As told to: Dave BidiniOur team in Buffalo was very close socially: the old and young players, everybody’s wives and girlfriends. When something good happened to someone, we shared in the joy. If it was something bad, we shared in the sorrow. I remember missing my daughter’s birth because we were playing in Boston, but when I got to the airport at around one or two in the morning, the wives had decorated the place with signs: “CONGRATULATIONS, SCHONEY. IT’S A GIRL!” Our support group was the team itself. After we landed, Fred Stanfield gave me his car and I drove to the hospital. The next day, we played the Habs, and then we all went out and celebrated together. For us, as a young team, that togetherness was also vital when Tim Horton died. My wife and I lived in a beach home in Fort Erie. There was no one around for a half-mile radius. I got the call in the morning that Timmy had died and I remember just going out and shoveling snow from one part of the patio to the other, then shoveling it back. I took our dog for a long walk on the beach to sort out my feelings, put some sense to the whole thing.
I started the game and was on the blue line when the announcer asked people to rise for a moment of silence. It was then that I felt the grief of everyone in the building.
When I went down to the rink, I felt pretty good, like I’d come to grips with the situation, and though everybody was down, we had a game to play. I started the game and was on the blue line when the announcer asked people to rise for a moment of silence. It was then that I felt the grief of everyone in the building. It overwhelmed me. I was on the ice crying like a four-year-old. The next thing I know, the puck dropped, it came to me, I passed it to someone, it got dumped in, there was a whistle, and I came to the bench to change. Joe Crozier, the Old Crow, came down and put his arm around me, comforted me. Then it passed. I thought of what George Harrison said: “Life goes on within you and without you.” But because of Tim’s loss, we had a renewed appreciation of each other. From that point on, everyone looked at everyone else and realized that we were not only important as hockey players to each other, but that we were all persons of value. Even in death, Horty drew that team together.
DAVE BIDINI is the co-creator of ‘Slapshot Diaries’ as well as a writer/musician/columnist from Toronto and the author of 12 books.
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