chased Rangers’ Pavel Buchnevic and hurt Artemi Panarin after the Rangers robbed the Capitals goalkeeper of freedom. Ranger teammates will do what the league will do to discipline Mr Wilson on May 3, as the league has few illegal fighters and executors, and anything that can cause head injuries. I figured out. It slapped him on the wrist — without a $ 5,000 fine and suspension, the Rangers smoked. So they walted on ice two days later and began beating their enemies with a good imitation of last year’s Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and Ted Greene or John Ferguson.
It was a bit of a quarrel, and yes, Cherry would have been smiling.
I wrote here before the hockey wasn’t the old one. For one thing, it’s hard to tell who all players wear helmets and look like (and often play) interchangeable widgets. Second, hockey isn’t struggling much now, with millions of dollars in salaries and European influences.
But, as General George MacArthur once said, real men like to fight, and fighting is a big part of hockey’s legacy. Ask Gordie Howe or Orlando Kurtenbach.
I was fortunate to meet Don Dietrich, a defensive man from Delorine, Manitoba, who co-starred with the Chicago Blackhawks (and lived with Doug Wilson and Tony Esposito and talked great about each man) and became friends. It was. Don was a talented athlete who was strong and good at any sport. He may have pitched professionally, but he liked hockey and declined the offer to enter the baseball stream. Don was also essentially calm, as his big frame and ham-like fists believed-a lover, not a fighter. For his professional coach in the early 1980s, he was big and should have fought. So he fought. Was it just a coincidence that Don was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in his thirties? I do not think so.
Don told me the next anecdote about fighting John Wensink for our book “No Guarantee”, his life story, and you’ll enjoy it. I’m sorry to say that Don’s cancer recurred and died on February 16th at the age of 59. The illness also occurred in his thirties, and he bravely dealt with it and Parkinson’s disease with dignity.
Here is his word, the battle edited for length:
It was September 1981. I was 20 years old. The second training camp with the Chicago Blackhawks went well, but AHL’s New Brunswick Hawks knew where he was heading. GM Bob Pruford called me to his office and said, “You have to pass, shoot, and skate well.” Slap. “
In the American Hockey League, the big hype at the time was an older Bruins man named John Wensink. He played for Quebec Nordics a year ago and was sent off after clearing the exemption. Wensink was playing for Don Cherry, who loved him.
We entered Fredericton and Wensink was angry. He has protected many in Quebec and is confident they have abandoned him, and he is at the end of his career. He is not the place he wants to be.
At one point I was caught in a brawl in front of the net and pushing a man. He took off his gloves so I took off mine. Nothing really happened. I skated in the penalty box with the official and felt pulling on the sweater. Looking back, it’s John Wensink.
We are in the middle of the ice and he wants to “dance”. My heart was just throbbing. Well, I thought that the lineman I was with would let me go. I thought it was OK. I was standing there, pretending to be looking away from Wen Sink. Then I smoked him as hard as I could.
I know I hit my foot behind his head. When I trained with boxer Rocky Addison, that’s what he told us to do. Put it in the punch more. Well, Wen Sink literally grunted, grabbed me and started throwing punches. I’m screaming “Help!” My hands are gone, my face is stiff and I’m about to hang on him. Wen Sink stood out for this big hair and eyebrows. I said that was it. I got off. He picked me up and kept punching.
Dave Femster jumps on Wen Sink and everyone rolls. We are sitting in the penalty box because it was our first fight. Everyone else was abandoned. My face is swollen and I think I should learn to pass, shoot and skate well. This is a difficult way to make a living!
Brad Bird lives in BC, but still visits Delorine, Manitoba. His book, No Guarantees, tells the story of Delorine’s friend Don Dietrich, who had a 10-year professional hockey career and raised his wife Nadine and three sons.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.