Mar 142010

I enjoyed a bit of reunion with Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay the other night here in Naples. Ted is 84 now. He was about 50 when we worked together  for three seasons on the NBC telecasts back in the early fifties. He can look back on a career in hockey filled with fabulous memories of Stanley Cups and scoring accomplishments.  But he still retains a bitter memory of a juvenile championship that eluded him—and it shouldn’t have.

In the early 1940s, Ted played left wing on an outstanding juvenile team in Kirkland Lake, Ontario—Holy Name.

“We were said to be the best juvenile team in Canada,” he says convincingly. “But we got robbed in the playoffs.

“We played for the Ontario title and handled a team from Sudbury rather easily, carrying a two-goal lead into the second game of a two game series–total goals to count.

At the end of two periods in game two, we still maintained our two goal lead.

Then came the second intermission which stretched on for a good hour. None of us could understand the reason for the long delay. Turns out Maxie Silverman, a shrewd hockey owner who ruled the game in Sudbury, used the delay to hustle in four or five  of the top junior players in the area.

These new players were all bigger, stronger, older guys and none of them should have been allowed on the ice. But somehow he slipped them into the Sudbury lineup, and the four juniors  rattled in four goals in the final period. Our goalie gave up three quick goals to these newcomers and he had tears in his eyes. These “juveniles”—ringers really, snatched the title away from us. I’ve never forgotten it. I never liked Silverman much after that.

“Well, the next season we played in Port Colborne, Ontario—and two of the guys we played against were Ted Kennedy and Don Gallinger. Both would go on to the NHL—Kennedy as captain of the Leafs and a Hall of Famer, Gallinger would get thrown out of hockey for life for associating with gamblers and then lying about it.

“Kennedy and I hated each other’s guts when we played against each other in the NHL. But long after our careers were over, we became associated with  the Special Olympics. At first we barely spoke to each other but one day we had a drink together. That seemed to go all right and the next year we had another drink and one or two more the following year. We finally realized we weren’t such bad fellows after all and we wound up being good friends. But boy, did we hate each other when we played.

“This was forty years after we’d clashed as juveniles. And Teeder said to me one night, ‘You know, Ted, that juvenile team you were on—Holy Name—was the best juvenile team I ever saw—the best in Canada. He even remembered the name of our goalie. I was really sad when I heard that Kennedy passed away in 2009.”

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