Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bit of hockey history

As much time as we spend in rinks, it's no surprise that we see current and former NHL players. Last year, we had a run of seeing several Tampa Bay Lightning players, including Marty St. Louis, watching their sons play early Sunday morning games.

I remember, too, seeing Mattias Ohlund, out all season for the Lightning this season, buying his son a pair of hockey pants at a pro shop at the rink in Brandon, Fla.

Over the past few years, though, there's been one guy who may have slipped under the radar of quite a few people. Sure, they know him as owning the pro shops at a couple of local rinks, but the fact that he once rode shotgun with Hall of Famer Bobby Hull likely escapes them. That guy is Norm Beaudin.

The first-ever player signed by the World Hockey Association's Winnipeg Jets, Norm scored 103 points, including 38 goals, in that first year, playing alongside the Golden Jet and Chris Bordeleau on the so-called Luxury Line.

Norm also played in a handful of NHL games and, if you look closely enough in the Clearwater Ice Arena store, you can see an enlarged copy of one of his hockey cards.

For the past year, I had meant to have Norm sign this Winnipeg Jets puck but kept forgetting to have it on hand when we went to the Clearwater rink. Even after placing it in Colin's hockey bag, it went unsigned for another month. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we had Norm sign it. The picture came just a few days ago, as Norm appeared at a store opening.

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