Interview with Lifetime Member Jean Dibble

Home Town: Rochester, NY

First Amerks Game: 1962

Home Games Missed Since: Not sure how many, but very few

Q-What do you think about the music that is used during the home games?

In today’s world, everything seems to be too loud. It is difficult to communicate with the people near you. There was a time when they didn’t blast the music and constant announcements throughout games. I think some of us old time fans would like it to be the way it was. It was all about the game then.

Q-Your first game for the Amerks?

I think it was in 1962. I was in college at the time so I couldn’t come all the time, but once I was out of college I got my season ticket.

Q-Why hockey?

It’s just an exciting game. The up and down action, the skating, the passing, the checking and the goalie saves. Of course, it’s nice to see the goals and the crowds. It can make the adrenalin flow.

Q-Are you a loud mouth in any way, at these games?

No. I think the loudest I probably have ever gotten was with our Calder Cup wins.

Q-The Cup years might be your biggest thrills?

Yes, the Calder Cup wins in the ’60s and then later, the ’83, ’87 and ”96 wins were exciting. It was fantastic to see the arena filled with people, all so much attention was given to the team.

After the 1987 win, a celebration was held later in the arena. The players were all up on the stage. Joe Crozier was there, too, and he was doing all kinds of things to get the fans going. It was so much fun.

Another thrill that I had was flying in the small team airplane up to Quebec City, the year we won the Calder Cup. It was scary, I’m not a flyer. We were at the airport with the players and they teased us about riding in the old plane as they were flying commercial. After the win, we left the same time as the players, and they got back here three hours before we did. We missed the celebration at the airport and the Downtowner.

Q-Long time since we’ve won a Cup hereā€¦

We have had a couple times when we kind of came close. We were doing well in the playoffs and then everything went flat. But these last few years have been disappointing.

Q-What’s going wrong on the ice for the Amerks, as you see it?

We’re not scoring enough goals, to outscore the other team. I do think we need more checking, just being more physical. Defense is important, and the players need to stand up for our goalies. Every aspect of the game is important. I think we need to improve in many areas.

Q-What have been the changes in hockey as you’re noticed over the years?

It’s a faster game. Players are bigger and stronger in most cases. The equipment has changed. There are many more broken sticks. Wearing a helmet is mandatory. Teams have more than one jersey. There are time-outs each period for media commercials, which slows down the momentum of the game.

Q-Your favorite Amerks?

My all-time favorite is Geordie Robertson, who became a family friend. Others are Domenic Pittis, Bobby Mongrain, Bob Kelly, Scott Metcalfe and Chris Taylor. When I was first going to the games, it was Al Arbour, Don Cherry, Darryl Sly, Dick Gamble and Bronco Horvath. Those were really exiting years in the 1960s.

Q-Should we stick with Florida’s affiliation?

I feel Florida is trying to do well for us this year, 2010. At least they are saying that they’ll be looking out for us by providing veterans. We’ll have to see how that plays out.

Q-Do they call those same veterans up or do they stay here to teach the younger players?

My preference is probably to go with the Sabres, if the Sabres treated us well as a development club, providing some veterans. I think we lost fans because we broke away from Buffalo. Florida is too far away. It’s so convenient to go to Buffalo and see the players that you became familiar with on the Amerk team. The media features the Sabres and not the Panthers.

Q-Do you like the view from the Crow’s Nest at the Blue Cross Arena?

I do like the view because you can see the whole ice. You can see the plays developing. I don’t really like heights but I’ve become comfortable with it.

Q-Are you a fan of other sports?

I’m a fan of everything. I like football, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, soccer, the Olympics and any sport going.

Q-You’ve seen a lot of hockey in Rochesterā€¦

It has been 48 years, and yes I have seen everything. Too much to recall. It would be a long list.

Q-How do the Amerks anger you, with their play?

If they don’t stick up for their goalie when the goalie gets hit, and when they don’t play physical enough. You want to see them skating hard, playing hard all the time.

Q-A particular sad period of Amerks history come to mind?

We went through a bad period with the four Vancouver years. Very few fans attended and game after game we just didn’t play well. We almost lost our franchise.

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