Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More Reminiscences

Growing up in the city in the 30's and 40's as far as sports go you rooted for the Yanks, Giants or Dodgers. That is baseball. Yes, there was football, the Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, hockey the Rangers and the Americans and that was it. Early on the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Americans folded so you weren't left with much. So it was baseball and football and a few of us who liked hockey. Remember no pro Basketball till 1946. Plenty of college basketball as the Garden was the mecca at that time and they played both the NIT and NCAA championships in the Garden.

I used to read about hockey in the papers but my real info on the game was the radio. The Ranger games were on station WHN, 1050 on the dial, now ESPN Radio. The announcer was Bert Lee and it was through him I learned faceoffs, icings, saves, offsides, poke checks, holding and fighting. With the exception of fighting I had to figure the others out myself. There was no tutorial on the part of Bert Lee. He called the game and if you understood it great, if not tough.

My first game I saw was in '43 against the BlackHawks. The Garden was on 8th Ave between 49th and 50th Streets. You entered on 8th Ave. On your left was an Adams Hat store. They were big in the city at that time. In fact they were big until 1960 when John F. Kennedy was elected President and proceeded to go to his inauguration hatless. He was the first president to go hatless. He also put the hat industry out of business.

Years later Ronald Reagan had jars of Jelly Beans on his desk and the Jelly Bean business boomed, and is still going. On the right hand side of the Garden was Nedicks, the McDonald's of its day. The line was "Nedicks, where you eat well and save money too". The dogs and an Orange Drink for about two bits. They, Nedicks, are trying to make a comeback. The game. The Rangers won 2-0 with Otto Heller icing the game on a breakaway goal. So a win and this was going to be the start of a great Ranger streak. Wrong.

ICINGS: The Rangers ran an outing in the Tarrytown, NY facility and it was great. They did a wonderful job. Free food and drinks. Ice skating on the practice rink. Roller hockey for the kids and assortment of games and appearances by Glen Sather, Tom Renney, Rod Gilbert, Nick Fotiu, Glen Anderson, Stephan Matthau and Dave Maloney.

Talked about upcoming prospects including goalies Lundquist, Montoya and one fan wanted to know what happened to Dan Blackburn. He is still rehabbing and from this prospective it doesn't look good for him returning soon. The emphasis seems to be on forwards, hopefully big and fast and maybe Ranger fans can hope we get first pick and get phenom Crosby. Maybe. Pray. More to come.

related:
HOCKEY'’S FIRST (Television) TELECAST [newyorkrangers.com]