I was watching Hockey Night In Canada Saturday night from Toronto. The Leafs were hosting the Senators and it was Hockey Hall of Fame Night at Air Canada Centre. In addition to the four new inductees being honored, past Hall of Famers were also saluted including Mr. Hockey – Gordie Howe. It brought back a prank Gordie played on me at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis back in 1975.
It was a wonderful night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto Saturday as four new inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame were honored. Going into the hall this year are Mark Howe, Doug Gilmour, Eddie “the Eagle” Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk. They were honored at center ice prior to the drop of the puck and former Hall of Famers were also saluted including Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. Also being inducted tonight for his broadcasting excellence is Detroit’s own Mickey Redmond. Anywaywatching the celebration brought back a fun memory of Gordie back in 1975.
I was the P.A. announcer for the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. We were getting set to take on the Houston Aeros. It was always a thrill to watch the Aeros because Gordie Howe and his two sons, Mark and Marty, played on the same line.
To get to my announcing booth I had to walk out on the ice around the edge until I got to the red line where I worked with the official scorer and time keeper. I had to be in place prior to the pre-game skate. When I got there one of the first things I did was to check the P.A. microphone to make sure it worked.
On this one particular night the mic was not working. So I called a technician to come and take a look. Just as the tech arrived I stood up, turned around facing away from the ice and started to hand the tech the mic over the plexiglass. It just so happened that the Houston Aeros were taking to the ice for the pre-game skate at that very moment. All of a sudden I was covered in ice. I immediately turned around and caught the culprit. It was Gordie! He had taken his stick and collected ice shavings along the dasher boards and picked up his stick and dumped them on me.
Once I got the mic back I got on the P.A. and said: “Gordie Howe, caught in the act for icing the announcer.” He skated by laughing and waving.
From the best seat in the house I got to watch some interesting and famous players. Our goal tender was Andy Brown, the last goaltender in professional hockey who played without a mask! I know! Also passing through Market Square Arena were legends Johnny “Pie Face” McKenzie formerly of the Boston Bruins, Bernie Parent, the former outstanding goal tender for the Philadelphia Flyers, Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet who was a legend with the Blackhawks in Chicago and “The Big M” Frank Mahovlich who played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians and Red Wings. In fact in early in 1971 Sid Able of the Wings traded Mahovlich to Montreal in return for a man we all know and love today – Mickey Redmond!
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