John Flesch:


As told to: Rick Shanley

We were on our way home from playing Flint. They closed I-94 because of a bad snowstorm, so we stayed in Kalamazoo at the infamous Knights Inn; a purple-room hotel from hell. We went to the bowling alley ‘cause it was the only place that was open and we had a team meeting. On the way back after some refreshments, someone saw a Volkswagen in the parking lot and thought it might be funny if we had it in the room for the maid the next day. We thought we could get it in after taking off a tire or breaking the glass. We went with the glass. (Jeff) Nord, our backup goaltender whose dad was a boxer, felt he could punch it fast enough to back away before he got cut. Instead, he went through it. His hand bled — it was a serious cut — but the ambulance wouldn’t come because of the weather, so we took the bus.

The hospital staff was a little leery about us pulling up in a Greyhound and telling ‘em we were a hockey team.

We got him down to the hospital. There were about six of us in the waiting room. The hospital staff was a little leery about us pulling up in a Greyhound and telling ‘em we were a hockey team. So they called the law. We were in the waiting room dozing when a police officer walked in. He was about a six-foot eight black gentleman. I looked up and yelled, “Junebug Tanner!” It was my roommate from college. My buddies didn’t know. They thought I’d flipped my rocker. You don’t jump up and start yelling at a huge officer that time of the morning.

We all laughed, Junebug took us back to get the real bus driver and we went on our way to Milwaukee the next morning.

Editor’s Note: Tanner played basketball at Lake Superior State University when Flesch played hockey there. They hadn’t seen each other in years before that night at the hospital.


Rick Shanley

RICK SHANLEY is a former hockey writer for the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette who covered the NHL, NCAA and an alphabet soup of minor leagues for more than a decade. He now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where he's one of the better rec league players simply by geographic default.


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