As told to: Dave BidiniIn my career, I was a defensive forward who shadowed all of the team’s top players: Lemaire’s line in Montreal, Espo’s in Boston, Ratelle’s in New York, the French Connection. During one game in 1975, Dave Forbes of Boston was checking me, getting his elbows up a little. I let it go until he ran me in the corner. I stopped short, and when he came flying in, I grabbed him and knocked him down. Terry O’Reilly came over and jumped me and we all went to the box for five, plus a misconduct. We sat there stewing for 15 minutes; I remember Orr had done something and was in there, too. Looking back, I guess I’d embarrassed him, and because Don Cherry was his coach, I knew it wasn’t the end of it. When we got out of the box, I looked away for a moment, and then Murray Oliver shouted: “Look out!” Forbes had come on my right side from behind and he threw a punch as I turned around. Blood was spurting everywhere, my cheekbone crumpled. I went down in survival mode and I knew I was hurt.
Forbes jumped on my back and started hitting me. It was awful. I had a cracked bone around my eye and double vision. After the game, Forbes was charged with aggravated assault for hitting someone with a club. During the trial, 10 voted for conviction, one abstained, and one voted no, so it was a hung jury. When I went to the NHLPA to get help, Alan Eagleson wouldn’t return my calls. They were no help at all. I sued out of court and the suit was finally settled in 1980, but it ruined my chance to stay with another team. Ray Miron and the Colorado Rockies knew I had a suit coming and they wanted to nothing to do with me. They told the coach not to play me. I dressed for nine games and then decided to quit.
Blood was spurting everywhere, crumpling my cheekbone. I went down in survival mode and I knew I was hurt.
After leaving hockey, I was devastated that I couldn’t play. I felt self-pity and depression. I was 25 years old walking out a door and into a world I didn’t know. I went to Seattle and filled out an employment form and realized I had no experience doing anything outside of working at Marvin Windows. I invested in a meat store in Spokane, but I was in a state of depression. I starting drinking heavily and did drugs and got divorced. The store went under. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to Idaho. I had no purpose or passion. One day, I found myself walking on a mountain bank when I found a whole golden eagle in a snowbank. Because of what the eagle represents in Aboriginal culture, I knew it was a symbol that something significant was going to happen, and when I returned for a visit to the place where I grew up – Warroad, Minnesota– my oldest daughter from my first marriage told me that she wanted to live with me. I settled at home and started coaching and working in a school district, doing work with Indian Affairs and family services.
The eagle had brought me back.
DAVE BIDINI is the co-creator of ‘Slapshot Diaries’ as well as a writer/musician/columnist from Toronto and the author of 12 books.
I dropped my wallet from the 500 level
Games people play
Azerbaijani refugees and my lost Summit Series postcards
The Cat was a metal head
Want to be a goal scorer?
THE FIRST GAME PT 3
THE FIRST GAME PT 2
THE MUSIC AND THE GAME
THE FIRST GAME
THE RAGE IN JOHN BROPHY
RAININ’ HARD IN ‘FRISCO
TAMBURICA AND THE GROUP OF SEVEN
POETRY WITH BOBBY HULL
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE
THEY DON’T FIGHT LIKE THEY USED TO
ME AND GEDDY
GUNS, MONEY AND MOSCOW
LET’S FACE IT, AS A TEAM GUY HE WAS A PIECE OF S*&T
THE FIGHTER’S BOND
MY PHOTO ALBUM NO. 2
LOSING TIM HORTON
THE EAGLE AND THE END
HOW TIGER SAVED BRYAN, AND OTHER STORIES
THE SOUNDTRACK OF HOCKEY
THE MOURNFUL SAGA OF BRYAN FOGARTY
HARTFORD AND HOWARD
MY PHOTO ALBUM NO. 1
THE BEER COAT
I LIVED FOR MUSIC
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One thought on “THE EAGLE AND THE END”
Such a brutal end to a career. Glad things turned around for and with the Eagle.