As told to: Joe Pack
This is Part 3 of a series entitled Tales From The Aud by Derek Paternostro, a former stickboy for the Buffalo Sabres when they played at the old Auditorium.For most fans, Rick Jeanneret’s famous call of “May day, May day,” signifies a moment when the Buffalo Sabres finally broke into the second round of the playoffs with a four-game sweep of the Boston Bruins. For me, it meant a chance to own a small piece of history.
Ray Bourque apparently had a strong aversion to body sweat and so when the Bruins were in town, there was an extra task that meant a lot of running around. I learned early that he would wear more than one jersey during a game and sometimes shower in between periods. He also required extra gloves to use during the game. By the third period, a pair would be left in the dressing room with a plug-in hair dryer inserted into each. These would often kick a breaker or stop working altogether. Even if everything went smoothly, it was still my job to get them to the bench. At The Aud, this meant going down through the lower golds, and tossing them over the glass to a waiting equipment trainer.
Before the game, knowing that Boston’s demise would mean an end to their season, I mustered up the courage to ask a trainer for a pair of “Bubba’s” gloves. I figured it might be to my advantage to use Bourque’s nickname, as to sound like a Bruins staffer. When the Sabres celebrated on the ice — and the Sabres faithful roared — I crossed the ice, and as I passed the trainer, he told me there was a gift for me on the bench. I broke the staff code, shuffled to the bench, and made my way straight to a back corner of our storeroom and hid my newest piece of memorabilia.
Here was this Buffalo kid, amid one of the most memorable moments in Sabres history, fist pumping in a tiny makeshift concierge stand over a pair of the enemy’s gloves.
JOE PACK is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a rec-league rent-a-goalie.
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