What Stan's Been Up To...
A quick look at The Maven's top pieces this week. Including a thank you to so many from Israel in Stan's 5th war story.
As I sit in the kitchen in my son Simon's home at Kibbutz El-Rom in the North Golan Heights of Israel, it is pouring (rain) out outside. Or, as my Dad, Ben Fischler, liked to say, "It's coming down in torrents!" Or, when it just looked like rain, he'd opine, - "Giddyap, Napoleon, It Looks Like Rain."Well, now that I got that out of the way, I can resume the original reason that I'm hitting the computer so early in the morning:
1. I'm glad it's working.
2. It's raining so hard, I don't dare put the dogs out for the a.m. stroll. Besides, they're smart enough not to walk in the water.
3. I feel a great deal of gratitude for all who've helped me in the hockey business. And, specifically the gang who inspired me to do and who produced the ESPN hockey feature about The Maven.
Nicknamed "Butch" after the Wild West's Butch Cassidy, Cup-Winning coach Bruce Cassidy has had about as adventurous hockey life as the Butch of real life and cinema fame with the Sundance Kid. A native of Ottawa, Bruce was a 1983 first-round Blackhawks draft choice, but his career was limited by a series of knee surgeries. He segued into coaching and paid more than his dues behind assorted benches, starting with the ECHL's Jacksonville Lizard Kings in 1996.
Gerry O'Flaherty had reason to dream of becoming an NHL player. His father, John ‘Peanuts’ O'Flaherty, had played 20 years in the minor leagues and 21 games for the New York/Brooklyn Americans in the NHL from 1940-42 just before the team folded.
What Gerry O'Flaherty never could have imagined was that his hockey wish -- to play for the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs -- would be fulfilled in a game on Dec. 25, 1971. It also would turn out to be a historic contest -- one of the last NHL games played on Christmas.
To that point O’Flahertry was a 21-year-old farmhand in the Maple Leafs system with the Class AA Tulsa Oilers in the Central Hockey League. As far as Christmas was concerned, the forward had no visions of sugar plums dancing in his head nor any idea of playing with the big boys. O'Flaherty simply was paying his hockey dues during his second pro season in Tulsa.
"I was no different from many Toronto kids my age," O'Flaherty remembered, "I wanted to some day play for the Leafs. Not much else mattered at that time."