One of Canada’s most wonderful comic strips from days gone by was Birdseye Center. Jimmy Frise of the Toronto Star was the man behind it. It was brilliant. You can learn more at this link and if you love the romance behind old-school, small town hockey, check out this cartoon of the fan being ejected from the rink who refused to give up on his vendetta against the ref. Beautiful.
Category Archives: pranks
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.
I suspect it’s true of any team sport but a bunch of guys in a hockey dressing room are always looking for ways to make the new guy feel comfortable…in an uncomfortable sort of way. The year was 1987 and I had moved to Kitchener two months prior. I was fresh out of school, had my first job and my first set of wheels – a 68 Mustang hardtop. It was a pretty sweet little car. Yellow with black striping, oversize wheels on the back, black interior, V8 engine. A very nice ride and I dare say it was nicer than anything I’ve ever driven since.
I hadn’t made many friends in town yet but someone at work had given me an invite to a Thursday night pickup hockey game. I’d made new friends all my life playing hockey so this felt pretty good. Thursday night rolled around and I showed up at the rink around 10:30 to get ready for the 11:00 start time. I was quietly putting on my gear in the room when one of the guys across the room says “I hope nobody here owns that Mustang out in the lot. I was just pulling my bag out of the trunk and a guy in an old pickup just backed right into the side of it and then drove away.”
Ok, so the pretty good feeling goes away real quick. I was stunned. Literally stunned. It must have showed pretty quick too because the guy who said it is looking around the room and about the time he spots my ashen face, I was blurting out some cry for help and he gets a big grin on his face. You know the look, the one that says “hey new guy, gotcha!”. Tom McKerra was his name. A character through and through. His brother Ron also played from time to time and I enjoyed playing both with and against both of them over many years of Thursday nights at Don McLaren arena. I’ll bet it’s been close to twenty years since I’ve seen either one of them but I’ll never forget Tom’s welcome of me, the new guy.