As told to: Dave BidiniBryan Trottier, Brent Sutter, Denis Potvin, Kenny Morrow, and Greg Gilbert treated everybody with the same respect. A lot of people talked about what a jerk Billy Smith was, but not to me. We had a cooler of beer in the TV room and I learned never to get one until Smitty had his turn.
“You’re a fucking kid from fucking Saskatoon and you just got called up to the fucking NHL and there’s a fresh fucking sheet of ice out there and you’re sitting here watching Sports Centre?”
He wore this long leather coat and he would stuff his pockets full of cans, and if you reached in before he was done, he let you know. All of the single guys used to go to Sutter’s on Christmas Eve; he and the others were so inclusive. They were very grounded people; very real. We flew commercial and parked in the same parking lot as the fans. You’d be on a flight with your face bruised and swollen sitting next to someone’s grandmother. It kept you humble and you learned about humility. It helped, I think, that I came from the West, and Terry Simpson always reminded me of this. My second year, I was pouting because I wasn’t playing much, and Terry came into the TV room saying, “Where’s that big shot Vukota?” He told me, “You’re a fucking kid from fucking Saskatoon and you just got called up to the fucking NHL and there’s a fresh fucking sheet of ice out there and you’re sitting here watching Sports Centre?” It was important for me to hear that; to never take anything for granted.
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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