As told to: Dave Bidini

FRANK MAHOVLICH: I can’t remember playing my first NHL game, but the first hockey game I ever saw was in 1942 in the Northern Ontario mining leagues. My dad worked in a mine and his company team included Herbie and Ozzie Carnegie, and a fellow by the name of Manny MacIntyre, from Windsor, Nova Scotia. Years later, my brother and I were going through the airport in Montreal when Pete — who was always joking around — grabbed the hat off one of the red cap porters and started running. The fellow chased us and was yelling: “I know you guys! You guys were just as bad when you were kids!” When we turned around, we saw that it was Manny MacIntyre.

LARRY PLAYFAIR: My favourite hockey team growing up were the Boston Bruins, and my first game with the Sabres was in Boston. That afternoon, I was as nervous as could be. I was scared to death. I got to the rink, got dressed, took the pre-game skate and felt okay. My very first shift was playing left defence with King Kong Korab against Peter McNab, Terry O’ Reilly and John Wensink. The puck got thrown in off the face-off into my corner, and when I got it, I made a fake pass up the wall to Craig Ramsey. I looked over my shoulder and saw Terry O’Reilly go for the fake. I went from the top of the faceoff circle to behind our net thinking to myself: “Man, you just fooled Terry O’Reilly!” As I came around the other side of the net considering what a great player I was, someone shut the lights off. John Wensink had come around on his off-wing and just smoked me. He hit me in the middle of my chest with his shoulder and they ended up carrying me off the ice on a stretcher. My first shift in the NHL lasted about eight seconds.

BOB LORIMER: I ruptured my spleen playing my first regular season game in the NHL with the Islanders. I went to check Craig Ramsey, but he put his stick out to protect himself, hitting me in the side. I remember skating back to the bench and thinking, “Man, that kinda hurt.” It happened in the 2nd period, but I played the rest of the game. After the game, I had a bit of a stomach ache, so I told the trainer about it, but he said, “Ah, you’re probably just nervous from your first game.” The team went out for beers– the beers didn’t taste very good and I knew something wrong right away. I went back to my hotel room, and about two hours later, I phoned the trainer and told him that my stomach ache was getting worse. He said it was probably still nerves and that I should get myself some Maalox. I went down to the front desk, but all they had were TUMS. The pain got worse, and at around 3 am, I talked to the trainer and he said, “Well, there’s really nothing I can do for you.” He told me to drive myself to the hospital. So I got in my car, and as I was walking through the doors of the emergency room, I collapsed and passed out. I was bleeding to death. The doctors performed emergency surgery and probably saved my life.



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