Category Archives: names

Spell That

When I was a wee skater, my teachers used to say “just sound it out” when I was struggling to spell a word which works great if you’re trying to spell “Mike Bossy”.  How do Finish teachers teach kids to spell with names like Pekka Rautakallio?

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Great Goalie (Names)

Tony Esposito or Rogatien (Rogie) Vachon?   (Although my personal favourite for a goalie was “Red Light Racicot”)

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When Your Line-mates Start Being Called “The Sundin Sisters”…

…it’s not a good thing.   The Martin brothers have gone by the nickname “the Sedin twins” since beginning of this half in the W.  Daniel and Henrik have had a bit of a brotherly squabble going on throughout the past two months, much to the delight of their teammate.  At times, there has been a reference to a third brother “Ludwig” although I cannot remember why.

Things took a turn for the worse this week however, when in a moment of trash-talk-turned-black-humour, someone referred to them as “the Sundin sisters”.  Swedish references aside, there are so many things wrong with this label, I’ll go no further in trying to describe it.

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The Draft

Blue is back.

The second-half draft for the W was held this afternoon and after much sniping and trading of scouting information the way fishermen trade info about where the fish are biting (hint: fisherman don’t do this), the four teams were divied up.

After studying Blue’s success from the first half carefully, I spotted what I think was the secret sauce – common names.  We had two guys named Bob and whenever ref Rich played for us, we had two guys named Rich.

And so, in today’s draft, I chose accordingly and am happy to announce I landed the same two Bob’s (and a third if you count Colonel in this category),  two Chris’s, three guys last-named Martin and some overlap amongst these duplicated first-name / last-name combo’s.  We’re loaded with common names and I think that is something we can build on, something we can feel good about.

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Lou Angotti, Dennis Kearns and the Kansas City Scouts

After our WOHL game tonite, Mike Paola asked if anyone remembered the name Lou Angotti.  Given the age of the guys in the room, most did.   I immediately remembered him as a Minnesota North Star (a team he never played for) while most of the others nailed him correctly as a Black Hawk for most of his NHL years.   Sadly I have no hockey card memory of Lou.  A quick google search shows he also played the 1962-63 season here in the KW area with the KW Tigers before moving on to the Rochester Americans.  Who knew?

Mike also tossed out the name Dennis Kearns who several also remembered (including me correctly) as a Canuck.  Proof positive is in the accompanying card image.








There was also a bit of banter about some other players and old teams that came and went until we stumbled on one we couldn’t solve in the room via consensus – when did the Kansas City Scouts enter the league?  As luck would have it, and as the song “2 outta 3 ain’t bad” suggests, I also had a card for that – 1974!

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Hound Dog Kelly

The Broad Street Bullies had their share of colourful characters.  One of these was Bob “Hound Dog” Kelly.   A scrapper to go with a bunch of other Flyer scrappers, Kelly played a lot like Tie Domi in later years with the Leafs.  I remember him skating at crazy speeds chasing opponents “doggedly”.  Thus the name no doubt.

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Great Names in Hockey

I’ve written other posts in this blog about funny hockey player nicknames.  Here’s a couple more.  Remember Alex Mogilny?  Started with the Sabres after defecting to the West (during the World Junior Christmas Tournament, which was played in North America that year) shortly before the wall came down.    He earned the nickname “Choo-Choo” because he was afraid of flying and early in his career, often took the train between cities to games.

Going back much further, there was John “Pieface” MacKenzie of the Bruins in the 70’s.  Apparently, he was given the nickname by his teammates because his round face resembled that of a cartoon character with said name on a candy bar rapper of the day.   A colourful character always, MacKenzie later became famous for the MacKenzie Choke Dance, a name earned at the end of the 6th game of the Stanley Cup finals in 1972 when the Bruins beat the Rangers on Ranger ice to win the cup.  At game’s end, MacKenzie skated to centre ice, raised one arm in a Statue of Liberty pose and raised the other to his neck in a choking jester then jumped around in a circle.

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“Hail Cesare!”

Cesare Maniago

Yes, the fans used to actually chant that when Cesare Maniago, the Minnesota North Stars main man in the cage in their early years was on his game.  Is there a greater name than Cesare Maniago?  I think not.  I remember this goalie from the 70’s mostly because of his elegant name and a little because of the cool masks he wore.

One other memory I have, though it’s pretty faint, is watching him one Saturday night on TV when his Stars played the Leafs and he had one whale of game.  Don’t remember the score but I remember him making a lot of great saves.

The pic of the hockey card is from my old collection.  At Third String Goalie, here’s a blurb on the Stars in their early days as well some details on Maniago…and a picture of his cool masks.

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Chasing Larry

I felt great before last Thursday night’s game.   I didn’t over-eat at dinner, had a quick nap before the game, went hard in the warm-up and felt like all the ingredients were in the mix for having a great go with the dreaded white team, the team Larry plays for.   However, in the end, the orange team took it on the chin.  The white team, with  Larry up front and Duncan on D, also had a whole bunch of other cats in between who on this night were faster (and dare I say luckier?) than us.

But this post is about Larry.  One of those classic hard-to-play-against guys.  Big, fast and about as strong as a large Buick, he’s a treat to try to defend against.  Did I mention he’s also one of those guys whose shots we all try to avoid blocking?  No?  Well, that’s because when Larry leans into his wrist shots, (and he does lean into them, so much that you can see that ol’ stick of his just wincing with the torque), most of look to see if we can help out somewhere else.  Hey, the goalies have the big pads on so it seems a pretty reasonable approach to me.

On one shift, Larry’s line scored twice on our line.  I remember lining up at centre against him after they scored the first one and since I had chased him all the way down the ice just prior to them scoring (and obviously my back-checking skills really shone there), I was sucking air big time.  It hurt even more when Rich the Ref dropped the puck and Larry, not quite as winded as me, slapped at the puck to knock it past me and in doing so knocked the stick right out of one of my hands.  So there I am at centre, not enough oxygen left to skate in either direction, trying to grab on to my stick properly and Larry is already at our blueline.

Goal #2 goes in shortly after, which in one respect proved a blessing because it allowed our line to coast to the bench for a change instead of skating hard to get the hell off in order to have the next bunch of suckers have to chase him around for the remainder of his shift.

Larry’s a great guy, one of many in the WOHL.  But I hate playing against him.

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Great Names in Hockey

One of the things I love most about team sports is the memorable nicknames that guys pick up for the weirdest of reasons.  The most colourful characters didn’t always have the best nicknames but a good nickname was generally earned by the guy identified by it.

I made my high school hockey team in my grade 10 year but it was a pretty fair squad so I didn’t get a lot of ice time, especially early in the season as I was a 4th line player.  I had never played above the house league level and many of the guys on the team had played triple A (or “all-star” as it was modestly called back then).   I can remember one game in particular, early in the season, where some guys were missing and we went with three lines.  Lo and behold, I got a regular shift for the first time.   There I was sitting on the bench with my two linemates, both named Pat (not unusual as this was a Catholic high school in Peterborough) and as we were getting prepared for our first shift, Pat Maloney points to my other linemate and says to me “this is Boney, and I’m Rev.”   I nodded – Boney and Rev.  Got it.   Those were pretty good handles and way easier than yelling “Pat!” and confusing the hell out of them when I called for the puck.

Pat Martin was a pretty skinny lad so I can only assume his nickname came from there.  But a heckuva hockey player.  Great puck handler, fast and a goal scorer.   He was the guy teams always underestimated.  He didn’t look the part in the warm-up compared to some of the other bigger, faster, stronger players.  But as fun a player to watch as I every played with.  Pat Maloney’s nickname, Rev, I believe was shortform for “The Reverand”.   I think half the priests in Peterborough at the time were named Father Maloney but I don’t recall Pat ever having any priestly ambitions, so I’m not sure how he earned this one.

Another high school linemate was Dan McDougall.  Another skinny kid but one who could shoot the puck like no other.   Like his older brother before him and his younger brother that followed, Dan was Doog or Doogs.  Pretty simple, no great story there.   Andy Shaughnessy was Shag from the earliest years I went to elementary school with him.  Big shaggy head of hair and easier than spelling his whole last name.

In my house league days, Steve Hickey was a player who, while never a star player, had a knack around the net and while going on a tear for a number of games in a row at one point, our coach christened him “Shotgun Hickey”.  I think there was a fair bit of humour in this one though because I don’t recall his shot being that hard.

In later years, in the Grand River industrial league, our team captain was Darren Howe.  One of the funniest people I ever met and a great leader, I think one of his goals in life was to hand out as many nicknames as Santa had handed out toys.   Dave Schenk was named Hollywood, Jarrod Luchsinger (perhaps the best player I ever played with or against) he nicknamed Smooth.   Greg Nowak was Wack, and Jeff Kecknie was Big Red (yes, big guy with red hair).    Our goalie was dubbed Ace because who wants a goalie with a wimpy nickname?  Darren himself got labeled with a couple of good ones by Smooth – Derwood, because that was the nickname of the husband named Darren on the TV show “I Dream of Jeanie” and Bernie because he was a dead ringer for the Cleveland Brown’s quarterback of the day, Bernie Kosar.

Eric Rowe was a pickup player I played with for a number of years.  He was one of those goalies-who-wants-to-be-a-forward and he went by Darth.  Don’t ask, I don’t know.  There was also a guy from my summer league a few years back.  He was a pretty big boy but he was a superb player for a big guy.  My kids were little at the time and when I told them about this guy named Pete who was really good, they asked who he was.   I simply said Pete the hockey player.  It stuck.

There were a couple of guys named Bag along the way as well.  Bag Mahon was a high school buddy who worked at the Kinsmen arena.  On days off school, we’d go over and he’d get us on for shinny for free.  The second Bag was….hmmmm….can’t recall his real name.   Super smart guy who played for Hounds of Notre Dame out west and was at Queen’s U. at the same time I was for first year.  I think he may have dropped out but can’t recall.  I lost track of him when I moved out of residence.  I remember one Saturday afternoon Kingston in the winter time heading up to the open air rink at the park South of Princess street with Bag and we played hockey for several hours.   I was beat and finally went home but he kept playing.  Fabulous skater, he may still be there.

Black has always been in fashion at the rink and Blacker was our goalie’s nickname on our intramural team at Queen’s.   Andrew Black was his name so no surprise there.  I used to chuckle when he’d light up a smoke either before or after the game.   Then there was Blackie, as colourful a character from the Grand River league as there ever was and that was Bob Ferguson.

In more recent days, I’ve had the honour of playing with “Colonel”, a fellow Woolwich oldtimer whose last name is, you guessed it, Sanders.  There’s a host of names that get the “e” sound added to the end for effect, Webb-e, Erb-e, Jones-e, McTavish-e (ok, there was never a McTavish-e on my teams but perhaps out there somewhere, there is one).

As for me, I’ve never been one of those guys who was given much in the way of nicknames.  My last name had no obvious hooks but because I did continue to wear my maroon hockey pants from my high school days well into my late 30’s in the Woolwich league, some of the guys took to calling me Purple instead of learning my name.  The pants finally disintegrated when I washed them in the laundry tubs a couple of years back just before the start of the season.   Since there aren’t any stores that sell maroon pants in this area, I went with black and my nickname disappeared shortly thereafter.

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