Home Town: Rochester, NY
First Amerks game—1962-63
Games missed since becoming a season ticket holder in 1962-63:
Between 10 and 15
Q-You’ve had different seats?
Yes, I was up in the upper section first, the upper part of (Section) Six. And then moved down to the lower part of Six, and now it’s become 123.
When I was at Madison high school, I attended one or two games in 1957 and ’58. And when I started working and could afford to go, then I started going regularly.
Q-What do you like about the game of hockey?
The sport itself. Hockey is one of my favorite sports of all the ones I support. The Amerks- I’ve always supported them, since I began going.
Q-Has the game changed all that much?
I know the players are definitely younger. Very young, compared to what I remember years ago. Now, they’re 18, 19 starting out, when before they were in their mid-20s.
Q-Your favorite players?
Every year I try to pick one or two. But my favorite has always been Geordie Robertson, a center. I went to his wedding twenty years ago down in Alabama. I baby-sat his two children for six years. That’s how I got to know him more personally out of all the players. I have quite a few different favorites.
Other forwards… Jody Gage and Craig Charron, Don McSween and John Bednarski are defensemen.
That’s how I picked my numbers: five, seven, nine. These are my numbers they wore, although Bednarski wore 2, 3 (which adds up to five).
Q-Have you won any money from going with those numbers?
Yes, I have. The Booster Club has the Lottery Numbers going. And that is my number: five, seven, nine one of them. And then nine, seven, five- just the reverse- and yes, I have won money off of both. Plus my e-mail number are those three numbers.
Q-Anything you don’t like about the game?
I usually don’t like the rough stuff. A lot of fans do, they get excited to see a little fight here and there. I don’t particularly care for it. I’d rather see them skating, and passing and scoring.
There’s been the idea recently on the Amerks- that’s what we’re lacking: a tough guy. They seem to think we want an enforcer. Maybe only to protect our better players. That would be the idea not just to have someone go out and fight and show that he’s the tough guy on the team. There isn’t as much fighting now as there used to be.
Q-So you might not be a fan of a Bob Kelly?
No, I liked Bob Kelly, per se but.. maybe not like a Sean McMorrow-type—just to go out and as soon as you put your two feet on the ice you’re gonna fight. Kelly could score.
Q-Your greatest day as an Amerks fan?
Well, the Calder Cups. I’ve seen them all. One was up in Quebec when we won up there. That was 1967-68. That was nice, being away from home. And I’ve seen the two times they won here and then I saw the other two on TV.
Q-Does it feel that long ago when we won our last Cup?
Yeah, it’s been awhile but I can still remember.. it was very exciting when we won here ‘cause it was on home ice, with the fans, a lot of noise, in 1996, the seventh game versus Portland.
Q-The fans are capable of really supporting the franchise…
Oh, yes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it the last couple of years. If there’s anything I’d have to be upset about it would be that the fans have just suddenly gone away. But when you don’t have winning teams that’ll happen. So I’m hoping a lot of them will come back. Adding veterans I think will help, which is what they’re aiming for this year, to have more veterans.
Q-Was there ever a time when you feared we would lose the team?
I’d hate to think that. And it seems that Lewis Staats and Curt Styres keep insisting that they’re gonna hang in there and give back to the fans and do their best. I will continue to support no matter how bad. If I can get through the Vancouver years, I can get through most any team.
Q-Who do you blame for the Vancouver mess, four straight last place teams?
I don’t blame anybody. I know a lot of people blame Joe Crozier because he took a lot of the team with him when he went out west. I don’t know. I didn’t ever blame him. I liked Joe.
Q-Your favorite goaltenders?
Gerry Cheevers, I did like him. Maybe thinking of the Calder Cup goalies, they were good. Puppa, Shields, Jacques Cloutier, Bobby Perreault.. I liked Cheevers the first time I saw him.
Q-Some memories decades ago?
I remember the chicken wire, now we have the plexi-glass… and fans hanging the chicken over the wire and throwing beer and all that but all that doesn’t happen anymore, which is good.
Q-Should the Amerks have remained with Buffalo?
I would have liked them to stay with Buffalo, only because it’s close by.. you get to know them better. It’s not so far to go. But even now the Sabres are pretty-much half Amerks. But Buffalo decided to leave us and we have to take what we can- which is Florida right now. Buffalo coming back in the future? They might.
Q-How the Booster Club has evolved over the years…
In the early days, it was much smaller. It grew to quite a few. At times, we had as many as three hundred members. And now, it’s slacked off some. The Club started in ’65.
Q-Offices you’ve held with the Club?
Besides President, I was Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and now I’m the Executive Foundation Executive Director.
Q-Your outlook for the Booster Club?
I think we’re holding strong. We’ve got good leadership, a good board, trying to keep things going.
Q-What would make it better?
More members.. and getting players to come to meetings- that’s always been a hassle the last couple of years. I know people enjoy meeting the players and getting to know them better. That’s something we’ve been trying to work on.
Q-Regarding, the Executive Foundation and organizations seeking donations from the Club… you don’t turn down many requests do you?
No, we don’t. We try to give out as much as we can, to as many as we can because it’s all for good causes. Either it’s for hockey organizations or for charity. High schools and youth groups, pee wee’s…etc.
Q-How long have you been connected to the Amerks Hall of Fame Committee and helping to select Amerks hall of famers?
Since 1993. I can certainly give my opinion. I only pushed for one person and that hasn’t happened. As part of the committee, I am sworn to secrecy until the names are revealed. I’m representing the Booster Club and besides the media people, they wanted somebody from the Club. So, having been in the Club so long, and knowing the players over the years, it’s probably one reason I got started.
Q-You get to know the players pretty well?
I feel as though I know the alumni a lot better and they know me better. I think years ago, in the ‘70s and ‘80s you got to know the players better, for whatever reason. Probably because they stayed- a lot of them married- and stayed in our community, so you’d see them throughout the years. Whereas now the players come maybe a year or two and then they’re in the NHL or not playing anymore.
Q-So, it’s a little tough to get used to a new group every year?
Yeah, ’cause it’s such a change over. And especially when you have Buffalo and Florida same years, it’s hard to know which player belonged to which organization.
Q-Are you optimistic about winning another Cup?
Well, it’s been a long time but yes, I would certainly look forward to another one. It’d be great. We have six already but out of 50-some-odd years that doesn’t sound like a lot. It isn’t easy. We won it three out of four years in the 60s- you won’t ever see that again I don’t think. I’ll hang in there. I don’t know how I can change it, personally.
Q-Your definition of a fan?
Support. And not to give up.
Q-You have faith in the current management?
Well, they learned what it was all about last year. And I would hope they would improve on it. Learn by experience.
Q-You also are a supporter of other Rochester sports teams?
Yes, I support the Knighthawks, the Rhinos- the Rattlers- (when they were here). I am a season ticket holder for those teams since day one. Even going back for soccer, I go back to the Rochester Lancers, when they were here, and the Flash, and then the Rhinos. That’s my thing. So besides hockey, I enjoy lacrosse and soccer. I didn’t get involved with basketball or the indoor football.
The Red Wings I go back.. probably when I was in grade school. My mom and dad were fans of baseball so my sister (Joan) and I always went to those games. And my sister still goes and I don’t go as often. I found that baseball to me is too slow. I like the faster paced sports.
Q-I heard that you have a tremendous collection of game programs…
I usually keep game programs of all the sports. I’ll at least get one for the season and then I used to, with the Amerks years ago, always keep all the scores, and write in the lineups. So my programs have that info. Not thousands, but hundreds… they accumulated over the years.
Q-Your connection to CF?
I volunteer for Cystic Fibrosis, too. I got involved with that way back when John Bednarski started his golf tournament. I was asked to represent the Booster Club. And then John asked me to be on the committee. And so I’ve stayed in touch with that all these years since…probably close to twenty years ago.