Larry Robinson was beside me and he turned to me and said, “Hey Rocky, I’m so glad you’re here, you really deserve it, I really thought you should have had your shot in Montreal.”
When I told my father about the scout, he couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe a pro team was interested in a 16-year-old. “You’ve never lied to me before,” he said. “Pa,” I told him, “I’m not lying now.”
I got in a fight that night with Claude Julien. I’d fought him in junior, so I knew I could beat him up. I did pretty good against him, and all the scouts were there.
When it was my turn to go get my money, I walked in to find an old lady sitting at a small table with a mail bag full of 100 dollar bills (all American), a money counter and a list of the players and their salaries. Behind her was a big scary looking mob guy for security.
To me, Dave Keon was as classy a guy as I ever met in hockey. And I loved the way he played and conducted himself. He was quiet, he had his own way of doing things, but who cares, we were so lucky to have him on our team
I was just playing hockey with my pals. I didn’t have dreams of going to the NHL or anything. We were a town of 6000 with dads coaching. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I realized you can go play junior.
There’s a bond among fighters because we all have a fear of failure. Most fighters, off the ice, are the nicest guys because of this very real weakness that we have to stare down and try and face, but sometimes, cannot.
My dad built me a rink when I was five years old in the backyard in Sarnia. It was only a small rink but I played all the time. In those days, the winters in Southern Ontario gave you ice from early December all the way to March.
Episode One: Surviving Michel Therrien – Stories of a life in hockey, about hockey, by former Montreal Canadien and Newfoundland hockey legend and author Terry Ryan with broadcaster Victoria Matiash.
I’ve been an avid horse owner and bettor for a long time, and in 1994, after we won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers, I took the Cup to the Belmont Park for the day.