This year was my first white Christmas. Hailing from the soggy Sunshine Coast we haven't had a lot of snow fall on the 25th of December, infact, we're lucky to get any all winter, but there was briefly a light dusting in Southern Ontario on Christmas 'Morn, but the entire region had retained nearly a foot of the white fluffy stuff from a heavy fall the prior week, and it was magical.
I've just invented the Josh Hattrick...3 turkey dinners in 3 days! Can you top that? Now it's time to digest, I mean reflect because I had a hockey holiday like none other.
1 - Yes, it was a white Christmas, but I played pond hockey to my heart (and knee's) content
2 - The morning after touching down on the Toronto tarmac I accompanied my brother for a delivery with the fam business which took us right past the Hockey Hall of Fame Archives at the Leafs practice facility. Paul (my bro) knows a guy who knows a guy who delivered poinsettias once to Phil Pritchard, who if you didn't know is the Vice President of the H.H.O.F., AKA, the guy with the Mickey Mouse gloves that takes care of the Cup: The Keeper of the Cup. We mosied in and tried to act like we belonged until we encounter the locked door to the archives directly adjacent the Leafs' ice sheet. We thought were foiled but a quick synopsis of the inter-com system revealed a company phonebook.
The voice on the other end crackled.
Mr. Pritchard was all to happy to give us the tour of 7,600 items and counting, at any time 40% of which will be on display at the Hall, while the rest is stored here in 18,000 square feet of sliding shelf space organized alphabetically by team name, the highlights included Harold Ballard's Brew by Molson and a pair of skates from the 60's that looked like they'd fit an Avatar. 4,500 sticks draped on racks, including the funny curved one from that Molson Canadian commercial where the guy opens the fridge and grabs a bear without getting up. 1.5 Million negatives which they are in the process of digitizing. 8mm tape of oringinal CBC Hockey Night in Canada Broadcasts. Phil toured us by the coffee room, which had two large deep freezes. He explained that memorabilia that is donated or movd back from the hall is frozen in the deep freeze for five days, thawed, and then frozen again to ensure no moths or parasites survive to spoil. We passed a hallway full of trunks, one flipped open with the newest addition to hockey hardware, the Ted Lindsay trophy. I suggested they etch "Terrible" above Ted's name on the plaque; Phil didn't disagree necessarily, he said it weighs a tonne.
Next we passed a table covered with memorabilia for the Winter Classic and World Juniors. Phil was headed out Boxing Day for the first game, then on for a five day exhibit at this year's Winter Classic; we both agreed it's dasterdly how no one gives any recognition to the orginal Winter Classic in Edmonton. What a job this guy has.
Then we saw the cubicles all lined with gear, the most interesting of which included two cases of beer, one from Stephen Harper, a cube of Molson's, and another 24 of a nice looking brew from Maine from American President Barrack Obama, each one signed to the other, apparently for their bet. Phile worked hard to track these down. He said they have to empty them before they put them in storagea...we of course volunteered our services.
Next, the highlight, was a wall of Gretzky sticks, or as some were spelled, "Gretsky". Fifty or more lined in a V shape along the wall, as Phil explained the size discrepancy: Apparently the Great One got much more flexible as the season went on and filed down his sticks. There was over a foot of difference from season's start to end. Most of the sticks were the trademark red and white TITAN from the 80's when Wayne set most of his records, some were the familiar and frustrating aluminum shaft Easton, and there were a couple Hespelers, none with the stupid off set blade thankfully. A roll of Titan's was still bundled up.
"Walter doesn't know what those were from." Phil informed.
Walter had marked many of these sticks with masking tape along the shaft and hand written the date and accomplishment in pencil along the side; it was neat cursive but barely ledgible after years of withering in the basement of the world's greatest hockey dad.
We got some lovely SWAG at the end and were on our merry way, walking on air the whole way.
3...I'll have to get on with more later, Turkey bunwich is calling me