Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Day They Closed The Old Garden

On Sunday afternoon February 11, 1968, the New York Rangers played their last game at the old Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets.

To mark the event, Rangers’ brass staged a closing ceremony highlighted by a re-union of the top living players of the time. The invitees include Ranger stars from every era to the original 1926-1927, as well as opponents who faced the New Yorkers. The attendees featured the likes of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Elmer Lach, Aurel Joliat, Milt Schmidt, Sid Abel, Syl Apps, Doug Bentley, Roy Conacher, Bill Chadwick, Lynn Patrick, Andy Bathgate and the Cook Brothers (Gordie Howe was in town as a member of the visiting Detroit Red Wings).

We speak with legendary journalist, author, broadcaster and hockey historian Stan Fischler (probably known best as “The Hockey Maven”) about the closing of the old Garden, what it meant back then and what it has come to mean these many years later.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access February, 2008)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Stewart Family

In hockey there are families of distinction; The Patricks, the Smythes, the Irvins, Conachers, Hewitts, Howes, Hulls, Plagers and Sutters are some that come to mind.

Another is the Stewarts.

Paul Stewart joins us. He is a former player with the World Hockey Association and the Quebec Nordiques of the National Hockey League. Stewart played with Mark Messier in Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Stingers and he was responsible for getting Messier his first beer.

His last season of professional hockey was 1979–80 with the Quebec Nordiques. After his playing days were finished, he had a lengthy career as an NHL referee. Stewart is currently Men’s League Supervisor of Officials for ECAC Hockey.

Paul Stewart comes from a hockey family as well. Most notable, Bill Stewart (September 20, 1984-February 14, 1964) was an American coach and sports official who was an hockey referee and coach, and also an umpire in baseball’s Major League. In his first season as head coach of the Chicago Black Hawks, he led the team to a Stanley Cup in 1938. Born in Firchburg, Massachusetts, he was the first American-trained head coach to win the Stanley Cup. He was also an umpire in the National League from 1933 to 1954, and officiated in four World Series (1937, 1943, 1948, 1953) and four All-Star Games (1936, 1940, 1948, 1954), calling balls and strikes for the last contest. He also was the home plate umpire for Johnny Vander Meer’s second consecutive no-hitter in 1938 and was the crew chief for the 1951 three-game pennant playoff between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Paul Stewart chats with us about his careers, his family and his battle (successful to date) against Cancer.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access Decmber, 2008)

The Early Flyers

It’s now more than 40 years since the Philadelphia Flyers entered the National Hockey League.
Still best known for the Broad Street Bullies of the mid-1970’s, the Flyers’ first years before their two Stanley Cups were quite interesting.

We speak with columnist, Flyers’ historian and author Jay Greenberg (Full Spectrum: Philadelphia Flyers, Triumph Books) about those early years (1967-1972) that included the roof blowing off the Spectrum, the role of broadcaster Gene Hart in developing fans, and the Flyers’ efforts in creating an identity.

Bernie Parent, Andre Lacroix, Barry Ashbee, Kate Smith are some of the names recalled in this conversation.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access December, 2008)

Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory

Award winning author D’Arcy Jenish joins us to discuss his new book on the Montreal Canadiens - a history to mark the 100th anniversary of the franchise.

It is an entertaining and enlightening book. In it is the history you know - the legendary stuff of The Rocket, Jean Beliveau, Howie Morenz, George Vezina and Guy Lafleur. But there is so much more and it will give you a new perspective about Les Canadiens and the club’s place in Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access December, 2008)

Red Fisher

“Living Legend” is what his comrades at the Montreal Gazette like to call Red Fisher. And, it’s an accurate description.

Red Fisher has been covering the Montreal Canadiens since 1954. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he has seen alot -from the days of the Rocket, Clarence Campbell, Toe Blake and Punch Imlach through Jean Beliveau, Danny Gallivan, Dick Irvin, Bobby Orr and Gut Lafleur.

Mr. Fisher shares some of his experience and wisdom with us. We spoke for a while but it was not long enough. We could have kept going for hours. But here is what we’ve got in what was for me a special conversation.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access November, 2008)

The Voice of the Bruins

Generations of New England sports fans grew up to the hockey play by play calls of Fred Cusick.

We speak with Fred Cusick, “Voice of the Bruins” about his 60 Years in Boston Sports. In this Journey into Hockey, Cusick takes us up to the broadcast booth as he describes the key plays, personalities and games in Bruins history”.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access November, 2008)

Farewell to The Aud

Buffalo’s War Memorial Auditorium was the long time home to the hockey Sabres and other sporting and entertainemnt activities and events.

As the building is being demolished, we speak with long-time Buffalo News columnist Milt Northrop about just what the Aud meant to Buffalo.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access November, 2008)

Looking Back at the WHA

We go back to the days of the World Hockey Association with columnist Ed Willes who has authored a book on the topic, “The Rebel League”.

There are some great stories and the impact of the WHA is a large one. We start to look at some of it here.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access October, 2008)

Hockey Nights in New York with John Halligan

Former New York Rangers’ PR Director John Halligan speaks with us about decades of hockey before Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Rod Gilbert. we go back to the likes of the Cooks, the Patricks, Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate, Gump Worsley and the New York Americans.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access at October, 2008)

Jean Beliveau

Canadiens’ legend and gentleman speaks to us about his career and about the tradition and impact of the Montreal Canadiens.

http://conversationsontheroad.com (Access in October, 2008)

Introducing Journeys into Hockey

What is hockey's off beat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten ?

Listen each week on Sirius-Xm'S Channel 204 or catch us as a podcast at http://conversationsontheroad.com

We'll provide regular updates on our various "Journeys into Hockey" segments as they becoem available.